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The year is 1863. After two years of battles, the Civil War has evolved into a bloody slaughter with scarcely a town or home on both sides untouched by the tragic loss of its young men. President Abraham Lincoln has just announced the first order of "Draft" in the history of the American Republic.
After Jeptha enlists, Fiona Dawes finds herself working their farm with her five-year-old daughter Bridget on a thin spit of sandy peninsula stretching out into the Atlantic from the rocky coast of Massachusetts.
Like so many women of her time, she struggles to keep the farm running. When her husband is reported missing--presumed dead, Fiona knows in her heart he is still alive. She decides to take her daughter and leave the farm to look for her beloved husband, but something sinister is brewing. Someone means to not only take their land, but see them dead.
From Massachusetts to New York to Gettysburg and through the war torn South, Fiona searches for her husband, making friends and enemies along the way.
Fans of history, mystery, and romance are certain to enjoy, "Candle in the Wind."
At last, the man that Fiona had traveled seven hundred miles to see.
Abraham Lincoln shuffled slowly to the middle of the platform, glanced at the scribbled notes in his hand, and began to speak.
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
For the next two minutes, Fiona forgot about everything as she listened to the scratchy voice express simply what it was that her own husband had tried to explain to her so many times. The reason he had to give up everything he held dear to go and fight for an ideal. She felt humbled, but at the same time inspired that, for the first time, she fully
understood the sacrifice and dedication of her husband and men like him.
Lincoln looked up from his notes, and it seemed as though he looked into the face of each and every person standing there, including herself. “And that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
And then it was over, and Lincoln unceremoniously and a little awkwardly refolded his notes and returned to his seat. Fiona realized that she had been holding her breath and, eyes shining with emotion, applauded until her hands stung. But, once again, she was out of step with the crowd and was dismayed and more than a little angry when she noticed that the response from the majority of the crowd was little more than polite applause.
“They swoon over the words of that pompous windbag and yet give short shrift to the most compelling words I’ve ever heard,” she said angrily, turning to Colonel Jenks.
“Sic est benevolentia plebis.”
The colonel smiled wryly.
“I beg yer pardon, sir. The sisters would have worn me out with a switch for hearing me say it, but I’m afraid that my Latin is a bit rusty.”
“Hummm. Well roughly translated it means ‘such is the favor of the mob’.”
“Aye, sad and true.” She twisted the ends of her handkerchief.
“Ah,” said the colonel. “I believe that the program is about to conclude.” And just then the choir launched into a solemn hymn followed by a mercifully brief prayer by the Reverend Baugher.
And then it was over. Suddenly, Fiona was filled with panic. “Colonel, the President is leaving!”
The colonel nodded to his guard, and they tried to push the crowd aside, but the press of people surged forwards to congratulate Everett on his speech or tried to get the President’s attention, waving petitions in their hands or seeking government contracts or appointments to office. Despite the port arms rifles pushing on the bodies of the
throng, each moment was taking the tall form of Abe the railsplitter further and further from Fiona. Her eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, no—Oh please, Lord, help me,” she murmured desperately, standing on her tiptoes, trying vainly to push her way through the crowd pressing after the President.
Perhaps all those years spent in chapel had not been wasted, or maybe it was just random chance, but at that moment the wind, which had been alternating between gusty and calm all afternoon, suddenly swirled down and blew Lincoln’s tall stovepipe hat from his head and sent it tumbling into the milling mass of people.
Most stared at it dumbly with their mouths open and several boys made a grab for it. But it was Fiona who darted forwards and snatched it before it could hit the ground.
As she straightened up, still clutching the top hat, she heard a low voice chuckle and say, “Well, that’s mighty smart action, little lady. We should have you in the White House as a telegraph runner.”
For a moment, she was tongue tied, and then, after she took a deep breath, the story came pouring out.
After several minutes, an aide came up to Lincoln and spoke low but forcefully. “Mr. President, please, the train is waiting. We really must be going.”
Lincoln nodded, paused, and looked back down at Fiona. “Young lady, would you care to accompany me to the station in my carriage?”
Fiona could only nod, and before she knew it, she was sitting across from the President of the United States while he listened intently to her account of the past five months.
