Introducing my beautiful new novel: SARAH’S SECRET, a coming-of-age of a fourteen-year-old girl named Sarah, who will go on to become the real-life mistress of True Blue Plantation in present-day Pawleys Island, until her death in 1823.
The novel is fiction, but it is based on my research and many years of living on the grounds of the former plantation. In 2004 I founded a non-profit to restore the Pawley Family Cemetery at True Blue. Today it is still quietly and meticulously cared for.
Sarah Vaux was a remarkable woman who was at constant loggerheads with the conventions of the day. As a member of the aristocratic planter class, Sarah’s life was defined for her before she was born. But in subtle ways, she resisted; Sarah was a feminist before the invention of the word. You will be proud of Sarah and if you are anything like me, you will grow to love her.
The portrait on the book cover was reproduced from an oil on canvas painting of my granddaughter, Lily Hughes. Two summers ago Lily accompanied me to Latta Plantation where I volunteered as a docent. It wasn’t long before she was disenchanted with the plantation and wanted to go home.
I insisted on taking one photograph of her before we left. She was not happy, but I took it anyway. And I think that’s the magic of the portrait. Lily is not posing. The stare is real.