Okatibbee Creek is based on the true story of Mary Ann Rodgers, who survived the collapse of the Confederate dollar, food shortages, and the deaths of countless family members to war and disease. As she searched for a way to feed her children and her orphaned nieces and nephews, Sherman's Union army marched through Mississippi on their way to destroy Meridian, and Mary Ann found the distant war literally on her doorstep. Help arrived just in the nick of time in the form of an unexpected champion, and Mary Ann emerged on the other side a heroic woman with an amazing story.
Okatibbee Creek is a novel of historical fiction that brings the Deep South vividly to life and will have you cheering and crying through a real-life story of loss, love and survival.
|Publisher:||Lori Crane Entertainment, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
About the Author
She is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, United States Daughters of 1812, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Historical Novel Society.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite "Okatibbee Creek" is based on the true story of the main character in this story, Mary Ann Rodgers. This story opens in 1834 when young Mary is six years old, and is spending time down at the creek with her brothers and sister while waiting for the birth of another sibling. Though there is joy that day she also experiences the loss of her two brothers along that creek. From there we follow the Rodgers family through the eyes of Mary. We get snippets of her life as she grows up and and at the age of eighteen marries her childhood sweetheart Rice Carpenter, becomes a mother herself and watches as they turn from farming to becoming owners of a mercantile business in town. We also experience the loss and longing she feels when many in her family, including her beloved Rice, head off to fight in the Civil War. Mary is left at home to take care of the children and run the store and times are far from easy, with dwindling supplies and a typhoid epidemic that has her taking in several of her nieces and nephews. It seems that death and destruction is around every corner, but Mary knows she has no choice but to stay strong. For me "Okatibbee Creek" is the best kind of historical fiction, because it is based on real people, places, and events. I found myself so completely drawn into this story that I felt the Rodgers family actually became my family, and I was transported back to the south during the Civil War. The author easily captured the emotions that the characters felt, bringing each person to life, which allowed me to experience the feelings that the felt, the joy of a new birth or wedding, or the sadness and sorrow as death took a beloved family member. I really thought the letters that passed between Rice and Mary were wonderful, and actually found myself re-reading them. In addition to the sense of family I felt within this story, I also felt a sense of experiencing history. It was obvious that Lori Crane did her research as regards the Civil War aspects of the story. From the shortages that many experienced to the rosters that named the dead posted in the mercantile, it all seemed so very real. The story spans the period from 1834 to 1869, which allows us to glimpse many changes that take place not only within the family but within the United States as well. One of my favorite secondary characters had to be William Jolly; he seemed to know what to say and do at the right time. The melding of his and Mary's family seemed to work so well, truly a second chance at life and love. An added bonus is the pictures of the Rodgers family that the author included with this story. Overall, this book certainly qualifies as historical fiction. It is a perfect blending of fact and fiction with romance, hardships and a glimpse at one of the worst times in our country's history. I enjoyed the way the author wrapped the story up. I am so glad to see that Lori Crane plans at least two more stories around the Rodgers family.
During the course of a genealogical search into her roots, Lori Crane visited the grave of her third great grandmother, Mary Ann Rodgers. After becoming acquainted with, and fascinated by, this forebear, Crane gathered data and assembled the facts of her life. Then she put flesh on the bones, breathed imagination into it, and wove it into a novel, the result of which is Okatibbee Creek. Told almost exclusively through Mary Ann Rodgers, the story opens in Mary’s sixth year. It follows her through years of growing up, courtship, and motherhood, largely against the backdrop of a south torn by conflict and privation during the Civil War. In the pre-war days, one can’t help but be astonished by the amount of babies born, the size of the families, and the complex interrelation of families. Children grow, marry, and reproduce at an astounding rate. Households are established, businesses formed, and small fortunes built, until war breaks out and men rush to the defense of the south. Casualties mount as the conflict begins in earnest. Disease claimed more in the ranks than battle, and those who remained at home were not immune to its ravages. Anyone acquainted with history knows the losses were appalling, and Crane puts it in unique perspective. Through the eyes of Mary, we get a glimpse of how it was for one woman, her family, extended family, and her community. Okatibbee Creek is about perseverance in the face of hardship and heartbreaking loss. There is limited historical detail, for the weight of the text inclines towards revealing Mary’s heart. Crane writes of Mary’s grief over several lost dear ones: “I can’t remember one moment to the next. I don’t know how, but each moment just comes and goes and I am still alive.” The account reads much like a diary, a page-turner of a diary. Crane’s language is simple, yet profound. One Christmas Eve, as families light candles for the dearly departed at a church service, Mary makes the poignant observation, “The room is brighter than a wheat field on a sunny day.” It is such juxtaposing of the tragic with the hopeful that makes this novel shine. Lori Crane is sensitive and respectful of the subjects at hand. She does not dwell on the more difficult aspects of slavery, which to some may seem a convenience, but it must be said that this is clearly not the aim of the book. The slave stories, besides, are based on original accounts of the era. She also refrains from delving into the more intimate details of Mary’s personal life, an omission one might expect from a proper southern lady of the time. Her theme, as stated through Mary, is that we must honor the memories of our loved ones, and give witnesses to each other’s lives. And in Okatibbee creek, this is exactly what Lori Crane has done--given faithful witness to these long-since passed on family members. One likes to think Mary Ann Rodgers herself would be proud.