Ruth Doan MacDougall's Snowy Series

Book Summaries and Purchase Information

THE CHEERLEADER

The Cheerleader coverThe book that started it all!  

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 the personal success that only a good college education can bring. In THE CHEERLEADER, you'll begin an adventure with the engaging, enduring characters whose stories continue, over subsequent titles in Ruth Doan MacDougall’s 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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SNOWY

SNOWY coverWhat happened next? 
Ruth Doan MacDougall received countless letters from devoted fans of THE CHEERLEADER asking this question. She answered it by writing SNOWY, which chronicles how the cute blond cheerleader spends her next thirty years.

Says the Library Journal,  “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 Cheerleaderr."

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HENRIETTA SNOW

Henrietta Snow cover“Our Silent Generation has dropped out of sight between our parents’ generation and the baby boomers. Nobody knows about us."

But you will know!

Fans of Snowy and Bev and Puddles, Tom, Dudley, the twins, and all the Gang from Gunthwaite High School will thoroughly enjoy this next stage of our beloved characters' lives, as they turn fifty and—eek!—sixty as the millennium approaches. 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? 

Said one reader, "This ia a CHEERLEADER fan's dream book, answering almost every 'What if...?" and 'What ever happened to...?" question we could have had. But more than just an extended reunion with characters I adore, the story itself is fabulous—a great and wonderful treat for people like me, who've loved Snowy for decades now."

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THE HUSBAND BENCH, or Bev's Book

Henrietta Snow cover

It's Bev's 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. After decades together, their marriage has evolved into an unconventional one, with the two living in different states, but Bev finds that it suits her. While she cherishes the success she has found in her chosen profession, Bev must deal with changing family circumstances while adjusting to a surprise that will have a tremendous impact on her life. 

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? 

From the foreword by Ann Norton Holbrook: “‘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.” 


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A BORN MANIAC or Puddles's Progress

A Born Maniac coverI’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. Did she establish roots in these states to which she was transplanted ?  Or has she truly been a displaced person all these years? 

The most uninhibited of THE CHEERLEADER’s three friends, intrepid Puddles was leading a settled life when a trip to visit Maine relatives becomes her route to adventure involving an island, a castle, hard decisions, and rebirth. 

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

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A GUNTHWAITE GIRL

Henrietta Snow cover

The cabin fever of winter had become spring fever.”

When shy Henrietta Snow is 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 bracingly tells her she can, their skeptical friend, Puddles, agrees to drive down from Maine to join them in a trial run.

The Gunthwaite girls, united once again into their familiar triumvirate,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 Ruth Doan MacDougall's Snowy Series A GUNTHWAITE GIRL will serve as an introduction to the main characters so that you can more fully enjoy the next title, SITE FIDELITY

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SITE FIDELITY

Henrietta Snow cover"Site fidelity" is an ornithological term for birds'instinctive migration back to their place of origin. But what Snowy wants is another site, a fresh start. Woodcombe, the New Hampshire town in which she has lived for twenty years, and Gunthwaite, her nearby hometown, now 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, and 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.” How can she escape?

Is this longing for change a part of aging? How can she leave the responsibilities that tie her down? A medical challenge provides an unexpected opportunity, and Snowy...finds new profoundness in those ancient words “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.”


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New! LAZY BEDS

Henrietta Snow coverLAZY BEDS, the latest title in Ruth Doan MacDougall’s Snowy Series, continues the stories of Snowy and Bev as they weather this century's Great Recession. Snowy is worried about the financial health of her three small stores while Bev, owner of a well-known real-estate agency, is finding that real-estate sales have essentially ceased.

Snowy and Bev share their adventures and challenges in equal measure, but Puddles, and many of the friends that readers have come to enjoy, have not been neglected. In LAZY BEDS, readers will be able to catch up with the Gang they first met in THE CHEERLEADER—still going strong after all these years!

What's a "lazy bed?"
A home gardener, planting potatoes might use the "lazy bed" method that avoids the more intensive forms of garden labor, but st8oo produces impressive results.

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You may order a paperback copy of LAZY BEDS now, Frigate Books and from Amazon by Febriaru 1. The e-book version is available now at Apple Books (ePUB format) and amazon.com if you prefer the Kindle format.

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Ruth's News

facebook logo Catch up with Ruth via her Facebook column. Ruth updates this column each week, usually on Sunday mornings, and fans are welcome to join the ongoing conversation. For those not using Facebook, the column is reprinted here each week.

To celebrate the publication of LAZY BEDS, Ruth's newest title in The Snowy Series, a recent, relevant Facebook entry ia published below:

REMEMBER THE READER

     Back in the 1950s, Don and I became intrigued by Kingsley Amis after reading Lucky Jim, and we continued reading his novels for a while. Since then, I’ve read one novel by Martin Amis, his son, but I didn’t continue. However, a couple of months ago as I was skimming a Publishers Weekly “Author Profile” of Martin Amis on the occasion of publication of his latest novel, Inside Story, I was suddenly riveted by this:

     “One of the best qualities of [Inside Story] is its regard for the reader. Amis acknowledges this . . . ‘You have to love the reader,” he says. ‘ . . . A book is nothing without a reader. The relationship between writer and reader is very mysterious and fascinating and not terribly well explained. There is an intimacy to reading a novel because you feel you know the writer embarrassingly well.’”

