“Where has all the history gone? Long time passing…
Where has all the history gone? Long time ago….” (parody, Peter, Paul and Mary “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”)
I’m wearing a mix of hats today! My history-loving bonnet AND a modern day cowboy hat because this upcoming Love Inspired book is a contemporary Western romance with a great, tough heroine and a SWOON-WORTHY hero… that I hope you love!!!!
We live in different times.
When I look at middle grade and junior high history lessons now, they are very different from what I was taught… what my kids were taught… and what my grandchildren and friends’ children now see.
History is history. But it can be viewed through varied perspectives.
It is rife with mistakes, horror, trials and triumph. It is never one-sided. From the earliest written times and the earliest Biblical references, man has been as inclined to sin as the sparks to fly upward.
People lust for power. For sex. For money. And for some it is never enough, the head rush of being powerful, sexual and rich only adds oxygen to an already fuel-rich fire… and they want more.
That said, there are other sides to history as well.
My Celtic heritage on the Logan side faced rough odds. For nearly nine centuries the Vikings ruled Ireland after defeating the Celts in the first century A.D. 900 years + or -…. When the Irish king Brian Boru waged a successful battle against them, the Viking power over Ireland was razed, but then came the Normans…. and centuries of English domination and rule when Irish land was taken from the Irish and doled out to English landowners… and the Irish pushed to less fertile lands or turned into share-holders. From Cromwell’s reign of terror from 1649 on, Irish Catholics were slaughtered, tortured and jailed and/or excised from their lands. A few generations later came the potato famine, a scourge that starved a nation but pushed many to a new opportunity, here in America or Australia.
Ireland wasn’t the only country that England claimed and re-distributed, of course. Our own America was formed in some large part by land grants given to English aristocrats. There was no or little thought given to the American Indians/Native Americans because the idea of “owning” land and distributing it through a legal process wasn’t part of their culture.
An ocean apart, and huge differences in formation of culture, science, language, mathematics… So when America “bought” the west in the Louisiana purchase, it seemed normal to the government. This had been the European model for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Of course it didn’t seem one bit normal to the Natives occupying American prairies or mountains or woodlands, did it?
It was an abomination. A threat. Much like Ireland and other countries that were invaded and taken over by expansionist nations, their claims fell on the deaf ears of the more powerful.
Studying history, we can see the both sides…. Downton Abbey, one of the most watched and loved shows on modern TV showed the ups and downs of a prestigious English family as their days waned in light of a rising middle class. But those same rich people, hundreds of years before, helped fund expeditions to new lands and opened travel and opportunity, the very beginning that forged our land. America. The United States… and then we fought for that freedom and did the unthinkable…
And began our western expansion a few dozen years later.
Writing a modern-day Western with Native American characters isn’t easy. I tackled this in “Healing the Cowboy’s Heart”, my upcoming release from Love Inspired books…. how a Nez Perce family that chose land instead of the reservation (an option offered and chosen by some) can feel out of step with the past, and at odds with the present when the land they owned and sold is now worth millions…
And did you know that the Nez Perce tribe (a total misnomer because they never had pierced noses…) embraced the Christian faith quickly because they believed in one God, the Father Almighty already… So immersing themselves into the Christian faith didn’t require a leap… but giving up their land, their autonomy was a really hard thing to do. And like Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” where young girls drive a dynamic that kills innocent people, young warriors launched an attack that resulted in a tragic war between the American army and the Nez Perce… A tragic story spawned by foolhardy, angry teens.
The American West is an ever-changing dynamic, but even so, romance and families and faith and cowboys make up a lot of that dynamic. There is something downright good about working the land and forging a life from it… and yes, there are winners and losers in war. There are things that happen that should never have happened. There is a cruelty in some men that can sicken the normal loving, caring person. But when we look and see that is the exception– not the rule– that’s when we realize we can learn from history. We should study history. And we should take and open view…
But we shouldn’t change history to fit our current narrative.
For every teacher that decries the explorers that first crossed the ocean, there’s a home they go to. An address they claim. A house or an apartment and a car or a subway or something linking them to the USA.
Without that history, those explorers, those navigators and those aristocratic land grants and land purchases, we wouldn’t exist here today.
Once discovered, it was clear that powerful countries would have their day and their say in this new land. History does that… it repeats itself quite often, so telling this story of a Nez Perce hero, a man whose work and passion is to re-develop the beloved and esteemed Appaloosa the Nez Perce made famous… and the horse doctor whose family bought up land… land that is now worth millions… and the anger that simmers over old wrongs and tragic mistakes.
This is what I hope when readers enjoy this story… that they’ll see a beautiful romance! A great love story. A story that makes them sigh, smile, and sigh some more. Here’s a link to this upcoming book on Amazon: HEALING THE COWBOY’S HEART BY RUTH LOGAN HERNE
I’m giving away two copies today (when they arrive on my doorstep) so that you can read the book and offer your opinion, dear readers… I hope what you see is a well-told modern story where the past can trip the heels of the present, but where faith, hope and love stand strong.
What’s your take on history, friends? I’m on the road today, traveling to Baltimore for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, so I might not get on until later… But everyone who comments will be in the drawing for these two “Win ’em before you can buy ’em” books!