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The Friday Five - Sort of a City Ditty

I was busy editing this week and forgot all about TFF. I'm a terrible blogger. Um, let me think...

Five Things You Didn't Know About The Setting(s) of The Turncoat's Temptress. Go!

The book is set in a couple of places, actually. It starts in Norfolk, Virginia. I have never been to Virginia. I hope I don't insult the natives with my lack of knowledge about swamps. I'm not sure I've ever officially been to a swamp, although I did drive past a bayou in Louisiana. The rest of the novel is set in St. Louis and Illinois. I haven't been to either in years. All I remember about Illinois is that it was flat.

David Edward Cronin, 1888.
1) Norfolk is Virginia's second largest city. D.C. doesn't count, y'all. That's it's own . . . y'know, thingy. (District, if you want to get technical). Norfolk was known as Elizabeth Cittie in 1619 when the British started setting up colonies. It was, of course, brought about by the Virginia Company. Admit it, you're singing the Disney song right now in your head. I am. I also took our hero and heroine to the Great Dismal Swamp and discussed some of the history and legend there. How slaves hid in it, and a story about the Phantom Lovers.

2) Basil sends Van Buren a 'gram at the middle of the book asking if the captain can meet him and Nora in Richmond rather than them trying to drive to Philadelphia to meet him. The 'gram is sent from City Point, VA. Get out your maps, kids and find it for me. I'll wait. Okay, you back? That's right. City Point doesn't exist, but if you Googled it, you saw that there is a city called Hopewell that annexed it in 1923.

3) Richmond, where Van Buren parks his ship to meet Basil and Nora, is an independent city. It doesn't belong to any counties.

4) I chose to set the rest of the book in the St. Louis/Illinois area because of the mounds there. There was once a huge Native American population in the Midwest and there are hundreds of mounds built in the area. The decline of the American Indian civilization known as Cahokia in Illinois came around 1400 AD. St. Louis was settled by French explorers in 1673.

5) You can visit the site where the climax of TcT happens. Monks Mound is an earthwork structure as big as the Giza Pyramid. No one is quite sure how it was built, but the samples of dirt taken from it suggest some of it came from way down south. Think Mississippi. Archaeologists have discovered all kinds of bones, tools, toys, weapons, and holy items from the mound. Trappist monks moved to the area and gardened the first tier of the mound, but never lived on it. I'd love to tell you more about monks, but I've only been to one monastery and I was too shy to talk to any monks. I'm not sure what I would say to one anyway. "Hi, I was raised Penticost, but converted to Baptist, although it's really unofficial since I wasn't baptized when my friends were because I worried that Old Pete would drown me"? Um, yeah, that would just be awkward.

Okay, my religion aside, there you have it.

Have a great weekend, kids and a Happy Easter!


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