Thursday, January 17, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Madame Laval & Marie-Louise Weathers

Book: No Good Like it Is, Dog Soldier Moon
Author: McKendree Long
Heroine: Madame Laval, Marie-Louise Weathers

From No Good Like It Is, I choose Madame Laval, proprietress of Chateau Blanc. The 'White House' is the second best brothel in wartime Atlanta. Gloria Constance Marie Laval (real name, Sue Brendan) is an anonymous benefactress of the many Atlanta orphans; she also helps dispose of the bodies of three Confederate provosts, killed by my protagonist after they attack him and the young prostitute he's with. The madam then has a dalliance with my hero until he returns to combat.

No-Good-Like-It-IsIn the sequel, Dog Soldier Moon, I'd choose Marie-Louise Weathers. A thirtyish quadroon and former slave, she is the common-law mother-in-law of my hero, and is also the common-law wife of the hero's partner. The mother and octoroon daughter Honey had hooked up with my protagonists (Captain Dobey Walls and Sergeant-Major Jimmy Melton) in the first novel, in 1865 Mississippi. There, they had helped their husband/father run a country store until Union deserters had murdered the man and attempted to rape Honey.

Dobey and Jimmy stumbled on the attack and killed the three attackers, and the two women decided to accompany the saviors 'home' to Texas. There for three years they help their men build a new frontier community, until another brutal attack by desperate thugs. Marie-Louise and Honey are raped and savagely beaten. With a dying effort, Marie-Louise slams one her attackers with an oil lantern, setting him and the house on fire, which saves her daughter.

1858, Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. 2d Lieutenant Dobey Walls meets and bonds with veteran Corporal Jimmy Melton. As the Civil War begins, they leave to join the 8th Texas Cavalry in Houston, then take part in the first and the final charges of the Army of Tennessee. Between those events, they ride with Nathan Bedford Forrest, play an honorable role in the Fort Pillow Massacre, harass Sherman with Shannon's Raiders, and visit the second best brothel in Atlanta. As surrender looms, they're released to search for Dobey's long-missing family in the Texas Panhandle. Their efforts are hampered by destitute farmers, lonely widows, dangerous militia, freed slaves, and runaways, who increase their numbers and excitement. In the process, they save a quadroon and her daughter from Yankee deserters who have stolen a Union payroll. This act of mercy brings them romance but puts Pinkerton detectives and a renegade lawman on their trail. Confederate Cherokees and Cheyenne Dog Soldiers add to the chaos.

In this sequel to his novel, No Good Like It Is, McKendree Long continues the saga of Dobey Walls and Jimmy Boss Melton during the three years following the Civil War. In Dog Soldier Moon, a great crime decimates the tiny Panhandle community of Canadian Fort, twisting relationships and putting Dobey and the Boss on a trail of retribution and frontier justice, yet unaware that they are targets of two Pinkerton teams. Black Kettle, Meotzi, the 'Boy General' Custer, and J.B. Hickok flesh out the cast in this all new classic tale.

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