Bertha Maude Anderson. Never liked my given name. Don’t it sound like some old maiden aunt no one ever heard about until someone pulls a family tree out of a tattered Bible and all of a sudden there she is? Ma said I was scatterbrained. Mayhap she was right, if it’s any indication of the way my life turned out.
We lived a hardscrabble life on our little farm in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. Was rightly called hillbillies, a term we was all proud of. Soon as our shovel struck a bit of black soil to plant the early crops we’d hit rock and when the rains come it washed away all the young plants. Or the animals mowed them down. Rabbits and deer was the worst. Come out at night and make short work of the new sprouts. Pa worked tirelessly trying to stay one step ahead. Many a night I’d wake to the sound of his old twelve-gauge as he took aim at the marauding foxes that threatened our chicken coop full of laying hens. Eggs was the main source of income we had back then.
Guess I did fair-to-middling in the looks department. Short, about 4 foot 10 inches, I learned early on to hold my own. My long wavy black hair I inherited from Ma’s Irish side of the family, and my crooked teeth from Pa’s. Was my eyes that stood out, or so everyone told me. Amber, with tiny flecks of green that flashed when I got mad, as I was wont to do. I tried to keep my temper under wraps and act like Ma. She always managed to put people in their place with a withering look and a firm word. Sometimes it worked for me and sometimes not. I didn’t really care one way or the other.
Ma and Pa always favored Ezra, my brother. Never did bother me much, though. Was older than me by eighteen months and the boy Ma and Pa had prayed for. Steadfast and calm, Ezra stuck right to Pa like glue. I wasn’t never jealous – he was the big brother every girl wants. Tall, nearly six feet, like Pa. Same black hair as me, but a lot more handsome. More than once he took a licking for me, like the time I told Ma I didn’t know how all the eggs I had gathered got broke. When he come in the house and saw me in tears, Ma’s firm voice commanding me to get a willow switch, Ezra told Ma he was teasing and lobbed a clod of dirt at me.
“She ducked and dropped the basket and all the eggs broke.” He hung his head. “I’m real sorry, Ma,” he whispered.
About the book:
Bertha Maude Anderson was born in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Raised on a small farm, she lives a hard life far-removed from everything she craved. Misunderstood by her parents, her only confidante her brother Ezra, Bertha yearns for excitement. A Gypsy circus comes to town and her world changes forever.
Coaxed into joining the Romanoff Brothers Circus, Bertha’s name is changed to INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. She learns to ride Cecil, the elephant, and the two forge an unbreakable bond. Inzared falls in love, learns to co-exist with the Gypsies, solves a mystery and grows into a woman, all the while searching for the life she has always dreamed of.
About the author:
L. Leander is an e-book author, freelancer and songwriter. She writes for Yahoo! Content and does guest posts on author blogs and groups. As a child L. Leander dreamed of running away to join the circus. Instead, she grew up to write about it, bringing the magic alive for all who read her work.
Ms. Leander currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico. INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is the first book in a series about a Gypsy wagon circus in pre-Civil War America.Website