Daily Archives: September 18, 2017

VBT – THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN

The Specter of the Indian banner

 

Title:
THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN: RACE, GENDER, AND GHOSTS IN AMERICAN SEANCES, 1848 – 1898
Author: Kathryn A. Troy
Publisher: SUNY Press
Pages: 200
Genre: Historical Nonfiction

The Specter of the Indian unveils the centrality of Native American spirit guides during the emergent years of American Spiritualism. By pulling together cultural and political history; the studies of religion, race, and gender; and the ghostly, Kathryn Troy offers a
new layer of understanding to the prevalence of mystically styled Indians in
American visual and popular culture. The connections between Spiritualist print
and contemporary Indian policy provide fresh insight into the racial dimensions
of social reform among nineteenth-century Spiritualists.
Troy draws fascinating parallels between the contested belief of Indians as fading from the world, claims of returned
apparitions, and the social impetus to provide American Indians with a means of
existence in white
America. Rather than vanishing from national sight and memory, Indians and their ghosts are shown to be ever present. This book transports the readers into dimly lit parlor rooms and darkened cabinets and lavishes them with detailed séance accounts in the words of those who witnessed them. Scrutinizing the otherworldly whisperings heard therein highlights the voices of mediums and those they sought to channel, allowing the author to dig deep into Spiritualist belief and practice. The influential presence of Indian ghosts is made clear and undeniable. 

