Carole Whang Schutter
Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times Magazines, Spirit Led Woman and on The Master's Artist Blog. Her work focuses on fiction, popular culture, media and their relationship to people who live according to a Christian worldview. Dee Stewart is the owner of DeeGospel PR, a Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA where she lives. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 5 years old in July at, keep up with her current projects at, talk to in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

4 Women on America’s Independence

Aunt DoeEvery year my family celebrates not only America’s independence on July 4, but also our Aunt Doretha’s birthday. This year she will be seventy-six. She’s taught me a great deal about humility, inner strength, faith, longsuffering, and the long road my culture has traveled to get to where we are now, especially in the publishing industry.

Like the fictional maids in Kathryn Stockett’s popular novel The Help, for most of Aunt Doe’s life, she wasn’t afforded the opportunity to share her writing with the world. She was a South Georgian maid and nanny in the 1960s. She lived in a town that threatened to murder anyone who thought about protesting with a march, boycott, or sit in.

Back then freedom for a black woman meant silence. So she kept her thoughts to herself by writing. She wrote in notebooks and prayer journals locked away, only to be read by herself. Sometimes she shared her writing with me or her sisters. Back then there were very few places for women of color to publish their writing, yet she continued to write.

But she didn’t write to become published. She wrote to bear her soul, to dream of being free, and to pray for her family’s future. I would like to believe she prayed for me to have the blessings denied her for so many years because of her race, class, and gender.

So to honor Aunt Doe, I am spotlighting some current historical novels about women of great faith who persevered despite their ethnicity, culture, and societal restraints.

Love Finds You In Victory Heights, Washington1. Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington, Tricia Goyer and Ocienna Fleiss

In this nove,l Rosalie Madison mourns the deaths of her fiancé and brother—both World War II heroes—by working for Boeing. Her spirit and hard work not only win the heart of Victory Heights but also Kenny Davenport, a local reporter. But can Rosalie’s faith help her move on with her life before she loses another great love?

But there is more to this story. There is a message about sisterhood and Christian camaraderie that unites us when our society warrants it.

Tricia Goyer, one of the authors, shares that “we [Tricia and Ocieanna Fleiss] wanted to show how people from many cultures came together for the war effort [WWII] . . . and also how friendships were challenged because of cultures.

“Our main character, Rosalie, finds a loving mentor in an African American named Tilly. She also mourns the friendship of Japanese friends in the Seattle area who were taken to internment camps. War stirs us out of our comfort zones and makes us cherish our friends even more!” (Summerside Press, 2010).

2. Angels Watching Over Me, Michael PhillipsAngels Watching Over Me

Katie Clairborne, a North Carolinian plantation princess, and Mayme Jukes, a slave girl about Katie’s age who worked on a nearby Shenandoah County plantation, join forces when both their parents are murdered by outlaw soldiers during the Civil War. In order to survive, both girls must run the plantation as though Katie’s parents are still alive. This story reads like a young adult cross between Cold Mountain and Cane River (Bethany House, 2010).

3. Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii, Bodie ThoeneLove Finds You In Lahaina, Hawaii

In 1890, Lahaina is in the midst of unrest. Kaiulani, Crown Princess of the Kingdom of Hawaii, has recently become known throughout the world for her intelligence, beauty, and determination to restore her nation’s monarchy. When Andrew, a Scottish missionary, lands on the shores of Lahaina, he finds himself drawn into a revolt by those who want to annex the islands to the United States. Will he underestimate Kaiulani, or can they work together to restore peace to this normally tranquil paradise?

I like how this story was framed with narrator, Hannah. Kudos to weaving accurate history into a great romance. The Thoenes never disappoint (Summerside Press, 2010).

Chains4. Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. From acclaimed Quaker author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual. Great award-winning novel for children and adults (Simon & Schuster, 2009).

Chains touched on a very interesting topic, which rarely gets explored, regarding slave owners use of Protestantism to mentally subdue slaves with religion. Bethany House Publishers did something similar with Sharon Ewell Foster’s award-winning Abraham’s Well (2008).

African-American culture for years has been pigeonholed to represent one ethnic enclave, one response to oppression and one expression of faith. What these authors show through the eyes of women who lived through pivotal moments in American history is that our differences don’t define us, but our belief in God to help us through our trials always will.

A few years ago Aunt Doe gave me a collection of poems she had recently written. Her writings have not changed. And unlike Stockett’s inaccurate vernacular of both African-American maids and white Southerners of 1960s Mississippi, my aunt writes brilliant prose while speaking in a dialect her region is accustomed to. She continues to write prayers of freedom and faith. She still doesn’t seek to be published to prove her worth.

PR Tip for Historical Writers: Create articles based on the time period and how it relates to our current climate. Use Google Trends to see what historical moments are trending. Submit the article to history, political, and women magazines, according to their editorial calendar.