The long-celebrated heroism of the men and women of the South was born out of thousands of ordinary decisions made in the decade before the American Civil War. “Vacant Chairs” is the story of seed-time, when Nathan Shelton, his friends and neighbors grew to adulthood, plowed their fields, fell in love, built their homes, and lived their lives, preparing unknowingly for their greatest trial of personal character.
Eighteen-year old Nathan Shelton finds even the lush beauty of Northeastern Alabama has its sorrows when his family dies in a cyclone. He must find his way while cultivating the fields his father plowed and planted and cooking the meals his mother used to make, filling roles he thought were years in his future. Even his close relationship with the Gordon family cannot help him become the mature man that tragedy demands.
Nathan learns he cannot get his life back — it is gone forever — but he can have another life that is good and happy and fulfilling, while treasuring what he had in the past.
“Vacant Chairs,” my first book in the Before the Civil War series, introduces Nathan, his neighbors and others who would be called upon in less than ten years to summon strength they didn’t know they had to meet the challenge of Southern independence.
“Vacant Chairs,” researched from original sources, explores in historical fiction how everyday choices fashioned the character of the men and women, the rich and the poor, the farmer and the planter, the weak and the strong. They would become the brave and tenacious patriots of the 1860s and bear the unbearable because of how they lived before the war.