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The Vanished Return
In her 1885 book Life
and Labor in the Spirit World
, Mary Shelhamer, the sitting medium for the
primary Spiritualist journal the Banner
of Light,
recounted her visit to the ghostly realm. “Beyond [a] rolling
river,” she wrote, “there is a deeply-wooded country. Here you are up high
among the mountains; this is the red man’s home […] it is a refuge for the
poor, hunted and despised Indian, who, fleeing from mortal chains, finds
therein rest and peace.”[1]
Her description of Indians as figures in flight, as members of a dying race,
was by the late nineteenth century a common one. For many white Americans,
Indians were, for the most part, already a thing of the past. They appeared
constantly in popular culture as figures of legend and literature, but real
Indians were primarily perceived as living relics—faint reminders of a vanished
people. But to nineteenth-century Spiritualists, Indians had never completely
gone; the ghosts of Indian dead walked among them. The proclaimed presence of
Indian spirits in American séances challenged the dominant discourse of Indians
as vanished, and had a profound impact not only on the Spiritualist movement,
but also on some of the most important debates of the day—those on race,
gender, civilization and the development of an American national character.
            This book
explores the spectral appearances of Indians in late nineteenth-century
American séances in relation to those national debates, and analyzes the
importance of such apparitions on several levels—racial, gendered, religious
and political. It demonstrates the overwhelming pervasiveness of this sorely
understudied phenomenon as a central social element of the Spiritualist
movement. The project establishes how the witnessing of Indian spirits affected
American minds and the reception of federal Indian policy by influencing
concepts of racial difference and socio-political hierarchy.
            The heart
of my analysis examines the racial elements unique to the spiritual
manifestations of Indians, as well as how American Spiritualists utilized the
Indian spirits they claimed to encounter as sources of political empowerment—as
agents of peace between whites and Indians, as models of sexual difference, and
as guides to spiritual progression for both races. Spiritualists understood
Indian ghosts to appear in séances with a mission to fulfill: to help ensure
the inner illumination of Spiritualists, to support white attempts at social
reform, and to serve as sources of strength to the female mediums they
possessed. They acted as mediators between the material and spiritual realms,
providing essential information about the condition and means of progression
through the several spiritual spheres, and communicating the temperament and
will of the supreme deity commonly referred to as the Great Spirit. Through
Indian spirit appearances, Spiritualists were apprised of the Great Spirit’s
attitude regarding social and political issues, such as the actions to be taken
regarding Indian nations, political equality for women, or the correct position
on congressional policies. The presence, strength, and support of Indian ghosts
were recognized as contributing to the efforts and accomplishments of
Spiritualists to create a “heaven on earth” that reflected the enlightened
position of spirits.
            These
spirits did not manifest predominantly as nostalgic symbols of a vanishing
race. They appeared frequently in the 1860s to 1880s, when the United
States was almost constantly at war with
Indian nations, when debates about what to do with Indians raged, and when the
future of the North American West was anything but certain. They did not simply
appear as Indians who were better off dead in the Happy Hunting Ground,
assuaging white guilt about conquests and an imagined vanishing, as has been
suggested by many historians—such as Alan Trachtenberg in his writing of
fictionalized Indians, Jared Farmer in his discussion of legends representing
Indians as ghostly and most pointedly Molly McGarry in her chapter on Indian
spirits.[2]
Indian spirits were also not categorized on the whole as being from the distant
past and thus safely nonthreatening.[3]
            Spiritualists
saw Indian ghosts as awakening public outrage and inciting political opposition
against the wars waged by the United States
on Indians, causing Spiritualists to question government objectives in the
West. Spiritualist publications vehemently denounced the Sand Creek Massacre of
1864, George Custer’s invasion of the Black Hills and
the duplicity and corruption of American Indian policy, as exemplified in the
Ponca Affair of the 1870s and multiple reports on dismal reservation
conditions. Spiritualists recognized the support of Indian ghosts for peace
policies and political equality, and the efforts of Spiritualists to restore
what they felt their country, allegedly superior in religion and civilization,
had lost—its sense of honor. They were not simply utilized as servants of the
mediums who conjured them; they were praised as guides and instructors, helping
to ensure the nation’s spiritual future. When Spiritualists closely followed
the development of the Indian Peace Commission in 1867, the rise and decline of
Ulysses S. Grant’s Peace Policy, the success of “civilized” tribes like the
Cherokee, the Carlisle and Hampton Institutes and the implementation of the
Dawes Severalty Act in 1887, they believed they were both heeding ghostly
warnings and working to rebuild the pride of their nation. These major events
in American/Indian relations are linked in this project to the intensity of
Indian spectral appearances and their centrality to the Spiritualist movement’s
contemporary development, serving as the basis for the powerful trop of the
“Indian spirit guide,” which persists today.
            A deeper
analysis than those by previous scholars of the manifestations themselves
reveals the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of such phenomena.
Scrutiny of the methods, acknowledgements, and purposes of Indian
manifestations opens wide a door to a much richer understanding of how the
intellectual and professional classes that comprised the foundation of
Spiritualist Movement constantly redefined and integrated the concept of “Indian”
into a society structured by racial and sexual difference. The notion of
Indianness that emerged from Spiritualist séances advocated a politically
non-racial society, whereby Indians could and should become American citizens,
and incorporated gender models that undermined contemporary definitions of
manliness as positively linked to violence.
            In using
such terms as “Indian spirits,” I refer to manifestations witnessed by
Spiritualists in which they claimed to see Indians, including cases of
specifically named Indians, as well as those “Indianness” derived solely from
Spiritualist identification. The ways in which Indian celebrities were
authenticated and nameless “Indians” were recognized both reflected how
“Indianness” as a scientific racial category was understood and constructed in
the Spiritualist arena and, I posit, were reflective of broader American
cultural attitudes. The actual presence of Indian spirits at nineteenth-century
séances is neither accepted nor denied in this book. It is only relevant that
Spiritualists accepted their experiences as truth. To assert at the onset that
all Spiritualists were knowing frauds is risky and counterproductive. Such
evaluations invite statements like those of Lisa Lenker, who in her research
connected her discussion of Spiritualism with Manifest Destiny rhetoric as
supporting the ethnic cleansing of the American continent. Lenker asserted that
all Indian ghosts were simply and happily dead (not undead, as the term “ghost”
suggests).[4]
The ghosts of Indians will often be described throughout this book from the
perspective of the Spiritualists themselves—as distinct historical actors. To
believers, these specters spoke, made claims and issued warnings. Writing about
