To celebrate this accomplishment, I wanted to share with you a little about the setting of this novel. Of course, if you haven’t read ON GROUNDS OF HONOR, stop now and read it before you go any further. I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
Book 1 was written from the perspective of Jeremiah, the older of the two Turner brothers, who enlisted with the Union Army. At its close, his younger brother Charlie, the Rebel, had been taken prisoner at the Battle of Gettysburg and was being held at Point Lookout, in Southern Maryland. And this is where Book 2 opens.
Most of the story, however, takes place on the grounds of Bloomingdale. How Charlie gets from the Prison Camp on the Western Shore to the plantation on the Eastern Shore, you’ll have to wait to read the story to find out.
They in turn, left the estate to their cousin, Severn Teackle Wallis, who was a member of the General Assembly in 1861 imprisoned at Fort McHenry to prevent the vote for Maryland to secede from the Union. Refusing to take an oath of allegiance, he was held for months until being unconditionally released.
There are several buildings on the property, each representing a different part of Bloomingdale’s past. A rustic cabin, an “old wing,” and a “new wing,” allow you to visualize the development of the plantation, which eventually expanded to include over two thousand acres. The building referred to as the new wing was built in 1792, as evidenced by the engraving on the brick pictured here.
Writing Historical Fiction gives me the liberty to add other members into the family, and to bring to life the facts and details as I imagine them. Abigail Sterret, introduced in ON GROUNDS OF HONOR, is the lead female character in FOR THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM, and is presented at the great-niece of Sallie and Mary Harris.
I used a ghost story as the inspiration for her family connection. There is an account of a supernatural visitor coming to the door in 1879, William Sterret, the nephew of the Harris Sisters who had drowned in a race at the old mill. I conjectured that in order for Sallie and Mary to have a nephew, they must have had a sister who married a gentleman with the last name of Sterret. And so I chose to connect Abigail to the family by making her William’s granddaughter. I placed her father there as the manager of the estate.
When Charlie reaches Bloomingdale, he is injured and on the run. Abigail, with her father’s permission, offers the Rebel soldier a safe place to mend his wounds and heal his spirit. The Aunts are unaware of his presence, which endangers them all.