Posts Tagged ‘teen romance’

Writer’s Digest Contest for Self-Published Authors

November 23, 2012

What did you like best about Tides of Grace: BOOK 1 of THE GRACE SEXTET

The novel is both moving and entertaining.  The author does a magnificent job of transporting the reader back to the life of a girl in St. Louis a hundred years ago.  The novel begins with a literal bang, the shotgun blast with which Grace’s father takes his own life.  It’s typical of the novel’s strategy of intensification that Grace discovers her father’s body and gets his blood on herself on the same day she has her first period.  Sexuality is the engine of this machine, and the author depicts various scenes of Grace’s erotic awakening (and it’s no accident that she reads Kate Chopin’s The Awakening):  spying on her friend Dottie and Willy through an open window as they’re about to have intercourse, masturbating outdoors, having sex with her teacher in a closet at school, and taking Aunt Lydia’s “oily, green liquid” to induce an abortion.  The novel applies a contemporary sense of values (including how white people should refer to black people) to American life in 1907.  I think this revisionist approach is refreshing, a way of both righting some wrongs and making the novel more accessible to readers today.  The dialogue is brilliantly rendered, with each character speaking in a distinctive, identifiable way.  It’s a wonderful novel by a gifted author who clearly has more in mind for Grace, her brother Damien, and her friends Dottie and Cornelia in the planned sextet.

Turn-of-the-Century St. Louis, Missouri

March 15, 2012


Probably the most historically significant building in St. Louis in 1907, the time of Tides of Grace, was the Old Courthouse.  The first part of Tides of Grace ends with Grace Lampley, age 17, sitting on a bench and looking down at the muddy Mississippi River rolling by on a muggy Labor Day Monday.


I found a floor plan and a drawing for the Lampley home in St. Louis in Shoppell’s Modern Houses published in the late 19th Century. The catalog price of this residence was $2985.  Readers of Tides of Grace will recognize the front stairs and the back stairs, the veranda, and the balconies, as well as the cellar.


This image is from a post card from 1909. Much of “Juliet,” the second section of Tides of Grace, takes place in and around Central High School. Coincidentally, in 1927 a tornado demolished the building and killing 4 women students. It was never rebuilt.

Maude Adams as Shakespeare’s Juliet, c. 1899

February 7, 2012

A model for the physical appearance of Grace Lampley, heroine of Tides of Grace

Grace Lampley, heroine of Tides of Grace, is cast as Juliet in a high-school production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Central High School, St. Louis, Missouri, March 1908. Audiences loved Maude Adams in the role but critics did not.  The adaptation of Shakespeare’s play used in 1899 might well have been the script used for a high school production in 1908.

Tides of Grace, Book 1 of the Grace Sextet, by Weldon B. Durham

December 17, 2011

Tides of Grace, Book 1 of the Grace Sextet, by Weldon B. Durham

Grace Ellen Lampley, the smartest student in the senior class of 1907-08 at Central High School, St. Louis, fears the future because she has been do deeply hurt in the past. Strong and beautiful, she is intensely romantic but wary of love, and she must break the grip of emotionally stifling childhood trauma.