Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ride for Rights: Lillian Heath

Ride for RightsMy YA historical, Ride for Rights is due out in just a month, Feb 10th, 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing to be exact. If you haven't already marked your calendar, perhaps the cover will convince you... :)

Meanwhile, while you contemplate whether or not you want to read it, I want to talk about Lillian Heath, another real life woman I feature in the book as a fictional character. 

The women tentatively followed Lewis up the front stairs, staying a few feet back and gripping the wrought iron railing. It was not until the man had opened the front door, taken off his hat, and hollered to someone within the house, that Angeline allowed her tense shoulders to relax a bit.
“Lillian!” Lewis’s voice boomed. “There are some ladies who need your assistance.” He held the door open for the sisters.
            “Be right there!” A woman’s voice and the sound of rapidly approaching boot heels on the hardwood floor answered Lewis. “Well, what have we here?” The woman came within view and peered over her spectacles at the two relieved women before her.
            Angeline was surprised at the woman’s appearance. She was wearing trousers as well! The similarities ended there, however. The woman appeared to be fiftyish and somewhat matronly. She was wearing trousers and a white dress shirt, but her graying brown hair was long and pulled back demurely, and laugh lines crinkled on either side of her eyes. 

Who she was: The first woman doctor in the state of Wyoming and the first woman doctor west of the Mississippi. She had a man's skull which she used a door stop and a pen jar. This skull and the story behind it is mentioned in the novel. Though she retired from the medical profession in 1909, she was still residing in her family home, and I have no doubt she would have opened her door to the real life Van Buren sisters had they shown up at her step injured. 

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