Valerie Hansen – Rescuing the Heiress


I told you the last time I visited that there was going to be an earthquake and terrible fire in San Francisco in April of 1906. See? I was right.

RESCUING THE HEIRESS is a book I’ve wanted to write since I began researching early California history. By the time of the devastating, historical quake, electric lights were beginning to replace gas flames in the more affluent neighborhoods and quite a few motorcars had joined the countless horse-drawn carriages, wagons and streetcars crowding the busy streets.

Rigid class distinctions still existed and so did the chasm between the rights of men versus women. It was high time for the suffragette movement to blossom and wealthy, sheltered women like Tess Clark were more than ready to take part. High society insisted that Tess associate with only those born to her elite class, so the heroic man who made her heart beat faster was definitely off-limits. Then, the ground began to tremble and literal walls weren’t the only kind that collapsed.

Not surprisingly, underhanded political dealings also played a part in the much of the ultimate destruction. Many details only came to light years later but there was a power struggle going on at the same time that innocent people were fighting for their lives and their city was collapsing around them.

One of the pictures I’ve included is of me when my church was having an old-fashioned day with “dinner on the ground”. My long, blue skirt had a bustle but I quickly realized that I couldn’t even fit behind the wheel of my car while wearing it! No wonder fancy-dressed ladies had to be helped into carriages. 🙂 I would have been a prime candidate for bloomers if I’d had to dress this way all the time.

I know firsthand about earthquakes because I spent many years in Southern California and experienced some quakes that were so strong it was impossible to even stand, let alone walk. We lived in the foothills and, like Tess’s house, ours was built on more solid ground. That didn’t keep it from shaking but it did change the way the vibrations affected the structure.

I also identify strongly with Tess because my husband was a firefighter. Loving a fireman can be scary but there are also plenty of laughs. Like the time he rescued a basket of kittens from a burning building and was still being teased about it years later. Or the time my kids, both volunteer firefighters, collided in the hallway at home while responding to a nighttime alarm and their father jumped over their prone bodies and kept on going! He beat them to the fire station, too. 🙂

Until we meet again, you’ll find me getting into trouble in contemporary times because I write suspense and romance for Love Inspired as well as historical novels. I’ll be giving away two autographed copies of RESCUING THE HEIRESS plus two of my previous Western historical titles so be sure to enter to win one of them while you’re here! 

Thanks to Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me to blog.

+ posts

35 thoughts on “Valerie Hansen – Rescuing the Heiress”

  1. Hi Val! Thanks for visiting P&P today. Earthquakes and the women’s rights movement both rocked the world. I was raised in southern California and will always love it. I went to UC Berkeley, too. Crazy place even when there aren’t earthquakes happening.

    P.S. It was great to work with you and Renee Ryan on the “After the Storm” series. Tornadoes, earthquakes . . . I detect a theme!

  2. Valerie, welcome an so glad you came,what a very interesting post,enjoyed reading it,gives you things to think about,how far women have come!again thank you an welcome,

  3. I enjoyed this blog. I thought it was neat how you could relate some interesting history, toss in a touch of humor, and then return back and forth between the two. Kept me wanting more. Thank you.

  4. Good morning, everyone! I’m not an early riser, but it’s almost 10 AM here in AR and I have both eyes open. Almost. One more cup of coffee should do it. By afternoon, however, I’ll be fully alert, whatever that means!

    I continue to be fascinated by the progress women have made in society, yet I was delighted to have my dh prepare breakfast. There are limits to my insistence on being totally independent. Self-sufficiency stops in the kitchen, for me. As I’ve said before, if I’d had to cook over a campfire or on a wood stove, the whole family would have starved. It’s bad enough with gas and a programmable oven. 🙂

    Until later, here’s to women’s rights – just as long as it doesn’t include my right to cook!!!


  5. Very interesting post. It is easy to forget how dangerous a fireman’s job is until there is a fire. The best of everything with your new book!

  6. Congratulations on this great presentation. You deserve a lot of recognition and praise for all of your writing. This website is fantastic.
    I’m the early riser and have yet to taste coffee–give me tea, either iced or cold, any old time. In fact, I had a cup of hot tea at 6:00 a.m. this morning and another iced tea as a mid-morning snack.
    You’re a gifted writer and I’m happy to call you my friend. Irene Brand

  7. Fascinating information on San Francisco! I remember seeing a recent early movie clip shot in SF just days before the quake which showed a horsless carriage bumping over the trolley tracks. The story sounds terrific, and I can’t wait to read it.

    Marta Perry

  8. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake sounds like a great setting. Disasters seem to bring out both the best and the worst in people. Funny how that works. I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  9. Thankfully, I don’t have any experiences with earthquakes. We don’t get them very often in Germany. 🙂 But your post about it is very fascinating. It’s nearly unbelievable how something that’s over so quickly can be so destructive. Btw, I love the picture of you in your blue dress!
    Good luck wih your books!

  10. hi Valerie, welcome to the Junction today! Seems we share many things besides “name”…Southern California, earthquakes, and firefighter hubbies! What a terrific post. I can’t even imagine the cataclyzm of the SF earthquake. My hubby says he can barely imagine driving fire equipment around those hilly streets. Wow. They’re truly heroes in my book, any era, any time.

    This sounds like a wonderful read! TBR list for sure.

