My Books

Echoes of a Distant Promise

This debut historical novel is the first in a series of stories set in mid-19th century America, a time when the nation faced many of the same challenges our contemporary society is facing. Politics, immigration, corruption, sluggish economic recovery, nativism, the beginning of the women’s movement, and societal outcry against the injustices of slavery all fueled western expansion and set America onto the path of becoming a superpower.


Echoes… begins in 1849, when the whole country was intoxicated with California Gold Rush Fever, and is told from dual POVs. The story begins in Boston, on the day of the wedding of Lillianna Cavanaugh and Trudell Gillenry, son of a nouveau riche businessman who does not approve of his son’s marriage to a “radical” abolitionist Quaker. Rather than face his father’s wrath, Trudell flees, taking Lillianna’s dowry money, and joins friends from Harvard who have challenged a group of Yalies in a winner-take-all wagered race to the goldfields, one sailing the Cape Horn route and the other via the Overland route. When Lillianna arrives at the church, she is accused by his grief-stricken parents of knowing his whereabouts, and they hand her the last communication they have from him—a message that, on first glance, looks like a suicide note. But Lillianna sees something different in a hidden code that appears in the border design of the note’s stationery. And what is crystal clear to Lillianna is this: Trudell is not dead and he has stolen her dowry. She is determined to find him and get her dowry back, no matter what it takes

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© 2020 by J.J. Wheeling

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