Last year at about this time, my editor invited me to write a novella for inclusion in a special 2-in-1 Thanksgiving themed book to be released by Love Inspired Historical. I had never written a novella before, but was very excited to be offered the opportunity to try something new. And, since I’d just wrapped up a set of three connected books, I immediately decided I wanted to feature one of the secondary characters who’d appeared in all of these books. Griff Lassiter had quietly wormed his way into my heart to the extent that I knew I HAD to tell his story.
But first I had to do some research. How did Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in 1894? For that matter, was it even observed as a special day back then? And if it was observed, was it celebrated on the same day across the country or did each community/town/state decide when to celebrate?
To my surprise (relief!), I discovered that, while our nineteenth century ancestors did not have the benefit of watching the Macy’s parade or football games, by the time of the Civil war the event was otherwise celebrated very much as it is today. Family and friends gathered together for meals and fellowship. Folks took time to focus on their blessings and give thanks for the good things in their lives. Even the menu was similar – many served turkey with stuffing, lots of seasonal vegetables, fresh baked breads and pies (pumpkin being the most popular).
That certainly made my life easier. A little more research about the foods of the region and period and I was set to describe the Thanksgiving feast my characters would enjoy at the close of my book!
The title of my story is “Home For Thanksgiving” and it is part of the ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING anthology. Below is a blurb:
All that stands between Ruby Anne Tuggle and a fresh start is an escort to Tyler, Texas. Rancher Griff Lassiter is too kind to refuse, but too wary of being hurt again to offer anything but protection on the journey.
Then a fever forces an unexpected detour and a chance to find the place they both belong…
So tell me, do you have favorite Thanksgiving traditions in your family you’d be willing to share? If so I’d love to hear about them. And as an added incentive, I’m giving away a copy of ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING to one lucky commenter today!