  11. Speaking of that movie clip taken in SF just before the quake, if you look closely you’ll see the same few automobiles going past over and over!
    The story is that the city wanted to look even more modern and so they arranged for extra cars in the picture. In 1906 there were quite a few cars belonging to the affluent, of course, but the city fathers were taking no chances. It wasn’t that easy to use a car for your sole transportation, since gasoline was sold in bottles in the pharmacy! Can’t you just picture someone trying to fill up an RV these days a quart at a time!!!

    It truly is a different world. There are times when I think of living in the “good old days” and others when I appreciate what I have now – like this computer. 😉 When I started writing for publication I did it long-hand and then typed it on a borrowed typewriter. Not quite ancient but not as efficient as a computer, that’s for sure.


  12. Val, welcome back to the Junction. It’s always fun when you come. I can’t imagine being in an earthquake. That must be really scary.

    Your new book looks wonderful! I’ll look for it next time I go into town.

  13. Good morning Val, enjoying the beautiful snow this morning. First time visiting here, so hope I’m doing this right. Anyway February = Valentines Day. Enjoyed all the comments. Love your old fashion picture. A church I went to in FL also did an “Old Fashion Sunday” had horse/carriage rides, antique cars, quilt and baking contests. Loved dressing up for it. I was sorry to see them quit doing that and go to just dinner on the grounds. Glad to live in AR now and meet you and know you. Love your stories.

  14. Valerie,

    I love your books and the post was great too. I love the cover of your book. I had some of your books but on the move from TN to AZ all my books got lost.

    Walk in harmony,

  15. Maybe you’ll win one today, Melinda. I’m giving away 4 so the odds are good.

    I used to enter a lot of contests when it was more trouble because you had to address and stamp envelopes to do it. Now, all we have to do is click and we’re in!

    Good luck to all, although I don’t technically believe in luck. 🙂

  16. Loved the post especially the stories of the firefighters. My father was a volunteer fireman and had many funny stories as well as a few tragic ones. Thankfully not many were tragic in small town Nebraska. One funny one was the early morning alarm one warm summer day. Dad was hurrying out the door, hitting the screen door at a dead run. Unknown to him, Mom had hooked the screen door and he fell backward to sit on the floor, bounced back up and hit again, to stagger backwards again, finally unhooking the screen and hurrying out.

  17. 😀 Enjoyed reading your post… sounds like another wonderful book from you… had to laugh about your sons knocking each other down and your husband jumping over them… my father was a volunteer firefighter and went on plenty of calls no matter the time of day. Always had the radio going and listening for the calls.

  18. Interesting post. I was a volunteer fire person for 23 years.
    With 4 firefighters in the house we had some pretty funny things happen as everyone was trying to gear up and get out of the house.

  19. Great post, Valerie! I love the pictures 🙂 The underhanded dealings of those SF politicians and city planners preceding that fire were just horrific—the number of fire hydrants without any plumbing into the water system blew my mind. Their corner cutting definitely caused that massive destruction. Really sad 🙁

    Cheers on the new book–sounds great!

  20. It’s amazing how many of you have had experience with volunteer firefighting. I used to run the radio at the station many years ago, when it was all volunteer. I also worked at the elementary school across the street so whenever the siren went off, I could just run over there. One day I was working with a substitute teacher, the alarm sounded, and I ran out of the room. I did try to explain what I was doing on my way past her but she didn’t get it. Fortunately, the kids were savvy and took care of her for me. I guess she was nearly in a panic. Looking back, it’s pretty funny, especially since 5-year-olds were calming her down. And she was fine once I returned so no lasting harm was done.

    Getting back to earthquakes, I now live where tornados are prevalent. The folks around here are scared to death of earthquakes and don’t worry much about the wind. Personally, I’d take a tornado any day – if I had a choice. They’re far more localized and you usually get a warning. Quakes sneak up on you. Of course I’m not too far from the New Madrid fault along the Mississippi so who knows?! Eek!!!

    Take care.

  21. Enjoyed the firefighter stories! I’m sure all
    firefighter families have interesting tales to
    share as well as sad ones.

    Estella, four firefighters in the family? God
    bless you all for what you did for your com-

    Pat Cochran

  22. Hi Val and welcome to the Junction! Having grown up on the New Madrid fault in Southern Illinois, I remember how helpless I felt when the earth shook. Unfortunately no hunky fireman came to the rescue. lol

    Congratulations on Rescuing the Heiress.

  23. Funny. As a girl I always wanted to marry a cowboy. I got a guy who wore the hat but hated horses, who then became a fireman. Not a bad choice, huh? And he can cook, so he’s just about perfect!

    I’m going to leave y’all now. It’s been fun, as always. Until we meet again, keep your corset laced tight, your boots shined and your petticoats well starched. And be thankful we finally got the vote!


  24. I always love reading about the 1906 quake and your book sounds fantastic…thank you for visiting with such a fascinating blog 🙂

  25. It has been a while since I have visited this site but I love all the authors and their books. I still read every night and have been doing a lot of reviewing on my blog. Keep up the good work and may God bless all of you.


  26. Enjoyed your post very much. I’ve read your book and have enjoyed them all. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  27. Times of danger and upheaval have a way of upsetting the social order. They bring to light the best and the worst of mankind. The 1906 quake shook up more than just the buildings. This sounds like a good read. I look forward to it.
    I hope the release of RESCUING THE HEIRESS goes well.

Comments are closed.