Inspired by true events, in Sofia Grant’s powerfully moving new novel a young woman peels back the layers of her family’s history, discovering a tragedy in the past that explains so much of the present. This unforgettable story is one of hope, healing, and the discovery of truth.
Sometimes the untold stories of the past are the ones we need to hear...
When Katie Garrett gets the unexpected news that she’s received an inheritance from the grandmother she hardly knew, it couldn’t have come at a better time. She flees Boston—and her increasingly estranged husband—and travels to rural Texas.
There, she’s greeted by her distant cousin Scarlett. Friendly, flamboyant, eternally optimistic, Scarlett couldn’t be more different from sensible Katie. And as they begin the task of sorting through their grandmother’s possessions, they discover letters and photographs that uncover the hidden truths about their shared history, and the long-forgotten tragedy of the New London school explosion of 1937 that binds them.
From the Author:
The idea for THE DAISY CHILDREN came from a little-known tragedy that took place in rural Texas in the 1930s, when hundreds of children died in a horrific explosion as classes were about to be dismissed from their new, state-of-the-art school.
The facts are straightforward—natural gas, a by-product of the oil drilling that had enriched the town, was being siphoned off for use in the school, and a leak in the pipe caused it to accumulate in the basement. A spark from an electric drill ignited the gas, and the explosion sent bricks and beams flying, blew out windows, and brought down walls. Children and teachers were flung, crushed, impaled, buried and burned. As volunteers retrieved bodies from the rubble and ferried the few survivors to nearby hospitals, parents searched desperately for their children and went mad with grief.
Over time, order and even routine returned to the town. The dead were buried, filling an entire section of the cemetery. A new school was built. Eventually the entire episode was lost to history, and few people know about it today.
What intrigued me most was what life must have been like for the survivors. What did it mean for a town to lose an entire generation? How did families find hope after losing what was most precious to them? What were the effects on the children who lived?
I started with a fictional family who lost their only child, an eleven-year-old daughter. Within a year a new daughter arrives, and grows up in the shadow of a tragedy that is rarely discussed, her only friends other “replacement babies.” Many years later, she leaves an intriguing legacy for her granddaughter and great-grand-niece, who come together to make sense of the life of a woman they never knew.
Writing this story was a joy, despite the terribly sad events from which it sprang. It allowed me to explore the tenacity of the human spirit and the boundlessness of love, and to write about women’s friendships, a favorite theme of mine.