Friday, June 9, 2023

Strong Women... by Christine Bush

 Strong women..

There have been many stories about “damsels in distress” in our past.  But in recent times, our heroines are just that.  Heroines. Strong women.

Our female characters don’t need to be saved.  They save themselves.  Often, they save others.  The have important careers, noteworthy goals, strong ethics.   They tackle big problems.  And they solve them.  And they still find love.  From strong men.

 Where do these great characters come from?

I am a strong believer that fiction reflects real life.  We have strong women characters because we are strong women. 

There are many examples we can pull from.

I’m going to speak of my greatest true heroine… my mother.


Mary Jane Donovan was born in 1923 in Portland, Oregon.  Her mother passed when Mary Jane was only two, probably from bone cancer, but with medicine being what it was, only the symptoms and suppositions were passed along.

She was left with  two older brothers and her father.  Daniel was a hard working, hard drinking Irishman who had gone west years before to “find gold and wealth” on the west coast.

  Of course, there was no gold to be found.  But the new “dream” was the gold to be found in Alaska. He went.  He took his two boys with him, but could not take his 2 year old daughter on his adventure, so he left her in the hands of some dedicated nuns who ran an orphanage in Portland.  She stayed until she aged out in her teenage years.

Her father died in a mining accident, and she lost track of her brothers. 

She was taken in by a cousin’s family in Montana for her high school years, feeling like a burden by the end of the depression.  She took a job at the local drug store, a bleak future ahead.

As World War II exploded, she saw a poster outside the post office on one lunch break.  The white haired, bearded, finger pointing Uncle Sam on the poster said “Uncle Sam wants YOU!”

And underneath the simple but significant statement had been handwritten:

“The US Navy now accepting women.”  It included a telephone number located in Chicago.

My heroine jumped into action, aided and encouraged by her pharmacist boss.

Phone call made, appointment set, by the end of the day she began a very long and uncomfortable bus trip to Chicago. 

With extreme courage and absolute terror, she began the next stage of her life.

Mary Jane Donovan was one of the first 200 “Waves” in the US NAVY.  Can you imagine it? After code training, she was stationed at Virginia Beach, receiving and sending code to our Navy ships and destroyers all over the world.

After the war, she moved to NYC with 4 Navy friends, to work and begin the next phase of her life. She met and married my father, and they raised 6 (exceptional) children.

Her bravery, motivation, and zest for life have been a great inspiration for me.  How about you?  Is there someone in your life who has inspired you to dare, to grow, and to tackle difficult situations with strength and determination?

Who are the heroines in your life?  I’d love to hear!


Christine Bush is a USA Today Bestselling author of romance, romantic mystery, and suspense.  She can be found living in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania with her husband and 2 lazy cats, and spending time with her 14 grandchildren.   When she’s not writing, she’s teaching Psychology at a local college, and working with clients in her private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She loves to hear from readers and writers!

 In “Love, Julie”, my heroine Julianna escapes NYC and a forced marriage by travelling to Montana to take a job in a one room school house.  She wants freedom and adventure, but will she end up with more than she bargained for? Or will her dreams come true?



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