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Polson novelist’s latest book retraces Alaskan adventure

by CAROLYN HIDY
Lake County Leader | May 12, 2022 12:15 AM

In the mid-1970s, adventurous young Maggie Plummer surprised her brother by showing up at his cabin door in one of the most remote wilderness areas in the world.

Her new novel, “Eagle in Flight,” retraces much of that journey. Earthy, honest description recreates the boldness of the era, from the hippie scene of San Francisco to the plaid shirts and waffle stompers, White’s boots and tree planting crews of the Northwest and beyond. A fictionalized narrative explores the vulnerability of the young people making their way through it all.

Published this year, “Eagle in Flight” is the third installment in Plummer’s Jessie Morgan Series, following the lead character as she leaves a difficult situation from Book 2 (“Webs in the Mist”) and strikes out for the north.

While the storyline is not autobiographical, “most of the adventures Jessie Morgan has in this particular novel are my most exciting travel stories,” Plummer said.

She camped alongside many others on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry, then made her way alone up the wild Stikine River in British Columbia, Canada.

“You talk about the boonies. When I think about the things I did as a young woman … wow.”

For years, Plummer had wanted to set her memoirs to paper for her nieces and nephews, and this fiction series presented a good way to do that, she said. Since her journals from the time were more personal than descriptive, she enjoyed supplementing her memories with research as she developed the story.

The Jessie Morgan Series, including Book 1, “Bell Bottom Gypsy,” will eventually be a foursome, with much of the fourth installment taking place in Montana.

Plummer’s first novels, “Spirited Away: A Novel of the Stolen Irish” (2012) and its sequel, “Daring Passage” (2014), explored the little-known history of the Irish people during Cromwell’s reign of terror.

“During the 1650s, a large percentage of Ireland’s population was either slaughtered, exiled to the rugged western part of the country or sold into slavery in the Caribbean,” Plummer explained.

Plummer said she had never heard of this topic until she came across a small mention of it in a visitor guide during a trip to Ireland. Her Irish heritage spurred her interest, leading her into four years of research prior to publishing. The main character was named O’Brennan, after her own Irish grandmother.

She understood the controversial nature of the subject, as other groups, especially Blacks and Indigenous peoples, were exploited for much longer and in far larger numbers. It was important to her to include them in the story.

Plummer holds a degree in journalism and wrote for several Montana publications, including the Char-Koosta and the Lake County Leader over the years. Her novels are available at the North Lake County Public Library in Polson as well as at amazon.com.