their alleged activity in such a way allows this book to delve into the
responses and reactions of Spiritualists who believed these apparitions to be
intelligent, active agencies. This approach to describing spectral activity is
offset by the simultaneous focus on specific individuals deeply involved with
Indian apparitions, including the mediums Jennie Lord, Mary Shelhamer, Fannie
Conant, and Cora Tappan.
            Placing
Spiritualist manifestations at the center of this project, essentially shifting
the focus onto non-entities, is a somewhat unorthodox approach to the study of
history, and has not been the practice employed by other scholars of
Spiritualism. Yet doing so allows the incorporation of a body of literature on
ghostliness and hauntings that is central to this project. Such scholarship has
to this point been absent from Spiritualist studies, strangely so given that
the movement, at its core, was about communicating with the dead. Rather than
referring to these manifestations only as spirits from the celestial realm or
as the products of an American imagination, I abstain from judgment on their
existence. By using the labels that Spiritualists themselves did—ghosts of the
dead returned to life—I employ a lexicon of definitions that are critical to
understanding the full significance of Spiritualist encounters with such
phenomena. “Ghosts” are undead—uncanny, temporal disruptions that appear in
specific ways at specific times to deliver a message. Communication by such
entities conveys information about an obscured past occurrence. To the witness
of such phenomena, the presence of the ghost is made clear through a distinct
sensory experience, its disruption of logical time remedied only by listening
to what the ghost wants and providing it with satisfaction. It is with these
terms in mind, originating predominantly in fictive, psychological and
paranormal studies, that I look upon séance activities of nineteenth-century America.
In his work on literary hauntings of America
during the first half of the century (the period of federally sanctioned Indian
removal), Renee Bergland rightly suggested that representations of Indian
ghosts simultaneously established and questioned an intangible American
nationality, as well as racial and sexual classifications.[5] Examining how the
Indian spirits of séances contributed to changing definitions of race and
gender is the main thrust of this project.
            Organized
by theme rather than time, the chapters included in this book cover the nature
of Spiritualist hauntings marked as specifically Indian, and the questioning
and redefinition of masculinity, femininity, and morality as linked to national
progress that took place within séance circles beginning in the 1850s and
continuing throughout the 1880s. This timeframe will be repeated in each
chapter as different aspects of Indian hauntings are visited. A majority of
works on Spiritualism have chosen to narrow their scope to the earlier,
formative years of the movement. Studies about the Fox Sisters or Andrew
Jackson Davis, for example, emphasize the Spiritualism of the 1850s as
definitive of the entire movement. Bret Carroll highlighted the 1850s as an
emergent period, as did Howard Kerr.[6] Such an approach is
not appropriate here. The frequency with which Indian manifestations were
recorded was fairly comparable from the 1850s through the 1880s, peaking during
the 1860s and 1870s. The decline that Burton Brown said occurred in the 1870s
is not borne out by the increased frequency of Indian apparitions.[7]
The seemingly consistent presence of Indian ghosts at séances serves in part to
bolster my argument that Indian ghosts were a defining characteristic of
Spiritualist practice from its inception, and makes discussion of the movement
through the course of the century imperative to my efforts. Both Indian policy
and Spiritualism evolved in the twentieth century, and continue to do so, but
analysis of such changes is beyond the scope of this book. My intention is to
demonstrate how spiritual tropes of Indianness developed on the crest of
Spiritualism in tandem with dramatic change in Indian visibility in the public
eye.
            My focus on
recorded instances of Indian specters also determines to a large degree the
emphasis on certain sources at the expense of others. While myriad articles,
pamphlets, treatises and monographs by Spiritualists provide this project with
a contextual foundation for their beliefs, as well as Indian manifestations,
the recording of Indian ghosts emerged predominantly in certain forms of
Spiritualist print—namely, their periodicals. Newspapers played a critical role
in the development and dispersion of representations of Indians that saturated
nineteenth-century American culture and continue to do so.[8]
The majority of writing on such phenomena appeared in the Religio-Philosophical Journal and Banner of Light; these sources are therefore dominant forces in
this project. My use of Banner of Light
in this book works somewhat as a centralizing force in a movement which had
none, and provides a modicum of order to the cacophony of Spiritualist voices. Banner of Light takes on an added
significance in my research because of its extensive coverage of Indian
affairs. The development of the Indian Peace Commission, the Modoc War, the
Ponca Affair, and the violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie were all
covered and editorialized in the weekly journal, receiving consistent attention
in a periodical ostensibly dedicated to matters of the spirit. The amount of
space accorded to such news should not continue to be overlooked in the
analysis of Spiritualist print. The longevity of the Banner of Light, enjoying an approximately fifty-year run, speaks
once again to the pervasiveness within Spiritualism of this very specific
racial phenomena.[9]
            Geographically
speaking, this project views Spiritualism as a national movement in a broad sense,
with loci of activity in New York
and Boston. As the sites of some of
the first violent contests with Indian nations, the northeastern states have a
well-developed “penchant for hauntedness,” as Judith Richardson claimed,
“alongside a more enduring popular interest in ghosts and the supernatural.”[10]
Local variations of Spiritualism did not seem to have a significant impact on
Indian spectrality, and so has been omitted from this project. The one
exception to that is the Spiritual culture of New Orleans.
The connection between this city’s history and the spirit of Black Hawk will be
discussed in Chapter Two.  Likewise,
while there are many significant connections to be made with contemporary
Spiritualist movements across the globe, this project’s focus is on American
Indian ghosts within American Spiritualism, and the resulting effect on
American society. This intention, juxtaposed with the virtual absence of
similar phenomena in Europe, justifies the exclusion of
such a discussion in this work. The references to Britain’s
literary gothic tradition are brief, and useful only in demonstrating
Spiritualism’s place among the gothic tradition of the western world. European
Spiritualism is beyond the scope of this book. Additionally, this project is
not about Indian spirituality in its own right, as there were no significant
efforts on the part of Spiritualists to understand or incorporate Indian
religions into their own belief system. Their interest in native spirituality
extended to generalized ideas about animism and a natural Romanticism, which
will be addressed in Chapter Four.
            The
remainder of this introduction will serve several functions. It provides a
background on aspects of Spiritualist theology that are essential to
understanding the arguments made in this project, a discussion of Spiritualism
and Indian hauntings in context with changes in federal Indian policy, a brief
summary of the key goals and themes of each chapter, and a few words about the
bodies of scholarship most directly engaged and built upon in this book.


