Traces by Patricia L. Hudson
Still: The Journal is happy to reveal the cover for Patricia L. Hudson’s much-anticipated debut novel, Traces, which will be published by Fireside Industries this November.
Traces tells the story of Daniel Boone’s westward expansion and life on the frontier with a twist: here the Boone saga is told through the eyes of his wife, Rebecca, and her two oldest daughters, Susannah and Jemima. While Daniel became a mythic figure during his lifetime, his fame fueled backwoods gossip that bedeviled the Boone women throughout their lives, most notably the widespread suspicion that one of Rebecca’s children was fathered by Daniel’s younger brother. Traces explores the origins of these rumors, exposes the harsh realities of frontier life, and gives voice to the women whose vibrant lives have been reduced to little more than scattered footnotes within the historical record. Daniel’s restless wandering made the women eyewitnesses to the clash of cultures between the settlers and the indigenous tribes who fought to retain control of their native lands and made life on the frontier an ongoing struggle for survival. Patricia L. Hudson does a remarkable job of breathing life into these often forgotten and erased women, revealing their joys and sorrows.
Acclaimed novelist Silas House serves as the series editor for Fireside Industries, which is a partnership between the University Press of Kentucky and Hindman Settlement School. House had read excerpts from the novel years ago when Hudson was in his class at the Appalachian Writers Workshop at Hindman, and says he never forgot the haunting voices of the characters. “This is an epic story that corrects the way women have so often been left out of the stories of history, but it also does a tremendous job of transporting us back in time. The sense of place and the careful recreation of the time period make it the kind of book a reader can disappear into when they are reading,” he says. “And I love the composure and empathy of Hudson’s prose.”
Here is the beautiful cover, which was designed by Hayward Wilkirson, using an 1881 Alexander H. Wyant painting called “An Old Clearing”:
“There is a quiet power to Hudson’s Traces and the women’s voices who come to life in the pages of this beautiful novel,” says Patrick O’Dowd, acquisitions editor at the University Press of Kentucky. “It was important to us that the cover reflect that. The image that Hayward Wilkirson found really evokes a sense of the sublime wilderness that Rebecca Boone and her daughters were navigating—literally and metaphorically—throughout their lives.”
Traces will be published by Fireside Industries on November 1, 2022. Pre-orders are available from the publisher.
Patricia L. Hudson is a freelance writer and former contributing editor for Americana magazine. She is also the author of Inns of the Southern Mountains, coeditor of Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia, and coauthor of The Carolinas and the Appalachian States, a volume in the Smithsonian Guide to Historic America series. She has been a frequent contributor to Southern Living and earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing (formerly the Spalding University MFA). You can find out more about her, and read her blog about the Boone family, on her website.