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Michael R. Yogish
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Peggy Winter and Louise Mae Chapman always knew there was something not quite right with their friend Rachel Rose. Although self-assured, beautiful and successful for a woman growing up in the ’40s, Rachel was elusive and distant at times. Their suspicions were confirmed and Rachel’s sanity questioned when she asked them to return to a mysterious mansion and help her achieve an impossible dream.
Three girls are brought together by their lot in Southern society: Peggy, a blooming Southern belle; Rachel, the daughter of rich, loving parents; and Louise Mae, a Black servant’s daughter whose dream is to become a writer. A lifetime after their lives diverge following Louise Mae’s mysterious disappearance, Rachel’s dying wish brings Louise Mae and Peggy together to heal wounds, rekindle friendship, and learn shocking secrets about the three women’s lives.
As Louise Mae boards the plane, she wonders if this trip can somehow do the things Rachel promised. Could a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee after forty years ever reconcile the relationship between herself and her dead mother? Would this trip be her psychological ruin or would she find the strength to endure the past memories she tried so desperately to forget.
Louise Mae mumbled nervously to herself, “God, I must be crazy to be doing this.”
She shifted her small frame in the first-class seats and rang for a flight attendant. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t get comfortable. She raised the armrests and slipped off her Italian pumps, easing her legs across the seats and into the blanket’s comfort. By the plane’s dimmed lights, passengers attempted sleep for the long flight by turning in their seats, yawning and stifling jarring snorts. The air-nozzle’s constant hiss droned everyone into a sleep-laden stupor. For Louise Mae, it was useless. She had slept little since last week and gave up such hope tonight.
The flight attendant leaned toward Louise Mae and whispered, “Yes, Ms. Chapman, may I help you?”
“Miss, do you have another pillow? I can’t get comfortable, and I could really use a short nap before we land.”
“Certainly, ma’am. For the author, Mrs. Louise Mae Chapman, you could have a dozen pillows, if you wanted.”
“One will do nicely, thanks. Just call me Louise Mae, everyone does. I already feel old enough without being called Mrs. Chapman.”
“I’ve read all your books. I only wish I had one here for you to sign.”
Louise Mae gazed out the window for a brief moment and sighed. “If I give you a signed copy of My Greatest Loss, do you think you could manage a pillow?
“Oh my God, yes. For one of your signed books I’d manage just about anything and more.”
Louise Mae settled into a comfortable position.
Someone jolted her seat, and from her periphery, she glimpsed a blonde woman stagger for support as she made her way to the lavatory. She wondered if the blonde struggled from her high heels or the extra benefits that came from flying first class. Perfume permeated the air even after the door was closed and locked. Irritated, Louise Mae flung her legs off the seat and scooted to the window. She pointed the air vent toward the aisle, hoping it would help alleviate the aroma. It did nothing. Sighing, she reluctantly breathed through her mouth as she absently wiped a smudged fingerprint from the plane’s window. She noticed the striking resemblance the blonde bore to Mrs. Denwitty from some fifty years ago. Forgotten was her past life as Weasie Mae. It seemed so very long ago, but this journey forced her mind back into the quagmire of the past.
“My, my, Weasie Mae, don’t you look dapper in that servant’s getup. I never realized how much you favor ’Lizbeth-Grace,” Mrs. Denwitty taunted.
“Why thank you, Mrs. Denwitty. Mama’s beauty was renowned. I take that as a great compliment coming from a fine lady such as yourself. Would you care for a glass of champagne?”
Louise Mae noticed Mrs. Denwitty gaze reassuringly at the concoction.
“I don’t mind if I do, Weasie. I hear you’ll soon be off to that Negro college somewhere up north. My Peggy tells me you plan to teach. Would that be right?”
“No, ma’am, your Peggy would be incorrect. I plan to write. Miss Esther’s always encouraged me to pursue literature. She thinks I have the talent.”
“Do tell. And what does Esther know of such things? But truly, I wish you all the best. It’d be wonderful if the first Negro woman of literature came from right here in Tennessee.”
As Mrs. Denwitty sauntered away she took Loretta Cunningham by the arm, lit a cigarette, and commented dryly, “Don’t you find servants so tiresome? That uppity, little nigger-girl pretending to be something she isn’t. Few women go to college these days, let alone a nigger.”
“When I Dream is a complex novel with rich Southern background. Author Michael R. Yogish lays out descriptive settings which make the urban South, both of the present day and of many years earlier, come alive for the reader. In addition, he racks up the suspense level with numerous mysteries, plot twists and turns, and unexpected revelations to keep the reader enticed. Rich character delineation rounds out the mix.” Frost, Two Lips Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 292
Paper Weight (lb): 12.2
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