CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 25, 2010

Amish Grace, Thomas Cornell, & Intertwined Love: Risks of Writing Historical Fiction


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

AMISH GRACE, INTERTWINED LOVE, & THOMAS CORNELL:

The Risks of Writing Historical Fiction

     “…the most disturbing aspect of the upcoming television move “Amish Grace” is the fictional liberties it takes in depicting the aftermath of the 2006 killings of five Amish girls in a Nickel Mines schoolhouse,” according to Herman Bontrager, an Akron man who acted as a spokesman for the Nickel Mines Amish community after the shootings. “Amish tell the truth and are accustomed to telling the truth. When you take an account like this, and make it appear like it happened, and fictionalize it, that’s troubling.”*

     Authors of the book on which the movie is based, “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” agree on this point.**

     Fiction based on an actual historical framework is always up for criticism. It’s an issue I’ve been aware of since I began delving in writing my novel, “Intertwined Love.” The historical framework includes 1790s people, both the well known— Henry Knox, William Duer, William Bingham, Alexander Baring, Thomas Jefferson among them—and the less well known: Franco van Berckle, Madame Rosalie de Leval, Louis des Isles, Mary Googins, and Joseph Swett.

     I encountered the criticism issue in two situations. First, my in-depth research disproved some oral traditions about East Lamoine, Maine. I shared the documentation with a community native. The late Gladys Vigent (a Samuel Des Isles descendent) was (to continue reading this post click on: http://intertwinedlove.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/amish-grace-thomas-cornell-intertwined-love-risks-of-writing-historical-fiction/ )

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ADDITIONAL READING:

KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY

Two Photographers Named Cornell

POPHAM BEACH, MAINE

CHILDISH CHARACTERISTICS

RAINBOW’S END Part 1

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