It may be barely be fall in your neck of the woods, but it’s already Christmas at Carnton here in Tennessee!
Much as Lynn did yesterday with her newest novel (which I’m so excited to read!), I’m celebrating the release of Christmas at Carnton today . . .
While I don’t quite view the books that I write as my “babies”—I’ve had two babies, and they’re now 30 and 28 years old (I’m smiling over here because Lynn and I have bantered about this before)—these books are products of my heart, my experiences, LOTS of research, and of my walk with the Lord. He never fails to meet me on the page. And Christmas at Carnton was no exception.
When I first visited Carnton in fall 2007 after Joe and I moved to Nashville following 17 years in Colorado, I purchased my ticket for the tour in a small trailer on the grounds and walked up a worn path toward the house. As the docent unfolded Carnton’s history and turned time back on itself, I fell a little in love with the home that day—and with the McGavocks (the family who resided at Carnton).
But it was the living, breathing memory of what happened within those walls and on the surrounding hallowed grounds that has stayed with me through the years. That has kept bringing me back to Carnton.
And now, ten years—and fourteen novels—later, it’s those same living, breathing memories that have inspired me to write about this home, this family, and the beloved people who lived, worked, fought and died at Carnton.
In December 1863—one year before the Battle of Franklin would forever change the landscape of this city and its people—the women who had bravely sent their men off to war began to fight their own battle on the home front. They turned their attention to supporting the Southern cause and their men who were fighting in it. It was the first time in American history that women played a significant role in the war effort.
Women by the thousands—both in the North and South—volunteered to work as nurses. Still others started Women’s Relief Societies in which groups of women came together to knit socks, gloves, and caps for soldiers. They knit blankets and scarves. They sewed shirts, pillowcases, bandages, and handkerchiefs. Women organized fundraising events that drew people from surrounding communities who came to bid on auctioned items such as baked goods, quilts, and other donated items of value—with all the proceeds benefiting the Southern cause by way of medical supplies or other necessities. And by the time the Civil War ended, those experiences forever altered the Victorian definition of “womanhood” and the women of America.
Christmas at Carnton centers around just such an event from Nashville’s history, and includes real people from history such as John and Carrie McGavock and their children Hattie and Winder, and Elizabeth McGavock Harding (who married General William Giles Harding of the Belle Meade Plantation—you might have already met Elizabeth in To Whisper Her Name).
I’m so grateful to Laurie at Carnton who made Carrie McGavock’s Chow-Chow from Carrie’s 19th century recipe for the booksigning at Carnton this past Sunday. Carrie’s Chow-Chow is just one of many other delicious historical and family recipes included in the back pages of Christmas at Carnton.
This hefty Christmas novella (really more of a short novel at 60,000 words) releases nationwide today and—beginning October 15th—will be featured in a special holiday display in over 1700 TARGET stores across the nation. If you spot Christmas at Carnton at your local Target, please let me know!
Did you pre-order the book before today?
If you did then be sure and take advantage of the . . .
You have until October 9th to submit your receipt, so do it quick while supplies last
Finally, if you’re around this evening I’d love for you to join me and my daughter Kelsey at 7PM Central for a Facebook LIVE event in celebration of this new release. She and I will be giving away some fun gifts while sharing some favorite—and maybe not so favorite!—Christmas memories <w>. I hope you’ll join us!
I’m giving away two copies of Christmas at Carnton TODAY and will announce the winners tonight at 7:45PM Central during the Facebook LIVE event, then will post the winner’s names here on this blog right after. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post TODAY sharing a favorite Christmas memory and/or perhaps your favorite Christmasy snack, and your name will go into the hat!
Leave a comment on this blog to enter to win one of two print copies of Christmas at Carnton! International friends are welcome to enter, too (due to postage costs, you might be gifted an eBook copy).
Blessings on your Tuesday,
And the winners are…
Congrats to Kelley B and Anne Rightler who each win a copy of Christmas at Carnton! Kelley and Anne, if you’ll each write me HERE and provide your snail mail address we’ll get your book in the mail to you!
Thanks to everyone who commented. AND who bore with me in the fiasco of the Facebook LIVE chatS tonight, LOL. First I started on my FB profile by mistake, then we were sideways, LOL, then we finally got it right and headed over to my page. Oy! At least it was fun—for us anyway. Hope you all enjoyed it.
Now to draw winners from the comments on BOTH FB Lives for the rest of the gifts! I’ll post those winners to both my FB profile and page! Hugs to all and thanks again for bearing with me and Kelsey. We’ll try to be more professional—or not!—next time!