Image: The Enlistment Cover. Frankie is looking at the tents of Camp Fair Oaks, where her beau, Patrick has enlisted. Not only does Frankie disguise herself as a boy, but she breaks another norm of the time!
Maggie’s youngest daughter from her first marriage is Frances, better known as Frankie. In Saint Maggie, Frankie is all of fourteen years of age. In the beginning of the story, she develops a crush on the new pastor, Jeremiah Madison. But cold water gets splashed all over that idea when the pastor becomes involved with her older cousin, Leah.
At the end of the book, after a long winter it finally is April of 1861. Frankie finds her first love: Patrick McCoy, the undertaker’s apprentice. In the last scene, she and Patrick bounce out of the house and Frankie announces to her mother that the two of them are going for a walk around the square. Then Patrick reaches for her hand, which she gives to him.
Maggie says, “Why, I do believe they are courting.” Eli calks it all up in one word: “Spring.”
When we arrive at The Enlistment, it is 1862. Patrick goes off to join the army. Frankie gets a brainstorm and follows him, disguised as a boy. However, she is unsuccessful at enlisting – so she ends up joining the laundresses for Patrick's company. When she finally finds her beau, he is doing his own laundry.
By 1863, Patrick serving as an ambulanceman with the New Jersey Fifteenth Volunteers and finds himself in Gettysburg on the last day of the battle. Frankie, meanwhile, has moved to her stepfather's family home in Gettysburg, and is living there with her mother, the other women from the old boarding house, Grandpa O’Reilly, and Nate Johnson. During the battle, Frankie gets separated from her home, spends the night at the home of a friend's family, and ends up volunteering in a field hospital. Once the battle is over, Patrick goes out looking for his girl. When he finds her, the two of them return to the Smith House. This time it is Patrick's turn to make a proposal – and he does it in quite a public manner.
The war, of course, continues to keep the young lovers apart, so does Frankie's age. Will they ever get married? The answer to that is yes, of course. When and where and what happens for them next is still in the works. But you can be sure it will not be conventional. I have plans for Frankie and Patrick, who have been come a well-loved couple among my readers.
However, Frankie isn’t the only Blaine daughter to get a proposal. We’ll look at Maggie’s oldest daughter and budding physician, Lydia, and her love life on Friday.
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Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder