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Monday, November 21, 2016

Hunewill Ranch & Bridgeport Holiday Brides




My first three novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series are set in the gold mining town of Lundy. The fourth, Haunted by Love, takes place in Bridgeport and along Robinson Creek. But, many of the scenes plus the big event in the fifth book, Bridgeport Holiday Brides, takes place at the Caldwell Ranch in Big Meadows area by Bridgeport.

I did not need to search long and hard before I found a ranch to serve as my model for the Caldwell Ranch.  Mr. Napoleon Bonaparte Hunewill, along with being a successful owner of two sawmills along Buckeye Creek supplying wood for both Bodie and Bridgeport starting in the 1860’s, used the site of the current Hunewill Ranch to graze the oxen he worked in his logging operation. For more information on the Hunewill sawmills, please CLICK HERE.



Hunewill soon found himself raising cattle and helping to supply beef to the miners in Bodie, Aurora and Bridgeport.  He and his wife, Esther, built a beautiful ranch house in 1880 and where they eventually switched their focus to running a successful cattle ranch. They also raised horses and sheep. There they lived with their son Frank who married Alice in 1883.



The Hunewill Ranch home was beautiful example of Victorian-era architecture. Built with the Sawtooths of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west, the setting is spectacular.



Economic conditions in the early 1900’s prompted the family to turn the Hunewill Ranch into a guest ranch. This guest ranch is still in operation today and is run by descendants of Napoleon and Esther Hunewill, despite efforts to pressure landowners to subdivide the land for development. For more photographs of the countryside on and around the Hunewill Ranch, please CLICK HERE.
 

Is it any wonder I chose this site for the Caldwell Ranch in Bridgeport Holiday Brides? Here is the book description:


With the arrival of Beth Dodd’s sister, Hazel, in California, Beth and her fiancĂ©, Val Caldwell, are now able to make wedding plans.  Thanksgiving seems to be a good time to tie the knot and bring the Caldwell family together, as well, but when Val’s older half-brother, Edwin, and his family show up for the wedding, things fall apart. Edwin’s advice to Val to wrest control of Beth’s holdings and absorb them into the Caldwell Ranch leads to bad blood and fisticuffs between the brothers. Will Beth call the wedding off to protect what she’s worked so hard to gain?



As Beth’s younger sister, Hazel, realizes she’s falling in love with Val’s younger brother, Luther, she learns the feeling is mutual. Luther has bought a ring and plans to announce their engagement at Thanksgiving, as well. But Beth has a stormy relationship with her future brother-in-law, and believes her sister is too young to marry. Headstrong and determined to control their own destinies, will happiness also be possible for these BRIDGEPORT HOLIDAY BRIDES?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novelette, A Christmas Promise, and the five novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine, A Resurrected Heart, Her Independent Spirit, Haunted by Love  and Bridgeport Holiday Brides were published by Prairie Rose Publications.
  

8 comments:

  1. Your Hunewill Ranch in the Sawtooth Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains reminds me of the real location I've used in my stories. There is a beautiful valley, South Park, on the east side of the Mosquito Range of the Rocky Mountains (west of Denver, Colorado), that I've used as the location in a couple of stories. The pictures I've taken of this area, and the many visits I've made in person, have been invaluable as writing resources. As you well know, this first-hand information adds that little touch of authenticity to our stories. *wink*

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    1. Thank you, Kaye. You are right in that visiting the actual setting, especially taking pictures of the area, can really help in writing about it. Plus, it is so much fun to visit these beautiful areas, especially when we can't live everywhere at once.

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  2. What a beautiful place. I can understand how it was an inspiration to you. Doris

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    1. Thank you, Doris. The setting is not only beautiful, but once I saw that house, I knew I needed to have it in mind as I wrote the story.

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  3. It is so important to have the right setting for a story and you certainly found a beautiful place to use. I'm happy to learn they never allowed the land to be subdivided. So many landowners end up doing that and it's sad to see.
    I know these stories are going to be fantastic. All the best...

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    1. I know, Sarah. That region is so beautiful to visit simply because it is not one be sub-division of ranchettes. People either live in far-flung ranches or close to Bridgeport, leaving large areas untouched. It is gorgeous.

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  4. Robyn,
    What a lovely place. It's always great when an author can find just the right setting for their story, or, in your case, stories. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you, Kristy. I found it first by doing an online search of the area, but it was fun driving out that way once I knew about it. It made a big difference in my stories. Happy Thanksgiving to you, also, and to all!

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