I grew up in Michigan and spent most of my career working at the University of Michigan. My current passion is historical novels set in the 1930s. I live in Arizona where I love to bicycle and hike. You can also find me taking Zumba classes and calming down with yoga and meditation. Guilty pleasures: tiramisu, Netflix, and staring dreamily into space.
THREADS: A DEPRESSION ERA TALE by Charlotte Whitney is an engaging historical fiction novel set in 1934. The story is told from the perspectives of three sisters living on a farm in Michigan. Nellie is seven-years-old and has a fantastic imagination and wanders around the farm talking to the animals, space aliens, Pottawatomi Indians, and pirates. Irene is eleven, overconfident and judgmental to a fault, believes she is the smartest student at her school. Seventeen-year-old Flora’s only desire is to marry the neighbor boy. The book starts with Nellie unearthing a dead baby in the back woods while digging for pirate treasure. Consequently, the sisters form a club to solve the mystery of the baby’s origins. But that is only the beginning of many mysteries, intrigues, twists, and turns.
While set on a family farm, there were many intrusions, including train riders begging for food, thieves who stole food and horses, a sinister revivalist preacher, a genial peddler with his cart full of goods, and Gypsies camped down near the fairgrounds. The girls must tread their way carefully through this cast of colorful characters.
Never lost in the plot are the hard times that all are facing. Even farmers who grew their own food and raised chickens for eggs, and slaughtered their cattle for meat went hungry. Neighbors lost their farms and needed to move away. Parents sacrificed stale bread so that their growing children might not go to bed hungry.
An emerging theme of the book is that of kind-hearted neighbors helping one another. While the book approaches such dark elements as murder, robbery, and sexual assault, the over-arching theme is that of the powerful healing nature of a strong community. In the end, the book is warm-hearted and positive and sends an excellent message for those of us enduring this difficult pandemic.
There is a short epilogue at the end following up with the girls forty years later. Don’t skip it. The sisters reminisce over their childhoods and the “wealthy days of poverty and want.”
It's a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes the of the Great Depression. But when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly.
It's a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm during the throes of the Great Depression. But when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and decide to solve the mystery.
When young Nellie wanders down the woods of her family farm to play with pollywogs at the creek, she usual encounters her imaginary friends of bears, space aliens, and Pottawatomi Indians. After all, it's 1934, the height of the Great Depression, and her real world is limited. But when she starts digging for pirate treasure and discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, a whole new world is revealed.
"This book is about so much more that just the Depression. It's about the hopes and dreams of the people during the Depression and their strength and belief in goodness and kindness and helping take care of your neighbors."
"Weathy Days of Poverty and Want"
"Fast-paced and incredibly well-written, this is a story that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and wanting more."
Readers' Favorite 5 Star Review
Charlotte Whitney loved literature from an early age and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in English. She worked at the University of Michigan before she began writing full-time. Her latest book is THREADS A Depression Era Tale.
Charlotte Whitney grew up on a Michigan farm where she spent countless hours reading and daydreaming. Both her undergraduate and graduate degrees were in English language and literature and she worked at the University of Michigan prior to moving to Arizona to pursue a full-time writing career. Her early books were nonfiction, but she wanted to be more adventuresome and wrote a romance novel, followed by a historical novel set during the Great Depression. THREADS A Depression Era Tale is her most recent book.
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In keeping with the theme of 1930s farm life, the setting of THREADS, I'm posting this photo of my mother and her younger sister, along with her pet lamb. Her parents ran out of food that year and the lamb had to be slaughtered. All the rest of her life, and she lived to be 96, my mother would eat anything--except lamb. Ironically, my mother's name was Mary.
My friend Jane's recipe for Wacky Cake, a dessert from the Depression. This is extra special in that the recipe was written by Jane's grandma--her own handwriting. In THREADS Mrs. Vandenberg makes a Wacky Cake for the church potluck. If you would like the complete recipe go to CONTACT and put "Wacky Cake Recipe" in the message.
This family photo shows the workhorse doing double duty as the family transportation as well as being used in the fields to drive the plows. Many farmers couldn't afford to buy a Model A or Model T and continued to use the horses.
This family photo details the pride of owning a car. Notice the haystack, barn, silo tool shed, and granary in the background.
In this photo my Great-grandpa Mulvany and Great Aunt Gladys demonstrate the height of the snow drift.
My Grandpa Bosserd and Great Uncle Charlie are proud of their hunting skills. During the Depression venison was an important source of meat for farmers.