Author Ellen B. Alden’s book was inspired by the discovery of an antique leather box containing Civil War letters written by her great, great grandfather. Florence Burke escaped the Irish potato famine, eventually joining the Union Army during the Civil War as a “substitute” for a wealthy draftee, in exchange for a small piece of land. His letters from the battlefield are emotional and compelling, inspiring Ellen to learn their story and bring it to life in her novel.
Ellen B. Alden is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont, with a teaching degree from Pepperdine University in California, and attendance at Merrimack College Graduate School of Education. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, and dabbled in the wine business. She earned Wine certificates at Boston University’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center, and has worked at Andover Liquors, The Vineyard, and the Red Oak Winery. After living in Los Angeles, London, and Boston, she now lives in Andover, Mass., with her husband, three children, and two dogs.