– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.
As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn’t until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.
Book Title: Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.
Series: The Ropewalk series, Book 2
Author: H D Coulter
Publication Date: 11th May 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 330 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Beacon Hill, Boston. 1832.
“You are innocent. You are loved. You are mine.”
After surviving the brutal attack and barely escaping death at Lancaster Castle, Beatrice Mason attempts to build a new life with her husband Joshua across the Atlantic in Beacon Hill. But, as Beatrice struggles to cope with the pregnancy and vivid nightmares, she questions whether she is worthy of redemption.
Determined to put the past behind her after the birth of her daughter Grace, Bea embraces her newfound roles of motherhood and being a wife. Nevertheless, when she meets Sarah Bateman, their friendship draws Bea towards the underground railroad and the hidden abolitionist movement, despite the dangerous secrets it poses. Whilst concealed in the shadows, Captain Victor Hanley returns, obsessed with revenge and the desire to lay claim to what is his, exposes deceptions and doubts as he threatens their newly established happiness.
Now, Beatrice must find the strength to fight once more and save Grace, even if it costs her life.
Guest Post :
The African Meeting House, Beacon Hill.
Thank you again for ‘The Magic of the Wor(l)ds’ for inviting me to guest post for Saving Grace.
At the end of Ropewalk, Bea and Joshua are leaving the UK to start a fresh in America. I choose to locate some of Saving Grace in Beacon Hill which is a part of Boston, was flourishing. It was a representation of what was happening across America in the 1830s, with various cultures descending on different areas of the hill. A class divide between north and south slope in wealth, with a sense of unrest bubbling underneath. Another aspect of why I choose to select Beacon Hill was Joshua’s background in shipping. It was a natural selection for the character to choose that location with business connections and to be on the south slope of Beacon Hill.
However, when I was researching the area, I discovered the African meeting house, which was a hub for the abolitionist movement and a rumoured connection to the underground railroad. Once I stumbled across this, I fell down the research rabbit hole and saw Bea, like her father supporting change. This unexpected discovery changed the plot of Saving Grace and added an element that seemed like a natural development for the characters, especially Bea to take, helping her to find her voice and strength again. Which created a whole new subplot to the novel and leading into book 3.
Getting into the details…
The African Meeting House Beacon Hill was formerly an African Baptist Church of Boston, built in 1806, funded by key members of the community including Reverend Thomas Paul and Primus Hall. As before in 1805, although black Bostonians were free slaves or born free could attend white churches, they genuinely face discrimination. The common rule was that they were seated in the balconies and refused voting privileges. Even though Boston and the state of Massachusetts were deemed as liberal, the distinction between the white and black community was still clear within society. Once the meeting house was built, it became a refuge for the surrounding black communities, acting as a Baptist church, and one for the one of the first schools. They based it on the first floor until 1835, when the Abigail Smith School was built next door, due to the donations raised to the sum of $2,000.
“Besides inspiring Boston’s African Americans to pursue justice and quality in education, the school offered them opportunities for employment and economic growth, which in turn provided funds for the future generations of African-American Bostonians to pursue higher education.”
Faustine C. Jones-Wilson (1996)
The African meeting house became an integral space to gather on a spiritual, cultural, educational, and political life of Boston’s black community. On the sixth of January 1832 William Lloyd Garrison founded the New England anti-slavery society and began the abolitionist movement in the New England and across Northern States of America. Other notable abolitionists involved, Mary Stewart, Wendell Phillips, Sarah Grimke and Frederick Douglass, all spoke at the meeting house, the Massachusetts General coloured association dedicated to ending the dual forces of slavery and discrimination, across the country gathered at the African Meeting House. Speakers and leaders held meetings on the Underground Railroad, forming a station for freedom seeking slaves and helping them to form a new life and education on Beacon Hill. One notable event was the fact the meeting house served as a recruitment post for the Massachusetts 54th volunteer regiment. One of the first African meeting regiment to the fight of the civil war.
In 1972, the Museum of African American History purchased the building, and in 1874 was successful at achieving a national historic landmark and operated by the museum until present day.
So how did that influence the novel…
“As she stepped forward, the light of the room washed over her. It was more like a church than a hall. She heard a voice speaking out from the back of the room, very much like that of a preacher, and saw a man standing on a podium positioned in the centre of the hall. A few of people turned round and examine her with questionable faces until they saw Sarah coming in behind.
“Sarah – welcome. And your guest – please join us.” Bea felt herself being gently forced forward and directed towards a nearby pew.
Once they were seated, the speaker continued, and all turned towards him once more.
“Is this a church?” Bea whispered to her guide.
“No, it is a meeting house.”
“A meeting house for what?” Sarah gestured her head for Bea to listen, so she did.
“Before we finish this meeting, I would like to read from a letter, sent to me by a conductor in the south; a reminder of why we are here, and a push for what we need to do next. He paused for a moment, unfolding a sheet of paper…”
Saving Grace, Chapter 14.
At the start of the novel, we meet a new character, Sarah Bateman with a hidden past and slowly becomes friends with Beatrice as she supports her in the daily routines. The meeting house becomes a central force surrounding Bea and Sarah’s friendship and support in future events as Sarah introduces the secret side to the abolitionist’s movement. With her father’s encouragement with the Reformers and the desire to make a difference, she finds her strength once more to fight as she discovers her voice. Knowing the challenges she could face and the jeopardy it could bring to her future happiness with Joshua. And yet, the meeting house will be essential to help save Grace.