In Patrick's Charm, Book 2 in The Bride Train series, the history of Irish immigrants in America, the spread of opium addiction following the Civil War, and the lives of traveling actors intersect.
Patrick O’Shea, is a disabled Civil War veteran who hasn't had an easy life. Upon landing in America, the Irish immigrant was recruited, along with several hundred men like him, into the Union army. This practice of recruiting men "fresh off the boat" went on for as long as the Union needed fresh soldiers to the fight the war. Although Patrick questioned the wisdom of his decision after the battles began, he nevertheless served honorably, as his countrymen who fought with ill-fated The Irish Brigade. But his permanent injuries are a constant reminder of his bad luck.
Wounded soldiers were routinely dosed with opium for pain. Many of them, like Patrick, became dependent on the painkiller. Opium addiction among former troops was so widespread it was given the name, Soldier’s Disease.
Today, it’s difficult to imagine the strength it would’ve taken to cope with injury, addiction and the rigors of starting a new life on the frontier. I think you’ll find Patrick a fascinating character.
Charm is a famous actress traveling incognito. She signed onto the bride train as a means of escaping danger with no intention of getting married. Rather than be forced to marry a stranger, she takes a job as a saloon singer. Her decision has far-reaching effects. I won't spoil the story by going into them.
Charm’s character is loosely based on a famous 19th century actress, Lotta Crabtree, who got her start as a child, entertaining miners in San Francisco. Making acting a profession in America in those days required courage courage and fortitude. Traveling through the wilds was bad enough. Performances were held in mining camps, saloons, on makeshift stages. Only the famous few appeared in large theaters. Actresses who traveled the West were strong-willed and independent and certainly didn't fit the mold of Victorian womanhood, which it made it difficult for them to find suitable mates or form relationships with women outside their circle. It wasn't an easy life.
Both Charm and Patrick have lived with tragedy, bitter disappointment and betrayal. Trust isn’t something that comes easily for either of them. They are both wounded in different ways, and it’s wonderful to see how they come together to help each other, and through love, find healing.
Writing this book gave me a new respect for the veterans who had to put their lives back together after living through a devastating war. Also, I found it fascinating to read about actresses during the mid-nineteenth century at a time when women who pursued such a career were considered little better than prostitutes.
This week I'm running a special 99 cent promotion on Patrick's Charm. If you haven't tried this series yet, now is a good time to get started. Here's the link to my website: https://eeburke.com/books/patricks-charm/
If I'm a "new to you" author, you might be wondering "What's the Bride Train?" I'm glad you asked.
Currently, there are four books in the series. You can read them in order, or as stand-alone stories. Here's the line up:
Valentine’s Rose, Book 1
Patrick’s Charm, Book 2
Tempting Prudence, Book 3
Seducing Susannah, Book 4
Do you enjoy reading about history woven with your romance? What time periods do you find most interesting? Leave a comment and enter The Bride Train raffle to win a $10 Amazon gift card.