Monday, January 26, 2015

Man's Fate

“History is about happiness and suffering.”

That’s a quote from Yuval Noah Harani, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

The quote illuminates what life has in store for all of us, and our greatest hope is to enjoy more of the former than the latter. It’s also one fitting very well with the theme of my novel, Something So Divine (coming soon from Sunbury Press). The setting is a rural Pennsylvania village in the autumn of 1897.

The quote is true of Ned Gebhardt, a simple-minded fellow, whose main solace in life has been the hope of a kind word or act from the young girl he’s accused of murdering. Ned has been under the yoke of a hard father and an uncaring stepmother and subject to bullying and abuse by neighbors all his life.

And equally true of the detective Simon Roth, abandoned and divorced by the spoiled daughter of a wealthy mine owner, who puts his job and reputation in jeopardy to try and save Ned from the hangman.

Roth’s actions are influenced by Ellen Kauffman, a widowed storekeeper, and Iris, Ned’s stepsister, the only two people in the village who seem to have sympathy for the young man and believe in his innocence.

There are other suspects and Roth does his best to investigate their possible motives and alibis.

Roth’s devotion is put to the test when he uncovers what appears to be damning evidence. Will he forsake his duty out of his growing love for Ellen or uphold his moral responsibility? That’s for you, the reader, to discover.

Future blogs on the subject of this novel will look into differing views on insanity in the 19th century, 19th century autopsies and the absence of women on juries in the period.