Monday, March 26, 2012

Passing Strange: Not Your Ordinary Love Story

I love exploring tales of forbidden love, and one of the most interesting I've ever read about was that of Clarence King and Ada Copeland.  Their story is told in Martha A. Sandweiss's book, Passing Strange.

Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history.  He was also a brilliant scientist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay declared King “the best and brightest of his generation.”

However, King hid a secret from his friends, as well as the prominent Newport family from which he hailed:  He lived a double life.  For thirteen years King was known  as a celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer.  But he was also known as James Todd, a black Pullman porter and steel worker.

The fair skinned blue-eyed son born to a wealthy China trader passed across the color line.  This was not the usual case of a black man passing as white--but a white man passing as black!  And he didn't reveal his secret  to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, until his dying day.

Why did King do this?  To be with the woman he loved.  To marry Ada publicly, as the white man Clarence King, would have scandalized him and destroyed his career.

Passing Strange is a fascinating account of a sacrifice made for love.  If you like history, romance and forbidden love stories, then you'll enjoy Passing Strange!

Can you share a rather strange love story you've heard about?

Thanks for visiting!  BTW, the release date of my new novel, Escape, will be sometime in late April!  And if you haven't read my forbidden love story, The Governor's Sons, be sure to check it out


Old Kitty said...

Wow! Good grief! How fascinating! It's so so sad too. Poor Clarence and Ada! :-(

Amazing. Thanks for the info and link to this incredible but true story. I can't think of a more incredible true love story as this!

Take care

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - what a fascinating concept! Really interesting. :)

Intangible Hearts said...

I like love stories but I think my favorite types of books are journeys as in "The Wizard of Oz" or "The Alchemist." A book should be an escape from where someone is reading to other worlds and Passing Strange sounds like Clarence King's trip of a lifetime!

William Kendall said...

Thanks for pointing this book out. I'd not heard the name before...