River Sisters, The Receiver traces the heritage of culture and courage passed by Nancy Hilderbrand, protagonist of River Sisters, The Giver, to her great-granddaughter, Eliza McNeal. A "mere whit of rawhide," tough, independent, yet, compassionate, Eliza is one of the first female Rural Free Delivery mail carriers. Riding horseback twelve hours a day, through rugged terrain, crossing creeks, avoiding ruts and potholes that can break a horse's leg, she is responsible for postal service along the legendary Trail of Tears. Eliza is the eldest of three sisters, who face serious personal and familial challenges, as they stake their lives and fortunes on the banks of the Tennessee River-not only the ancients' Giver of life, but the Receiver of lives caught in its tumultuous currents and depths.
Jan Dearman's life-long avocation has been writing fiction, especially that having roots in the history, heritage, and beauty of the Tennessee River Gorge near Chattanooga, ancestral home of her family for seven generations. Jan's great-aunt provides inspiration for the character of Eliza McNeal: A 1985 newspaper article on her life calls her "the last known living person in the Chattanooga area to have carried the U. S. mail on horseback." Living to be 100 years old, this spirited woman and those of her generation still reside, with pride and affection, in the hearts and history of their progeny, who remain along the Trail and the banks of the Tennessee.