When History and Literature Collide

My story begins last Saturday night.

Marion, KY is a very small town. I mean, like, 3,000 people small. Some claim that there’s nothing to DO here. So, the library (ahem) is trying to offer more recreational activities to spice things up. Last Saturday, however, was NOT a library activity, but our local Community Arts Foundation offering a Chautauqua speaker portraying Daniel Boone!

DanielBooneFP

Some of you who know me know that Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone in the 60’s television series, was my first crush. I’ve been fascinated with Daniel Boone since I was about 4 years old.

Daniel_Boone_book._copyThis, however, was NOT Fess Parker, but actor Kevin Hardesty portraying the character of Captain Boone much more realistically. He told of the hardships and triumphs of the frontier, stories of his family and of the many trials they faced. I was captivated.

You can imagine, then, how enthralled I was to begin reading Laura Frantz’s latest book, A Moonbow Night. I started reading that night after being immersed in the frontier with Daniel Boone. In my mind I went straight to 1777 Cumberland Falls, in Eastern Kentucky, and the very area where A Moonbow Night takes place, but it meant even more, now.

MoonbowLFI’m so glad I was in that place at that moment. The literary descriptions, turns of phrase, and deep point of view of Laura’s stories consistently hold me in a state of attention that literally makes me lose track of what time, era, place, I’m in.

As of today, I’m only halfway through , but I wanted to share what I’m reading right now, because I’m so excited about it. If you like to lose yourself in a good book, pick this one up – or any of Laura’s books, for that matter! Every time I declare one “my favorite” of hers, I read another that replaces it!

Oh, and if you’re ever in Eastern Kentucky (which to us Western Kentuckians is a “whole ‘nuther country”), check out Cumberland Falls. It’s a beautiful place in the daytime, but now my dream is to visit it when I can actually witness a real-live “moonbow!”

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

Heroes.

There’s just something about a hero that makes you feel safe. Secure. Sometimes even a little twitter-pated?

My first fictional hero was Daniel Boone. He was right up there with the Cartwright boys on Bonanza. Dan’l was larger than life. The strong, silent type – at least according to Fess Parker’s portrayal. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to learn much about the REAL Daniel Boone, because I hear he wasn’t exactly the upright citizen that inspired confidence in all those who called Boonsboro “home.”

When I started reading romance, as a teen, I was drawn, once again, to the “strong, silent type.” Grace Livingston Hill, Essie Summers . . . they always featured a hero that was above reproach. Whenever they faltered, there was a REALLY GOOD REASON for it! They will climb they highest mountain in the fiercest blizzard to deliver medicine to a dying stranger. They will risk all to save the family farm. You get the idea.

More recently I have found more variety in my hero crushes. Laura Frantz’ “Ian,” in The Frontiersman’s Daughter, literally made me swoon. Not only is he a doctor, and so to be respected, but he is also Scottish, with piercing blue eyes and thick dark hair. He teaches Lael so much about grace, and ultimately, about love.

Kaye Dacus’ series “The Brides of Bonneterre” feature three amazing heroes, but my favorite was in the third book, and the one I least expected to like – “Forbes Guidry.” In A Case for Love, we focus on Forbes ,et al, and it’s not like we’ve not met him before. He’s the “glue” that holds the family together. Oldest son, successful lawyer, “most eligible bachelor,” always there to keep the peace. That’s Forbes. He’s even a neat freak. But we see a different side of him in his book. He’s still all of the above, but we learn that Forbes is human after all. He worries about strife in the family. He has panic attacks. But when all is said and done, he does the right thing and you find yourself literally CHEERING when that happens!

Somehow, I think ALL these heroes would climb that mountain to deliver that medicine. ALL of them would risk everything to save the family farm – and more importantly, the family.

So, my kind of hero? He may be good-looking, but more importantly, he’s good to those around him.

Hmmmm . . . could I just write a BOOK about my favorite heroes? It would take that long to list them all!

What trait is YOUR favorite in a fictional character?