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Brighter Than Her Fears

The 19th century women’s rights movement and the rise of public education intertwine with one woman’s story of struggle, perseverance, and love.

When her father dies a
nd the family inn falls to ruin in 1882, western North Carolina, thirty-year-old Alice Harris is compelled to marry Jasper Carter, a Civil War veteran twice her age. Far from home and a stranger in a new family, Alice remakes herself. She learns to farm tobacco, mothers her stepson, and comes to love her husband.

However, Alice uncovers pending trouble with the family’s land holdings, which threatens their livelihood on the farm. The growth in Asheville promises a different future—one of manufacturing, transportation, tourism, and wealth. Alice believes this future demands an education and she rebels against the limited rural instruction. She joins forces with other women campaigning for Asheville’s first public schools. Her actions spark the rebuke of the Carter men.

Tragedy strikes and Alice’s newfound security is ripped away. The family challenges her property rights and files for guardianship of her stepson. Battered but determined, Alice turns to the law—and a friendly court clerk—to fight for her independence. Will Alice lose everything? Not if she can help it.

January 2024 from Creative James Media

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"Libraries and readers seeking historical novels of American history that feature proactive women in the throes of personal and political transformation will find Brighter Than Her Fears a gripping story."


"'Brighter than Her Fears' is a captivating and emotional book that explores important themes such as love, independence, and identity in a world dominated by social conventions and rigid expectations."


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Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the real people and places within Brighter Than Her Fears. Plus Q&A with me!

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