Wednesday, June 10, 2009
IMHO welcomes western historical author Kathryn Albright!
Kathryn Albright has long enjoyed romances with a cross-cultural edge, perhaps because of her upbringing in Southern California and the strong Hispanic/Native American influence there. The very first romance she ever read was Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, which was set in the early ranching community there. Zorro—that mysterious, dashing Latino Robin Hood who fought injustice in early California was a favorite, too.
So when she visited the Alamo in Texas and learned about the territory’s fight for freedom from Mexican rule, it was the plight of the Tejanos that captured her interest. Much like the South seceding from the North in the United States Civil War, in Texas the battle brought father against son, brother against brother. Her second book, The Rebel and the Lady, is set against this backdrop.
In The Rebel and the Lady, Jake, a gun-slinging drifter, comes up against the strong ideals of Victoria, a Spanish landowner during the Texian revolt. In the end, he comes to respect her beliefs (and has some swashbuckling Zorro-moments of his own.) Kathryn will put The Rebel and the Lady in the IMHO "Weddings and Beginnings" gift basket for June's giveaway contest.
In Kathryn’s next book and sequel, Texas Wedding for their Baby’s Sake, the story focuses on Jake’s brother, Brandon, a doctor who was forced to tend the enemy troops. After the war, he must battle his own personal demons, but there is a scene where Jake and Victoria get married.
IMHO: Kathryn, welcome to IMHO, and tell us how Texas Wedding fits our "Weddings and Beginnings" theme (although, cough-cough, I think the title gives it away...)
KA: First off, thank you for inviting me to your IMHO blog, TJ! It is a pleasure being here.
In order to write the wedding scene, I learned about early customs of Spanish/Mexican weddings. One thing I particularly liked was the strong emphasis on family. It was considered an honor for the bride to wear her mother’s bridal dress, the pillow she kneels on to say her vows is a gift from another close relative, and the lasso used to entwine the couple is given by another relative. The fan, prayer book, and rosary beads all have significance in the ceremony, too. One of the customs I hadn’t heard of was the brass box filled with coins that the priest blesses.
A very short excerpt: Jake accepted the box, and in turn, presented it to Victoria, pouring the coins into her cupped hands and saying: “I pledge all my present and future goods into your care for your safekeeping.”
Now what woman wouldn’t like that kind of devotion from her husband?
And the other custom—the lasso…
“This cord is a symbol of the love which binds you and the vows you have made today that you may share equally in the responsibility of marriage for the rest of your lives.”
I thought this was a beautiful idea and am happy to learn it is coming back in present-day Latino weddings.
The formal, Catholic service in the story was quite different from my own ceremony which my son calls a “hippie” wedding on my grandparent’s farm (I’ll spare you the pictures). But that’s another story…
IMHO: Thanks for telling us about those fascinating customs, Kathryn. As a fellow historical writer, you know I'm always interested in learning the traditions of other cultures and how they came about.
Now how about you, IMHO readers? Tell Kathryn what wedding customs you would want—or if you are already married—what wedding customs did you have that are unique to you and your family?
Be sure to leave a comment with your answer for a chance to win the "Weddings & Beginnings" Basket filled with autographed novels from Deeanne Gist, Kathryn Albright, Gemma Halliday, Kathy Carmichael, and me, your host, TJ Bennett, as well as a $20 gift card to Target. Remember to come back all month and leave a comment for each of our guests (you'll need to leave two or more to be eligible to win).