Historical

Gunpowder Tea By Margaret Brownley

Sunday, October 06, 2013

More Love and Laughter in the Old West

Those Gutsy Heroines of the Old West


Never underestimate a woman doing a man’s job!

My passion is writing about the old west and the fabulous women who helped settle it. Western movies helped establish the male hero, but depicting women mainly as bonnet saints, soiled doves and schoolmarms did them a terrible disservice.

The westward migration freed women in ways never before imagined. Women abandoned Victorian traditions, rigid manners and confining clothes and that’s not all they did; they brought churches, schools and newspapers to frontier towns and helped build communities.


Women today may still be banging against glass ceilings, but those brave souls of yesteryear had to break down doors. One newspaper reporter complained that “Women dared to lay hands on man’s most sacred implements—the razor and strop—and shave him to the very face.”

Ah, yes, women were barbers, doctors, firefighters and saloon keepers. With little more than their faith to guide them they owned cattle ranches and gold mines and fought for women’s rights. In 1860 Julia Shannon of San Francisco took the family portrait to new heights when she shockingly advertised herself as a daguerreotypist and midwife. Cameras were bulky, chemicals dangerous and photo labs blew up with alarming regularity. It was a hard profession for a man let alone a woman.

The Forty years before women were allowed to join a police department, Kate Warne worked for the Pinkerton National Detective agency as an undercover agent from 1856 to her death in 1868. Women even disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War.

It took strong and courageous women to bury children along the trail; barter with Indians and make homes out of sticks and mud. It’s estimated that about twelve percent of homesteaders in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Utah were single women. And yep, women even took part in the Oklahoma land runs.

An article in the San Francisco Examiner published in 1896 says it all: “People have stopped wondering what women will do next, for keeping up with what she is doing now takes all the public energies.”

These are the heroines for whom we like to cheer. It must have been a shock to the male ego to have to deal with such strong and unconventional women—and that’s at the very heart of my stories. The gun may have won the west, but it was gusty and courageous women who tamed it.

www.margaretbrownley.com

About Margaret
Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
           
Margaret wasn’t sure that was true, but she wasn’t about to take chances. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author with more than 30 novels to her credit including her current Brides of Last Chance Ranch series. Also look for her work in the following recently released or soon to be released collections A Bride for All Seasons, A Log Cabin Christmas and A Pioneer Christmas. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

Blurb for Gunpowder Tea
Suspicion ain’t proof unless you’re married.-Gunpowder Tea

Pinkerton Detective Miranda Hunt has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom – a notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling Last Chance Ranch.

But she isn’t the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. Although their true identities are a secret—and both are suspicious of the other—it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But with careers and lives on the line, love will have to wait—perhaps forever.