Behind the Book
All Roads Lead Home 

Dear Readers,

This novel holds a special place in my heart.  Not only is it set in one of my favorite vacation spots, but Mariah's cross-country drive in 1922 reminds me of my grandfather's 1926 drive from Michigan to Oregon.  His photographs and log of the trip sparked a keen desire to experience what he must have seen.  A lot has changed since then.  The cars are sturdier, the roads much better, and even the landscape looks a little different, but when I visit this area, I can imagine how he felt when he first saw the Rocky Mountains jutting out of the rolling plains. Pure awe!  
Below I've listed a few websites that will give you a feel for the history, culture, and peoples of this part of Montana. 

I hope you will be able to visit there one day.


 The Matrimony Plan

Dear Readers,

When I looked at the setting for The Matrimony Plan, I knew I wanted to do something centering on Prohibition.  The United States constitutional amendment, ratified in 1919, took effect in January 1920. Its effect still must have been felt that summer. 

Often in my research, one detail catches my attention, and the research for this project was no different.  Early on I learned that Michigan, along with many other states, had state prohibition long before the national law took effect.  Temperance movements were strong in the 1910s, and Michigan had "gone dry" by 1916.  That didn't stop the flow of liquor, though.  Michigan's close proximity to the Canadian border afforded an easy avenue for bootlegged alcohol to enter the state.  The Detroit News has a fascinating story on the Detroit River connection.  Likewise, the Mackinac Center gives a good overview of Prohibition in Michigan

I was also fascinated with the whole orphan train movement, which was drawing to its close by 1920.  It would linger on into the latter part of that decade in some places and even into the 1930s in others.  Michigan accepted the first orphan train into Dowagiac in 1854 and in the 1920s was one of the states still welcoming them.  To read more about orphan trains, see the National Orphan Train Complex website, the PBS American Experience program on orphan trains, and The Orphan Train in Michigan.  Also many wonderful books have been written on the topic.  Check with your local library.   

Pets play a big role in Gabe and Felicity's story.  Read how a real-life dog ended up in the pages of the book. 

I hope you enjoy the story!


 Soaring Home

Dear Readers,

In Soaring Home, Darcy Shea's heroine is the early aviatrix Harriet Quimby.  If this name is unfamiliar to you, you're not alone.  I'd never heard of her until I stumbled across an article in Michigan History magazine.  There I learned she was the first woman from the United States to earn an aviation license.  In those days, a pilot had to perform a series of manuevers and make precision landings to get his or her license.  In April 1912, she was the first woman to fly a plane across the English Channel, but her feat received little press because of the Titanic's sinking. 

Though Harriet Quimby was the first licensed American aviatrix, she was by no means the first woman to fly.  Other women around the world had taken to the air, as did American women who never attempted to get a license.  Flying was a dangerous pursuit in those days.  Many aviators died or were seriously injured in the frequent crashes.  Harriet's career did not last long.  In July 1912, she took a passenger on a flight over Dorchester Bay in Massachusetts.  Near the end of their flight, the plane pitched and dove, throwing both the passenger and Harriet to their deaths.  No wonder Darcy's father didn't want her to fly! 

To learn more about the daring early women of flight, visit the websites below or ask your local librarian for help finding books and articles.   

Early Aviation


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