“Mattie” is a sweeping historical novel based on the life and times of author M. Ann Rohrer’s maternal grandmother, who was born and raised in Colonia Juarez ““ one of 13 Mormon settlements in Mexico ““ the same one where former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s grandfather lived.
Covering the period of 1902 to 1917, which includes an up close and personal view of Pancho Villa and the turbulence of the Mexican Revolution, we follow Mattie through a crisis of faith, adventures, romance, and coming of age as she learns to cope with her world.
How does one tell a fiancÃ© that he is not right for her? Or more accurately, that she is not right for him? She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t bear to hurt him. Then there was Mahala and Bennett, and Alonzo’s aunt and uncle. What would they think? How could she disappoint them?
Apprehension pressed upon Mattie like a hot humid day where the air is almost palpable, making it hard to breathe. At first light, she slipped away to the beach to her favorite knoll, one of the few things that had survived the flood, although slightly rearranged. Visits to the cove, that had been under twenty feet of water not so long ago, was not without anxiety, but she had to get away, to breath. To think. To decide.
Mattie let her gaze flow out to sea. A Clipper in full regalia, like an elegant swan in tranquil water, inched toward the horizon and slipped over the edge, the last vestiges of billowing white bidding her a final goodbye.
Soaring over the shimmering emptiness, seagulls gloated in screeching cacophony under fingers of gold and purple that reached toward the distant cerulean contour that met the brightening sky.
Just beyond the pounding surf, a piece of driftwood floated helplessly, trapped in an unyielding current that was too strong to oppose.
A cool, pungent breeze touched Mattie’s wet cheek. She was decided. Like the driftwood, it was useless to fight the current. Tomorrow, just as the sun reached its zenith, she would agree to be Mrs. Alonzo Skousen.