My local historical fiction novel, THE GIRLS OF HAVILAND, is set in 1918 Brewster, Carmel and Mahopac. I'm a Brewster resident and fifth grade teacher in the North Salem School District. I was inspired by events in archival issues of The Putnam County Courier and The Brewster Standard to write a mystery set on a farm on Brewster Hill Road and in the fictional Haviland Seminary for Girls. This school is based on the real Drew Seminary for Ladies in Carmel. Two of the characters are based on prominent women of Brewster and Manhattan.
As THE GIRLS OF HAVILAND is a Young Adult novel, It was important for me to write a story, that while set in the past, would resonate with contemporary readers. I made sure to examine issues such as bullying and prejudice, which are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. I'll be visiting the Brewster Library for a joint event with the Southeast Museum on December 9 to discuss the book and the research involved in writing this story. I'll be at the Mahopac Library on December 21 to do the same.
Deborah Rafferty Oswald, Ed.D.