|About the Book|
The character of Francine was introduced in and played an active part in the novel, Mei Ling. At the time Francine owned a Social Club in the gold town of Florence, Idaho Territory and became the life long friend of a tough little Chinese girl, Mei Ling.Bernard DuMont was an autocratic eastern industrialist steeped in the concept of social castes, imagining himself as occupying the top social rung and further imbued with the mission to protect and promote his family name. He further fixated on the notion daughters’ sole purpose was to serve as pawns to merge up caste families and consolidate wealth.Disappointment entered DuMont’s life when his third child was born a girl. Worse yet, Francine matured with a rebellious nature, unwilling to accept the role he set for her. When Francine reached marriageable age all the young men, DuMont felt worthy of his daughter, were unsuccessfully paraded before her. Francine was more interested in other activities than marriage and turned a cold shoulder to the young dilettante’s ambitions until the pool of suitors ran dry.Not willing to accept the situation of Francine being an undesirable bride, DuMont entered into a contract with a young threadbare aristocrat to wed his troublesome daughter. Edward and Francine fell in love and enjoyed a harmonious marriage, until disaster stuck, leaving Francine a widow.With little more than the clothes she wore, Francine was offered employment by wheelchair bound gentleman, Mr. Whitcome. During the following winter Mr. Whitcome contacted pneumonia. When realizing he was on the verge of dying, Mr. Whitcome bequeathed his estate to Francine. Following her benefactor’s, Francine moved west and worked in riverfront bar where agents from both sides of Civil War were part of the clientele.Using money from her inheritance Francine built and operated a successful Social Club in Denver, until powerful interests, not believing in competition, gave Francine cause to sell her business. She teamed up with a former drayage own and participated in several northwestern gold stampedes.Francine’s life ended in Lewiston, Idaho Territory while being cared for by her Chinese friend Mei Ling.