The Reluctant Republican -- My Fight for the Moderate Majority by Barbara F. Olschner, Florida UPress '13, $24.95, 142 pages, ASIN #0813044537. B&W images sprinkled through text.
From the dust cover:
"The 2012 presidential election demonstrated once again that Florida may be the most purple state in the Union. Northwest Florida, however, remains staunchly Republican.
"Barbara Olschner believes in her party's founding principles: lower taxes, less regulation, limited government, and individual accountability. But she also believes in governing through compromise, respectfully listening to opponents' viewpoints, and the possibility that a Republican can be fiscally but not socially conservative.
"In 2010, Olschner ran for Congress as a moderate Republican in the Florida Panhandle. Her opponents were an undertaker, a drug salesman, a Delta pilot, and a cowboy inventor who described himself as a cross between John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. Olschner, a courtroom lawyer with over 26 years of litigation experience, was labeled 'the Professor' and deemed 'too smart to go to Congress.' In hindsight, it isn't surprising that while running for Congress a the height of the Tea Party's influence, she was branded an elitist and a RINO (Republican in Name Only) -- and finished dead last.
"....Olschner is reluctant to remain in the Republican party but more reluctant to leave. She refuses to accept the current dogma but also refuses to abandon her conservatism. Her fight for civility and her refusal to kowtow to the lowest common denominator reveal about what passes for politics in the Sunshine State -- and in America."
Barbara F. Olschner is a native of North Carolina who moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to practice law. After 30 years, she moved to Walton County, in the Florida Panhandle.
My Enemy's Tears -- The Witch of Northampton by Karen Vorbeck Williams, Wheatmark '11, $20.95, 436 pages, ASIN #1604946288. Reading and discussion group questions, unillustrated.
A sampling of the book's content from its Introduction:
"Mary Bliss got it into her head that she wanted nothing more than to escape the nursery. She was supposed to stay with the other children and Nurse Bodwin, not wander off into the far reaches of the house, out into the garden, or off to the hills where the sheep grazed in summer. But that morning her curiosity got the best of her, and she devised a plan. The cook always brought them afternoon repast just about the time Mary toiled at her sampler, before the younger children napped, when Nurse Bodwin would collapse on a settle by the fire and try her best not to doze. Mary figured that after a day of wiping runny noses and tears, and mediating squabbles between her brother and her cousin, the old woman would be worn out and wouldn't notice that she'd slipped away. She wanted to climb to the top of the stairs -- to look out the highest window at the first snowfall of her ninth winter.
"About the time Mary's stomach began to rumble, the nurse yawned, removed the handkerchief from her apron pocket, and wiped her eyes before folding herself onto the old settle to retreat behind closed eyelids. Then Mary had to decide what she wanted most -- food or freedom. Perhaps if she was quick she could have both. She stole out the door and hurried past the kitchen, running as quietly as she could through the hall and past the door to the garden. Without stopping, she turned to look over her shoulder. The nurse hadn't followed her into the west wing."
Author Karen Vorbeck Williams has lived more than 35 years in New England, where she found the inspiration, settings, and spirit for My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton, historical fiction based on the life of her ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons. This is her first novel. She's been an editor for 14 years and is a prize-winning photographer.