Mary-Ann Tirone Smith wrote the first novel by a PCV, Lament For A Silver-Eyed Woman, published by Morrow in 1987. She is also the author of a half dozen other novels, including The Book of Phoebe (1985) and a series of mystery novels. She has also written a Memoir, Girls of Tender Age which recounts a bittersweet portrait of growing up in 1950s Hartford, Connecticut when a serial pedophile kills her best friends. Mixed with that story, is her own young life story, including living with an autistic brother at a time before anyone knew what that meant.
Now Mary-Ann has turned her talents as a novelist in a new direction with the publication is this novel The Honoured Guest: Anne Alger Craven, Witness to Sumter, in Her Words.
Here’s a quick summary of that story:
It is November, 1860. Anne Alger Craven leaves her home at Abingdon Square, Manhattan, prepared to enter the lion’s den that is Charleston, South Carolina; Anne is an abolitionist. In Charleston the penalty for supporting emancipation is execution.But Anne is also a metallurgist, granddaughter of Cyrus Alger, founder of Boston’s Alger Iron Works, birthplace of the great cannon, the 50,000 pound Columbiad.
Upon the death of her father, Anne inherited the Iron Works and is now the last in the family’s line of ordnance specialists. So when the opportunity arises to travel to the newest and grandest United States fort, Sumter, she cannot resist. She will join with the tiny 1st Artillery regimen to observe the mounting and testing of the very guns she helped develop.
Once aboard a locomotive, the metallurgist in Anne is in wonder at traveling annihilating speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour encased in cast iron. After South Carolina secedes and Abraham Lincoln is elected, the Sumter Company is surrounded by 6,000 Confederate troops-most untested volunteers-manning state-of-the-art batteries and setting a David and Goliath story into motion.
Nine officers, sixty-four enlisted men-half of them musicians of the regimental band-and one civilian, Anne, all freezing and near to starving endure the attack on Sumter. In her memoir, Anne Alger Craven exposes the dual-edged sword of what men call honor and glory.
From the unique perspective of a woman caught up in the commencement of the Civil War, she reveals exactly how and why the war began, what might have been forestalled, or even prevented, and the horrific catastrophe that followed.
The e-Book edition is available at Amazon and apple/iTunes, and will be coming soon to Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.