            [1]Mary
Theresa Shelhamer, Life and Labor in the
Spirit World: Being a Description of Localities, Employments, Surroundings, and
Conditions in the Spheres by Members of the Spirit-Band of Miss M.T. Shelhamer,
Medium of the Banner of Light Public Free Circle
(Boston: Colby & Rich,
1885), 85-86.
            [2]Alan
Trachtenberg, Shades of Hiawatha: Staging
Indians, Making Americans 1880-1930
(
New York: Hill & Wang, 2004), 19; Jared
Farmer, On
Zion’s
Mount: Mormons, Indians and the American Landscape
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 312;
Molly McGarry, Ghosts of Futures Past:
Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America
(
Berkeley: California University Press, 2008), 73.
            [3]McGarry,
72; Robert Berkhofer, The White Man’s
Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present
(New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), 90.
            [4]Lisa
Lenker, “Haunted Culture and Surrogate Space: A New Historicist Account of
Nineteenth-Century American Spiritualism” (PhD diss., Stanford University,
1998), 30.
           [5]Renee
L. Bergland, The National Uncanny: Indian
Ghosts and American Subjects
(
Hanover: Dartmouth, 2000), 7.
            [6]Bret
Carroll, “Unfree Spirits: Spiritualism and Religious Authority in Antebellum
America” (PhD diss., Cornell University, 1991),
25. Howard Kerr, Mediums, Spirit Rappers
and Roaring Radicals: Spiritualism in American Literature, 1850-1900
(
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973).
            [7]Burton Gates Brown Jr., “Spiritualism in
Nineteenth-Century
America” (PhD diss., Boston University Graduate
School, 1973).
[8]John Coward, The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 1820-90
(Chicago: Illinois University Press, 1999), 11.
            [9]The Banner of Light is regarded as the most
widespread of Spiritualist periodicals. According to Sally Morita, by 1860 the
periodical had a circulation of approximately 25,000. Ann Taves, Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing
Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James
(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1999), 184; Sally Jean Morita, “Modern Spiritualism
and Reform in
America” (PhD diss., University of Oregon,
1995), 78.
[10] Judith Richardson, Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson
Valley
(Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press 2005), 39.

