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.


  1. This sounds like a fascinating story. I feel sympathy for the characters of Ned and Roth. Can't wait to read more about it and to see the book when it's released.

  2. Thanks, Joan. Appreciate the comment.

  3. I understand you're seeking suggestions for improving your presentation of characters in your upcoming novel.

    I agree with Joan, on the other hand I feel it's too much too soon. It is always wise to use the Scheherazade principle [] in looking at what's coming out---even for individual characters.

    You have crowded all your main characters into one article. And you talk about them. Show them. Make the blog reader want to know more about these people he sees as living characters rather than stage play actors explained in Playbill.

    "Ned, you didn't plow that furrow straight," sneered old man Gebhardt to his son. Ned cringed. His father approached with the ends of the reins swinging loosely in his hands. Ned cringed because he knew what was coming next.

    But if you think Ned's life was a stink hole, consider Detective Simon Roth. I'll introduce him tomorrow.

    You see, John. Leave them wanting more. I realize my example is not from your book. That's for you to decide and write. I'm only suggesting a principle. You use this method and provide yourself with material for several day's posts.

    Just a suggestion. I wish you great success with your book.