Why Dear Nell?

Dear Nell: The True Story of the Haven Sisters is the story of two sisters from New York City, one of whom (Ellen, or Nell) marries into a prominent plantation family in Louisiana just prior to the Civil War. As such, Ellen is transported into a different culture and a different world - a world that will soon be blown apart by this country's worst maelstrom. Seen through the intimacy of a remarkable personal correspondence (selected from over 1400 letters from the six-volume Haven-Pugh Letter Collection & supplemented by over 200 additional documents and letters), a story unfolds that reveals the effects of the Civil War on each of them - and on their two families now separated by an unbridgeable gulf. Through it all, the two sisters remain loyal to their sibling tie, despite arduous struggles, grievous misunderstandings and tests of faith.

Live the Experience through Fanny and Ellen!

Fanny and Ellen’s personal histories, articulated with astonishing intelligence and perspective, stand for a much broader account of our country's travails during that time of unprecedented challenge. The ability to articulate and communicate nuance using the written word is a lost art and may be both novel for, and a marvel to, today’s readers. The effects of the Civil War on the families, their livelihoods, and, in the South, on their very identity, come alive in their words. Punctuated by details small and large, by humor, love, harsh economic realities, women’s roles, and by the anguish caused by death, poverty and mental illness, this is a rare glimpse into a past (but ever present) time.

"I couldn't put it down. Left me wanting to know more especially about Nell. Very interesting how they kept in touch despite war, illness, distance etc. Also interesting how much they traveled considering all those same obstacles. Their acceptance of death and suffering as part of everyday life brought the history to life and made me glad I didn't live during those days. I couldn't help thinking it would make a great movie. " - Donna

"I kept the book open on my dining room table and kept coming back to it - it was like reading a soap opera!" - A.H.

"The book really is a gem- It does read almost like a novel but better because of the actual quotes from Fanny's letters and the way they're tied together - If flows beautifully." -Dot

Dear Nell is available in print at Amazon.com. It is available for free, to read or to download as pdf, at Google Books.

Google eBookstore (aka Editions) is now live. Dear Nell is available as an ebook from Google eBookstore.

The Kindle edition is available from Amazon's Kindle Bookstore for $2.99 and in print or ebook ($2.99) at Nook books.

The current epub is available for free. Due to a google issue, the free epub will not upload: please email fannyhaven (at) gmail.com & request a free epub of the full book, Dear Nell.

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Print edition note: if you have trouble discerning the genealogy chart in the print edition, please view the chart by right-clicking the chart image at the bottom of the images page.

All material in Dear Nell: The True Story of the Haven Sisters is fully protected by U.S. copyright.

Please visit the home of the Haven-Pugh Letter Collection: http://www.portsmouthathenaeum.org/

The Haven-Pugh Letter Collection on which the book is based has been professionally scanned by: https://www.swhscan.com/

DearNellAddendum2016 Updated 2020.pdf