     The reader! When I’m asked for advice about writing, one of the first things I’m apt to say is “Remember the reader!”
     Thinking about this, last week I went through notes I made for talks I gave, and here are some of the other things I talked about:
     • My father’s slogan was: “Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and write.” That is, don’t wait for inspiration.
     • Write every day, even if it’s only a sentence.Write first; do everything else second. Don’t say, “I’ll write when I get such-and-such finished.” Make it part of your daily schedule.
     • My trick for jump-starting the act of writing, for inducing the trance in which you enter into your imagination—sometimes called “the artistic coma”; Stephen King calls it “being in the zone”—is just to start writing. Don’t dither or fret, searching for the perfect phrasing. The physical act of writing will set off the mental, and you’ll be on your way.
     • Keep notepads and pens/pencils everywhere, around the house, in the car, etc.
     Before I start a novel, I sit down with accumulated scribbled notes and a legal pad and a pencil and work on a shape, an outline. This is the hardest part for me. As Trollope said, “To think of a story is much harder than writing it.” My sister, a landscape designer, has joked that she does the design after she puts in the garden. That’s what I do with an outline! Sort of. After I’ve finished the first draft of the book, I write a much better outline for the second.
     And sometimes I ended my talks with an excerpt from “Fifty Thoughts from Fifty Years,” a piece that Dan, my father, wrote for his fiftieth Dartmouth reunion in 1986. He concluded it with an observation he’d made in the 1950s in the journal he kept all his life:


    “This thought emerges: Successful or not, the years devoted to the art, craft, trade, or hobby of writing may be looked upon as having been spent in a great tradition and enterprise. What did you do with your life? I tried to learn to write.”

     Thank you, dear readers.

© 2020 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

Other News and Updates

by Jen, E-Blast Editor

Jen and TSS booksLAZY BEDS is here!  Please visit the Frigate Books Bookshop to order paperback or e-book copies.

 

The E-Blast is your connection to news updates!
      Are you subscribed to the Ruth Doan MacDougall E-Blast? If you didn’t receive the first issue, you can read it here – and then e-mail the E-Blast editor and ask to be added to the mailing list. (That’s E-Blast editor Jennifer Davis-Kay in the photo, surrounded by some of her favorite books.)

     The E-Blast is a new, occasional publication of news and notes for Ruth’s fans. Here you’ll get background on your beloved characters, stories from Ruth on different inspirations for particular scenes, recipes from the books, a deeper look into Ruth’s writing beyond The Snowy Series, and so much more! If you have a question for Ruth or an idea for a future story, don’t hesitate to e-mail Jen.

 

Other Books by Ruth Doan MacDougall

A WOMAN WHO LOVED LINDBERGH

MUTUAL AID coverThis story, set in the 1950s, shifts backward and forward through generations and years, focusing on a daughter who in one summer grows to understand her mother—and, through her mother, herself. During the summer of 1952, thirteen-year-old Lydia Dearborn must navigate into the unknown toward the horizon of maturity, discovering the terrors and responsibilities of adventure and independence, always aware of her mother’s hero, Charles Lindbergh, who had made a historic first flight across an unexplored sky.

 

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

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MUTUAL AID

MUTUAL AID coverAs its heroine, Mercy Blodgett, says of herself, she seems to be related to almost everybody in the small town of Chiswick, New Hampshire—and to those she isn’t, her husband, Bob, is likely to be.

Just when a mill closing in 1986 costs the Blodgetts their jobs, the 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

It’s 1969, and after a devastating divorce, 30-year-old Emily Bean leaves her home to work as a teacher in New Hampshire’s coastal region. Emily struggles to adjust to single life in the freewheeling sixties, a time of turmoil for the United States—an era that comes vividly alive through frequent references to the food, drink, and dress of the times. Noted one Goodreads reader, “I wanted Emily to find love and to find herself, all the while worrying that the two goals might not be compatible for her quite yet.”

Selected by Nancy Pearl as part of her "Book List" series for amazon.com. The book is vailable in print, Kindle, and audiobook versions.
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Currently Out of Print

These are not in print at this time but can generally be found on various book-sale websites (e.g., BookFinder.com), in libraries, or at used-book stores.
• THE LILTING HOUSE
• THE COST OF LIVING
• WIFE AND MOTHER
• AUNT PLEANANTINE
• THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST
• A LOVELY TIME WAS HAD BY ALL

Keep in Touch

FacebookFacebook and the E-Blast Newsletter

News of interest to readers is primarily shared here on the website and through Ruth's Facebook column, usually updated weekly, on Sunday morning. Ruth’s current entry is also posted here; earlier entries (including "Ruth's Neighborhood" from this website’s incarnation) are linked from the menu list on that same page..

     

The occasional E-Blast newsletter is emailed to everyone on Ruth’s mailing list. You can view the first issue here and subscribe to the newsletter here.

 

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