Novel Title: Astounded
Time Setting: 1892
Genre: Historical Fiction
Minimum Word Goal: 90,000
Location(s): Verdant* and Rock Springs, Wyoming
Main Characters: Penrod Haskell, Jemima Vaughan
Born northeast of Memphis, Tennessee, Penrod was the third child and only son of his parents' union, which tragically ended when his father was killed in the Civil War. Three years after his father's death his mother married a man who was heading west and the family — naturally — joined him on his journey which terminated at Casper, Wyoming.
Penrod lived in Capser until he turned eighteen, when he set out to become a lawman. While he waited for a posting he took work at a large ranch near Rock Springs where he fell in love with one of his fellow ranch hands' daughters whom he's been courting for over a year.
Recently, however, he's been named deputy for the small town of Verdant, which is a significant trek north, leaving them in a long-distance relationship until they can make arrangements to be wed.
Born in southern Illinois east of St. Louis, Jemima was the sixth child and third daughter of an eventual ten in her parents' union, however four children died before she turned eleven. Her family lived and farmed in Illinois until she was six, when they set out west, spending some time in Nebraska before eventually settling near Verdant, Wyoming when she was twelve.
Later that year all of Verdant including her family was struck with scarlet fever, which claimed the lives of her mother and three younger siblings along with leaving Jemima blind. Her older sister helped her to adjust to sightlessness and become fairly independent before marrying when Jemima was fifteen.
Jemima and her father have lived a rather peaceful existence since then, although the large-scale ranches in the area have been getting rather oppressive, claiming her father's few cattle are depriving their cattle of valuable grass. Jemima has been especially worried of late because she hasn't heard her father in several months as well.
*Verdant is a completely fictitious town that never did exist, it has been created in my imagination exclusively for the purpose of this story.
The next post will be on March 1