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Promises by Ardyce Durham

As many fans of history know there are several ways to keep history alive and to record the events of the past. Author Ardyce Durham uses just one of those ways by researching the life of her paternal grandfather to find out the man had lived a very interesting life. She used these historical findings to put them into a very well told story that, although fiction,  gives us glimpses to a period many have forgotten.

Promises takes the reader back into the 1800’s prior to the Civil War and up thru and beyond.  The book opens with the reader getting an introduction to both the Walker and Cartwright families. The main characters are going to be a set of boys who were born just days apart. Their names are Owen Cartwright and Wes Walker.

The story will follow the lives of these two young men as they grow up into adult hood, and go off to war. The story will be filled with things from moments of comedy, to that of sorrow. One of the comedic pieces that stuck out to me is when the young men try chewing tobacco for the first time. I could almost imagine what they went thru as who has not tried something they shouldn’t as a child only to have it backfire and cause sickness.

There is also heartache and tragedy within the pages as often happened in the mid 1800’s whole families could be uprooted from their homes as they must move to where the work is to survive. This happens to both families when the local sawmill where both men work, shuts down. The families are forced to travel and find jobs and we find a lot of the original grit of the human spirit on how they react to these changes. We have to remember there are no paved roads, no cars and worse of all no CELL phones at this time. A trip that today, could be a few hours to a day trip by car on an express way took days, maybe weeks or months during this period.

The story will follow the boys as their families must move to a new town, a new way of living and how they adapt. We will read how they take up fighting in what can only be called an early fight club. The reader will have to take time to see how they do as I want to avoid a lot of spoilers. There again though we get a glimpse at the bond between the boys and also their families.  The bond forged thru their youth will take them into the Civil War and be part of what comes after that conflict.

Readers will get a sense of the bond the boys build throughout the book as they read the stories before and after the Civil War. I am sure there will be some who may suffer with the language used in the book. It’s in no way something you need to have fear about, it’s just that a lot of the language is period based. It fits the story and is something I enjoyed as it took me even more into the story.

There are some great characters developed within the pages of Promises by Author Ardyce Durham. She does a very good job at not just building the story between the boys but the scenery of the era the book takes place within. The backdrop of a strong bond between families, to that of the conflict that put families against families was brought to life with the writing. There are some moments of sorrow, love and anger within the pages but the book is a great telling of a story that is based on the life of the author’s grandfather.

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Family by Aurora Torchia

Below is the submission, Family, by Aurora Torchia. The work was only edited for spacing and is Aurora’s work.  I hope you enjoy this submission for the Halloween week on the blog.

“Family”  by Aurora Torchia 

The history of that house , huh?

I will tell you, as old Joe once told me …

They had arrived two months earlier.

An odd couple, according to everyone: young, but already gray-haired and with deep eye wrinkles.

It was a wonder how they could give birth to such a lively and lovely child: a black haired angel who did nothing but run here and there. You could not imagine anyone more at odds with those two pale and insipid parents.

It took only one week for all the neighborhood to start grumbling about the strange screams and chants that could be heard coming from the crumbling walls of the house.

Witchcraft, they said .

The gypsy who lived in the cabin east of the river had hung strange pieces of cloth on the tent that served as a door, and had stopped going out of the house after dark. She said that evil had come into the valley. She said it was their fault if animals died and children fell prey to fevers.

And that was not all.

The wife was always on the front porch or in the kitchen: when on the porch, she stared into space stroking her cats and when in the kitchen she kept staring into space but … cooked the cats.

Or at least that was what kids in the neighborhood said.

They rarely saw the husband. Nobody knew what kind of job he had, but he went out every morning at dawn, dragging bags that smelled of rotten meat.

The children told their mothers their new friend had always strange bruises around her neck and burst into tears every time she saw a cat. She was afraid .

People were terrified, but first and foremost they felt sorry for the poor creature. How could they move that innocent child away from that sacrilegious house?!

Old Joe, who lived right across the street, kept thinking about it every night. Pipe in his mouth , sitting on his porch, how many times he had seen the little girl sneak out in the middle of the night to escape screams and beatings?

He had to do something!

Finally, one night, the man’s cries had become high to the point that old Joe took courage – and his rifle – and went toward the house, determined to stop that crazy couple. Once the door was opened wide, he saw a scene that froze the blood in his veins: the little girl, standing on the table, was beating her mother on her back with a long stick.

From the oven, a nauseating smell and pathetic moans came.

“How dare you try to kill me again? You… Stupid warlock!” she screamed with that childish voice, mad with anger, towards the oven. “I am the servant Satan gave you!”

The woman then grabbed her by the arm, enduring the beating.

“Kill her!” She begged old Joe. “Burn everything!”

When, in the morning, the flames had been tamed, next to the woman’s charred body, they found a giant rat’s corpse: it had a bullet hole in its skull.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Short Stories

 

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