by DJ McMurry
The story of a white man who chose to live in the
black man's world during post-Civil War days
McMurry wrote her work of fiction, Black Pearls, in the course of
two weeks' time. She is sometimes reluctant to disclose this fact, because --
impossible as it may seem-- she doesn't consider herself a writer. The fact that
the story literally "poured out of her" indicates that she was given the story,
and she admits in the dedication that the one who gave it to her was named Jon.
Black Pearls is the story of a white man who chose to live in the
Black world during post-Civil War days, a most difficult time in history for the
South. Being white, Frank Fulton was not fully accepted by his chosen people,
and living in the black community was not tolerated by the Southern whites.
Fulton was a man without a country, having fled his native England after killing
a man and hoping to cheat the hangman's noose. The story tells of his painful
childhood, wrongful incarceration in an asylum, his flight to America and his
struggles to survive in the New World. Fate made Fulton a master of cunning,
breaking every commandment in the Book, yet he was a moral man whose actions
proved just, though often outside the law.
Through it all, he was a loving, caring man to whom women were drawn. The
"Black Pearls" are the three black women in his life who helped shape and define
it. First there was young Belinda, whose parents had nursed him back to health
after his arrival in America. Having gotten her in the "fambly way," Frank was
forced to leave, hurting, but knowing it was the right thing to do at the time.
Wandering west, Fulton gets trapped into a marriage with a white settler's
daughter, with whom he raises a family in St. Louis. But when the situation
becomes intolerable, he fakes his own death and heads back for Raven's Run and
his "true love," only to discover Belinda is dead.
He discovers Belinda has borne a daughter, Lily, half white, whom he believes
must be his love-child -- only no one is willing to tell him the truth. Then
Ruby comes into his life...
These loves are threaded throughout the trials and tribulations that beleaguered
his life, but they gave it beauty and substance. Black Pearls is packed with
action, emotion, and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.
It is a period novel, but historical only incidentally.
DJ McMurry was a resident of Crawford, Colorado.
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