"I smiled when I thought about him lyin’ alone in that field with his bones picked clean. Live free or die... I finally understood."
The year is 1872. The Civil War has ended,
leaving behind a nation torn and economically depressed. "Etched in Granite" is a harrowing account of life and death on a rural New England Poor Farm – a tragic, yet triumphant novel that tells a story of courage, survival, and secrets surrounding lost love.
The story is narrated by the three principal characters: Abigail, a young woman facing unimaginable hardship when agonizing circumstances and betrayal lead to life on the Poor Farm; Nellie, an Abenaki elder and healer enduring great loss while exhibiting resilience during a time of social, racial, and religious intolerance; and Silas, a spirited farm boss illuminating the conflicts of balancing a position of authority with his personal life while navigating small town politics.
Their unforgettable stories are carefully woven together to reveal a hidden part of America’s somber past.
The novel was inspired by the author's discovery of a pauper cemetery in New Hampshire where there are 298 numbered graves. It is her mission to give voices to those silenced, to evoke images where they have been erased, and to replace the numbers with names.
About the Author
Mj Pettengill, historian and author of the Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series, focuses on cultural narrative and traditions, historical and intergenerational trauma integration, ancestral healing, and social welfare development. She is that woman in the woods, one who carries nuts and seeds in her pocket, hand feeding birds, chipmunks, and other critters. She creates in her woodland studio on a farm in New Hampshire, where she also practices the art of medicinal plants and wildcraft. Mj is a cellist and has a background in Civil War Musicology and trumpet performance. In addition to her undergraduate work, she has an MFA in creative writing.