ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CAROL COX is the author of 30 novels and novellas. A third-generation Arizonan, Carol has a lifelong fascination with the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. She makes her home with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play--often within view of the family's front porch.
TROUBLE IN STORE
by Carol Cox
Published by Bethany House
ABOUT THE BOOK
Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he's worked for. He's determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands. The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry up with any of them. He's drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.
But someone doesn't want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps--and the man obviously didn't die from natural causes--things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb's business--and romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?
Readers, buy your copy of Trouble in Store today!
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR
The Ross-Nelson Mercantile (the store Caleb and Melanie squabble over in the book) has a number of quirky customers, including Idalou Fetterman. Mrs. Fetterman is a great believer in the curative powers of patent medicines and spends a lot of time browsing the shelves in search of the ideal remedy for whatever happens to be ailing her that day.
Dr. Sherman's Prickly Ash Bitters billed itself as the cure for biliousness, vertigo, or a torpid liver, and contained "only the purest drugs, among which may be enumerated: prickly ash, mandrake, buchu, button snake, senna." I don’t know about you, but I have yet to reach for a dose of buchu or button snake when I’m feeling under the weather.
A little research turned up the information that the government declared the good doctor's remedy misbranded. That may have had something to do with the fact that the cure-all (which contained 20% alcohol) was recommended in wineglassful doses three times a day, but was declared to be "not an intoxicating beverage."
And let's not forget Seelye's Wasa-Tusa. The name alone is enough to catch your attention, even before learning it was guaranteed to bring about good results with: muscle soreness, bruises, headache, toothache, earache, colic, and cramps. If something ached, it was Wasa-Tusa time!
Hostetter's Celebrated Bitters became a national best-seller in the 1850s. During the Civil War, it was marketed to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." By now, you probably won't be shocked to learn the original formula was made up of about 47% alcohol--an amount so high that it was served by the the glass in Alaskan saloons. I'm sure those Alaskans were reassured to know they wouldn't fall prey to any maladies contracted in an impure bayou!
Even so, these hucksters found a ready market for their goods. By the middle of the 19th century, the manufacture of patent medicines had become a major industry in America.
Doctors and medical societies spoke out in increasing numbers, and even more strident opposition came from the temperance movement, which protested the use of alcohol in medicines. It's no surprise that the manufacturers fought against regulation of any kind, and their resistance was aided by the press, since many newspapers had become dependent on money received from advertising these remedies.
We can all be grateful for the Pure Food and Drug Act, enacted in 1906, which required manufacturers to list ingredients on their labels and restricted misleading advertising. That's a very good thing for us . . . and Mrs. Fetterman should be grateful she's a fictional character!
Question for Readers: Many people today are shying away from traditional medicine and looking for alternative, more natural cures. Some of those seem to make inflated claims similar to the patent medicines of yore . . . but others have proven effective.
What non-traditional remedies have you heard of or used? And were they beneficial or not?
* * * * *
Thank you, Carol, for sharing with us today.
This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents.