What’s more fun than peeking into someone’s diary and learning all their secrets? Well, how about an entire novel, written as diary entries that chronicle the story of a marriage?
Henrietta’s Journal is a historical romance. Henrietta is a 20-year-old English girl, raised among the sheltering walls and dreaming spires of Oxford. In 1832, her diary begins with the first day she meets Julien, a handsome and wealthy cotton broker from Charleston, South Carolina. The two could not be more unsuited to one another, but their attraction is immediate and unbreakable. A whirlwind courtship, a hasty marriage, and a stormy journey across the Atlantic-–and Henrietta finds herself in a strange new world. Charleston in the 1830s is an insular society controlled by a small group of families who consider themselves a new aristocracy of culture, wealth, and refinement. Their public buildings are modeled on Greek and Roman styles. Their children receive classical educations. They spend their days recreating the past, while relying on black slaves to do the hard labor that makes such leisurely white lives possible. As a ruling social class, they do not welcome outsiders.
Henrietta declares she will never be a slave-owner. Julien replies by agreeing, because in South Carolina, a married woman is not allowed to own property of any kind. Henrietta tries to hold onto her independence; Julien and his father will not even allow her to choose the name of her first-born child. Henrietta’s every word and action are noted down for criticism and correction. Julien’s younger brother, a lecherous and vicious drunk, is forgiven for any misdeeds because he is still young. She soon gets the message. Men may do as they like. Women must do as they are told.
The book is a love story, but it also provides a revealing look into the contradictions and injustices of the South in the years leading up to the Civil War. The bonds between husband and wife are frequently tested by their differing value systems. Henrietta soon finds that she has compromised her own beliefs in order to keep the peace within her disapproving family. Then the principle of compromise takes on a life of its own, leading her further and further into a world where prostitution, rape, murder, opium addiction, and kidnapping are all excused as necessary evils.
Want to know more? Pre-order the Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber-ebook/dp/B074S97SVJ and receive your copy on September 19. (You’ll also save $2.00 off the liest price if you order before Tuesday.)
The Amazon print version should be functional by the weekend.
Or order a trade paper edition at https://www.createspace.com/745653