If I mention men claiming land in the 1850s, does it bring to mind Nebraska or even Wyoming? How about if I write West of the Mississippi? Do you think about the Great Plain or the Dakotas?
West of the Mississippi includes Minnesota. This very northern state might not be an author's first choice for a historical western novel, but Minnesota was being settled in the years just before the Civil War. Perhaps because of my family's history with that, I chose it as the setting for my next novel, Regina's Replacement.
|Example of a Minnesota Sod House|
My story has a much more romantic ending. But there are problems for a young widow. The woman, Regina, leaves Virginia soon after a battle is fought not far from her farm. She arrives by steamboat, but not a boat that traveled on the Mississippi.
As I researched, I found an area about one hundred miles outside of Minneapolis. The land claimed by people there was around a very large lake, Lake Minnetonka. Steamboats traveled across the expansive body of water, bringing people and goods to spots around it.
|Governor Ramsay Steamboat|
|Farm near Excelsior, MN, 1864.|
|Lithograph created to sell a Minnesota farm in the 1800s.|
Of course, with my heroine living in that area around 1862, a serious problem arises. The Dakotas had been moved to a reservation. There they were left to starve by an inhuman Indian agent. No wonder the Dakota War happens in 1862. Does it reach Excelsior?
Read Regina's Replacement and find out...
Visit a time when Minnesota was land still being claimed and settled...
Joshua Gibson had enough courage to save his uncle. He’s not brave enough to show his face in town after being badly burned in the rescue.
Regina Richardson decided marriage to a stranger was better than living through a war that had nothing to do with her. After Union troops brought a battle near to her farm, she grabs at the chance to marry a man in Minnesota. Only, she discovers the man has never lived in the town where she’s told to go.
A desperate aunt and uncle see this as a God sent opportunity for their hermit nephew. Will Regina find the love of her life or will she end up with one more burden to bear?
And what about the man killed at Joshua’s farm the night that he was burned? How will the couple protect themselves when Joshua and Regina have no idea that revenge stalks them?