Characters in Motion: Naamah Carter

Today I am talking with Alfred Woollacott III about his character, “Naamah Carter.” Alfred retired from KPMG after a career spanning 34 years, choosing to reside full time at his summer residence on Martha’s Vineyard. Being “45 minutes from America” and with a 50 – 60 hour per week void to fill, he began dabbling into his family history. His dabbling grew into an obsession, and he published several genealogical summaries of his ancestors. But certain ones absorbed him such that he could not leave them. So, he researched their lives and times further while evolving his writing skills from “just the facts ma’am” to a fascinating narrative style. Thus, with imagination, anchored in fact and tempered with plausibility, a remote ancestor can achieve a robust life as envisioned by a writer with a few drops of his ancestor’s blood in his veins.

Alfred, why did you choose to write about Naamah?

Naamah_Carter_Young

Naamah continues the planned trilogy, albeit chronologically out of order since her story had to be told. She and her four-greats grandfather John Law the first novel’s protagonist faced similar challenges. Both held shunned Christian beliefs, were forced from their homeland, endured tragic losses, and persevered against prejudice and hostility. In “The Believers in the Crucible Nauvoo” Naamah symbolized the pioneering women of the early LDS church, just as John Law exemplified the Scottish Prisoners of Wars struggles in the Puritan Theocracy of Colonial America. Carol Cornwell Madsen’s book “In Their Own Words” enriched my knowledge about Nauvoo’s women, a story that had to be told.

Delving further, I found some of Joseph Smith’s discourses not dissimilar to my Episcopalian beliefs and broadened my Christian foundation. However, the plural wives principle was an anathema that I had dismissed as justification to institutionalize man’s polygamous tendencies. Yet I continued wondering about Naamah’s perspective. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s book “A House Full of Females” provided further insight. Each relationship was unique and multi-faceted as was Naamah’s with Brigham.

What is the mood or tone Naamah portrays and how does this affect the story?

Naamah is a strong, resilient woman of deep faith. She is six-years-old when we first meet her placing flowers on her father’s gravesite in remembrance of his birthday. Her unique name honors her aunt, Naamah Kendall Jenkins, who had died three weeks before her birth. Early in life, Naamah connected to family residing in heaven. Her mother’s death several years later tightened those heavenly bonds. In a larger sense, the Calvinist doctrine of the First Awakening had formed her Christian beliefs and had grown stale. Something was lacking. Joseph Smith’s teachings offered refreshment and a romanticized view of principles she held dear. The Second Awakening gave an offer of hope, salvation, and glory to those who had believed their lives were pre-determined to be ‘sinners in the hand of an angry God. Many still clung to past and persecuted those who followed the teachings of these ‘false prophets’.

What are Naamah’s role in her family and some emotions triggered by it?

Naamah lost her father early and her mother several years later. Being the eldest of three sisters, she assumed a surrogate mother role for her ‘baby sister’ Susan, protecting her from the acid-tongued, narrow-minded, middle sister Betsey. Susan’s relationship with Naamah changed as she matured while Naamah’s did not. Her baby Susan still needed care; she had to stay in Peterborough and not leave with the Saints for Nauvoo. Eventually, she realized that Susan had become her crutch, which caused her to doubt the depth of her faith.

Soon after arriving in Nauvoo, she marries, only to lose her husband a few months later. A month later her beloved Aunt Susan dies and compounds her sense of loss. Now virtually alone and feeling isolated, she longed to return to Peterborough. Her emotions overwhelmed and paralyzed her until two Sisters rekindled her belief in eternal life giving her a path out of her nadir.

What is one of her beliefs as a Christian and how does this affect her life?

Naamah believed in eternal life, and Joseph’s teachings enhanced her understanding of it. He prophesized that we reside in heaven like Jesus did until we are sent to the earthly kingdom. While there, those who believed in Joseph’s prophecy and lived the gospel daily will return to the heavenly kingdom.

