1919, debut novel, gender-role reversals, historical fiction, Larry Zuckerman, noncomformists, premise, small town, Washington state, WWI
I’m delighted to tell you I’ve realized the dream I’ve nurtured for more than a half-century: In April 2023, Cynren Press will publish my novel, Lonely Are the Brave. So, starting next week, in addition to my regular book reviews, I’ll periodically post about the novel’s historical background, with occasional sidelights as to how I incorporated those facts or events into the narrative — or tried to and failed.
But for today, let’s stick with the premise:
In 1919, scandal stirs Lumberton, a small (fictional) logging town amid the evergreens an hour outside Seattle: War hero Rollie Birch, whose wife died while he was overseas, turns at-home father; and Kay Sorensen, the timber baron’s daughter, dares defy her politician husband to pursue a business career.
Almost overnight, Rollie goes from town celebrity to pariah. Nobody will talk to him, gossips snicker that his infant daughter isn’t his, and even his beloved sister wishes he’d give up his crazy idea. Meanwhile, Kay fears her tyrannical husband, running for state legislature, will make her leave the job she loves, and wonders if his bizarre public attacks on Rollie, who served in his platoon during the war, somehow explain what’s gone wrong in her marriage.
Discreetly, she begs Rollie to tell her what her husband did during the war, to which he reluctantly agrees, provided Kay reveal what she knows about his late wife’s possible infidelity.
But trading wartime secrets has unexpected consequences, not least for fragile, lonely hearts and cherished beliefs—and the ensuing public storm threatens to destroy Kay and Rollie both.
More to come.