Please join me in welcoming Rebecca DeMarino this week. She’s the author of a new book, To Follow Her Heart. What a great title! Here’s a little bit about it.
Duty and love are powerful forces. Only one has the power to make her life complete.
In 1664 Patience Terry is devastated to learn that Captain Jeremy Horton’s ship has been shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados. There were no survivors. She had hoped that Jeremy would someday give up the sea and settle down with her in Southold, Long Island.
Unaware his memorial service is being planned, Jeremy sails aboard a British warship with secret orders to attack New Amsterdam and claim it for the British Crown. When he makes his surprise return to Southold—and to an overjoyed Patience—it’s not quite the happily-ever-after his beloved had hoped for.
With a finely tuned sense for authentic historical characters and settings, Rebecca DeMarino plunges you into a world of tall ships, daring journeys, and yearning hearts.
Sounds wonderful. What led you to write the book?
I grew up with stories my mother, Helen Horton Worley, passed down through the oral tradition. It was of sailing ships and casks of gold and our ancestors from England. She knew Barnabas was a great-grandfather from many generations ago and that he’d come from England on a little ship called The Swallow.
In the 1990’s my brother became interested in genealogy and traced the Horton line through to Barnabas and discovered there was a lighthouse named after him on Long Island. I pulled out a map, and found Horton Point in Southold, NY. I didn’t have to ask my mom twice about visiting.
Barnabas and Mary were the largest landowners in Southold. He built the first timber-framed house on eastern Long Island, home to six generations of Hortons until it was demolished in the 1870’s. The site of their home on the Peconic Bay side of the north fork is marked with a plaque, and across the road is the cemetery where Barnabas is buried.
At the cemetery we found Barnabas’s grave, covered with a large slab of blue slate, engraved with an epitaph he is said to have written. Below the epitaph is the Bible verse “He being dead yet speaketh.” That intrigued me, and I reread the epitaph. One line in particular caught my eye, “And you dear children all, follow the Lord. Hear and obey his public sacred Word; and in your houses call upon His name.” It was as if Barnabas was speaking to the generations of Hortons to follow. And here I stood with my Mom, over three hundred years later.
We wandered the cemetery looking for Mary’s grave. At the Southold Historical Society we’d looked at Barnabas’s will, written shortly before he died. He named her executrix of his estate, so we knew she was still alive when he died. But we couldn’t find her grave. The church secretary searched the records, but Mary was not listed. She told us it didn’t mean Mary wasn’t buried there. Many gravestones had deteriorated before the church began to keep records.
I went home wondering about Mary. The lack of information about Mary Langton Horton, Barnabas’s brave young wife who left family to come to the wilds of Long Island—and our great-grandmother—troubled me. I did discover Barnabas was a widower when she married him. She must have been courageous as she left her family to cross an ocean with him and his two young sons by his first wife.
I wanted to give her and the other brave women who followed their husbands a voice and I began writing her story in the fall of 2008. The working title for that first novel was The Blue Slate. It sold to Revell as A Place in His Heart, as book one of a three-book historical romance series. The third book, To Follow Her Heart released this month!
Congratulations on that, Rebecca!
REBECCA DEMARINO inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother; a love of horses, reading, and writing from her dad—and the wanderlust gene from both parents. Her new novel, TO FOLLOW HER HEART releases this month from Revell. She is the author of A PLACE IN HIS HEART and TO CAPTURE HER HEART, books one and two of The Southold Chronicles. A free prologue to THE SOUTHOLD CHRONICLES series available here: www.RebeccaDeMarino.com And visit Rebecca here: www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaDeMarino
Rebecca is giving away a copy of the book. Follow the directions below to enter.
Thanks so much for visiting with us, Rebecca!