And now there are seven . . .

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“The cabin fever of winter had become spring fever.”

That’s what poet Henrietta Snow, known as Snowy, is thinking in the spring of 2005. Woodcombe, New Hampshire, the New Hampshre town in which she has lived for twenty years, and Gunthwaite, her nearby hometown, seem to her like prisons. She is confined by her surroundings and memories, by family and financial worries, by her work at her general store. How can she escape?

When she is suddenly asked to lead a tour of the hometown places that have inspired her poems, she panics. She can’t do it! But her best friend, Bev, lives in Gunthwaite and bracingly tells her she can, and their skeptical friend, Puddles, agrees to drive down from Maine to join them in a trial run.

So these Gunthwaite girls set forth together into the past on a day trip that will affect the way they look forward into their futures.

If you have not read the earlier titles in The Snowy Series (#1 - #5) A Gunthwaite Girl will serve as an introduction to the main characters so that you can more fully enjoy the sixth title, Site Fidelity.

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In order to return, Snowy thought, you have to go away. But what if you want to stay away?

SITE FIDELITY is a contemporary novel centering on the importance of “place” in a turbulent, changing world. The title refers to the ornithological term for birds’ instinctive migration back to their place of origin.

The year is 2008 and the Great Recession is looming, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the winter is hard, especially on people who aren’t so young as they used to be.

Twenty-three years ago, Henrietta Snow—known as Snowy—and her husband bought a general store near her hometown in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Ever since his death, she and her daughter, Ruhamah, have been running the store. They recently bought a second general store in a neighboring town, and now Ruhamah wants to acquire a third. Scared, Snowy wonders if Ruhamah wants to rule a general-store empire.

What Snowy wants is another site, a fresh start. She hankers for what she calls a Maine-style Bali Ha’i, an island she has visited with her friend Puddles, where the scenery is “the ever-changing ocean, not the motionless mountains.”

Is this longing for change a part of aging? How can she leave the responsibilities that are tying her down?

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In THE CHEERLEADER you'll meet Snowy and her wide circle of friends, growing up in the post-World War II era of rigidly-defined roles for women. While Snowy yearns for the social success that a small-town high school can offer, her ambitions extend past that toward personal success that only a good college education can bring.

Here, in THE CHEERLEADER, you'll begin an adventure with engaging, enduring characters whose stories will continue, over subsequent titles in The Snowy Series, into contemporary times..
Searchingly honest, achingly real, THE CHEERLEADER recalls all the joy, excitement, and pain of crossing the bridge from childhood to young womanhood in the Fabulous Fifties, when sex was still a mystery and goals were clearly defined--perhaps for the last time.

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What happened next?

Ruth Doan MacDougall received countless letters from readers of The Cheerleader asking this question. She answered it by writing SNOWY, which chronicles Snowy’s next thirty years.

SNOWY describes how she and her friends, who came of age in the security of the 1950s when roles were accepted and defined, develop in the next decades, coping with college, marriage, and careers, their experiences unique, yet universal.

“Readers should prepare to laugh out loud and cry in earnest as former high school cheerleader Henrietta Snow grows up in this delightful sequel to The Cheerleader .” ( —Library Journal)

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“Our generation,” Snowy says in HENRIETTA SNOW, “is ‘the disappeared.’ We’ve dropped out of sight between our parents’ generation and the baby boomers. Remember how we were called ‘The Silent Generation’? Nobody knows about us.”

But you will know!

Here are Snowy and Bev and Puddles, Tom, Dudley, the twins, and all the Gang from Gunthwaite High School, in the next stage of their lives, turning fifty and—eek!—sixty as they approach the millennium. How do they adjust to their limitations, deal with grief, and face the realization that this may be their last chance at love, success, and happiness?

With humor, for one thing. HENRIETTA SNOW is funny, honest, and indelible.

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It’s Bev turn!

Bev was tall, with short thick auburn hair. She looked older, more finished, than the other girls in their class. And she was green-eyed and beautiful, but she loved to make faces.

That was Beverly Colby at age fifteen, Snowy’s best friend in The Cheerleader. Now, at sixty, her hair is white but she has remained a beauty and she still loves to make faces. And in THE HUSBAND BENCH she is starring in a book of her own.

