Last year I wrote a paragraph for the beginning of a novel. Just a paragraph. I really felt there was “something there” but the story refused to show itself. It remained hidden. And it frustrated me. Then, this pandemic hit. And suddenly, the words that had been so elusive, revealed themselves. I’m currently working on the seventeenth chapter of The Red Dress, and the words are flowing easily. It’s as if the people in the yet-unfinished manuscript are aching for their stories to be told.
In the opening storyline, Arabella Edwards is living by herself during the current pandemic. She’s lonely, afraid and suffering from random panic attacks. Then, in an old chest in the attic of her century home, she finds a bloodstained red dress from the 1800’s. Uncovering the mystery of the red dress will unite Arabella to people in a way she never expected to be united in the midst of a global crisis. The parallel storyline set in 1852 finds a runaway slave hidden in Arabella’s home in a different era. When the two storylines converge, my hope is that both the tragedy and the redemption in The Red Dress will remind everyone who reads it that we are a people who will forever be in need of friendship, companionship, grace and love.