I’m so delighted to welcome Kentucky author Ann H. Gabhart back to the blog today to share about her new historical fiction, Along a Storied Trail!
ALONG A STORIED TRAIL
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2021
Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn’t mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in her books. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it–or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks?
Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long she’s nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others.
As is so often the case, it’s easier to see what’s best for others than to see what’s best for oneself, and Perdita knows who Tansy should choose. But why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster?
Saddle up for a heartfelt story of love–love of family, love of place, and the love of a lifetime–from bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart.
by Ann H. Gabhart, author of Along a Storied Trail
Tansy Calhoun from Along a Storied Trail Shares News of the Packhorse Libraries
February 2, 1937. Roving reporter, Damien Felding here, in the Eastern Kentucky Appalachian Mountains to report on Packhorse Libraries, a unique WPA government program. I’ve asked Tansy Calhoun, one of the packhorse librarians, to give us the straight deal on this program and why they matter to her community.
I am happy to tell people about our Packhorse Library here in Owsley County, Kentucky. I have always loved stories and have known many good storytellers up here in the hills where I live, but most of us don’t have books in our homes except for the Bible.
So, you can imagine how I treasured every book that did fall into my hands. That’s why I was so overjoyed to get a job as a book woman. That’s what the local folks call packhorse librarians. With times hard, I would have taken any job to help my family, but the job of carrying books along our trails to folks hungering for something to read is perfect for me.
The $28 a month book women get paid helped my family keep off the dole. I did have to come up with my own horse or mule. I lease a Morgan horse from a neighbor for fifty cents a week. Shadrach gamely tackles the rough terrain and endures the mean weather we can have up here in the hills. I ride out on several different routes to loan out the books. Two weeks later I retrace the routes to pick up the loaned books and leave new books. Four other women are also packhorse librarians here, but some counties have six or eight.
All the counties around were eager to have a Packhorse Libraries, but some requirements had to be met. First, we had to find a place for a library. You see, we had never had a public library. Here, we found an old store building to use. Other counties found places in churches or courthouses. One librarian stays at the library while the rest of us book women go there once a week to work on the books and load up with different books to take on our routes.
Yes, we do work on books. While the program pays the book women, it doesn’t supply books. A library without books isn’t much good, but when people heard about how the Packhorse Libraries needed books, donations started coming in. We get a lot of books and magazine big city libraries are throwing away because they’re in such bad shape. We’re glad to get them and find ways to fix up the books with tape and new covers. We paste pictures and articles from the dilapidated magazines on thick paper to make new magazines we can loan out.
Those along our routes like stories with pictures. Sometimes we might print out poems or information about the pictures. We even put together some scrapbooks with recipes or quilt patterns the folks share with us. The people really like those. Then, school kids and PTA groups collect pennies to buy new books for the Packhorse Libraries. With pennies hard to come by right now, that makes those books extra special. And can you believe that the other day a woman from New Jersey just drove up to our library with the trunk loaded with books and magazines to give us?
I guess it’s plain plenty of folks in this big country think books and libraries are important. The Packhorse Library has been a blessing to all the people who keep a lookout for the book woman to ride up the trail to their houses or schools. The kids run out to us at the schools begging for a book. Any book. Since I know just how they feel, I’m happy to be a book woman bringing those books.
Thank you, Mr. Felding, for the chance to tell everybody about the Packhorse Libraries and the book women.
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Refuge, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as other historical novels, including Angel Sister, These Healing Hills, River to Redemption, and An Appalachian Summer. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley.
Revell is offering a print copy of Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart to THREE of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart?