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Historicals. Westerns. Cowboys. Slaves? I am happy to introduce you to another new author today! Michelle Shocklee’s story caught my attention because it doesn’t sound like a typical historical novel. Rather than tell you about The Planter’s Daughter, I’ll let you take a look for yourself.
Adella Rose Ellis knows her father has plans for her future, but she longs for the freedom to forge her own destiny. When the son of Luther Ellis’s longtime friend arrives on the plantation to work as the new overseer, Adella can’t help but fall for his charm and captivating hazel eyes. But a surprise betrothal to an older man, followed by a devastating revelation, forces Adella to choose the path that will either save her family’s future or endanger the lives of the people most dear to her heart.
Seth Brantley never wanted to be an overseer. After a runaway slave shot him, ending his career as a Texas Ranger and leaving him with a painful limp, a job on the plantation owned by his father’s friend is just what he needs to bide his time before heading to Oregon where a man can start over. What he hadn’t bargained on was falling in love with the planter’s daughter or finding that everything he once believed about Negroes wasn’t true. Amid secrets unraveling and the hatching of a dangerous plan, Seth must become the very thing he’d spent the past four years chasing down: an outlaw.
Welcome, Michelle! What inspired you to write this series, or this novel in particular?
Several years ago I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time. It deeply moved me, in the same manner it moved people back when it was first published in 1852. I still remember how heartbroken I felt reading about the treatment of Tom and the other slaves. When I finished it, I knew I wanted to write a book that involved slavery, because the slaves and what they endured should never be forgotten. Although The Planter’s Daughter is a romance at the heart of the story, the underlying theme is Freedom.
I can remember reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin many years ago. It certainly is one that stays with you. You’ve put a bit of a different twist to your story, though, with the setting. Why did you choose this particular location, and have you been there?
Although the South was far more infamous for slavery, Texas had her share of large plantations and cotton kings.I chose Williamson County as the setting for Rose Hill Plantation because my family lived there for more than twenty years, and I love the area. In my research, I found a treasure trove of information about antebellum Texas in a book titled I Was Born in Slavery, narratives of former Texas slaves. One man, Andy J. Anderson says, “My name am Andy J. Anderson, and I’s born on Marster Jack Haley’s plantation in Williamson County, Texas.”
It must have been fascinating to study the history of the area you were so familiar with already. Tell us a little about yourself. Did you have a favorite story or book as a child? Why was it a favorite?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott holds special memories for me. My mom, an elementary school teacher, was an avid reader. Our home was filled with books. One summer, Mom bought Little Women and read it aloud to my sister and me. I was probably nine or ten years old and could have read it for myself, but those wonderful afternoons listening to my mom’s voice are treasured memories for me. I still have that book on my shelves.
My kids and I love reading aloud together! There’s just something about sharing stories. What a special memory! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
I would love to visit Africa. A few years ago our church became involved in the community of Chai-Chai, Mozambique, where they built a church and a school. They also feed over 1,000 orphans daily! My family also sponsors a young lady in Uganda through an orphanage my cousin’s international adoption business is involved with. I’d love to meet Patricia someday.
That would be such a neat opportunity. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I have several projects that are keeping me busy. The second book in the Women of Rose Hill series, The Widow of Rose Hill, releases in November 2017, so I will soon be in the throes of editing, editing, editing. The third book in the series, A Daughter Redeemed, is in the early stages of writing, with the manuscript due to my editor in July. I also have a novella coming out with Barbour Publishing that will be included in the Mail-Order Brides Collection, releasing in January 2018. I am super excited about each of these projects.
Wow! You’re a busy lady… Thanks for taking time to visit with us today!
Your turn! My mom read to us, too, and I especially remember sharing Where the Red Fern Grows. Do you have memories of your mom (or a grandparent, sibling, or other important person in your life) reading to you when you were growing up? Do you have a particular book you remember sharing with them?
More about Michelle:
Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Michelle Shocklee is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart. But after living in Texas the past thirty years with her tall Texan husband, she has grown to truly appreciate the Lone Star State’s rugged beauty. Her family lived in Williamson County, the setting for her debut novel THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER, for more than twenty years. She and her husband currently live and work on a 400-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country where they can often be found spoiling llamas, sheep, and chickens, and enjoying the abundant wildlife. Passionate about history, she considers it pure joy to immerse herself in stories from the past, whether fiction or true-life tales. She is a contributing author in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazine articles, and writes the Life Along The Way blog.
You can connect with Michelle online:
‘The Planter’s Daughter’ Giveaway:
Michelle has generously offered to give away a copy of The Planter’s Daughter. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.