Naamah accepted that God spoke through the prophets and came to believe that Joseph was his latest. She dreamed to hear directly from Joseph. She first witnessed Joseph through Brigham as he preached to the faithful in Peterborough. After Joseph’s death, she rationalized that the closest she would come to him while on earth was through Brigham. In Nauvoo, She worked daily with Brigham at the temple doing the Lord’s work. She is torn when he proposed marriage to her. She had been sealed for eternity to another who awaited her in heaven. Brigham was married, and becoming his plural wife ran violated what she held sacred. Yet, through marriage, she would be closer to him, and thus, to God.

How is she influenced by her setting?

A tight-knit Peterborough began unraveling as Joseph Smith obtained a following. Erstwhile friends and family turned from Naamah and her rapidly-growing community of Saints. Many Saints left for Nauvoo while Naamah dawdled. But as Peterborough’s animosity increased, she left, too. Tenfold larger than Peterborough and unified in a belief, Naamah saw Nauvoo as Joseph Smith had promised — God’s earthly kingdom, But over time, Nauvoo grew more hostile and threatening than Peterborough ever had been.

Did she ever have doubts about Joseph Smith’s testaments? 

As her beloved Aunt Susan oft said, “Even Jesus had doubts while in the garden of Gethsemane.” Family ridiculed her, former friends turned from her, the death of loved ones caused her to grieve, hostile surroundings threatened her peace, and the offer of a plural marriage challenged a sacred belief. With each, doubts arose that she eventually overcame when she realized God would be with her . . . always.

Please talk about the courage and strength of Naamah and possibly the isolation?

On her wedding day, Naamah felt as though she was atop an alabaster column that extended to the heavens. As the newlyweds neared Nauvoo’s temple, she said, “Once the temple is completed, we must have our marriage endowed in it.” To which her husband replied, “Once it’s completed, we’ll leave Nauvoo.” “Leave Nauvoo?” She said. “I’ve just arrived here. Why? Why?”

Chip, chip, and cracks appeared in the alabaster. Chip, chip; increasing enmity surrounded Nauvoo, her husband died, and Aunt Susan died, and within months of her marriage, Naamah lay amid the rubble of alabaster. She wallowed in her nadir until uplifted by doing the Lord’s work alongside Brigham made her realize again that God would be with her always.

What are some similarities that a modern-day woman would have with Naamah?

Naamah with sisters wives editted

Naamah with Sisters Wives

Naamah’s challenges were not dissimilar to those women have faced for eternity. But she had fewer options than today’s women. A couple of centuries ago, it was more a ‘Man’s world’ than today. As such, we are less aware of the women’s perspective than we are now. Ulrich’s book “A House Full of Females” would have been near impossible to publish in the 1800s. Roles are less defined by gender than before, giving women more options and more reasons to question.  Of course, “Even Jesus had doubts while in the Garden of Gethsemane.”, and questions will eventually be answered.

Where can readers buy your book?

Alfred with book resized to 300

Available at Amazon, my website, or directly from me at mv4al@aol.com.

Interview with Alfred about his books HERE

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Next Up On The Reading Agenda

Here are two books I am planning on reading next. I can’t wait! Both of these books are by authors I adore and find their stories gripping. Aren’t the covers great?! -Stephanie M. Hopkins

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until the day i die by emily carpenterUntil the Day I Die by Emily Carpenter

Pub Date 12 Mar 2019

Description

From the bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls comes a riveting novel about a mother and daughter separated by grief, secrets, and a conspiracy that threatens to destroy their lives.

If there’s a healthy way to grieve, Erin Gaines hasn’t found it. After her husband’s sudden death, the runaway success of the tech company they built with their best friends has become overwhelming. Her nerves are frayed, she’s disengaged, and her frustrated daughter, Shorie, is pulling away from her. Maybe Erin’s friends and family are right. Maybe a few weeks at a spa resort in the Caribbean islands is just what she needs to hit the reset button…

Shorie is not only worried about her mother’s mental state but also for the future of her parents’ company. Especially when she begins to suspect that not all of Erin’s colleagues can be trusted. It seems someone is spinning an intricate web of deception—the foundation for a conspiracy that is putting everything, and everyone she loves, at risk. And she may be the only one who can stop it.

