Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!

Hello readers,

EDITED TO ADD – the question of the week is now there!

Welcome to this week’s installment of First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday! The free book is a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows and an item or two of the story-related swag as pictured here! ????????



NOTE, for website blog commenters only: When you answer the question in the comments area, (how you get the chance to win a book) be sure to add your name at the bottom because some of you are showing up as Anonymous.


When the Jessamine Grows spans a five year period. The story starts off in early 1861, before North Carolina secedes the Union and ends in the spring of 1866. When I think of all that happens to the characters, what they endure and suffer, their wins, their losses, their capacity to go on, five years is a lifetime. Because of the rural nature of North Carolina, people during this time became very focused on doing what they could to survive. It took everything they had to grow their food as they always had, or, but often it was taken from them.

With few men to do the heavy work of farming, food became scarce. What little food was produced in the South was bought or taken to feed soldiers instead of families. With the success of the Union blockade, the South could not import goods. To make matters worse, Confederate money was almost worthless. Due to rising inflation, even the wealthiest families could barely survive.” (Fisher, Julia Johnson. Diary, 1864. Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. )

A bread riot took place in Salisbury, North Carolina, and in other cities like Richmond, VA. Women had seen stores hyperinflating prices, or holding food in reserves for the troops. The Confederate dollar was worth about .5 cents on the dollar.

Sowing and Reaping, an editorial illustration of the Southern Bread Riot printed in 1863. (NCPedia, Homefront) 

The situation had become dire for the McBrides and Charlie, and they were solely intent on making it through each day. What was going on beyond the scope of their existence didn’t matter much to them.


Chapter 29

The war would be over in less than a year, but Joetta, Robert, and Charlie knew nothing of this.



To win a signed copy of an ARC, and some story related swag, consider these statistics. 750,000 families would never see their loved ones again, given many fought and died far away. Around 200,000 (white) women became widowed. How do you think this impacted families? Our country?



My publisher is having another giveaway on Goodreads – 100 copies available!


Sneak Peek!

Now you can read an excerpt of When the Jessamine Grows in this special Sneak Peek Kindle version! Hopefully, it will encourage your fingers (or legs!) to pre-order a copy. ????????


Unsure if you want to pre-order? Read the first 50 (or so) pages for free and find out! Go to one of these sites to download (in e-book formats only):


Barnes & Noble

Rakuten Kobo



Pre-orders gauge the interest and signal to the publisher readers are eager for an author’s work! Please consider pre-ordering because it really does help! If you’re holding out because you might win an ARC or a finished copy, remember you can always give away the extra as a gift to one of your reader friends. ????

Pre-order links for your convenience:

Kensington Publishing Corporation

Barnes & Noble




Social Media

Last, but not least, don’t forget to:

5 thoughts on “First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!”

  1. I think we’ve seen this same situation play out repeatedly, in world wars I and II as well as Korea and Vietnam, not to mention all the conflicts in recent years. I don’t know, but I suspect women’s roles have evolved in part because of the hardships encountered when the men were away and then when many did not come home. I would also guess that the fate of many women was contingent on the strength and norms of the family and the community of which they were a part. I know some communities and some church based communities strongly encourage the widow to marry someone else. Other families would take in the widow and her children. But, I think it also changed women in that they learned what they were capable of on their own.
    Helen Akinc

    1. Exactly – there was a shift in the world view of women and their capabilities when they stepped up every time. Rosie the Riveter always comes to mind, but long before that, women were proving to themselves and those around them they were capable of so much more.

  2. I think it was pretty harsh and it made women become stronger since they had to be on their own for awhile with no help. Alicia Haney

    1. It was really difficult physically, but emotionally as well which can be worse sometimes.

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