Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bette Crosby Brings Early 1900s To Life in The Twelfth Child!

Abigail Lannigan   Born – August, 1912  
 I was barely thirteen years old when Mama
 died and left me and Will in the care of Papa,
 a man who’d think nothing of shoving a dose
 of castor oil down my throat
 just so he could watch my face turn inside out
. “It’s good for what ails you,” he’d say;
yet, I noticed he never gave Will the same big dose.
Papa didn’t say it in precise words,
but he made it clear enough he wouldn’t give two hoots
 if all the girl babies in Chestnut Ridge, Virginia,
were in the graveyard along with Mama.
Of course with him being a staunch Methodist,
I don’t believe Papa was capable of taking
 a butcher knife and slicing off heads or anything;
but he surely knew how to destroy people from the inside—
a sliver of spirit, a piece of pride, a chunk of heart—
until one day there’s nothing left but a walking around shell
 to do the cooking and laundry.
                It’s a roundabout story,
but Papa’s blind-sightedness
 is the very reason Destiny Fairchild
may end up in the Women’s Correctional Facility—
which is a fancy way of saying penitentiary.
Everybody’s life could have been a whole lot different
if Mama hadn’t died
 before she got a chance to set things right.

The Twelfth Child

By Bette E. Crosby

When a woman had struggled to live like Abigail Lannigan did, you know she is going to live a long, long life. In fact, when Abigail died, she just kept on, talking and moving around as when she was alive...

Can't say I blame her, because when she died, she had left some unfinished business and wanted to try to work everything out, if possible...

When her Ma died, Abigail was immediately responsible for all of her chores. She knew that if she really ever wanted to do anything with her life, like be a teacher like her role model, then she would have to act on her own to get away.

But when she did get an offer to help from that teacher, to go and live as a companion with a poet, she knew that it would be the only time--if she didn't take it now, she'd never get away...

Besides, her Pa let it be known that he expected her to be married at 16; he'd already picked out the boy and had invited he and his Pa to come calling...

Abigail left and was soon living with Miss Ida Jean Meredith. Fortunately she had been a reader all of her life and had always made good grades so that she was quickly able to help Miss Ida Jean as she was working on her next poetry book. But, unfortunately, she became ill and died, forcing Abigail to give up her only home. She knew she couldn't go back to the farm!

Readers will see how she struggled through and lived, until when she was older and needed help, a young woman
moved across the street from her and they became friends.

Very good friends. In some ways like mother and daughter,
in other ways like sisters, even with the difference in age.
She was so kind and concerned, that Abigail quickly wanted to help her as well, so she gave her old furniture that she was no longer using and odds and ends from her home to brighten up her new home. Abigail knew she didn't make much money, so she'd help her financially as well. Then as she got physically unable to drive and care for her own needs, such as taking care of bills, Destiny Fairchild took her to shop, handle her banking and later Abigail placed her name as co-signer on her bank account...

Now Abigail had quite a bit of money, having it left to her by her brother. It was at that time that a cousin started to visit, seeking recognition and a possible inheritance and when Abigail died...

He called the cops on Destiny!

It is always interesting to visit historical times and realize how glad we are not to have lived during those times! Right? This is a heartwarming story of how love can enter the lives of those who are alone, just by being kind to another. Crosby has much talent in creating her characters and readers quickly become involved in their lives as well. Sit back and relax and make a trip to the early 1900s. Enjoy!


Award-winning author Bette Lee Crosby is originally from New Jersey, but now makes her home in Southern Florida where she lives with her husband Richard and a feisty Bichon Frise named Katie. A highly entertaining public speaker, Bette makes frequent appearances to support the various charities of women’s groups, and schedule permitting, she will join book talks and book club discussion groups.

In 1997 Bette abandoned the fast-paced world of advertising and embarked on a career as a novelist. Her books, frequently written in a Southern voice, cover a wide spectrum of locales and personalities as they tell tales of courageous women overcoming life’s obstacles. Check out her web site!


  1. It sounds like an interesting book and one that would inspire women. Would be nice to be in South Florida this winter.

  2. I'll say Gail...but then I couldn't say "I'm snowed in and...can't get out!" LOL

    Happy Holidays,