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New Release | Daughters of Green Mountain Gap by Teri M Brown #historicalfiction #histfic #newrelease #bookboost



Title Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

 

Author Teri M Brown

 

Genre Historical Fiction

 

Publisher Atmosphere Press

 

Book Blurb 

 

An Appalachian granny woman. A daughter on a crusade. A granddaughter caught between the two.

 

Maggie McCoury, a generational healer woman, relies on family traditions, folklore, and beliefs gleaned from a local Cherokee tribe. Her daughter, Carrie Ann, believes her university training holds the answers. As they clash over the use of roots, herbs, and a dash of mountain magic versus the medicine available in the town’s apothecary, Josie Mae doesn’t know whom to follow. But what happens when neither family traditions nor science can save the ones you love most?

 

Daughters of Green Mountain Gap weaves a compelling tale of Maggie, Carrie Ann, and Josie Mae, three generations of remarkable North Carolina women living at the turn of the twentieth century, shedding light on racism, fear of change, loss of traditions, and the intricate dynamics within a family. Author Teri M. Brown skillfully navigates the complexities of their lives, revealing that some questions are not as easy to answer as one might think.

 

 

Excerpt

 

Maggie’s shoulders hunched forward over the wooden railing of the back porch. The sunlight filtered through the thick stand of pines, melting the ice frozen in the wagon wheel ruts. She drew a deep breath, blowing it out through pursed lips as the child’s wail pierced the air.

 

She had no idea who would take credit for the infant’s survival as both she and the doctor worked together to bring the babe into the world. When Maggie arrived, Dr. McKeithen had a grasp on a tiny foot. “Stop,” she yelled, startling him and Carrie Ann, who was ready to push on Esther’s protruding belly on the count of three. “Do you want to kill her?”

 

“Mama! Step out of the way. This baby is breech. If we don’t help Esther now, she and her child will die. We know what we are doing.”

 

Maggie spoke to John in a stern voice. “John. You called me to come because you were afraid for Esther’s life. I’m here now, but I won’t fight the doctor. It’s up to you. Do you want Dr. McKeithen to continue, or do you want me?”

 

John’s mouth opened and closed, his eyes wide, his hands trembling. Quieter now, Maggie said, “John, whatever you choose. It’s up to you. But you need to decide. The baby isn’t going to last this way, and Esther is in trouble.”

 

John looked from Dr. McKeithen to Maggie and back again before saying in a whisper, so hushed Maggie had to lean in to catch his words, “Save her, Maggie. Oh, please save my Esther.” Then he covered his face with his meaty palms, inhaling gulps of air as tears streamed down his face.

 

Maggie wasted no time and turned to wash her hands as Dr. McKeithen stepped away from the bed. Carrie Ann, not one to give in so easily, complained in a harsh, authoritative voice. “You are not a doctor, Mama. You have no formal training. You haven’t read the textbooks. I can’t believe you are going to shove aside a professional.”

 

But Maggie was not listening. Instead, she whispered gently to Esther.

 

“Esther, it’s going to be fine. I just need you to breathe in and out, nice and easy. I’m going to push the baby’s foot back inside and try to assess how it is positioned. Okay? It’s going to hurt, and I’m sorry, but I have to figure out how the baby is lying, or it is not going to make it – or you, either. Deep breath, now, ready?”

 

She pushed the little limb back toward the womb as she reached her hand into the birth canal. Esther’s agony filled the room as she clutched at Maggie’s arm. “Stop, Maggie, oh god, stop! Just let me die. Please, just let me die.”

 

Her wails transformed into moans as Maggie sat back. “The baby’s hips and left leg are still above the pelvic bone.” She turned to the doctor. “Pulling on the leg is not the way to deliver this baby. I know what must be done, but I’m going to need help.”

 

Her pleading eyes bore into the eyes of the man who had spent years learning to be a physician. He hesitated momentarily, assessing the woman in her muddy boots and faded blue dress while Carrie Ann continued to plead her case to the doctor.

 

“She has no medical training. Everything she does is contrary to what we learned. Before I came back from Boston, she never even washed her hands. Nothing she does is based on science. Instead, she gets her information from old ladies telling their stories from one generation to the next.”

 

However, when he stated, “Tell me what I have to do,” Carrie Ann fell silent. Within moments, Dr. McKeithen and Maggie were working as a team. Maggie’s small hands guided the infant back toward the womb. The doctor applied pressure from the outside, pushing his large palms against the bump that was the baby. Both ignored Esther’s screams.

 

Once satisfied the child was in the proper position, Maggie began a gentle chant, a cross between a song and a prayer. The Cherokee words were those gleaned from a healer she worked with for many years. Carrie Ann could not tolerate her mother’s interference and what she saw as incompetence. Now, instead of trying to convince the doctor, she turned her words to her mother. “This is ridiculous. Can’t you see that you’ve reversed all the hard work Esther did over the last hours? And how do you think mumbling Indian nonsense will help?” She pivoted on one heel to face Dr. McKeithen. “Are you just going to stand there and allow her to do this? This is the kind of thing I’ve been trying to tell you about. It isn’t medicine at all. It’s just tomfoolery, and unfortunately, those who believe it are more apt to die than get well.”

 

Dr. McKeithen held up his hand to stop the flow of words and turned back, intent on Esther’s transformation. The woman, who had done nothing but wail and writhe in pain for hours, began to take deep, steady breaths as she let her arms fall loose at her sides. Maggie’s chanting continued, changing rhythm during contractions. She moved her hands counterclockwise on Esther’s abdomen, pressing and releasing to the melody and Esther’s breathing.

 

Without warning, Esther’s belly swelled, then lurched, causing the woman to throw open her eyes before gently closing them again with a soft smile. “The baby has turned,” Maggie stated to the doctor. And to no one in particular, “Now, the hard work begins.”

 

For the next six hours, Esther labored, slowly pushing the baby out into the world. The child, a boy, was born blue and silent, but Maggie had seen bluer. She cleared the mucus from the baby’s mouth and, while crooning encouragements, massaged his arms and legs using enough pressure to create friction between her hand and the infant’s skin. One minute passed in silence. Then two. Esther turned toward the wall, unable to bear yet another loss. Still, Maggie crooned and rubbed until Esther’s son let out a wail, sending his mother and father to tears. Even stoic Carrie Ann had to turn away and began straightening things that needed no straightening to hide her emotions.

 

Esther would survive. That’s all she knew to do. Her son. Malcolm, named after his great-grandfather, had a fighting chance. Maggie drew another deep breath, trying to summon the energy to walk the five miles back home.

 

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Author Biography

 

Born in Athens, Greece as an Air Force brat, Teri M Brown came into this world with an imagination full of stories to tell. She now calls the North Carolina coast home, and the peaceful nature of the sea has been a great source of inspiration for her creativity.

 

Not letting 2020 get the best of her, Teri chose to go on an adventure that changed her outlook on life. She and her husband, Bruce, rode a tandem bicycle across the United States from Astoria, Oregon to Washington DC, successfully raising money for Toys for Tots. She learned she is stronger than she realized and capable of anything she sets her mind to.


Teri is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author who loves word games, reading, bumming on the beach, taking photos, singing in the shower, hunting for bargains, ballroom dancing, playing bridge, and mentoring others. Teri’s debut novel, Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, is a historical fiction set in Ukraine, her second, An Enemy Like Me, a WWII historical fiction, launched in January 2023, and her third, Daughters of Green Mountain Gap, an Appalachian granny woman tale, will launch in January 2024. Learn more at www.terimbrown.com.

 

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Threads: @terimbrown_author 

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