As you know, I'm working on the fourth Owen Family novel, starring the elder daughter, Marie. Here are a couple of passages I thought you might find intriguing:
Young Roddy, Rulon's boy, came galloping under the oaks astride a stick Pa had fitted with a stuffed horsehead made of burlap. "The horsie bucked," he announced in a high, shrill voice. "Unca James fell off." He pranced around his mother. "Mama, he said bad words."
Marie didn't fight the chortle the boy's comment brought out. I reckon he did, she thought. James don't like blemishes on his reputation as a horseman. She watched Mary bend over and exhort her son about sticking close to her. That baby's growin' up. Good thing Mary's got a new wee one to hold.
She paused a moment, trying to think where Julianna could have taken herself. Then she remembered the girl's preoccupation with marriage, and ran towards Carl's cabin tucked into the woods. As she rounded the bend in the path, she was horrified to see Julianna, back against the log wall of the cabin, listening at the window. She darted forward, grabbed her sister's wrist, and hauled her backward away from the wall.
"Marie! Leave me be!" Julianna shrieked. Ellen put her head out of the window, a startled look on her face, and pulled the shutters closed. "See there, now I can't hear anything," the girl continued. "You're so mean." She struggled against Marie's restraining hand.
"That's a despicable thing to do, spying on the newlyweds like that. You should be ashamed," Marie said, tightening her hold and wrapping her other arm around her sister in a further effort to get her away from the scene. "Whatever possessed you?"
"I need to know about things," Julianna shouted, wriggling in Marie's embrace. "Ma won't tell me what folks do when they're married."
"It's none of your business. You're not married, and won't be for a long spell." Marie stopped dragging Julianna away since they were a suitable distance from the cabin, and stood in the path so she couldn't return.
The girl shrugged off Marie's arms and spat out, "I'll be married before you. Parley Morgan's sweet on me, and I wager we'll be getting married soon. Next spring, perhaps."
"That's preposterous! Parley? He's ages older'n you! Get to the house."
Julianna stood upright, arms akimbo, spewing out venomous words. "You're jealous. You don't have a beau. You won't ever have a beau, because you're too old!"
Marie felt her cheeks burn, and her hand swung in a short arc and caught Julianna on her cheek. "You little vixen," she yelled. "You mind your tongue. Ma's going to hear of this, but not today. She's got enough grief. Get home! Pa wants you."
Julianna turned and stormed off down the path toward the main cabin, muttering imprecations beneath her breath. Marie followed, breathing heavily, trying to calm down. It bothered her that Julianna had such power over her. In a few words, she'd managed to throw Marie's world into a blazing, furious uproar, and she didn't like the feeling. There was trouble ahead, and she needed a clear brain and all her strength to help Ma overcome it.
"Ma will be beside herself," she mumbled out loud, but more to herself than to Julianna's retreating back. "Pa won't be any use. He's madder'n a cat caught in a rain barrel."
The usual disclaimers apply: fresh first draft work subject to change, my copyright, comments very welcome.