Defending Hillsborough and Reconstructing Hillsborough tell the true story of a woman's cunning and bravery during the Civil War as she struggles to save her seven daughters and her only means of livelihood, the historic Orange Hotel.  This story is from the home front -- portraying the domestic experiences as the South endures this disastrous war and its aftermath in Historic Hillsborough, N.C.


Sarah Holeman is no pampered Southern belle.  When Henry Stroud proposes, she warns him, "God gave me a brain, and I intend to use it."  Little did she realize how her strengths and talents would be challenged to outwit her brother-in-law's advances and threats, to raise seven children in the pre-Civil War South, to run the family hotel alone, and to outsmart Sherman's troops, who tried to loot and destroy the hotel to which she and Henry had devoted their lives.

In Defending Hillsborough, the recently widowed Sarah Stroud saves the historic Orange Hotel in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and keeps her husband's dream alive.  The hotel still stands today--as the "Colonial Inn"-- to attest to the strength and courage of a remarkable woman.



 Sarah Stroud, the recently-widowed proprietor of the Orange Hotel is "allowed no time to mourn," as the people of Hillsborough, NC, are plunged into the turmoil of the Civil War peace talks--taking place outside of town. With Confederate and Union soldiers on all sides, Sarah and her daughters await news of General Johnston's surrender.  The long-awaited peace, however, comes with a price as Sarah and her family must feed, quarter, and nurse returning Confederate troops; witness the destruction, disease, and death left behind; endure increased taxes, federal officials, and martial law; and face a new menace--"The Invisible Empire."

In Reconstructing Hillsborough, suffering at last forges new ties and romance as Sarah's missing brother-in-law returns; her daughter finds a beau; Sarah is courted by a Union sergeant; and her brother-in-law, Cave, presents himself as a rival once again.  In the midst of the turmoil, Sarah is faced with a struggle to save the family business, this time from tax collectors and carpetbaggers.

Key Benefits

  • Through reading about Sarah and Henry Stroud's lives, the reader will understand the day-to-day lives of the average Southerner in the mid 1800's.
  • The reader will better understand the various issues facing the people of North Carolina before, during and after the Civil War.
  • The reader will also gain knowledge of the key events leading up to and including the Civil War in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.


FLORIDA SHADOWS  (ISBN # 978-1-929202-03-4)

Arriving in Fort Ogden, Florida, in 1918, to start a new life, Delia Delaney finds that the tragedy that has shadowed her life for the past eight years is not easily forgotten.  Taking a job at the fashionable new Gasparilla Inn at Boca Grande, Florida, she begins her new life, only to find her past haunting her future happiness with a wealthy Boston lawyer--and the man she left behind in Kentucky. Laced with Southwest Florida's lush vegetation and history, the novel depicts "pre-boom" Florida.

FLORIDA SECRETS  (ISBN # 978-1-929202-04-1)

Planning to marry and build a new life for herself and her son in Ft. Ogden, Florida, in 1919, Delia Delaney discovers the secrets of her past have resurfaced to threaten her son's life as well as her own. Fleeing north to the Ocala ranchlands to protect themselves from one who is determined--despite the consequences--to keep the past alive, both Delia and her son finally find the new life they were seeking.

FLORIDA SUNSET  (ISBN # 978-1-929202-05-8)

In 1925, when Boston lawyer, Jeremy Worthington, offers Rev. Adam Wilson a chance to relocate to the new town of Venice, Florida--being designed by his client, city planner John Nolen,  Adam falls in love with Dr. Fred Albee's vision for the town and moves his wife Delia and their family there to start a church.  As the family moves to town, Delia's childhood sweetheart, Tom--newly released from prison--also arrives to find a job.  While offshore, the Cuban pirate, Romero, who had faked his death, anchors his "rum boat" and swears revenge on Delia and Tom, the only ones who can identify him.  The new town abounds with beauty--and danger--both natural and man-made.

Key Benefits

  • The reader will learn about Southwest Florida in the early 20th century--including the building of the railroad, the transport of phosphate, the tarpon fishing industry, the creation of the new Florida resort towns, the Seminole Indian wars, and the beginning of Venice.
  • The reader will also learn about the abundant flora and fauna of the Peace River and coastal areas of Southwest Florida.
  • In addition, the reader will experience the devastating epidemic of Spanish flu, which swept the country in 1918 and the unbelievable fury of the 1926 hurricane--which, effectively, dropped the curtain on Florida's Boom prosperity.

SURVIVING SARASOTA (ISBN # 978-1-929202-06-5)

In 1851, while fishing at her home in Manatee Village, Florida, Mary Jane Wyatt is called to the opposite shore of the Manatee River by two Seminole braves who ask to borrow her boat to take the ailing Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs across the river and allow him to recover from malaria in her yard--near a small spring the Calusa Indians felt had magical restorative properties.  The encounter forged a friendship between the young woman and the chief--which continued after her marriage to William Whitaker, the first American settler in what is now Sarasota County, Florida.  Having fought in the Second Seminole War, Whitaker was skeptical of Bowlegs and his men.  His skepticism proved correct when Bowlegs and his men began the Third Seminole War and all the American settlers moved to the local doctor's sanitarium grounds for over a year.  It was shortly after this war was over when the American Civil War brought Union gunboats to Florida's west coast--with marauding sailors invading the Whitaker property.  By war's end, the Whitakers were called on to help one of the most sought-after Confederates to escape the country.

Key Benefits

  • The reader will learn about the first settlements south of Tampa Bay--Manatee Village and William Whitaker's Yellow Bluffs--and their way of life in the 1850's.
  • The reader will also learn about the causes and effects of the Third Seminole War on the settlers of Florida's SW coast.
  • In addition, the reader will understand the sentiments in Florida during the American Civil War, the involvement of its citizens, and the final local attempt to aid one of the most notorious Confederates to escape the country.

OVER THE BRIDGE ( ISBN #978-1-929202-07-2)

On a cold, blustery afternoon on December 7, 1941, five high school seniors in the small town of Ambrose, West Virginia, are gathered on the porch of the local General Store discussing their plans after graduation when they will go "Over the Bridge" into nearby Maryland--and the rest of the world to pursue their dreams.  The loud, static-filled broadcast from the radio inside the store shocks each of them and eventually sends each life in a different direction.

Key Benefits

  • The reader will learn about the Selective Service Act of 1940, which sent so many of our young men into service--and ultimately into WWII.      
  • The reader will also learn about the Battle at Kasserine Pass, which was the first joint US/British battle in North Africa--with the intent to keep the Mediterranean Sea Lanes open for the Allies.                                                                                                                                                           
  • In addition, the reader will read about preparations and rationing at home.                                                                                           
  • Finally, the reader will experience some of the life changes that occurred as a result of World War II.