The John Day Valley in the late 1800s – that’s the setting for a new novel, “By the River,” by Jane Meador Nagler.
Nagler, writing under the pen name Jae Carvel, now lives in East Wenatchee, Wash., but she has a sound connection to Grant County, specifically Prairie City.
Her great-grandparents came to the area by wagon train in the 1800s, and her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all lived in Prairie City. Nagler herself graduated from Prairie City High School in 1954.
It was stories from her Grant County ancestors that became the inspiration for her tale of Sarah Ann Martin, an 1869 wagon train traveler who becomes a young widow with three young children after her husband disappears near Laramie, Wyoming. Martin remarries and raises nine children, while living the life of a pioneer rancher’s wife. The story chronicles the work of homesteading for the families in the area, and the changing times as miners and ranchers filled the upper John Day Valley during the second half of the century.
Nagler added her own imagination of her ancestors’ lives during that time period, hoping to fascinate fans of historical fiction, romance and personal adventure tales.
“By the River” is available at Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle editions. Copies are also available at some Grant County museums.
Carvel can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 509-670-6622.