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   Rosemary Poole-Carter  

* Photo by Robin Madeira Carter
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." These words open THE GO-BETWEEN by J. P. Hartley. As I consider my own past and its influence on my writing, I am reminded of Hartley's young protagonist, who saw much that he was not yet ready to understand. Then, retrospectively, he found the meanings that eluded him in youth--rather like a mystery reader closing a just finished novel with the satisfaction of at last knowing the significance of every clue. I grew up in the South and write about it and, with a nod to Hartley, I say: The South is a mysterious country: they hide things differently there . . .

Rosemary Poole-Carter, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, lives in Houston, Texas.  Her work includes  What Remains, a mystery novel;  Juliette Ascending, a young adult novel;  Women of Magdalene, an historical suspense novel;  Mossy Cape, a play for young audiences based on Southern folklore; and the adult dramas, The Little Death, set in the French Quarter of old New Orleans, Inconvenient Women, set in a Louisiana asylum, and The Familiar, a ghost story.  

As a child, seeing Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she was impressed by Big Daddy's emphasis on the word "mendacity," a word that continues to resonate for her in her fictional creations.  



Somebody's Darling - a recording by Wava Everton and Lesley Modisette
In this Civil War era song, J. H. Hewett set to music Marie Revenal de la Coste's poem inspired by her visit to a wartime hospital ward. The song's haunting message is echoed in Women of Magdalene. Use the following link to play or save the mp3 file.
Somebody's Darling
Wava Everton, vocals
Lesley Modisette, guitar

The women of Magdalene are dying and no one seems to care, least of all the haughty Dr. Kingston, the director of the genteel Ladies’ Lunatic Asylum.

Young Dr. Robert Mallory, fresh from four blood-soaked years as a field surgeon on the battlefields of the Civil War, makes his way on foot to the Magdalene Ladies’ Lunatic Asylum to assume his duties as the resident general practitioner.

When he recovers the body of a young patient in a nearby river, the callous indifference of the authorities disturbs him. He soon finds that mistreatment of the patients is commonplace and that the doctors who run the asylum have little interest in treating the patients—many of whom have no mental disability but have been abandoned there by their families.

Before Dr. Mallory can expose the abuse of patients at the facility, and the misogyny and racism at its core, another patient is found dead. Kingston hastily blames a young "Negress" employed by the asylum and shoots her lover and her on the spot. After she is locked up and charged with the murder of a white woman, she is taken from her cell and lynched.

Mallory is determined to expose Kingston and exonerate the girl, but Kingston has other plans.

Lushly evocative, written with elegance and beauty, this novel is a richly satisfying story of that long-vanished world of slavery and southern gentility.

ForeWord Magazine describes Women of Magdelene as “a brilliant example of the best that historical fiction can do.”






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