What is the Owen Family?
This unique group of individuals is the creation of award-winning and Amazon best-selling author Marsha Ward. She first discovered these characters way back in 1965, when–after a major life rerouting–she poured her disappointed heart and soul into writing what she envisioned as “The Great American Novel.” Except it wasn’t ever going to be a literary novel, because she didn’t much care for them. She preferred tales with action, adventure, and romance in them.
Marsha cut her reading teeth on such works as Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire, Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, père, and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. Other influencers were Louis L’Amour, the Western novelist, and Robert Newton Peck, whose children’s books include A Day No Pigs Would Die.
Marsha created a family who lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Father Rod and mother Julia headed the clan, and in the original iteration, there were twelve children. Marsha subsequently cut three children from the bunch. Don’t ask their names. She doesn’t remember them. There was, however, a baby who died. He is mentioned briefly in one of the books.
Her first brush with the Owen family became the highly regarded novel, The Man from Shenandoah. Her latest novel is Gone for a Soldier, now counted as Book 1 of The Owen Family Saga (yes, Marsha re-numbered them), which details the events in the lives of the family during the American Civil War. The Man from Shenandoah follows as Book 2, then comes Book 3, Spinster’s Folly; Book 4, Ride to Raton; and Trail of Storms is now Book 5.
As of August, 2016, that is the suggested Reading Order, although it’s not the order in which Marsha wrote the novels. Hey! She is quirky; she’s now writing a short piece about how this intriguing family got started. However, back on topic, the Owen Family story line follows along better if the reader follows the above suggested order.
Members of the Owen Family (and their ages at the beginning of the American Civil War) are:
Roderick Owen, farmer, horse breeder
Julia Helm Owen, his wife, whom he calls Julie
Rulon – age 20, sometimes called Rule
Benjamin – age 19
Peter – age 17
Carl – age 16
James – age 14
Marie – age 13
Clayton – age 11
Albert – age 10
Julianna – age 8, also called Jule or Anna