Who was Nathan Kingsley really? Here’s how I see his backstory (for which there was no room in the summer short Susanna’s Secret.
Like so any men of his time, he was an empire-builder in the Old West, specifically a cattle spread in Texas even before it became a state. But where did he come from? I visualized him coming from a poor, probably large family in the Old South. Knowing he couldn’t rise from the ‘poor white’ caste, he struck out for the land of opportunity--Texas, recently proclaimed a ‘republic’ after winning its freedom from Mexican rule under Santa Anna.
With him went his young wife Susanna, also probably from a less-affluent family, and a slave, Elijah. I think Nathan and Elijah grew up together on adjoining land and were friends despite the color difference. I believe Nathan engineered his friend’s escape from a wealthy plantation owner knowing he could disappear in the Texas wilderness. (More on Elijah on Friday)
Nathan worked hard--as did Susanna and Elijah--and became a wealthy, influential man in his vicinity. (The town of Kingsley’s Valley was named for him after all!) He prided himself on his sons--heirs to take up the name and the land when he was gone.
Did he love Susanna? Probably as much as he was capable of loving a woman who, in those days, bore children, tended the hearth, and provided an extra pair of hands for work to be done.
Strong, smart, capable--and not above straying. Did he ever regret the bargain he struck with his wife? Did he do it out of duty or necessity or a little of both. (Sorry--if you want to know about their ‘deal’, you’ll have to read Susanna’s Secret when it’s released by Solstice Publishing on Amazon June 28.
Did I just sneak in a promo? Hmmmmmmm.
Did Nathan fight in the Civil War? Maybe. The story makes clear he didn’t believe in slavery. Though Elijah lived as a slave, he was essentially a free man even before Emancipation. His slave status basically protected him in a slave state. But if Nathan did fight and survive, he still met a violent death--and left a mixed legacy to his wife and children.
I don’t know if I liked Nathan, but he was most definitely a man of his time. Love him or hate him, he became part of the history of the West he helped to build.
Available for pre-sale June 21 from Amazon
Release date by Solstice Publishing: June 28
Although this is a "short story", a lot is packed into only a few words. Nickles weaves a tale of of the scoundrel Nathan Kinglsey, his wife Susanna, who is left to clean up his mess after he is murdered. This is a beautifully told compelling story of the damage we do to ourselves when we allow ourselves to carry anger, hurt and resentment and the healing power of forgiveness. ~Cookie
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