Writing a book takes a long time and a lot of thought. The title that is attached to the story should also be well considered and reflect some aspect of what the reader should expect from the book. I had a working title for my June release of Martha Washington’s story: The Life of Lady Washington. But I wasn’t happy with that one. It didn’t say enough about what one can expect.
When a child is born its future is unwritten and unknown. Parents have their hopes and dreams for their child, but we never can know what the future holds. Even for ourselves, as individuals, we make decisions and choices and handle situations with an eye toward where we want to end up, but unforeseen opportunities or roadblocks or what have you can change everything. All we can do is try to educate ourselves toward the future we hope we’ll have and then be ready to adjust as needed.
My one-sentence description of Becoming Lady Washington is “How a simple girl from a middling plantation ends up America’s very first First Lady.” I’m fairly certain that when John and Frances Dandridge welcomed Martha into the world they expected her life would mirror her mother’s to some degree. But that wasn’t to be the case. Not entirely, anyway. My goal in writing Martha Washington’s story was to show how she unknowingly prepared to be a general’s and then a president’s wife.
Obviously, she couldn’t know where her path in life would take her. Certainly, she assumed she’d be a wife and mother, most likely on a plantation in Virginia. So her lessons as a child and young woman would have focused on domestic skills: sewing, mending, fancy stitching, cooking and baking, gardening, candle making, caring for her younger siblings, making simples (medicines) to treat illnesses, and a myriad of other tasks.
These fundamental home management skills her mother taught her as a girl. As she grew into womanhood, the lessons she learned and the situations she faced during her first marriage to Daniel Custis added to her tool set. Then she faced the unexpected adjustment to widowhood and managing the enormous estate left to her and her children. Followed by how she had to change from staying home on the plantation in Virginia—she never traveled out of the state until years after she married George Washington—to having to decide what to pack to provide for herself and family on long trips to other states.
All throughout her long life, Martha Washington kept her sense of humor, sense of duty and honor, and her caring ways for her family and friends. All of these tools in her toolbox helped to guide her decisions and actions through the American Revolution and her husband’s presidency. She was his bulwark and true love. She really was the woman behind her man.
Becoming Lady Washington is available in hardback, paperback, and digital formats for preorder now. It will publish on June 2 in honor of Martha’s 289th birthday.
I hope you enjoy reading it and learning more about our first First Lady. Thanks!
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Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.
Available for preorders now! Releases June 2, 2020…
Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.
Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.
But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.