With great joy, I’d like to announce my new release, A Most Unsuitable Match.
The story idea was inspired by visiting a historical site in Nebraska as part of my master’s degree program. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto/bertrand.htm. The steamboat Bertrand sank in 1865 with more than 250 tons of cargo aboard. Rediscovered (in a field--the Missouri River changed course a lot back then!) in 1968, the cargo was salvaged and is now on display.When I learned that sisters ages 19 and 17 were on board and saw one of their coats on display (see it on the right), I knew I wanted to tell a story about a young woman's adventure traveling north on the Missouri.
A Most Unsuitable Match follows Fannie Rousseau upriver in 1869 in search of her last living relative. Fannie is from a privileged family and has never encountered ‘rustic’ living. On her journey she meets Samuel Beck, who is headed upriver in search of his run-away sister. Fannie and Samuel are very different people … except in how they can’t seem to stop thinking about each other.
Today I thought I’d invite you to come and play with my imaginary friend, Fannie Rousseau, of St. Charles, Missouri, as I interview her aboard the steamboat Delores on the second day of the two-thousand-plus mile journey north to Fort Benton, Montana.
Miss Rousseau, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Interesting? I’m not all that different from any other young lady raised to be … just that. A lady. I suppose some would think it interesting that I’ve embarked on this journey. To tell you the truth, I thought it was interesting and brave--until the Delores pulledaway from the levee yesterday. Now I’m thinking it may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. But I’m here now. At least I have Hannah with me. She thinks travelling by steamer is like flying, it’s so fast. Seeing her excited about the trip helps some. I just hope I don’t live to regret running off like this.
What do you do for fun?
I haven’t had fun in a while. I’ve been in mourning since Mother died a few weeks ago.
What are you afraid of most in life?
Being alone. That’s why I’m here, you know. I’m going to find my Aunt Edith. Two days ago I didn’t even know I had an Aunt Edith. Can you imagine that? A girl my age growing up without knowing her own mother had a twin sister?
What do you want out of life?
I just want to understand why. Why didn’t Mother tell me about Aunt Edith? Why did Mr. Vandekamp—he’s in charge of Papa’s affairs—why did he get so angry when I asked him about her? He forbad me to come on this trip. I let him know that I am of age and he cannot forbid me to do anything. I want answers, and I’m going to find them.Thankfully, Hannah agreed to come with me. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
Oh, I just love Mr. Dickens! Don’t you? I can read his books over and over again and they never grow old.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be more … sure. Of who I am. Of what I should become. I’d be able to look back and accept things without feeling so … lost.
Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Mother didn’t allow pets. She said they were an unnecessary nuisance. I used to pretend that Minette’s dog, Jake, was mine. They just live next door. Minette’s my best friend. She was happy to share Jake.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I’d visit the place Mother grew up in France. Maybe if I saw her as a girl, I’d finally understand … well. That's silly, isn't it. the past isn't going to reveal itself. Unless I force the issue. That's what I'm hoping this trip will do for me. Reveal the past, and help me find a future.
Read the beginning of A Most Unsuitable Match here:
--Stephanie Grace Whitson