Now, thousands of miles away in a remote, and oftentimes menacing, tropical jungle, Erin is beginning to have similar fears. Things at the resort aren’t exactly how the brochure described, and unless she’s losing her mind, Erin’s pretty sure she wasn’t sent there to recover—she was sent to disappear.

the lost girls of paris by pam jenoffThe Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Pub Date 29 Jan 2019

1946, Manhattan

Description

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Nutritional Science and Reading

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Recently I have made a big change in my lifestyle of eating. I’ve always considered myself as someone who has eaten fairly healthy but I struggled with how I felt physically and mentally. I’ve had a lot of surgeries and physical problems since I was two months old. First beginning with a heart defect and the list goes on…

For people with chronic health issues, you know that waking up everyday you don’t know how you are going to feel. It is a daunting way of life. If it weren’t for my strong will, I think I would be in worse shape. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I felt totally hopeless. However, I am no longer having days where feel like that. I’m not giving up and I am getting stronger. What is helping me? First, research, and learning all I can about the Whole Foods Plant Based Diet.

One of my illnesses is a Digestion Disease and I have to be careful what I eat not knowing how it is going to impact me on a daily basis. Its like taking a gamble of what to eat. The Whole Foods Plant Based Diet has opened a whole new world for me and believe me, I’ve tried a ton of different diets. On this diet you do not eat meat, dairy, or processed foods. People have asked me all sorts of questions about this diet and wonder how this can be healthy without the meat or dairy. This year on Layered Pages, I will be answering those questions but first, I recommend you read The China Study and watch Forks Over Knives on Netflix. I will begin today by saying that I no longer have cravings for processed sugar, meats or dairy. Matter of fact, every time I see meat, I cringe knowing what it was doing to my health and digestive system.  If you have any questions about the Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, please feel free to ask me and I will do my best to answer your questions or direct you to the right source.

Now onto my other books I am reading. I finished, Long Road To Mercy by David Baldacci! There was thing I liked about the story and things that made me roll my eyes. Ha! I might discuss this more later on.

I’m still reading The Blue by Nancy Bileau and I’m enjoying the story so much I am savoring it. I will be working on a project about this book with the author and I look forward to sharing more of that with you soon.

I’m also listening to an audible book, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. So far, I haven’t really been immersed into the story but I’m not giving up. I do find some of the situations fascinating however.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and productive New Year! Until next time….

Stephanie M. Hopkins

The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health

The updated and expanded edition of the bestseller that changed millions of lives

The science is clear. The results are unmistakable.

You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes just by changing your diet.

More than thirty years ago, nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell and his team at Cornell, in partnership with teams in China and England, embarked upon the China Study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. What they found when combined with findings in Colin’s laboratory, opened their eyes to the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the unparalleled health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet.

In 2005, Colin and his son Tom, now a physician, shared those findings with the world in The China Study, hailed as one of the most important books about diet and health ever written.

Featuring brand new content, this heavily expanded edition of Colin and Tom’s groundbreaking book includes the latest undeniable evidence of the power of a plant-based diet, plus updated information about the changing medical system and how patients stand to benefit from a surging interest in plant-based nutrition.

The China Study – Updated and Expanded Edition presents a clear and concise message of hope as it dispels a multitude of health myths and misinformation. The basic message is clear. The key to a long, healthy life lies in three things: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“A lush debut; Owens delivers her mystery wrapped in gorgeous, lyrical prose.” (Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight)

How long can you protect your heart?

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

2019 Musings and New Projects

Me in March 20182018 was the first year I did not reach my reading goal in a very long, long time. I thought I would be upset over that but surprisingly I am not. I still read a lot of books considering…  I want to focus on the quality of reads and I am wanting to really dig deep into my Presidents Reading Challenge. Also, I am starting new works on Layered Pages.

