An Anthology from Main Street Rag
Pillow of Thorns
On Thanksgiving Day, 1850, an exotic young beauty stands trial for killing her wealthy, older husband. This fictionalized account is a spellbinding blend of mystery, superstition, slavery, and social history. Pillow of Thorns
will take hold of your imagination as it transports you to another place and time.
"I read this truth-based novel straight through in one sitting, fascinated not just by the lively retelling of a murderous family scandal, but by Smith's contagious love of detail that makes the 1850s come alive. A potion to dampen an unwelcome lover's ardor. Old remedies like onion poultices, hot turpentine burned into the flesh. A recipe for syllabub. A high society young lady pickled in a keg of rum --- good gracious! Karen Cecil Smith has really done her homework. If you love history, I recommend this book."
-Joanna Catherine Scott, author of The Road from Chapel Hill
and Child of the South
"Infamous Maria Miller was certainly one of the most beautiful and intriguing women ever to live in North Carolina --- but was she a murderer? Author Karen Cecil Smith knows how to keep her impeccable research in the background and let a good story rip."
- Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth
and On Agate Hill
AWARDS: 2013 Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award
An Old Salem Easter, 1850
Join a young sister and brother as they prepare for the Easter Sunrise Service in historic Salem, North Carolina. Through the cleaning of gravestones in God's Acre, decorating them with flowers, being awoken on Easter morning by lovely trombone music, eating a traditional Moravian breakfast of sugar cake, then gathering with family and friends to watch the sun rise over Salem, you will be uplifted and inspired.
"A sweet story about a timeless Moravian subject, with charming illustrations."
-John Hutton, author and illustrator of the Sister Maus
" The story is well researched and beautifully illustrated and brims with the closeness of family and the strength of a tradition that continues even today."
-Kathleen Benner Duble, author of Madame Tussaud's Apprentice
"Author Karen Cecil Smith has woven a sweet and endearing addition to any child's library for even as the children sing, "Joyful we with one accord," the bittersweet facets of days gone by are awakened afresh in the heart and soul."
-Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of The Cadence of Grace
"An important educational tool and supportive document for the posterity of a regional North Carolina treasure. The sweetness of the illustrations reinforces [the] message."
-Sue Seamon, NC artist and author/illustrator of Letters to Lucky
"An Old Salem Easter, 1850, is a gentle story of faith, richly steeped in Moravian heritage. From images of spring to sounds of trombones to familiar litanies, Karen Cecil Smith has created a warm celebration of Easter to be shared across generations. Katherine Loafman's illustrations infuse the story with light, fitting for the Easter sunrise service in God’s Acre. More than a story alone, the book includes endnotes and old photographs that provide historical background and context for the story."
-Julia Taylor Ebel, author of Hansi and the Iceman
and Mama's Wreaths
Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife (1844-1939)
Orlean Puckett endured many trials during her lifetime. A bride at the age of 16, she gave birth to and buried 24 babies by the time she was in her mid-thirties. At age 45, she became a midwife. During the next 49 years, she successfully delivered over a thousand babies.
"Smith answers so many questions I'd wondered about and offers a plausible reason for the loss of Aunt Orlean's children. More than that, she gives us a beautiful picture of a way of life now gone in these mountains I love."
-Jerry Bledsoe, author of Bitter Blood
"Smith, through the telling of Orlean Puckett's life story, gives us back some of our rich midwifery roots. This is a great contribution to the history of our dedicated foremothers. As midwives we can be proud to be Orlean Puckett's spiritual daughters."
-Jan Tritten, Midwifery Today Magazine
An Old Salem Christmas, 1840
A young girl experiences the wonder and excitement of Christmas as she attends a Moravian Lovefeast celebration in 1840 Salem, NC. She joins in the candlelight service of sacred music and texts, and she savors a sweet roll and cup of milky coffee, which still are served at traditional Lovefeasts.
"A heartwarming story that is a delightful read for families at Christmastime and anytime throughout the year."
-Jennifer Bean Bower, author of Winston-Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem
"It is not often that fiction and history intermingle in an exciting and interesting way. After reading this book, older children and adults alike are sure to travel back in history to a time and place where Christmas was about more than presents and family was more than just a word."
-Wendy S. Weida, Executive Director, Moravian Historical Society
AWARDS: 2009 Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award