“…where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain…”

Oklahoma is great to sing about but not many people set their books here, especially historical fiction. That’s one reason Anne Mateer’s book Wings of a Dream caught my attention. Not only does it begin in Oklahoma, it’s also set during WWI. No, that’s not a typo of Wii, kids – it means World War One, a neglected portion of our history that’s full of dramatic potential.

And Anne Mateer finds some drama, no doubt about it.

Her heroine, Rebekah Hendricks doesn’t stay in Oklahoma for long, but goes to Texas to help her widowed aunt. Her sacrifice is bearable since it places her near her aviator sweetheart’s training base. (The question is, had he not been a thing of beauty, would she be swayed by quite as keen a sense of duty? – Name that musical.)

Rebekah arrives at her aunt’s to find the town devastated by the Spanish flu epidemic. Not only is Aunt Adabelle deathly ill, but Rebekah discovers that Aunt Adabelle is the sole caregiver of four motherless children and until their father returns from the war, Rebekah is the only one able to care for them.

Now, if you’re like me, you already see the potential. Fancy flyboy, war-weary father, and I didn’t even mention the kind-hearted Sheriff with big dreams who helps Rebekah hold it all together.

If only the story had stayed in Oklahoma… But hey, I can’t throw stones. My first three books are set in Texas. I confess the guilt is unbearable, especially now at the cusp of football season, but Texas has done a better job at PR. Until a few years ago our licenses were adorned with the motto “Oklahoma is OK”. Please tell me the Tourism Department had nothing to do with that.

So how about your state or region? Have you read any books set at your location? Were they realistic? If you write, how do you decide the setting of your books? Where’s your next one going to be?

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