J.R. Lindermuth is my guest author this week. He has some interesting things to say about strong women and his new book, The Bartered Body. I just started reading it and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Welcome, John!
In two previous novels, Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman's ultimate goal has been to marry Lydia Longlow. Crime, and Lydia's refusal, prevented his achieving his desire.
Lydia hasn't rejected his many proposals because she doesn't love him. Her resistance has been based on her independence. The woman is busy. In addition to caring for her elderly parents and running the family general store, she's also postmistress, head of the Women's Temperance League, a Sunday school teacher and sings in the Methodist church choir, among other activities.
Some might question the existence of such an independent woman in the 19th century when male dominance restricted many to the home and childbirth, denying them the right to own property, vote and participate in many areas. Truth is, there were many more such women in the period than you might suspect. Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (better known as Nellie Bly), for example, was only one of numerous women journalists. They were derisively known as 'stunt reporters,' because men didn't think they should be taken seriously.
There were entrepreneurs like Lydia Pinkham. Inventors like Tabitha Babbitt, who invented the circular saw. One might mention Elizabeth Blackwell, who blazed the path for women in the medical profession. Others founded religions. Some even served as soldiers or spies in time of war. And, of course, there were numerous women novelists.
So, Lydia Longlow is not an exception, but an example of the intelligent, energetic women of the period. Syl's persistence to win her hand continues in The Bartered Body, though he's beset with even more obstacles this time around.
Here's the blurb:
Why would thieves steal the body of a dead woman?
That’s the most challenging question yet to be faced by Sylvester Tilghman, the third of his family to serve as sheriff of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, in the waning days of the 19th century.
And it’s not just any body but that of Mrs. Arbuckle, Nathan Zimmerman’s late mother-in-law. Zimmerman is burgess of Arahpot and Tilghman’s boss, which puts more than a little pressure on the sheriff to solve the crime in a hurry.
Syl’s investigation is complicated by the arrival in town of a former flame who threatens his relationship with his sweetheart Lydia Longlow; clashes with his old enemy, former burgess McLean Ruppenthal; a string of armed robberies, and a record snowstorm that shuts down train traffic, cuts off telegraph service and freezes cattle in the fields.
It will take all of Syl’s skills and the help of his deputy and friends to untangle the various threads and bring the criminals to justice.
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