Daughter of the Regiment: A Cover Story
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"He held up the blue blanket--which was not a blanket at all, but her blue wool cape, adorned with gold buttons and red braid ..."
Lovers of historical fiction tend to share a fascination with historic costume. We spend time on Pinterest oohing and aahing over the gorgeous creations housed in costume collections around the world. Some of us even attend Civil War reenactments and Jane Austen balls in costumes we’ve made. While we do love our “women in costume,” I suspect we’ve secretly thankful we aren’t expected to lace up a corset and step into five petticoats every morning!
A great deal of thought and planning goes into cover design for any novel, and when a publisher takes extra care with selection and planning, it makes a writer’s heart sing. Sometimes publishers have access to theatrical costume warehouses. That gives them a wide range of options for a cover shoot. In the case of Daughter of the Regiment, FaithWords went the extra mile. They hired a designer to make a uniform inspired by an authentic Civil War vivandière costume housed in the National Museum of American History. (Vivandières were women who served the French army during the Crimean War. Their service inspired Daughters of the Regiment in the American Civil War.)
Division of History of Technology,
National Museum of American History
That’s Maggie Malone on the cover of Daughter of the Regiment. Maggie is a 6-foot-tall Irish immigrant who farms alongside her two brothers and her uncle. When the Civil War breaks out, she has very little interest in a conflict “the Americans” should solve. But when Maggie’s two brothers volunteer with the Irish Brigade, and when one of their names shows up on a list of wounded soldiers, war becomes personal. Worried about her brother, Maggie travels to where the Irish Brigade is encamped. Eventually, she begins to think of the soldiers as “her boys.” As the story unfolds, Maggie grows and changes, until she realizes that she doesn’t want to leave the regiment. In the end, Maggie follows in the footsteps of 19th century women like Kady Brownell of Rhode Island and Annie Etheridge of Michigan.
Historic photographs of women who served as Daughters of the Regiment show various versions of uniforms. Soldiers who wrote about regimental“daughters” mention caps decorated with feathers, bloomers, and all manner of braid. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s vivandiere’s costume, designer Linda Coulter first sketched the design shown at left. Once FaithWords gave approval, she created this exquisite uniform of soft blue wool, complete with authentic Civil War era reproduction buttons and lace. The jacket is fully lined and boned. Maggie Malone would have been proud to wear it, and I’ve been excited to share it with readers who attend launch events this spring. If I could wear it, I would … but alas, it’s a size 0, and I am not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning “the inside story” of this cover shoot. You can see more historic background on my Pinterest Board, https://www.pinterest.com/stephgwhitson/daughter-of-the-regiment/