Historical Novel Society Editors’ Choice Book

The House on Tenafly Road

After his service in the Civil War, Sergeant John Weldon, haunted and nearly shattered by his experiences on and off the battlefield (which left him with lingering acute pain and a morphine addiction), makes his way to the picturesque new village of Englewood in New Jersey at the invitation of the spirited and welcoming McCullough family. He falls in love with the daughter of the house, fiercely intelligent and compassionate Kate, but he’s traumatized by the war and its aftereffects, and in the course of a long and very satisfyingly complex novel, Morris throws dozens of obstacles in the path of their relationship (including some extremely evocative flashbacks of Weldon’s war memories).

The various members of the McCullough family are portrayed with careful detail and some moments of unexpected humor, but it’s the tortured John Weldon who commands the book; his slow and halting search for personal redemption makes for mesmerizing reading. Recommended.

What is a family saga? I found this definition on Goodreads:

The family saga chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families. The typical novel follows the generations of a family through a period of time to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.

I like that. Don’t you? It’s fun to discover a friend’s perspective.

I write family sagas because I love people. I love their flaws. I love their dreams and deceptions. I feel sorry for us all yet happy to be alive.


I think I first fell in love with family sagas watching family drama at the many funerals of my youth.

As relatives bickered over property and rubbed old wounds raw, I listened with cousins to the adults fighting and laughing and fighting again between the morning and evening viewings of dead people.

My father reminded me each morning that we might not see each other again. As a police officer he knew more about sudden turns in life and death.

My mother was the keeper of old stories. Stories of poverty and of rowing the Hudson River on a stolen rowboat as a child with New York and its riches sparkling across the waves. She swam in the river until pollution warnings were posted on the beaches and the summer camps became winter homes for the poor.

I write this blog to celebrate who we all are, past and present, flawed and sublime.

Thank you for visiting.

Adrienne Morris writes family sagas about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age Englewood, New Jersey. Her first novel, The House on Tenafly Road was selected as an Editors’ Choice Book by The Historical Novel Society. HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY REVIEW

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Favorite Things:

  • Glory (1989)
  • Black Robe (1991)
  • The Rider (2017)
  • June Bug (2005)
  • Sweet Land (2005)
  • Anne of Green Gables (1985)
  • All Creatures Great and Small (2021)
  • Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (1993)
  • Winslow Homer
  • Garth Williams
  • Leonard Weisgard
  • Tasha Tudor
  • Thomas Eakins
  • Joan Walsh Anglund

132 responses to “ABOUT ADRIENNE”

  1. Thank you for sharing your site with me and for following mine. It is an enjoyable read. I believe you are following my sister’s site countrycookingbylynn.wordpress.com she is trying to get it off the ground so to speak…I see it is “under construction”. Thank you for following her. AJM


  2. What made you write about Englewood, NJ. I live about 4 blocks away from Tenafly Road. I like how you are open to all the experiences that you’ve had.


    • How exciting! My first Englewood blogger! I grew up in Bergen County and my great grandfather lived on James Street. I got a job teaching 5th grade at St. Cecilia’s School and fell in love with the history of the town and also a dilapidated house on Tenafly Road. I even went inside (it was abandoned at the time).

      I knew I wanted to write about New Jersey in a different way than the typical mafia/ turnpike NJ is awful style. I love NJ. So when I came up with the idea of a morphine-addicted Civil War veteran falling in love with a family he never had I knew they would live in the house (fixed up in my imagination). I LOVE Englewood! Did you grow up there?


    • Hello from snowy New York! I wouldn’t mind a trip to England. I went to London once and really loved it. The countryside is fantastically beautiful–sort of like Upstate NY. Nice to meet you!



  3. Hi there,
    this is totally unrelated…do you know where I could get info on what was sold in the old “Five and DIme” stores? You seem to dig up really interesting stuff from the past, so I’m wondering if you know where I could find this.

    In my story I’m working on, I need to throw in a few items for the 1930’s time frame.

    thanks and have a great weekend.
    Hubby and I were watching one of the Albany weathermen this morning on tv and he was pissed off at this weather. He kept it G rated, but was very sarcastic in his description of the frigid temps.
    “Tomorrow, first of March, yipee, expect below freezing temperatures”
    He was hilarious.


  4. Adrienne, just back from the Spectrum in Albany. Saw Tim’s Vermeer. Since you are a Caravaggio fan, you must also be a Vermeer fan as well. They both are painters of light. Not sure if you have a foreign film theater in Saratoga but am thinking so . Here is the trailer. . . . .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS_HUWs9c8c I would be interested in your thoughts~


    • Just watched it! Of course, you’re right–I love Vermeer. It looks like a very interesting movie–I’ll have to go see it now. Did you like it?

      It’s funny how whenever anything comes up about India or Caravaggio I think of you, too. Blogging is such a funny, weird thing–but a pleasure 🙂


      • I did enjoy it as did professor . My mind wander a little whee the narrator got in the weeds about technology but that was only a bit . Caravaggio was mentioned and he painted light before Vermeer interesting to wonder if he ,too, used technology!


