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A cemetery in Arlington, an author in Dallas, an adventure in Texas

By July 2, 2019 No Comments

 Mary Rogers is a Fort Worth-based freelance writer.
Contact her at maryrrogers@msn.com.

In 1903, the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls opened in Arlington, offering hope and shelter to unwed mothers, prostitutes and addicts

More than a century later, Julie Kibler, the Fort Worth author of Calling Me Home, was in search of another story to write when she stumbled across this little-known bit of local history and was intrigued. She invested years in research and writing and finally crafted the story she wanted to tell.

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls, available July 23, is a bit of historical fiction inspired in part by Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride, real-life residents of Berachah. These women become friends, lifting each other up during their darkest moments of heartbreak and loss.

Their stories are told in alternating chapters, along with that of the fictional Cate Sutton, a troubled librarian who struggles to reconcile the choices she made as a girl with the life she has chosen to live as a woman.

Sutton was the “good girl” from the religious home who disappointed her family, but the “disappointment” may surprise you. Keep reading. This book is full of revelations. It’s the sort of work book clubs will enjoy discussing.

Meet Kibler at 6:30 p.m. July 24 at the downtown Central Library, 500 W. Third St., fortworthtexas.gov. Admission is free.

, the Fort Worth author of Calling Me Home, was in search of another story to write when she stumbled across this little-known bit of local history and was intrigued. She invested years in research and writing and finally crafted the story she wanted to tell.

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls, available July 23, is a bit of historical fiction inspired in part by Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride, real-life residents of Berachah. These women become friends, lifting each other up during their darkest moments of heartbreak and loss.

Their stories are told in alternating chapters, along with that of the fictional Cate Sutton, a troubled librarian who struggles to reconcile the choices she made as a girl with the life she has chosen to live as a woman.

Sutton was the “good girl” from the religious home who disappointed her family, but the “disappointment” may surprise you. Keep reading. This book is full of revelations. It’s the sort of work book clubs will enjoy discussing.

Meet Kibler at 6:30 p.m. July 24 at the downtown Central Library, 500 W. Third St., fortworthtexas.gov. Admission is free.

Learn more about the author here.

Happy Trails

Fans of bestselling author Jeff Guinn (Manson, The Road to Jonestown) can meet him July 10 in Dallas for the Authors LIVE! Series, 7 p.m., Highland Park United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, hpumc.org. He’ll talk about his newest book, The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip. A book signing follows; books will be available for $30, which includes the reception. On July 11, Guinn will be in Fort Worth for a 6:30 p.m. informal reading at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Overton Ridge Road. Books will be for sale.

Expect another well-researched work, this one without a drop of blood or a single crazed madman.

In fact, Vagabonds promises to be a happy story of some of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs indulging their appetite for adventure.

From 1915 to 1925, Henry Ford, his friend Thomas Edison, tire king Harvey Firestone and naturalist John Burroughs rambled across an America without a highway system.

Road travel was then more of an endurance test than a comfortable escapade.  But these men didn’t exactly rough it.

They were accompanied by a caravan of cars and an entourage of drivers, cooks and butlers as well as several trucks filled with tents, tables and chairs.

It’s no wonder that by the 1920s, the wives insisted on going along.

I can’t wait to read my friend’s newest work. I know he racked up lots of miles following the vagabonds’ trail.

Your Neighbor’s Nightstand

Fort Worth Zoo benefactor and wildlife conservation advocate Ramona Bass, an enthusiastic reader with eclectic taste, enjoys sharing her favorite finds.

As soon as she finished The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook, she began recommending it to readers who love a whiz-bang adventure, a reliable and charming narrator and a story set in 19th-century Texas.

Young Benjamin Shreve is one of the most engaging narrators I’ve encountered in a long while.

In the 1860s, Benjamin lives with his half-sister, Samantha, called Sam, and her mother, a former slave, in an isolated Texas cabin. One night a ferocious panther attacks the girl, permanently disfiguring her face, and kills the child’s mother. The cat goes on to claw a path of terror along the Rio Grande.

Sam is a gritty and determined biracial child of “uncommon temper” who becomes obsessed with avenging her mother’s death. Naturally, Benjamin gets hooked into her plans for revenge. But when Sam pulls off a lucky shot that separates badman Clarence Hanlin from his finger, Benjamin and Sam are suddenly the target of Hanlin’s dogged retaliation.

Sam’s anger may drive this story, but it is Benjamin’s to tell through testimony and letters written to a circuit judge. He doesn’t leave out a thing, either: the camel, the Mexican outlaw, the murdered men, the flash floods, the preacher, the panther and, of course, the old dog with the astonishing nose and the fearless heart.

Filled with humor, warmth and even some surprising bits of wisdom, The Which Way Tree is a story of family devotion told with a Texas twang you can almost hear. This book came out a couple of years ago, but it’s worth seeking out.