Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sample Saturday - Nov 29, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is from Trail of Storms, a novel in which I'm sometimes accused of preaching. That wouldn't be so bad, except I'm vilified for preaching about Mormon teachings! I prefer to think I'm sharing a bit of light about a religion of which many people have little knowledge. Whichever way you lean, this scene contains good old Christian teachings of being grateful for blessings, no matter the circumstances. (Being Christians, Mormons believe the same teachings of Christ.)

A week later the Bingham party camped below the Wet Mountains. Crickets chirped in the distance. A soft breeze blew down the side of the hills, bringing with it a chilly touch of autumn.

Mrs. Bingham sat in the flickering light of the waning fire, forking up a last bite of beans. When she’d swallowed it, she put down her fork and looked to Hannah, who sat nearby. Her daughter played with her half-eaten food as though her thoughts were a million miles away.

Mrs. Bingham cleared her throat and asked, “Dearie, did you take enough to feed yourself right? That little babe needs good nourishment.”

Hannah stirred in her seat. “Ma, I don’t want to talk about this …” She paused. “This mound of flesh. I can’t stop it from supping at my vitals, but I don’t have to talk about it.”

“Daughter,” Mrs. Bingham remonstrated, getting to her feet and collecting plates and forks. “Don’t be unnatural. You must count your blessings.”

As others drifted off to do their chores, she carried the dinnerware to a dishpan near her wagon. She got boiling water from the fire, poured it over the dishes, and called out to Heppie, “It’s your turn to wash.”

“Yes, Ma.” Heppie came up and dipped her hand into the water, pulled it out, and shook it. She blew on her fingers. “This water is still too hot, Ma.”

Mrs. Bingham rounded the fire and sat beside Hannah. “It’ll cool down soon enough,” she called.

Hannah clutched her hands together, her head bent over the abandoned plate. Her body seemed to vibrate with tension.

Mrs. Bingham straightened her shoulders. “You have many blessings, Hannah. Chief among them, you didn’t die at that wicked man’s hand. Mr. Fletcher says you punished him gravely.”

Hannah interrupted. “I scratched his face and pulled his hair. That’s not so much.”

“Your husband told me a tale of great bravery on your part, dear. I got him to talk about it one night, and he wept as he told how you struggled.”

“Robert doesn’t weep.”

“Mr. Fletcher has very deep emotions about that day, Hannah. He grieves that you were hurt. He grieves that your heart is so hard toward your babe. He loves you. He swears he will love your child, no matter what.”

“How good he is,” Hannah said, scorn tingeing her words. “How noble. How fine.”

“Hannah! You must not talk that way about your husband. He deserves your respect.”

“He is not the one carrying this bastard child!” Hannah blurted out. “No one blames him. Everyone will praise him to the heavens for his forbearance toward me.”

“Hannah.” Mrs. Bingham’s voice rose firmly. “Robert Fletcher is one of the greatest blessings in your life. Once upon a time you knew that, and cherished his love. You returned it. It grew into a fine, shining thing. Don’t debase it because you had a misfortunate experience with a vile man.”

Hannah’s face went white. “I can’t forget that day.”

“You must try. You must turn your thoughts to your babe, to being a good mother and a good wife. Give thanks each day for your blessings and for your family.”

The anger in Hannah’s face crumbled away, and her hands flew up to hide her face. “Mama,” she said in a little-girl voice. “Don’t scold me so. I can’t bear for you to hate me. I hate myself enough for all the world.”

Mrs. Bingham got up and gathered her daughter into her arms. “There now, dearie,” she crooned, as Hannah cried deep gulping sobs. “Leave go of hate. Where there is life, there is hope. Your dear Robert knows that. He has been strong enough to carry you through this terrible time. Bear him a grateful heart for his fortitude. Don’t turn your back on that gift.”

Hannah turned her stricken face to look up at Mrs. Bingham. “Oh, Mama, I’ve been a dreadful wife.”

“Yes, you have.” Mrs. Bingham stroked Hannah’s back.

“How can I cure that?”

“If you open your heart, you will know what to do, and when the time is right, you will be knit together as one soul again.”

Hannah sniffled. “Can that happen, Mama?”

Mrs. Bingham stood still for a moment, looking at the moon as it rose over the meadow. She turned back to Hannah and hugged her tight. “Your Robert is fixing a snug bed under yonder stand of trees. I am confident he will receive you with all his heart.” She looked again at the moon. “There’s good luck in that light, daughter. Don’t let it go to waste.”

Hannah sat up and got free of her mother’s encircling arms. She took a deep breath and stood up. She seemed to stand taller. “Thank you, Mama. I won’t.”

Mrs. Bingham stepped back and made a shooing motion. “Go on with you,” she said. As Hannah walked away, she whispered, “Good night. May God be with you.”

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the sample.

WestWard Books is having a Year-End Sale on print copies of Trail of Storms, the third book in the Owen Family Saga. They are on sale for $10.00 per copy, with optional personalization and/or signature from me author. This sale is good as long as supplies last, or until December 31, 2014. All sales final. Click here to purchase. Thank you for your support of my books today, which is, of course, Small Business Saturday.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the best-selling Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...