The co-captain of the basketball team, Roger was tall and coolly jaunty, a senior and so suave.

That was Roger Lambert, Bev’s boyfriend, whom eventually Bev married. Now, after a long separation, she and Roger have decided to renew their marriage vows. But as the euphoria of this decision fades, Bev must try to face the reality of this prospect while also trying to deal with her career decisions and, even more important, a surprise with a tremendous impact.

Bev’s complex love life becomes even more intricate as THE HUSBAND BENCH explores love in various forms, from pure to complicated—selfless, selfish, serious, comic.

What is a Husband Bench?

“‘The husband bench’ refers to the ubiquitous seats all over malls and grocery stores where ostensibly patient husbands, with little else to take up their time, wait for their wives to finish shopping. Typically, MacDougall invests this with telling irony.”

( From the foreword by Ann Norton Holbrook

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“I’m a Maine native, a born Maniac.”
—Jean Pond Cram, aka Puddles

Puddles may have been born in Maine, but where are her real roots? She spent her teens in New Hampshire and her married life in South Carolina. Has she established roots in these other states? Or has she felt like a displaced person all these years?

The most uninhibited of The Cheerleader’s three friends, intrepid Puddles is widowed now and still working at two jobs in South Carolina (nurse and cheerleading coach). Her settled life is suddenly shaken by the death of her mother, a complicated milestone for daughters. Concern about her father galvanizes her, and their trip to visit Maine relatives will become her progress to adventure, an island, a castle, hard decisions, and rebirth.

Puddles is “just as hilarious as when she chased Snowy around a 1950s Woolworth’s with giant underwear.” (—from the foreword by Ann Norton Holbrook)


Visit with Ruth Doan MacDougall


News and Updates

First, I wanted you to know that the initial shipments of both SITE FIDELITY and A GUNTHWAITE GIRL sold very quickly. Additional shipments were quickly arranged so all venues should be well-stocked again.

There did not seem to be much interest in the "Question of the Month" participation opportunity, so that feature will be dropped for now. Annabel, who lives in the UK, sent an interesting comment about the birds in her area, and it is available HERE, with the photo that she sent. Thank you, Annabel!

Perhaps you know that back in 2001 a story I'd written some time earlier was published as an e-Book in in PDF, the only form possible in that "early" technological age. Photographs from my own albums were used to illustrate the book which is entirely fiction, but the photos do represent the era in which the story is set.  I am happy to let you know that Frigate Books will continue to send a free copy of  A WOMAN WHO LOVED LINDBERGH to anyone who places an order through Frigate Books; you'll receive an e-mail with the link to download the PDF. The offer is good through June 30.

About Ruth

My author biography has been updated; you'll find it HERE.

Please join me on Facebook! Usually I'm able to add an entry there each Sunday morning, and I hope you'll stop by to read the entry and share your thoughts there. I'd appreciate your liking us on Facebook, too.

If you would like more information about the places mentioned in the May 21 Facebook post, you'll find several related entries in the Ruth's Neighborhood archives.


Celebrating another milestone!

A milestone!

I'm delighted with the reception that A GUNTHWAITE GIRL and SITE FIDELITY is enjoying. The letters and comments that so many of you have sent are a pleasure to read and I'm certainly excited to start thinking about the next title in The Snowy Series—LAZY BEDS.

The website is being updated to reflect these additions and to make it more mobile-device friendly. It will take a few weeks to complete that transformation, but all of the features you've enjoyed in the past will return.

The publisher's supply of one title in The Snowy Series, HENRIETTA SNOW, is exhausted. Frigate Books is ready to republish it, so there will be copies available soon. The e-book will be available, along with the other six titles, but the only print copies available, to my knowledge, are in used bookstores, and I'm shocked at the prices that are being asked!

A GUNTHWAITE GIRL is available  in paperback form only through Frigate Books; at this time it is not available from any other source.  All 7 titles of The Snowy Series are available as e-books from either the iBookstore (Apple) or Kindle (Amazon).  At this time HENRIETTA SNOW is available only as an e-book (both platforms) and a new printing is being planned soon for those of you who would like to have a paperback copy. The other titles in the series are available from Frigate Books, Amazon Barnes & Noble, and through bookstores.