This year I will be posting about a variety of mediums. Including fashion, art, books, food and photography. However, I did a little of that last year but you’ll be seeing a lot more this time around and with a lot more creativity. Such as you’ll get to see guest posts from artists, authors, photographer’s and people who work in the nutritional industry. I am really thrilled about these new and exciting projects coming up on my website.

This week I finished reading. The Long Road to Mercy. I’m still thinking about how I want to discuss my thoughts on this book. There were things I liked about it and things I did not like. Tomorrow I am starting, The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau. She is among the very few authors whose books I’ll review anymore. Her stories are amazing!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Follow my closet  @artsycouture42 and use my code: ARTSYCOUTURE42 to get a free $5 credit when signing up for Poshmark! http://www.poshmark.com

long road to mercyLong Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine #1) by David Baldacci

#1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces a remarkable new character: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . .

blueThe Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue?

BIG Book Sale Coming Soon

I am clearing out a LOT of my books and will be selling quite a bit of them at a good price and will include free shipping for USA Residents! Next Friday here at Layered Pages I will be starting to list the books for sale. I will not be selling books given to me by publishers and authors, nor sign copies. I do accept PayPal. Stay tuned! #books for sale. -Stephanie Hopkins

Book Sale

Thrift With Me

Me in March 2018

I haven’t posted in a while except for my cover crushes. Why? Because I have been taking a few weeks to regroup and work on coming up with some new post ideas for the fall time and I have noticed social media has been showing signs of the Summer slowdown! Today I want to talk about something a little off topic from what I normally post about. Here it goes…

It pays to be kind to workers in Goodwill stores or at any retell store for that matter! The Goodwill store near me is in East Cobb outside of Atlanta, Georgia and I shop in there frequently for BOOKS and what-not. The store is clean and the staff are kind and helpful. I’m not going to lie; the prices are high but they have special deals every week and I want to give a bit of advice to people who shop there and complain to the staff about prices. When I am shopping in the store, if I see clothing that has dropped on the floor by me or anyone, I pick it up and hang it back nicely. When I see a worker needing to get to the spot I am at to hang something up, I move over for them and say hi and ask how they are doing. When I am ready to check out, I take the hangers off the clothing and sort the clothing by the color tags. When I go up to the register and see that the cashier is tired, I take with them and I also let them know I appreciate them and their hard work. I used to work in retail and I have worked in the marketing business for years and I know all to well how hard these people work for little pay and appreciation. Yesterday I went in the store to find some summer tops and found some great brands that were practically brand new or gently used. I will list those brands below. Anyhow, I was helpful to the people working there and chatted with them and a few of the customers when they asked me if there were any specials going on. I guess it didn’t go unnoticed because I got a big discount on every clothing I bought plus the senior citizens discount and I just turned 42 years old. Kindness goes a long way.

Brands I bought: Women’s Tops

Vera Wang

ARIAT Polo

Zella

Nike

Banana Republic

J.Jill

Lucky Brand

Caia

*Most of the tops tags were current clothing lines.

I love thrill of finding good deals! Lots of people do not realize how important it is to thrift. Many items end up in the landfills and that is not a good thing! Recycle, Recycle, Recycle! Waste not, want not.

Best to you all!

Stephanie

Wish-List 5: Books by Stacy Green

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The first weekend of this month I was going through my Kindle looking for something to read other than book I needed to review. I was restless with worry on a personal matter and needed to distract myself and came upon, Skeleton’s Key (Delta Crossroads Trilogy, #2) by Stacy Green. I haven’t read any of her stories up to that point and even though Skeleton’s Key is the second book, I decided to read it anyways. I read the story in a day and a half! I couldn’t believe how fast I got through the story but it was that good and I love the author’s character development and-of course-southern stories are my cup of tea.

I will be heading to the beach this summer and have decided to take along, Tin God (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #1) and Ashes and Bone (Delta Crossroads Trilogy #3) to read for my beach reads. I can’t wait! It will be a treat! Be sure to check them out on Amazon. I do believe there are listed at a good price on the Kindle.

