Your reckless and foolhardy move here has put you in great danger. Only your father’s influence keeps us out of danger as well. I must, as your loving mother, advise you to leave Charleston forthwith; in fact, leave the South. Those in a position to make life difficult for you have already begun. It can only become more perilous should you choose to stay. I know better than to think you will stop writing, so please, my son, I beg you. Go home to Philadelphia.
Mrs. Emily Beaufain Wentworth
My dear brother:
It breaks my heart to ask you to leave when you have been here such a short time. I long for the days of our youth when we were not separated for so much as a mile, and it has been with a heavy heart I accepted your move to and life in Philadelphia. Still, Palmer, you must reconsider your decision to stay in Charleston. Anyone who would speak for you is constrained by the confines of our small community. You belong here, my dear brother, but I hope to have many years within which to share our lives, even at a distance, which necessitates your removal from Charleston.
Mrs. Ruth Wentworth Telfair
About the Book
Every newspaper editor may owe tribute to the devil, but Harry Wentworth’s bill just came due.
As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears, so he must finally resolve his own moral quandary. Comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?
The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground, as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.
He took a seat at his desk, pulled out a fresh sheet of paper, inked his pen, and began to write, referring, again and again, to the structure and notes he had developed on the wall, occasionally flipping through earlier entries in the notebook. He had not even fleshed out half a page when a hush fell over the newsroom, accentuating the thumping of the press under his feet, printing the pages he had already approved. Reluctantly, he turned the clock on the corner of his desk to read the face.
Still more than an hour till deadline. What in the name of—?
His half-open door blocked his view, so he stood and strode to the doorway, stuck his head out, and bellowed, “You have sixty-four minutes. I want to hear nothing but news out…” His voice trailed off.
Fleur and Belle—who shouldn’t be out without an escort, and certainly shouldn’t be in a room filled with men—were crossing the newsroom to his office. All his reporters’ heads had turned to watch.
At sixteen, they were enchanting, charming, perfectly matched miniatures of his wife, and had only recently been deemed old enough to wear their hair up and hems down. They were dressed in fashionable coats, exactly the same but for color: Fleur in sea green and Belle in lemon yellow, to match their hair ribbons. Harry and Anne had named them in a fit of mutual whimsy, when he’d said, at first sight, they looked like two beautiful flowers. Harry had been charmed by the scene of his wife with his brand-new girls; she had been charmed by the pink hothouse roses and star sapphires he’d brought.
Now, however, his beautiful flowers were ten steps into the newsroom, both blushing identically and trying to keep the men from looking by staring at their own toes. It only took one hard stare from Harry before every man present began to examine his own desk.
He rushed out to meet the girls halfway across the room, where he put an arm around each in a futile effort to protect them from the gaze of these worldly men whom he never intended for them to meet. Then he scooted Belle and Fleur into his office and slammed the door behind him—making both girls jump—to let the entire building know, in no uncertain terms, what sort of mood it had put him in to find his little girls in his newsroom. Eventually, Harry heard the noise of the newsroom slowly, tentatively, take shape again, certain more than half the conversation was now devoted to detailing the vile things they would like to do with his daughters. He would sack any man he heard make an untoward comment. If he could manage not to shoot him first.
“This is no place for you!” Harry yelled, grinding his teeth, trying, far too late, to keep his anger from frightening them. “What the blazes are you doing here? Why are you without an escort?” Their governess should never have let them leave, and his driver would never have prepared the carriage for them, were they alone. He couldn’t help himself from shouting louder, “What is your mother thinking, letting you come here?!”
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About the Author
Mari was “raised up” in journalism (mostly raising her glass at the Denver Press Club bar) after the advent of the web press, but before the desktop computer. She has since plied her trade as a writer, editor, and designer across many different fields, and currently works as a technical writer and editor.
Under the name Mari Christie, she has released a book-length epic poem, Saqil pa Q'equ'mal: Light in Darkness: Poetry of the Mayan Underworld, and under pen name Mariana Gabrielle, she has written several Regency romances, including the Sailing Home Series and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. Blind Tribute is her first mainstream historical novel. She expects to release the first book in a new family saga, The Lion’s Club, in 2018.
She holds a BA in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver, and is a member of the Speakeasy Scribes, the Historical Novel Society, and the Denver Press Club. She has a long family history in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the great-great niece of a man in the mold of Harry Wentworth.