Historical fiction is tricky, in my opinion. Even more so, when you base a story on an actual historical figure. Leslie Budewitz handles both with a deft hand.
All God's Sparrows - A Stagecoach Mary Story appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. The protagonist is Mary Fields, who did exist - I checked - born into slavery, who moved to Montana with a group of nuns. I have a particular pet peeve with stories set in historically challenging time periods with characters espousing anachronistically modern sensibilities. Budewitz does a fabulous job of populating her story with people who are a product of the time period, yet who realistically strive for dignity in that world.
This is also a harshly realistic story. Stagecoach Mary runs across a girl on the desolate Montana prairie who is obviously being abused. She returns with a young nun in an attempt to bring light to the situation.
Although the setting and circumstances were rather bleak, I hope to see more stories from Budewitz based on this character. All in all, it was an uplifting tale, with fine writing. Despite all that happened, I was left with a sense of hope. That's the kind of story I enjoy.
I read two stories in the March/April issue of AHMM for which the authors have written articles for the Trace Evidence blog containing insights into their writing process:
Tom Larsen - Los Cantantes De Karaoke
Dana Carr - Off-Off-Off Broadway
Spoiler alerts for both - you should read the story first.
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