Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Tag: Under Prairie Skies

Semi-Trucks in the Nineteenth Century? Who knew!

I’m excited to welcome friend and fellow historical romance author, Cynthia Roemer, back to Romancing History. Cynthia’s new release, Under Moonlit Skies released this week and I persuaded her to come back and share some of the history behind her novel. Cynthia has also graciously offered an eBook copy of Under Moonlit Skies to one lucky commenter. See below for giveaway details.


First, here’s a little bit about her new release:

Under Moonlit Skies (Prairie Sky Series, Book 3)

Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in.

Illinois prairie ~ 1859

After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.

Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

Under Moonlit Skies is available from these retailers:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     BookBub

 


Semi-Trucks in the Nineteenth Century? Who knew!

One of my favorite aspects of writing historical novels is the research involved. I love learning about the past. While researching for my newest release, Under Moonlit Skies, I stumbled upon a bit of history in my own state that I wasn’t aware existed.

At the onset of Under Moonlit Skies, my heroine, Esther Stanton, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was visiting her sister, Charlotte, in Illinois following the birth of her second child. I needed a viable route that she might have traveled between the two locations in 1859. I found the perfect solution when I discovered the First National Road (Cumberland Road) stagecoach route extended from Cumberland Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois!

To find out more, my husband and I took a day trip to Vandalia and visited the First National Road Interpretive Center. What a wealth of information we gleaned there. Two interesting tidbits of information in particular really stuck with me as I perused the exhibits. I had seen and heard of Conestoga wagons, but I had never heard them referred to as the semi-trucks of the nineteenth century!

Much like the semi-tractor trailers of today, it seems the Conestoga wagon’s sole purpose was to transport supplies. Filled to the brim with everything from household goods, to ammunition, to building materials, the hefty wagons—weighing more than a ton—were an invaluable aid in the westward expansion. They carried no passengers and had no place for even the driver to sit. Instead, he walked alongside or stood on a side board while guiding the team.

The other fun fact I enjoyed learning had to do with the story behind the saying, “I’ll be there with bells on.” It seems many a Conestoga wagon driver fitted a personalized string of bells across their horses’ harnesses. The bells served as decoration and alerted travelers the wagon was approaching. They were also useful in keeping track of horses after dark once they had been turned loose for the night.

But the most interesting reason for the bells came in the fact that when a breakdown occurred with the wagon—which was often the case—the driver generally offered one of his prized bells to a person who was kind enough to aid him on his way. If the journey was a difficult one, most, if not all, of his bells would be gone. It brought him great satisfaction, however, if he arrived at his destination with his bells intact. Thus the hopeful saying, “I’ll be there with bells on” was born.

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to visit my blog post: Discovering the First National Road (https://cynthiaroemer.com/discovering-the-first-national-road/)


About the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, releasing September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com

Authors love to connect with readers. You can find Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. Be the first to find out about new releases and other interesting tidbits regarding her writing journey by signing up for her newsletter here.


Giveaway

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED ***

Congratulations to Betsy T, the winner of Under Moonlit Skies!!

Cynthia has graciously offered to giveaway** an eBook copy of Under Moonlit Skies to one lucky commenter below. To enter the drawing, please share what you would miss the most if you lived in Illinois during the mid-nineteeth century.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, September 18, 2019.**

A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

Today I’m excited to host my friend, and fellow author, Cynthia Roemer, on Romancing History. You can learn more about Cynthia’s new release, Under Prairie Skies, below. Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies.


A Good Old-Fashioned Shivaree

I’m willing to bet not many of you have heard of a Shivaree. It’s an almost forgotten bit of wedding history. Nowadays, we celebrate marriages with banquets, toasts, honeymoons, and photo shoots. But there was a time, friends and neighbors gathered to give the happy couple a send-off they wouldn’t soon forget, one that included a surprise visit in the dead of night and lots of noise!

Shivarees were a rather raucous and fun-loving way of celebrating a newly married couple’s nuptials. It could take place days, weeks, or months following the actual wedding. The element of surprise was key.

Though more prevalent in the 1800’s, my parents told me stories of shivarees that took place in their growing up years extending into the mid-1900s. According to them, the Shivaree began with a late-night wake-up call of banging pans and noise-makers, include a serenade of songs such as Let Me Call You Sweetheart, and ended with the sharing of snacks and desserts, often provided by the newly married couple.

Shivarees of the nineteenth century were much bolder and at times down right ornery. I didn’t realize just how ornery until I did some research for a scene in my novel, Under Prairie Skies. Set in 1855, the scene has my main characters, Chad and Charlotte, and a host of others, traveling by the light of the moon to the unsuspecting couple’s home.

There, the bride and groom are awakened by rifle fire and banging pans. The barefoot groom is then blindfolded and spirited away in his nightshirt into the timber and left to fend for himself until daybreak. All the while, his poor, bewildered bride is wailing and calling his name. Not the best way to wish a new couple a joyous marriage! I won’t share any spoilers by telling how the scene evolves, but during it, Chad’s actions further endear him to Charlotte.

Though I’ve not participated in or even known anyone to be shivareed, my husband attended one for his cousin when he was a boy. So, when we married, my husband had me more than a little nervous we would end up with his extended family outside our bedroom window some dark night banging pans and serenading us.

My fears never came to fruition, but all that first summer, I did a lot of baking and learned to be a very light sleeper.


About the Book

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths were destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Under Prairie Skies is available at  Amazon  Barnes & Noble and  Book Bub


Meet the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, due to release September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons.

Visit Cynthia online on her website, or connect with her on  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or sign up for her author newsletter.


Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Paual Shreckhise the winner of the Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies! Thanks to all who entered our giveaway!

To be entered into a drawing for a FREE Kindle copy of Under Prairie Skies, comment below and let us know if you’ve ever heard of a shivaree or some other unusual custom to celebrate a wedding or betrothal.

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