Rochester author Abbie Williams penned her ninth novel “Heart of a Dove,” the first in a new trilogy. Released by Central Avenue Publishing in December 2014, “Heart of a Dove” is a beautifully written novel about Lorie, a young woman who is orphaned in the days following the Civil War and sold into the slavery of prostitution at the tender age of 15. A former Confederate soldier—a customer—realizes that he knew her family in the days before the war. His southern honor will not allow him to leave her behind, so he rescues her. Together with two other men and a young boy, they begin their trek by wagon train toward a new life in Minnesota.
Inspired by her favorite novel, “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry, Williams brings the sights, sounds and hardships of the wagon train to life through the eyes of its main character. Lorie is a gentle, educated young woman who is trapped in the life of a prostitute. Through Lorie, we are reminded of the inner strength that can see us through the most desperate of times and the healing that is found through unconditional love and acceptance.
“Heart of a Dove” is a story about love but not simply the romantic love between a man and a woman. The story is about the love found through friendship. It challenges the notion that family is defined strictly by genetic ties. It reminds us that family can be chosen through strong friendships and trust, and sometimes those ties are stronger than the families we are born into.
The idea for this novel came as a result of Williams’ realization that many of the prostitutes of the post-Civil War era were the women who had formerly been under the protection of Confederate soldiers. “A lot of them were the wives and daughters of the men who had fought for the South,” Williams explains.
Born and raised in Albert Lea, Williams has been a Rochester resident for 16 years and has had a life-long love of writing. “I’ve always written,” Williams explains. “For me, writing is very natural. I never get writer’s block. There’s always [a story] going on in my mind.”
Writing may come easily for Williams, but finding a publisher was not. “I tried all through college to get published and had been rejected,” she says.
Two years ago, her break finally came when a friend recommended a publisher in Vancouver. “I sent in the first couple of chapters, and they responded within 24 hours,” Williams explains. Since then, including this latest novel, Williams has released eight more novels and has received great reviews from her readers.
Though “Heart of a Dove” is her ninth novel, it is the first to be released in traditional print. All others have been released in e-book format and are available through e-book retailers such as Apple iBooks, Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. The second book of the trilogy, “Soul of a Crow,” is expected to be released next summer.
For more information on Abbie Williams, her books and her upcoming appearances, you can visit her website at abbiewilliamsauthor.com.
Catherine H. Armstrong holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She is a full-time community volunteer, stay-at-home mom and freelance writer.