Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Pavanes, Italian Songs & Yankee Doodle

My most recent novel, released on the 15th of August, Pavane for Miss Marcher, is set in the post American Civil War era in a small Maine village. Throughout the novel, my love of music and singing forms the connecting tissue between the heroine, Cathryn Marcher, her students and her antagonists as well as the hero, Rupert Smith. 

My love of music has played a significant part of my personal life as well. When I moved to Wales many years ago, I married into a musical family. Although I had taken a few years of piano lessons as a child, my lack of musical knowledge undermined my efforts to assimilate into a country known as a nation of musicians. I had sung solos and performed in musicals as a young woman but those experiences were inadequate in my own estimation to win the hearts of my in-laws.

My husband is a professional musician! How was I to measure up in comparison? 

Pavane for Miss Marcher is, in a way, a tribute to music and to the American contribution to the rich heritage of world music. The novel is also about healing and reconciliation between enemies, as well as strategic retreats in the face of overwhelming odds. And is a tribute to the strength of the American spirit, the will of a nation to overcome its differences and threats to its survival.

1871. The war has been over for six years but Rupe Smith still fights his demons. Ten years have passed since he left his Maine village. His Wyoming ranch is the one place he wants to be and the last place he can be. There is no escape from the guilt of his parents’ grief or his longing for the girl whose one letter kept him alive, without knowing she is beyond his reach, married and raising a family.
 Cathryn Marcher is not the giddy, giggling girl with high ideals she was before the war. The woman who waited for Rupert Smith’s safe return has no doubt she isn’t the reason he has finally come home. The haunted expression on his handsome face reminds her of the outcome, the horror and suffering of war she saw close at hand, all those years ago, in the faces of soldiers she nursed in Boston.
 Captain Smith and Miss Marcher share a love of music but Cathryn must hide her disappointment when Rupert chooses to sing in harmony with the widow, Mrs. Miller, whom the residents of Oslo Hill believe will be his bride.
 Susan Miller's disdain for her voice teacher, her rival for Rupert's love, is matched by Colonel Jericho Colson's loathing for his fellow Union Army officer, his rival for Cathryn's heart.
Years ago, as a Christmas gift, my husband arranged for me to have singing lessons for six weeks. The gift became "the gift that kept on giving" for nearly ten years! That experience, besides giving me the confidence to perform as a solo soprano on St. David's Day before a Welsh audience and join several semi-professional choirs, also gave me the knowledge to write this book. 


  1. Hi Leigh--
    What a wonderful post! I liked everything about it and your new books sounds fabulous. Your husband sounds like a keeper :-) what a lovely gift he gave you.