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Silken Strands: a novel of the Oneida community Paperback – August 20, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author


Perhaps you've only heard of Oneida as a brand of silverware. That was true for me seven years ago. While preparing to teach utopian literature to my high school students, I discovered the widespread utopian movement that swept the United States during the nineteenth century. As an idealist myself, I was fascinated by that heart for Eden that drove people to build a perfect society. The experiment at Oneida, New York, intrigued me the most.
 
The Oneida Bible Communists were a hundred years ahead of their time, practicing birth control, communal childrearing, eugenics,socialism, and "complex marriage," that is, multiple sexual partners for men and women. In their sociological microcosm, they experimented with cultural patterns that would characterize the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. How did things work out for them? Not well--especially their sexual system. As I read memoirs and accounts of the "Old Community," I learned that girls as young as twelve years of age became communal wives, yet few written works condemned this abusive practice.
 
That's because the Oneida Ltd. silverware executives whitewashed the less savory aspects of the commune in order to protect the corporation's reputation. Former members with a vested interest in the company's success wrote memoirs that described the commune as a true utopia.Only when I read the now-published private diaries of Tirzah Miller and Victor Hawley (painstakingly edited and annotated by Robert S. Fogarty) did the true nature of life at Oneida Community take shape. Tirzah declared that her life could be a novel, and I agreed. Victor and Mary's poignant story also deserved to be told. Since significant parts of Tirzah's and Victor's stories overlapped in 1877, I set my fictional tale in that year. To my knowledge,
Silken Strands is the first novel to accurately depict life in the Oneida Community Mansion House.
 
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I felt outrage for the generations of girls at Oneida who were "married" before they could understand what the word entailed. In a small way, this novel seeks to right the wrongs perpetrated over four decades on scores of young women. I wondered what would have happened if a girl had been passed over until she was old enough to comprehend. Unfortunately, based on my research of Oneida Community, I doubt any young girls were left behind. Also unfortunately, Millie's conflict is relevant today, as many modern women learn when they go off to college and face pressure to participate in casual sex. I hope Millie's victorious journey will be inspiring and therapeutic for anyone who has endured any kind of sexual abuse.
 
As an Evangelical Christian, I'm disturbed that those young girls suffered abuse at a Christian commune, founded by some of the first converts of the Second Great Awakening. The first step Christians can take to atone for those wrongs is to expose them. Many contemporary works about Oneida Community glorify its"free love" without considering the widespread abuse it represented. Particularly in light of the #MeToo movement, the girls whose rights were violated via complex marriage deserve to be heard--even though they died years ago--and they deserve an apology, especially from Christianity. I offer this novel to serve both purposes.

Thank you for reading
Silken Strands. I hope it will inform, entertain, and bless you.

About the Author

Rebecca May Hope couldn't imagine a life without teaching, which provides an opportunity to share her passion for words with a new crop of young people each year. She teaches writing and literature at two home school academies and three colleges. Publication credits include memoir pieces published by Mothers Always Write, TheSame.Blog, Junto Magazine, and Memoir Magazine. Her short stories have been published by Sixfold, Two Sisters Publishing, and Flying Ketchup Press, and her writing has won numerous awards, including first place in the 2017 American Christian Fiction Writers First Impressions Contest. When Rebecca feels the need to follow Wordsworth's advice ("Up, up, my friend, and quit your books!"), you'll find her playing with her grandbabies; walking her rambunctious ninety-pound Labradoodle on the nature trails near her home in Champlin, Minnesota; or pampering her softer-than-air Ragdoll cat. Learn more about Rebecca's writing at RebeccaMayHope.com.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Gabriel's Horn Publishing (August 20, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 293 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1938990447
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1938990441
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.74 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Rebecca May Hope couldn’t imagine a life without teaching, which provides an opportunity to share her passion for words with a new crop of young people each year. She teaches writing and literature at two home school academies and the University of Northwestern--St. Paul. Publication credits include memoir pieces published by Mothers Always Write, TheSame.Blog, Junto Magazine, and Memoir Magazine. Her short stories have been published by Sixfold, Two Sisters Publishing, and Flying Ketchup Press, and her poetry has appeared in Startled by Joy and Startled by Laughter. Her writing has won numerous awards, including first place in the 2017 American Christian Fiction Writers First Impressions Contest. When Rebecca feels the need to follow Wordsworth’s advice (“Up, up, my friend, and quit your books!”), you’ll find her playing with her grandchildren; walking her perky Shi-poo on the nature trails near her home in Champlin, Minnesota; or biking with her husband. Learn more about Rebecca’s writing at www.RebeccaMayHope.com.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
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