It’s finished! My first draft of Legacy of Faith is finished after nearly a decade of research and writing. To celebrate, here’a an excerpt. This is the very beginning of the siege, when Jennie goes into the Peking foreign legations and anticipates the trouble to come.
June 20, 1900: Peking, China
The foreign legations of China were new to Jennie. Usually they were the haunt of the colonial elite, not lowly missionaries like her. She’d heard of grand parties, with string quartets and silk gowns and champagne held here. But now the beautiful gates were barred, the gaps between the embassies filled in with carved doors and polished tables. Ambassadors and their families crowded into the most sheltered buildings cheek by jowl with clerks and nurses and teachers.
Dr. Leonard wasted no time finding other medical personnel and staking her claim on a small, well-defended house as the hospital. The German translator was their first patient, enjoying the undivided care of the nurses, but not for long. Jennie feared the little hospital would be overflowing with the wounded and sick. Dr. Leonard must have been of the same mind, for she set the nurses busily to work making bandages out of fine table linens, setting up beds in neat rows on the floors, stocking a little kitchen with all the salvaged medical supplies, and boiling and wrapping all kinds of tools from scalpels to salad tongs.
Jennie looked out the window toward the legation courtyard where the American Marines were drilling regulars of all different countries as well as training new recruits from among the embassy staff and missions. The more cool-minded of the women calmed the others and their children, giving each a task to keep their minds distracted.
Jennie half expected to see dark storm clouds gathering above, but the summer sky remained clear, hazy, and hot. There was a storm brewing, though, even if not the usual kind. And Jennie hoped they’d found a secure enough place to withstand when the first onslaught broke.
As always, let me know what you think, and feel free to post your own work for critique.