 

Kathryn Troy is giving away 2 sets
of spiritual postcards and 2 Ouija design tote bags!

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  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

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Kathryn Troy has two Master’s Degrees in History from Stony Brook University.
She contributed to the anthology The Spiritualist Movement published by Prager in August 2013, and teaches at Farmingdale State College and Suffolk County Community College.
In her spare time she pours all she knows about the ghostly and supernatural
into her fiction writing.

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Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey Shore. But now, she’s out of options.

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Tracy Parker was in love with being in love.

That worried her best friend and maid of honor Maggie Sinclair more than she cared to admit.

In the middle of the temporary dance floor, Tracy waltzed with her new husband in a satin-and-lace designer gown, gleaming with seed pearls and twinkling sequins. But the sparkle dimmed in comparison to the dreamy glow in Tracy’s eyes.

The sounds of wedding music competed with the gentle rustle of seagrasses in the dunes and the crash of the waves down on the beach. The fragrance from centerpiece flowers and bouquets battled with the kiss of fresh sea air.

Connie and Emma, Tracy’s two other best friends and members of the bridal party, were standing beside Maggie on the edge of the dance floor that had been set up on the great lawn of Maggie’s family’s beachfront mansion on the Jersey Shore. Huddled together, Maggie and her friends watched the happy couple do a final whirl.

“She’s got it so bad,” Maggie said, eyeing Connie and Emma with concern past the rim of her rapidly disappearing glass of champagne.

“Do you think that this time he really is The One?” Connie asked.

“Doubt it,” Emma replied without hesitation.

As the DJ requested that other couples join the happy newlyweds, Maggie and her friends returned to the bridal party dais set out on the patio. Grabbing another glass of champagne, Maggie craned her neck around the gigantic centerpiece piled with an almost obscene mound of white roses, ice-blue hydrangea, lisianthus, sheer tulle, and twinkling fairy lights and examined the assorted guests mingling around the great lawn and down by the boardwalk leading to the beach.

She recognized Tracy’s family from their various meetings over the years, as well as some of Tracy’s sorority sisters, like Toni Van Houten, who in the six years since graduation had managed to pop out a trio of boys who now circled her like sharks around a swimmer. Although the wedding invite had indicated No Children, Toni had done as she pleased. Since Tracy had not wanted a scene at her dream beachfront wedding, Emma, who was doing double duty as the wedding planner for the event, had scrambled to find space for the children at the dinner tables.

“Is that Toni ‘I’ll never ruin my body with babies’ Toni?” Connie asked, a perplexed look on her features.  At Maggie’s nod, Connie’s eyes widened in surprise, and she said, “She looks…happy.”

A cynical laugh erupted from Emma. “She looks crazed.”

Maggie couldn’t argue with either of their assessments. But as put-upon as their old acquaintance seemed, the indulgent smile she gave her youngest child was positively radiant.

Maggie skipped her gaze across the gathering to take note of all the other married folk. It was easy enough to pick them out from her vantage point on the dais where she and her friends sat on display like days’ old cakes in the bakery. They were the last three unmarried women in an extended circle of business and college acquaintances.

“How many times do you suppose we’ve been bridesmaids now?” Maggie wondered aloud. She finished off her glass and motioned for the waiter to bring another.

“Jointly or severally?” asked Connie, ever the lawyer.

“Way too many,” replied Emma, who, for a wedding planner, was the most ardent disbeliever in the possibility of happily ever afters.

Maggie hadn’t given marriage a first thought, much less a second, in a very long time. She’d had too many things going on in her life. Not that there hadn’t been a few memorable moments, most of which revolved around the absolutely worst man for her: Owen Pierce.

But for years now, she’d been dealing with her family’s business and its money problems, which had spilled over into her personal finances. As she gazed at the beauty of the manicured grounds and then back toward her family’s summer home, it occurred to her that this might be the last time she hosted a celebration like this here. She had mortgaged the property that she had inherited to funnel money into the family’s struggling retail store division.

Unfortunately, thanks to her father’s stubborn refusal to make changes to help the business, she spent way too much time at work, which left little time for romance. Not to mention that none of her casual dates had piqued her interest in that direction. Looking down from her perch, however, and seeing the happiness on so many faces suddenly had her reconsidering the merits of married life.

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride,” she muttered, surprising herself with the hint of wistfulness in her tone.

“That’s because the three of us are all too busy working to search for Prince Charming,” Connie said, her defense as swift and impassioned as if she were arguing a case in court.

