I’m delighted to welcome author friend Stephenia H. McGee back to the blog today! We have a special treat in store, a guest post, Missing Mercy excerpt, and author giveaway!
about the author
Winner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year (2012) and author of six Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts and ball gowns, Greek revival homes and horse-drawn carriages, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes.
She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys, (accompanied by their two spoiled dogs and mischievous cat) where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and stories steeped in the South.
Visit her website and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get sneak peeks, behind the scenes fun, the occasional recipe, and special offers! Connect with Stephenia on facebook and you’re invited to join Stephenia H. McGee’s Faithful Reader Team to learn the latest about her writing and chat about book-related topics. Or follow her on twitter or pinterest!
The Hull Lifesavers
During my research for Missing Mercy, I had the opportunity to learn about some amazing heroes. Known as the “Storm Warriors” the men of the United States Life-Saving Services rescued mariners in distress prior to the formation of the US Coast Guard.
One of the most famous men of the era was Joshua James. At just 15 years old he jumps into a lifeboat without the captain noticing during a devastating storm. From that moment forward, he dedicated his life saving those in need. By the time of his death in 1902 at 75 years old, he was credited with saving over one thousand people.
This real-life hero makes a cameo in Missing Mercy. I compiled a storm that hit the harbor in 1888 with a hurricane that swept the coast in 1887 to create the events in the story. During the Great Storm of 1888, James and his volunteers saved 29 men from five ships during a ferocious two-day gale.
Read on for a Missing Mercy excerpt…
about the book
Missing Mercy by Stephenia H. McGee
Mercy is missing, Faith is floundering Only truth can lead them to freedom.
The venture ahead could leave their friendship behind.
Made a safe-haven after the Civil War, Ironwood Plantation is a refuge of equality for former slaves. But twenty years and a new generation later, they have become an isolated community with little contact with the rest of the world.
Mercy Carpenter is everything the world thinks she shouldn’t be. Educated and adventurous, she longs to make a life for herself beyond the beautiful prison of Ironwood. When she secretly submits an article to the Boston Globe under a man’s name and receives an enthusiastic response and an offer for employment, she’s determined to take advantage of the opportunity. But she isn’t prepared for a startling world that won’t accept her color or her gender, and her ambitions soon land her in grave danger.
The privileged daughter of a plantation owner and an aspiring suffragette, Faith Harper is determined not to marry. Especially not her father’s opportunistic new business partner. She doesn’t want any man telling her what to do, least of all the annoyingly chivalrous Nolan Watson. But when Mercy goes missing, Faith will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means trusting a man she doesn’t understand. In a time where prejudices try to define them, Mercy and Faith must push the boundaries of their beliefs and trust in the God who holds the keys to freedom.
Missing Mercy excerpt
It took only a few moments for them to locate a small building with a painted sign that read, “Boston Humane Society.” Here, they would find the brave volunteers who risked their lives to aid the unfortunates who found themselves smashed upon the many rocks that guarded Boston Harbor.
A distinguished man with a thick beard and a commanding presence strode across the dock.
“Sir!” Daddy called. “Can you give us news about the survivors of the wreck?”
He snorted. “Which one?”
Faith’s mouth went dry. “There was more than one?”
He cut her a glance. “Storm got four, God bless them.” He spat on the ground. “Coal schooner drove head-on into Shag Rocks. She broke in two almost immediately. Captain got all the men off his vessel, but…” He let the words dissolve and shook his head. “Sailors from two others swam to the Bruckner Islands, and we picked them up this morning. Got a few more coming in.”
Nolan stepped forward. “What of women? Were there any women?”
The man shot another glance at Faith, who clenched her hands, hoping his sense of propriety wouldn’t cause him to hold his tongue in the presence of a lady.
“Are you missing family?”
“Yes,” Faith said. “Any information would be greatly appreciated.”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Were your people on the Gertrude?”
“We are uncertain,” Daddy said.
The man hesitated. “She was returning through Hull Gut. Got engulfed by the cyclone and thrown on her beam ends by a flaw of wind. She sank like a stone before the passengers trapped in the cabin could be pulled free.”
Faith put her hand to her throat and fought the sting of tears. Could it have been Mercy?
“A mother’s love is something fierce,” the man said after a moment.
Faith’s eyes snapped to his face. “What?”
He shook his head. “The crew jumped overboard, but the woman went below to find her sleeping children. She tried to save them but all three drowned in the process.”
Nolan stepped close to Faith as though sensing the weakening of her knees. “Thank you, sir.”
“I’m sorry for the loss of this lady to her family,” Nolan said, taking Faith by the elbow, “but it would seems she’s not the lady we seek.”
Faith let some of her weight settle into the comfort of Nolan’s hand. His touch buoyed her with a friend’s offered comfort. “Mr. James, are there any other women among those you brought in?”
“Afraid not.” He looked out past them. “Another lifeboat is coming in. You’re welcome to ask ‘em.”
He hurried around them, heading to the dock. A small boat manned by several young men pulling oars glided into the safety of the shore. Haggard-looking fellows sat huddled inside, but there was no sign of Mercy.
Thanks to the generosity of the author and publisher, one reader will receive signed paperback copies of The Whistle Walk and Heir of Hope (Ironwood Plantation Family Saga books one and two), Mississippi made cheese straws, handmade leather Jer. 28:11 bookmark, handcrafted specialty soaps, Southern Sisters mandarin orange pepper spread, and Thomas Jefferson quote “I cannot live without books” spiral earrings!
Share your thoughts on the Missing Mercy excerpt and guest post by Stephenia H. McGee!
If you missed our visit with Mercy and Faith, be sure to check it out!
I’ll be doing my best to squeeze in a series review of Ironwood Plantation Family Saga, it has been on my tbr too long!