When Fiona was through, Lincoln hooked his thumbs in his vest and said, “Young lady, that is one of the most remarkable tales I’ve ever heard. You know people say that I’m a great storyteller, but I must say that this one beats me seven ways from Sunday. Say, you wouldn’t consider coming on the campaign trail with me next year, would you?”
Fiona’s heart fell. “You—you don’t believe me? You think I’m just some fanciful woman spinning vaporous fantasies?”
She bit her lower lip, determined not to shame herself by crying in front of the great man, but he had been her last hope.
Purchase Candle in the Wind
Real people have relationships with other people. Ric Wasley understands this, which is why his three-dimensional characters have realistic motivations, regrets, and desires.
Fiona has the grit, fire and Irish love of the land that motivated Scarlet in Gone With the Wind. Her husband, Jeptha, is strong, brave and intelligent, but with a much more linear moral character than Rhett. He also decides much more quickly if equally reluctantly to forfeit his life, if necessary, to support his belief in human equality and a united nation. He plans to enter Lincoln's army, despite his love and devotion to this family--or perhaps partly because of it.
Wasley portraits the honest horror and internal conflict sometimes forgotten when addressing war, with careful details that realistically portray the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. History buffs will appreciate the true events woven seamlessly throughout the plot. Mystery lovers will appreciate the conflict and uncertainty Fiona faces while searching for a beloved husband the military presumes dead. And what romance lover can't appreciate the dogged determination of a couple in love who will do anything to be reunited, against all odds.
BOOK BLING gives CITW FOUR 1/2 STARS!
MEET THE AUTHOR
Ric Wasley is a writer and lecturer as well as the author of the popular McCarthy Mystery Series set in Boston in 1968
Ric has a 40 year professional career history in advertising, publishing and marketing in Boston, New York and San Francisco. He has degrees in history and psychology and has been trained in debating, public speaking and stage acting. A large part of his 40 year career was spent in numerous professional and business settings as a presenter and featured speaker at seminars and professional meetings.
Ric has been a visiting professor at Worcester Polytech Institute. He also teaches a popular course on marketing for authors at prominent venues such as the venerable “Cape Cod Writers Conference”.
Of the five books in the McCarthy series which include the first two, Shadow of Innocence and Acid Test the most recent is, The Scrimshaw, the third in the McCarthy Mystery Series, which was released in late 2009. That will be followed by “Black Velvet Band, scheduled for 2014. In addition to the first two McCarthy Mysteries, Ric has also authored Midnight Blue, a quirky vampire tale that combines spectral creatures and nightwalkers with sex, drugs and Rock & Roll! Followed by Echoes Down a Dark Well, a paranormal thriller about reincarnation.
Ric has also authored the semi-autobiographical novella; At my Window with a Broken Wing, and two short stories; Embers and The Night. Plus a brand new story, Long Black Veil, that appears in the anthology, Weirdly Vol. 3, released in 2010.
Ric’s newest novel is Candle in the Wind, a Historical/Mystery from Wild Child Publishing and it will be available in April in both print and eBooks wherever they are sold.
Just like Mick in his McCarthy Mysteries Series, Ric thrived on music in the sixties and performed as a folksinger and in several rock bands all over New England. He played regularly in the Harvard Sq. folk music clubs in the late 60’s where he met music legends such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
Wasley has been involved in both print and broadcast media as well as writing for business and commercial markets for over 30 years and continues to consult for a major media company. In addition to his novels and short stories, he has been published in several literary magazines in L.A. and San Francisco while living in California. Wasley currently divides his time between the Boston Metro-West and his home on Cape Cod where he continues to write, lecture and create worlds where the unexpected thrives.
Ric Wasley – Author – Speaker
Mystery Writers of America and the Cape Cod Writers Group
Author of The McCarthy Mystery Series:
The Scrimshaw – A McCarthy Mystery - 2008
Shadow of Innocence - A McCarthy Mystery - 2007
Acid Test – A McCarthy Mystery – 2004
Midnight Blue - A Mystery/Vampire/Romance - 2010
Echoes down a Dark Well – Tell-Tale Publishing - 2012
And New! … Candle in the Wind – Released in April 2013 from Wild Child Publishing
At my Window with a Broken Wing – Contemporary/Romance – 2009
Embers – Historical - 2008
The Night – Vampire - 2008
Long Black Veil – (Weirdly 3 – Anthology) Historical/Paranormal – 2010
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