Overcoming with God blog welcomes Denise Weimer and her heroine, Jenny White! Denise is sharing with us about how she created her unusual heroine in the Backcountry Brides Collection from Barbour Books (May, 2018). Welcome, Denise! And Jenny!
Across Three Autumns’ Atypical Heroine
By Denise Weimer
Jenny White, my protagonist in Across Three Autumns, represents the opposite of the sweet, delicate, feminine heroine populating many romance novels. Growing up on the Colonial Georgia frontier as the eldest, tallest, and strongest of four surviving children, Jenny can do most things her father can. But as valuable as her skills with farm implements and Brown Bess might be, she’s given up on finding a man to appreciate them.
“Jenny grit her teeth at the way Caylan’s eyes followed Hester’s softly rounded girlish form…
She was used to it. She was. The frontier had just made her forget a little. The frontier flipped things backwards, making a strong, tough girl desirable and a weak, delicate one a liability. But the presence of men always put things back in order.”
Jenny didn’t come out of thin air. A very real woman inspired her, Nancy Hart of Georgia Revolutionary War fame. Nancy moved from North Carolina to Georgia in the early 1770s. Unlike my Jenny, Nancy was a married mother of six sons and two daughters who held off Indians and Loyalists while her husband fought under Col. Elijah Clark. Beauty and grace passed six-foot-tall Nancy right on by. Pipe-smoking, crossed-eyed, and pock-marked, Nancy was a crack shot the Indians called “Wahatche” or “War Woman,” and named the nearby creek after her.
Refusing to leave the “Hornet’s Nest” when other civilians fled, Nancy became the stuff of legends. I borrowed some of her exploits for Across Three Autumns, including the time she threw lye soap into the eye of a Loyalist peeking through her cabin chinking, and the time she got six British soldiers drunk on corn liquor while passing their weapons through a crack in that same chinking. (I guess her cabin needed some repair!) Nancy held the soldiers captive while her daughter summoned help from the neighbors.
My story presents a somewhat softer heroine, but an imperfect one who struggles with self-image and a desire for love. It was because of this struggle and the unbalanced way we often see ourselves as women that I chose to write Across Three Autumns only from Jenny’s point of view, rather than switching back and forth with the hero’s.
Jenny has probably become the heroine of mine I love most. I hope you’ll love her, too.
Giveaway: We're giving away an author copy (they've arrived!) of The Backcountry Brides Collection! Leave a comment on this post and on our review post this week for a chance to win a copy. Watch for our upcoming Rafflecopter giveaway link for this collection!
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