The Women of Rock Creek series is composed of novels and novellas. These stories focus on each of the audacious females who hail from Needham, Oklahoma in the first two decades of the twentieth century. They originate with Ella McFarland. And extend through Lillian Cathleen Sloat and Adelaide Fitzgerald. Later, the stories highlight Ella’s girls–Amaryllis, Blossom, Camellia, Dahlia, Ebony, and Julia Jane Evans. Readers travel with the feisty women from Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Italy, Washington, D.C., and deep South Texas. Subsequently, their adventures pull readers along with them on horseback, in buggies, wagons, automobiles, trams, trains, and even on a transatlantic passenger ship.
Besides Adelaide, a host of all-important characters await the reader in the wings . . .
The All-Important Women of Rock Creek Characters
Actually, the characters who populate a locale run the show. If a character doesn’t come across as someone a reader has known or could know or won’t ever forget, the writer has missed the boat.
Here are a few of those who come to life in The Women of Rock Creek series:
For example, take Miss Ella McFarland, heroine of The Calling of Ella McFarland. This young woman is the quintessential ever-busy, strong-willed, sassy-tongued defender of women’s rights. You see, Ella doesn’t think a problem exists that can’t be solved. Honestly, she rarely encounters a mountain she can’t climb. In fact, when she sets her sights on a goal, folks had best step aside.
Examples of her goal-oriented, confident, determined, sassy tongued self are found in the first chapter of The Calling of Ella McFarland:
~Ella had aimed for this day all her life. She would allow nothing to spoil it.
~Women, more prone to divided loyalties than men?
~A finger of ire picked at her restraint. “My parents must account for your uncertainty?”
And then there’s unforgettable Lily Sloat. This thirteen-year-old, severely abused child in The Calling of Ella McFarland has grown into a poised, confident young woman in The Mending of Lillian Cathleen.
Thanks to the love of Ella McFarland, Lily has been rescued from a life of deprivation and abuse. And thanks to Adelaide Fitzgerald, she has received a college education. In 1914 she seeks a life of her own far beyond the cruel hand of Walter Sloat.
But Providence intervenes in ways Lily never could imagine. And the woman who emerges on the last pages of this story bears little resemblance to the cowering girl Ella McFarland first met.
Margaret Gallagher hails from Ireland. She is the feisty, Irish-born housekeeper at Broadview, Adelaide’s estate on the banks of Rock Creek. Forever spouting Irish wisdom, she loves both Adelaide and Lily as if they were her own. In fact, she’s the only mother-figure Adelaide has ever known, and she has stepped into Lily’s mother’s shoes since her death. Maggie’s shoulders are broad and strong enough to lift heavy loads yet tender enough for a young girl’s tears.
This thirteen-year-old dreams of newspaper photography. The curiosity that will make her a good newspaper woman one day, unfortunately, embroils her in serious trouble in The Mending of Lillian Cathleen. But courageous Lily Sloat and the women of Rock Creek save the young girl. And she has prime material from which to write an expose.
Adelaide Fitzgerald steps onto the stage in The Calling of Ella McFarland–not directly but through the experiences of Ella McFarland. Addie makes a cameo appearance at the end of the story, and then she plays a significant, albeit not a leading role, in Book 2: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen.
Addie was orphaned as an infant but was left an heiress to a fortune, part of which is Broaview, her grand Oklahoma estate on the banks of Rock Creek. She’s generous to a fault and an opera singer who is renowned in Europe. She has given up the opera stage to bring Lily to adulthood and finds herself free to pursue her calling when in 1914, Lily graduates from college and the Great War breaks out in Europe.
Then The Awakening of Miss Adelaide unfolds in 1918. Where will the war lead Addie? What will become of her opera career? Will love finally find her? Or has her time passed her by on all fronts?
Perky Emmeline Ashbury hails from Washington, D.C. Modeled after the real suffragist, Dora Lewis, Emmeline befriends Adelaide in Washington, D.C. In the process, she demonstrates real-life concern for the city’s underprivileged. Always attired in powder blue, the energetic octogenarian introduces Aadelaide to the urban neighborhood center she built for poverty-stricken children and their mothers. One of the women of Rock Creek in spirit, Emmy serves as a model and inspiration to Adelaide.
A true character from San Antonio Texas history, Eleanor Brackenridge plays a pivotal, albeit imaginary, role in The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. The real Miss Brackenridge lived as the quintessential strong, leading lady: businesswoman, suffragist, women’s and children’s advocate, and supporter of higher education for women. A true heroine, Miss Brackenridge steps into imaginary shoes alongside Miss Adelaide in this story set in 1918-1919.
P.S. I’ll be giving away a print or digital copy (winner’s choice) of The Awakening of Miss Adelaide on each of the two remaining dates–July 31 and August 14–so be sure to join the conversation.