Other Titles by Ruth Doan MacDougall

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As its heroine, Mercy Blodgett, says of herself, she seems to be related to almost everybody in the small town of Chiswick, NH. To those she isn’t, her husband, Bob, is likely to be. Just when a mill closing in 1986 costs the Blodgetts their jobs, this town is suddenly terrorized by an arsonist, and heart attacks may cost Bob his life.

The title refers to the emergency system in which fire departments from neighboring towns assist each other, but it also emphasizes the interdependence of all people,whether they are family, friends, or, as with Mercy and the young man who has become her pen pal, strangers at the outset. The word "aid" summons up the word "AIDS," and this too is part of the story.

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ONE MINUS ONE is a Book Lust Rediscoveries selection in a series produced by noted author and librarian Nancy Pearl, in cooperation with

The year is 1969, a time of turmoil for the United States—and for thirty-year-old Emily Bean, who, following her devastating divorce, leaves her home in the New Hampshire mountains to work as a teacher in the state’s coastal region.

Still in love with her ex-husband, David, Emily struggles to adjust to single life. Women’s liberation and the freewheeling sixties had only been on the perimeter of her married life, so even walking into a restaurant alone makes insecure Emily self-conscious.

The men in town are quick to notice an available and attractive young woman with legs made for miniskirts. Emily falls into relationships with two men, one of whom could be her way back to the safe life that she lost.

But in this portrait of a woman on the brink of self-realization in mid-20th-century America, Emily must learn whether or not she can truly recapture the past.

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A PDF e-book that is read using the (free) Adobe Reader or other PDF readers. If you download and read PDF files on your electronic device you will be able to read this one.

Like her classic coming-of-age best seller, The Cheerleader, this novel by Ruth Doan MacDougall features a 50s setting and an idealistic girl confronting reality. During the summer of 1952, thirteen-year-old Lydia Dearborn must navigate into the unknown toward the horizon of maturity. In doing so, she grows to understand her mother--and, through her mother, herself.

A WOMAN WHO LOVED LINDBERGH is a multilayered tale of families, a family album that includes the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, early 1900s Montana, and mid-twentieth-century New England. Examining the complexities that bind families and celebrating the courage of individuals, it is profound, moving, and funny.

The book includes photos of mid-20th-century life set into the chapter dividers. Most of the photos were borrowed from Doan family albums—just for illustrations typical of the 1950s timeframe; the book is fiction.


Ruth's Neighborhood


April in New Hampshire:
Winter to Spring in 30 Days

The "Ruth's Neighborhood Index of Entries" is HERE

You may start reading below (scroll as needed; there is a link to finish the article) or read the entire article   HERE.


      In my first novel, The Lilting House, which I wrote in my twenties, I described my childhood as “a time of legends.” These legends were the stories the grown-ups told about their lives—in general and also specifically. One of the latter, which I heard every year, was the Legend of the April Snowstorm, and eventually I was the one telling it. I’ll repeat it once again now, as an April snowstorm blurs the windows beside my desk.
      April snowstorms are common in New Hampshire, but this one was remembered because it occurred when my mother and I—a newborn baby, her firstborn—were scheduled to leave the hospital. (Well, I wasn’t exactly newborn; back in those halcyon days, mother and baby stayed in the hospital a lot longer, in this case two weeks.) My grandmother Ruth had come up from Massachusetts to help out at the farmhouse, and she and my father drove to the hospital to fetch my mother and me. The storm worsened on the drive home, on country roads. I can imagine the tension in the car, my young father at the wheel, the fearsome responsibility of the baby. What if the car got stuck in the snowdrifts?

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Question of the Month: Memorable Places

From Anabel, in the UK: I would so love to visit your part of the USA and see all these new-to-me birds. The chickadees are very like our tits, but phoebes are not something I know. And of course your robins are totally different to ours! I thought of you when I took the attached photo of a robin, who was scavenging crumbs around the café at our local Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre this afternoon!