Now, after exploring Stacy Green’s other stories, I came across another new series she has with a character (Cage Foster) that is on the trilogy I told you about above. How neat! I like how she is writing series of books set in south and has created a world of great southern characters that you can really get to know and love. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Lies We BuryThe Lies We Bury: A gripping psychological thriller (Cage Foster Book 1) by Stacy Green

It’s the case that has tormented him for years…

Detective Cage Foster’s past has come back to haunt him. It’s been seven years since two girls disappeared because of his rookie mistake, and since then he’s lived under the weight of guilt. Now Annabeth, one of the girls, has been found, but with her comes more unanswered questions. Cage realizes this time there’s no room for error because the serial predator is still out there and still on the hunt.

Doubts plague Cage while he races to put the pieces together. Where has Annabeth been all these years? And why does believe she’s Lyric Gaudet, granddaughter of a powerful New Orleans voodoo priestess?

As Cage gets caught up in the mysterious black magic community of New Orleans, secrets are revealed, and he realizes it’s no coincidence Annabeth believes she’s Lyric. The girls’ pasts are somehow tied together—worse, the killer is watching and Annabeth is the target.

And Cage is running out of time.

Here are other books by Green that I am curious about and have added to my wish-list:

Killing JaneKilling Jane (Erin Prince #1) by Stacy Green

What If Everything You’ve Ever Heard About Jack The Ripper Is Wrong …

A young woman is brutally murdered in Washington D.C., and the killer leaves behind a calling card connected to some of the most infamous murders in history.

Jack The Ripper

Rookie homicide investigator Erin Prince instinctively knows the moment she sees the mutilated body that it’s only a matter of time before someone else dies.

She and her partner, Todd Beckett, are on the trail of a madman, and a third body sends them in the direction they feared most: a serial killer is walking the streets of D.C.

The Clock Is Ticking.

Erin must push past her mounting self-doubt in order to unravel a web of secrets filled with drugs, pornography, and a decades-old family skeleton before the next victim is sacrificed.

The Only Way To Stop A Killer Is To Beat Them At Their Own Game.

Into the Devil's UndergroundInto the Devil’s Underground by Stacy Green

Formerly published as Into the Dark, heavily edited with NEW SCENES.

“Why are you here?” Butterflies swarmed in her stomach. Sweat rolled down her forehead and stung her eyes.

Laugh lines appeared at the corners of the man’s eyes. “You don’t know, Miss Emilie?”

Her heart skidded to a stop. How does he know my name? Throat constricted, she shook her head.

“For you, Miss Emilie. I’m here for you.”

For Emilie Davis, it was business as usual in her job as bank manager of WestOne until two men storm in demanding cash. However, it doesn’t take long before Emilie learns one of the men isn’t there for money–he’s convinced they have a connection and has come to claim her. And he won’t give up.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate.

Through the darkness of the Devil’s Underground and secrets from her past, Emilie finds there is no escape from her stalker. She turns to Nathan, who is determined to save her no matter what it takes.

Welcome To Las VegasWelcome To Las Vegas by Stacy Green

Tate is afraid of the dark. But his junkie sister has disappeared into the terrifying storm drains below Las Vegas. The tunnels stretch hundreds of miles beneath the city, housing the city’s homeless and criminal element. Armed with only his flashlight, Tate wades into the gritty depths of the storm drains to rescue his sister from her demons.

Every step into the smothering darkness challenges Tate’s resolve. With his sister’s life and his own sanity at stake, Tate must face his fears or risk fading into the dank oblivion of the Las Vegas tunnels.

 

 

All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1)All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1) by Stacy Green

She’s no killer. She’s just taking out the trash. 

Don’t call Lucy Kendall a serial killer. She’s fighting for the innocent, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring justice.

When a child disappears, Lucy quickly discovers the link to a predator she’s faced before–a man the state of Pennsylvania decided to turn loose on the streets. Determined to find the little girl and put a criminal behind bars for good, Lucy forces her way onto the case.

As the search for the kidnapped child pulls Lucy into a web of evil beyond her darkest imagination, she’ll have to face her own dark truths to save the little girl–and herself.