The seed for what would become Home By Morning took root in my imagination when my grandmother told me about the influenza pandemic of 1918. She was living in Europe when she contracted it. And she was one of the lucky who survived it.
The magnitude of this global event was staggering. The Spanish flu, as it was known, killed 50 million people. By comparison, World War I claimed about 16 million lives. And yet hardly anyone talks about the 1918 pandemic. I certainly didn’t learn about it in school.
My novels tend to juxtapose somewhat dark subjects with hope, ambition and love, so I was drawn to this time period as the backdrop for Home By Morning. The heroine, Jessica Layton, is a physician who's burned out from working in public health in New York City. On her way to a new job in Seattle, she stops in Powell Springs, Oregon, her hometown, to see her sister. But just off the train, she runs into Cole Braddock, her former lover. To her shock she discovers that he is courting her sister. In Cole’s defense, he’d received a telegram from Jess telling him not to wait for her any longer.
Upset and feeling betrayed, Jessica decides to continue north to her new job. But that plan is put on hold when the influenza strikes Powell Springs. As Jessica begins tending the sick, she must cross paths with Cole often, a prospect neither person is happy about. But in the midst of the fear, the sickness, and burying the dead, they rediscover the flame of their love, and learn that there's more to their past than they ever imagined.
Alexis Harrington is the author of 12 novels including Homeward Hearts and A Light for My Love. An animal lover, she lives with a cat, a finch, two dogs (Great Pyrenees), and three chickens—all of which like to gather in her small home office. Only the chickens are not allowed.