“Who even believes in that fairy-tale crap?” Emma’s gaze grew distracted, and she rose from her chair. “Excuse me for a moment. Carlo needs to see me about something.”

Emma rushed off to the side of the dance floor, where her caterer extraordinaire, Carlo Teixeira, raked a hand through his thick brown hair in clear frustration. He wore a pristine white chef’s jacket and pants that enhanced his dark good looks.

Emma laid a hand on Carlo’s forearm and leaned close to speak to him, apparently trying to resolve a problem.

“She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but her Prince Charming is standing right in front of her,” Connie said with a sad shake of her head.

Maggie took another sip of her champagne and viewed the interaction between Carlo and Emma. Definitely major sparkage going on, she thought.

“You’re totally right,” she said with an assertive nod.

Connie smiled like the proverbial cat, her exotic green-gold eyes gleaming with mischief. “That’s why you hired me to represent your company as soon as I finished law school. Nothing gets past me.”

“Really? So what else do you think you’ve seen tonight?”

Raising her glass, her friend gestured toward the right of the mansion’s great lawn where some of the fraternity brothers from their alma mater had gathered. One of the men slowly turned to sneak a peek at them.

“Owen has been watching you all night long,” Connie said with a shrewd smile.

“Totally impossible, and you of all people should know it. Owen Pierce has absolutely no interest in me.”

She set her glass on the table to hide the nervous tremble of her hand as her gaze connected with his for the briefest of moments. Even that fleeting link was enough to raise her core temperature a few degrees. But what woman wouldn’t respond like that?

In his designer tuxedo, Owen was the epitome of male perfection—raven-black hair, a sexy gleam in his charcoal-gray eyes, broad shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him, which made her recall seeing him in much, much less on a hot summer night on Sea Kiss Beach. She had been staying in the quaint seaside town on the Jersey Shore with her grandmother that summer, much as she had all her life. As they also had for so many years, the Pierce boys had been residing next door for the entire season.

The two beachfront mansions had been built side by side decades earlier, before the start of the Pierce and Sinclair rift. The cost of waterfront real estate had escalated so drastically since their construction that neither family was willing to sell their beloved home to put some distance between the warring clans.

Well, make that the warring fathers, because as far as Maggie was concerned, she had no beef with Owen. They had played together down on the beach as kids. She couldn’t count the many sand castles they’d built or the time they’d spent out in the surf.

But after her mother had died, things had changed, and the carefree spirit of those halcyon days had disappeared. The Pierce boys had stopped coming down to the Shore for the next few years, and combined with the loss of her mom, it had created an emptiness inside her that hadn’t really gone away.

By the time the Pierce brothers returned  years later, the feud had gotten worse, and Owen and Jonathan had been instructed to stay away. But an ill-timed and half-drunk kiss with Owen on a moonlit summer night had proved that staying away was impossible. It had also helped the emptiness recede for a bit. Since then, fate had seemed to toss them together time and time again in both their business and personal lives, keeping alive her fascination with him. She felt not quite so alone when he was around, not that she should get used to that.

Owen Pierce had left her once before when she’d needed his friendship the most: right after her mother’s death. His on-again, off-again presence in her life proved that she couldn’t count on him.

Owen stood next to his younger brother, Jonathan, who couldn’t be more different. While Owen was clean-cut and corporate, Jonathan had the scruffy hipster look going on. It was appealing in its own way, but not to her.

“Trust me, Maggie. Your families might be at war, but Owen would clearly love to sleep with the enemy,” Connie said.

She blew out a frustrated sigh. “More reason to avoid him. You know I’m not the kind to sleep around.”

Emma returned, color riding high on her cheeks, but not in a good way.

“Something wrong?” Maggie asked.

Emma kneeled between the two of them and whispered, “It seems the groom had a bit too much to drink and Tracy caught him being hands-on with an old flame.”

“Not Amy? Tracy always lost it if she spotted him with Amy,” Maggie whispered.

“Definitely Amy. Now Tracy is refusing to come out and cut the cake. I have to say, this takes the cake, literally. Married a few hours, and already there’s trouble.”

“Ever the hopeful romantic, Em,” she kidded.

“If you think you can do better, why don’t the two of you come help me talk Tracy off the ledge?”

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