Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Non-Fattening Pandemic Pastimes

In order to stay sane during this pandemic, I've started taking another look at great reviews of my books. I figure that 1) this cheers me up and, 2) it isn't fattening.

Here is one of the first blurbs I received for A Buss from Lafayette, about five years ago.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

HAMILTON CF Jensen: The Battle of Monmouth!

Ev’ryone attack!




What are you doing, Lee? Get back on your feet!

But there’s so many of them!

I’m sorry, is this not your speed?!

Ready, sir!

Have Lafayette take the lead!
—Hamilton © 2015 by Lin-Manuel Miranda 

After they occupied it the winter of 1777-8, the British departed Philadelphia, apparently en route to New York City. Washington decided to attack the rear of the British column. Lafayette was originally supposed to lead this attack. Once it was decided that a larger force would be sent after the British, however, General Lee insisted he should be in command because of his “seniority.” Lee's forces caught up with the British column at Monmouth, NJ.

After his initial attack, Lee prematurely ordered a retreat, which outraged Washington. (Witnesses said his furious oaths nearly took the leaves off the trees.)

Lafayette, on the other hand, distinguished himself at this battle. (After this, Lee was courtmartialed and never served in the Continental army again.)

Brave Lafayette stood ready to command our troops that day.
But General Lee took precedence, so led the battle fray,
Then messed it up completely when he ordered a retreat,
And all thought Lafayette should have been in the driver's seat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A Rosy Problem for Lafayette

In my research for A Buss from Lafayette, I learned that during his Farewell Tour of the U.S. in 1824-5, he had a constant problem: everywhere he went, people gave him flowers. At times, the carriages he rode in were filled with them. When this happened, he and his entourage would look for places where they could dump the flowers out of view of the people who had given them to him.

Here's how my main character, Clara, describes what she witnesses in A Buss from Lafayette:

I sat up in the water to peer through the woods toward the road. A six-horse stagecoach soon pulled partway into the woods and came to a stop. Perhaps the horses need a drink of water, I thought, puzzled.

But instead of someone unhitching the team so the horses could drink from the brook, someone inside started throwing things out the coach windows. Brightly colored things. Red and yellow and white and pink and . . . Why, they are roses! Hundreds of roses! I thought. Those men are throwing roses into the woods. What on earth is going on?

A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

When he came to New Hampshire in late June of 2025, the roses were in full bloom in the state, so many of the flowers presented to him were roses. Below I am posing with New Hamphire roses in full bloom in my back yard during the last week of June 2020. I could have given General Lafayette quite a few roses if he came by my house today - as he actually did on June 27, 2020.

Here is how I imagined Lafayette describing what usually happened as he went through this or any other of the states he visited:

“Sir?” I called, covered in confusion as much as I was in brook water. “Why are they throwing these roses away?”

He laughed. “It is a bit of a guilty secret, mademoiselle.” His words were slow and deliberate. “You see, everywhere I go, people keep giving me roses, roses, and more roses! Whatever I ride in— be it barouche, or curricle, or coach—it is filled to overflowing with them! Because of this, every once in a while I must tell the small lie—that I must make the stop that is necessary—and that I need my privacy. Then I find a secluded nook like this and we cast out all the pretty flowers. Please do not tell anyone. I beg of you.”

A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Come Into My Parlor

“You must tell us all about meeting Lafayette, Henrietta,” said Prissy, motioning them all to follow her into the parlor and to sit down. “How very interesting that must have been!”

Hetty looked around the room as if in search of the piece of furniture most becoming to her attire, then sank down gracefully on the blue damask sofa. She pulled out a lacy white fan and waved it in front of her face. “La, it was quite wonderful. Such a handsome gentleman! So noble. And so famous!”

                                                         - A Buss from Lafayette ©2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Below is a parlor from a house of that era in Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum set in the 1830s. The sofa isn't blue and probably not covered in damask, but Hetty could have posed on it, don't you think??

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Meet Liberty-Loving Lafayette!

Meet my latest book!

Liberty Loving Lafayette: How "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman" Helped Win Our Independence

(Available for pre-order now: release date July 14)

If  this video does not play properly on your device, follow the link below!

Cheering Myself Up in Pandemic Time: Woo Hoo #1

In order to cheer myself up a bit, I've started revisiting some wonderful reviews people have written over the years about my books. I then decided to start making what I call Woo Hoos of my favorite bits.

Here's the first one I did:


Yup, definitely a Woo Hoo!

Thank you, David!