A little over a year ago, I started this blog to record my inspirations, insights and reflections as I researched and wrote the novel which has become Windborne. It has been a labor of love dedicated to my family whose lives and stories inspired the work. I am happy to announce that the book is complete with an anticipated release date in time for the holidays. The following is a synopsis of the novel. The book will be available from Amazon in paperback and also as an ebook on Kindle. Watch this site for more information about the release!
Wanda DeHaven Pyle
Wanda DeHaven Pyle
Three generations of women overcome heartache, poverty, and abuse before each woman finally recognizes her hidden strength and power and finds the courage to be true to herself.
When Virginia Findlay gives up her career as a one-room school teacher in rural Kansas to marry her sweetheart, she is unaware of the chain of events she sets in motion for the three generations of women who follow in her footsteps. Virginia leaves behind her home and family in the Kansas Flint Hills at the turn of the last century to venture out on her own and attend the Kansas Normal School to become a teacher. She relishes her new-found independence and is passionate about her belief that education is the key to a better life for rural America. She begins the journey toward bringing her vision to reality when she accepts a position teaching in a one-room school not far from her home in the Flint Hills. During the course of her short career she not only triumphs over school bullies, uninformed school board members and natural disasters, she falls in love.
Bowing to the culture of the times, Virginia gives up her teaching career to marry Will Caulder, a young cowboy who has big dreams of owning his own ranch and making a name for himself among the large cattle ranchers of the day. However, the death of their first child followed by the devastating effects of the Great Depression changes everything and Will and Virginia are forced to sell out and struggle for survival along with millions of others caught in the economic collapse.
Will and Virginia’s family comes of age with the onset of World War II. Their oldest son is drafted into the Army and their two older daughters marry servicemen, leaving only Helen, their youngest, still in school. Helen is shy and withdrawn, but Will and Helen still believe that education is the key to a better life and insist that she attend college.
Once out from under the shadow of her older siblings, Helen discovers her own identity and independence. She passes the war years in a whirlwind of activity with only a vague understanding of what the war is all about. When the war ends, returning servicemen are eager to marry and return to a life of normalcy and Helen is caught up in the frenzy. She is swept off her feet by Jack DeWitt, a young sailor who promises her the life she has always dreamed of. But like many returning veterans, he suffers from the stress and depression brought on by direct combat with the enemy.
Jack’s dream is also to own a large cattle ranch in the Flint Hills, but having grown up in the city and suffered a childhood filled with emotional abuse from his alcoholic father, he is ill-prepared for what lies in store. He is unable to overcome the demons that still haunt him from the war and turns to alcohol for relief. He comes physically abusive to Helen and their daughters and one night in a drunken rage, he ends it all leaving Helen and her daughters to survive on their own.
When Will’s failing health leads to a fatal heart attack, Virginia is faced with her own unfulfilled hopes and dreams until an opportunity presents itself that brings her life full circle. In the twilight of her years she is finally able to recapture the passion and purpose she had felt all those years ago as the schoolmarm.
After Jack’s death, Helen rediscovers her inner strength and independence and assumes the role of head of the family, but during the difficult years, she had relied on her older daughter, Leah, to feed her emotional needs and provide her with the strength to carry on. Now, Leah is set adrift in the culture of the 1960’s not knowing exactly what her role in life should be. She is torn between her need for the safety and security of a traditional relationship and her desire for an independent life and an exciting career. Her choice sends her careening down a path of emotional destruction until she is forced to stand on her own again and rediscover the essence of her own identity.
Through their example, these women guide each succeeding generation through life and provide a blueprint for making the important decisions that help them find happiness in life.