Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
She wore a flannel skirt that was sleek with her blouse, both of them formed with darts that made her look smart and adamant. Dawn’s mother still wore gathered blouses. Frances’s hair, wound up, had soft brown lights at the top, and her soundless smile made people laugh. It didn’t matter what she did, the men would probably tease her anyway even though she’d been disappointed by one. He had gone on a ship down to California, hearing of the mining there, and hadn’t yet returned. Dawn’s mother warned her not to ask about him. Frances had waited long enough, so long that she had little confidence in the men who came through town. She still said she was waiting for someone. Now it seemed that she waited for Uncle Alex because he trapped with her father. And Uncle Alex wasn’t noticed for teasing women.
There were men who did worse than teasing, Frances knew.
Dawn asked her, “Do you think people would tease someone wearing a hat of swan around here?”
“If you want to know a secret, I think the hat is going to be a memento. Like a wedding dress. Down in Seattle, they have fancy parties that people like the Helsunk’s attend. We’re trying to make it after a fashion, not the kind of hat to attract teasing.”
Probably, it was Frances who knew the difference.
“There are women who have come into money fashionably up in Anchorage and a few here too,” Frances continued. “Well, I might wear a hat like that for occasions. There’s nothing wrong with special attire, only if a woman wears it for strangers. Now your mother, she feels bad about the old swan being made after a fashion. She’s very fussy about it.”
Dawn knew her mother would revere a dead swan and that she favored their feathers for her native shirt pattern. But she had said that the spirit of the swan was like a cloud near a mountain peak, like the passing of things on the strong land. Swans seemed to make her mother sad.
Dawn recalled her father’s worry. “To most people, swans are no different from mink or the snowshoe hare you wear. Except for the law about them.”
“There’s the difference. Glenda can be trusted on that. I wouldn’t work on that pelt if just anyone brought it in. I don’t need that kind of money.”
About the Author
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.