The Seeds of Exiled South – All about historical fiction

Creator Harriet Cannon and I join throughout an writer speak I gave final October. Harriet’s newest novel EXILED SOUTH launched January third, 2022. Exiled South is a twin time-line story of a twenty first century girl’s reckoning with Civil Struggle period occasions that break up her household for generations. The story options nursing through the late American Civil struggle and particularly through the Siege of Charleston South Carolina.


The seeds of Exiled South, a twin time-line contemporary-nineteenth century novel, germinated for years. I grew up in a historical past loving, storytelling household. My mom inherited a bundle of household Civil Struggle period letters. My father’s mom advised and re-told her grandmother’s story of sacrificing marriage ceremony pearls and a hoop in 1864 to save lots of her fourteen- year-old son from the draft and sure demise. Her son departed Charleston harbor on a ship headed for the Bahama Islands and was by no means heard from once more. Years later, whereas residing in South America, I realized the obscure story of the Confederados; Former blockade runners, expert Black tradesmen, and others with causes to flee the South immigrated to Brazil after the Civil Struggle. I used to be hooked. I made a decision to put in writing a novel about far-reaching penalties for civilians reeled into in a struggle they could not have agreed with. 

It was a problem to put in writing a mid-nineteenth century character like my protagonist Laurette, protecting her true to the mind-set of the period whereas concurrently making a forward-thinking girl with gumption. I learn a plethora of fascinating nineteenth century diaries and collections of letters written by well-educated Southern White girls; tutored at house or allowed to attend the brand new academies for women. Whereas some girls had sturdy social reform or political views, the liberty to talk out or act independently was closely restricted by the inflexible Victorian guidelines of gender comportment. Uncommon exceptions such because the well-known, Grimke Sisters, overt suffragettes, and abolitionists, with wealth and social standing behind them may step outdoors the boundary of homemaking and childrearing. 

A further problem creating Laurette’s character was the very fact, within the South, within the 1860’s, feminine ‘nurses’ had been widows or older married girls who had skilled demise and dying within the household and knew The Girls Indispensable Assistant inside out. Youthful single girls visited hospitals to put in writing letters and skim to sufferers but it surely may smash a single girl’s popularity to bodily minister to unrelated males. 

When the siege of Charleston started, folks of means fled the town within the ‘grand skedaddle’ of July 1863. The remaining girls, kids, outdated or disabled White and Black males lived by way of Federal bombardment from Morris Island for 567 days. Meals insecurity turned the norm. Life threatening random rockets exploding on the peninsula saved farmers from supplying Charleston with contemporary meals with any regularity. Making issues worse, because the South was determined for army provides from Nice Britain, fewer blockade runners may justify including civilian requirements like muslin for clothes, thread, medicines, and kerosine for lamps to their cargo. 

Nevertheless, the Siege relaxed social guidelines giving my protagonist Laurette the chance to work on the hospital nursing male sufferers. I created a backstory that may make sense when she knew to make use of snapdragon for pores and skin rashes, tea of slippery elm for whopping cough and the internal bark of the dogwood tree as a substitute for quinine when it turned unavailable. Laurette acquired data of herbs and crops as a result of her father had been a no nonsense sensible Scottish immigrant with a chronically sick spouse. When Laurette confirmed curiosity within the therapeutic arts, he gave her permission to check ‘Hoodoo Drugs’ from a free Black girl and native midwife. 

Though racism was exceptionally merciless within the nineteenth century, it was common for Black and White girls to help one another in childbirth, caretaking of sick kids and to share natural treatments. In her e book, Hoodoo Drugs: Gullah Natural Cures, Religion Mitchell discusses not solely the medicinal data enslaved girls delivered to North America, however she additionally compares the similarity between European, Native American, and African crops and bushes used for therapeutic varied illnesses.

Serendipitously, within the mid nineteenth century, native natural world had change into in style additions to the modern house backyard. The naturalist, Dr. Francis Porcher, printed Assets of Southern Fields and Forests in 1863. His e book turned a go to medical information within the late Civil Struggle when opium for ache, quinine for fevers and chloroform for surgical procedure had been unattainable to return by. 

However discovering the crops and herbs wanted wasn’t straightforward through the siege of Charleston. Laurette’s diary entries inform how she and one other herbalist, risked rape by deserters hiding in bombed out buildings as they sought out crops they wanted in deserted gardens. 

Dr. Porcher’s e book turned a bonding car for Laurette and her brother-in-law, John, who thought-about himself a contemporary scientific doctor. In his thoughts, Assets of the Southern Fields and Forests, written by a health care provider, justified utilizing herbs and elevated his single sister-in-law to the place of a colleague making her plant-based recipes professional therapies not outdated style people drugs. Though Laurette’s talent as a nurse herbalist introduced her respect, the results for the alternatives she made on behalf of her sufferers pressured her to affix the diaspora of Southerners who immigrate to Brazil on the struggle’s finish.

Learn extra about Exiled South at

Just a few attention-grabbing books on the follow of medication through the Civil Struggle Period:

  • Hoodoo Drugs: Gullah Natural Cures, Religion Mitchell
  • Kate: The Journal of a Accomplice Nurse, Kate Cummins edited by Richard Harwell
  • The Girls Indispensable Assistant, E. Hutchinson (1851)
  • Motherhood within the Outdated South: Being pregnant, Childbirth, and Toddler Rearing, by Sally G. McMillen
  • Assets of the Southern Fields and Forests, Dr. Francis Porcher (1863)
  • Story the Troopers Wouldn’t Inform: Intercourse and the Civil Struggle, Thomas P. Lowry
  • Unvanquished: How Accomplice Girls Survived the Civil Struggle, Pippa Pralen

It’s fascinating that there are such a lot of untold tales on the market ready to be found. Many thanks for sharing the backstory for Exiled South, Harriet. I do know your viewers will take pleasure in the way in which you’ve introduced authenticity and inspiration to the novel.

Exiled South by Harriet Cannon ~~ Lizbeth Gordon, a college counselor and grasp at facilitating battle decision in everybody’s life however her personal, returns house to South Carolina after her husband’s sudden demise. An aged aunt has troubling tales of ancestors who disappeared throughout Civil Struggle Reconstruction. Curiosity drives Lizbeth into roots analysis that lifeless ends. 

However tentacles of household historical past attain throughout the continents when Lizbeth takes a job at a world faculty in Rio de Janeiro. She meets multiethnic descendants of Accomplice exiles together with her surname and nineteenth-century paperwork. Robert Gordon’s letters describe daring escapes from Federal blockaders and Civil Struggle intrigue in Scotland. His sister, Laurette Gordon, left a diary that shares a heart-wrenching story of sacrifice that insured her daughter’s life can be freed from disgrace. Will the keys to household secrets and techniques assist Lizbeth open a door to household reconciliation?

A narrative of household id and second possibilities.


M.Okay. Tod writes historic fiction. Her newest novel, PARIS IN RUINS, is out there for pre-order on Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble. An earlier novel, TIME AND REGRET was printed by Lake Union. Mary’s different novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED can be found from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She will be contacted on FbTwitter and Goodreads or on her web site

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