  5. Hi Adrienne, loving the simplistic & beautiful outdoors life you lead! Just added “HOUSE ON TENAFLY ROAD” to our must read list. Looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog. Thanks for following ours!! Much luv & support. 😉


    • I wish it were simple–but it is definitely beautiful 🙂 I’m not sure there’s a simple place on earth–anyway, if I went there I’d probably make it complicated–haha. Thanks for the visiting and I hope you enjoy the book.

      Love you back!


    • I think milking goats is easier. So I’ve been told. My husband found out the hard way that he wasn’t very good at milking the goats. 🙂 I’ve trained them to be a little bratty.


  6. Hello, Adrienne. I saw your poignant comment at Opinionated Man’s blog and thought I would drop by for a quick visit. How wonderful that you are an author. What inspired you to write in the historical novel genre?

    Given that I am a soon-to-be ex-military guy with a big heart and crazy ideas– };-)> –, I suspect that you might rather enjoy my forthcoming nonfiction book. It appears to be a gripping read that compares favourably with good quality fiction (le Carre, Forsyth, “Mommy Dearest”). Fellow bloggers / authors are always welcome to have complimentary pre-release read of the corrected galley proof.

    If you’re ever interested or in need of something to read, this post gives background on the book, including test reader feedback: http://navigator1965.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/how-to-write-the-book-that-malcolm-gladwell-wished-he-had-written/

    I’m also available at themirrorbooks@gmail.com.

    What service was your husband in? I am at the twilight of 30 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Times flies when you’re having fun, I suppose.


    • My nephews are just graduated from the US Naval Academy–I think one wants to be a navigator. My husband was a Navy Nuke guy, my father was army.

      I didn’t set out to write historical fiction. I just wanted to see if I could write a novel. I started writing about an arrogant 19th century missionary lady who goes west to civilize Indians. When it came to me that her husband was in the military and that he’d be addicted to morphine from a Civil War injury I was hooked. The woman completely lost her arrogance in the face of all the research I did on Indian/ white relations which turned out to be a lot more complex that I knew.

      I love research so I visited The Army War College where they have GREAT artifacts, personal belongings, etc from all of the military men of the period. I was in heaven being able to touch the journals and wallets of some of the generals I was writing about and growing very fond of.
      I really just wanted to write about people I’d love to read about and fall in love with. The families I created sometimes seem more real than my REAL family–sad, right? haha. They’ve kept me still writing their story and I’m into book five 🙂

      I have very strong opinions and my characters get to speak for and against things I believe in so that’s really fun.

      I’ll definitely check your stuff. Thanks for stopping by.



      • What a great story in and of itself. I’ve a love of research in areas of interest, too. It’s fantastic that you can bring an accurate historical context to your fiction, as then it also acts as a teaching vehicle to the context of the period.

        Fiction can be a palatable way to voice opinions without ruffling too many feathers. I seem to recall a book called something like “Shadow Play” in which the author made this argument about Shakespeare’s works subtly touching upon politically sensitive topics of the day.

        You’re into book five?! I still have to get my first book out, I’ve done a bit of work on the sequel (major firestorm in the making!), and have an idea for one and possibly two more after this. I had better get to work! };-)>

        Is your nephew looking at being a ship’s navigator, or something like a P-3 Orion (aircraft) navigator / Tactical Coordinator (TACCO)?


        Nav (legal requirement that I write and blog under pseudonym–book explains)


      • My nephew is doing the flying one 🙂 All the best on your book!

        I love books with major firestorms–mine run off of family firestorms–there’s always conflict–especially on holidays.


      • Thank you for the well wishes. I fear the firestorm my nonfiction work will cause might take the form of feminist lynching parties!

        I flew on Canadian P-3s in a maritime patrol role. Hunting submariners and other scurvy sorts.



      • As you probably know, there are many women out there who are disillusioned by feminism. Maybe your book will be hailed as a modern triumph!

        My husband was a sub guy–I don’t know how he did it. I’d die.


  7. Great Scott! The submariner, my nobel foe. };-)>

    Interestingly, I, too, get the sense that there is growing disillusionment with feminism, both in general and amongst individual women. So many now recognize that it is not about equality and women’s rights as it purports to be, but they can’t quite put their finger on exactly what the problem is.

    I’m fairly confident that my gender narcissism thesis is correct, confident enough that I’ll write two books about it. One of the nice things about the thesis is that feminism can be intuitively explained in Harry Potter-simple English. The ultimate logical conclusion is almost eye-wateringly beautiful in its eloquence and scope. Well, it is to those who found proofs in geometry class to be eloquent and beautiful.

    It would be wonderful if the book does indeed prove to be a triumph. Thanks for that kind and encouraging thought.


    • I read somewhere recently that modern people have taken the time long tradition of valuing women as maternal (not just keepers of children but keepers of culture, etc) and switched it for the “princess model.” which really has no value. Princesses just wait for saviors to make them something through their money or prestige. When the princess realizes that being just a princess is unrewarding she blames society and men.

      The idea that cooking food for humanity or educating the young is somehow low work is insane. This does not mean that I think women should be trapped in specific roles–only that the ones they’ve held since the beginning of time have a lot of value–but we all think in terms of money.

      Of course if men were saints things would be different as well, but we’re all fallen and no amount of social engineering will change this.


      • The expression “preaching to the converted” comes to mind, in a positive connotation, of course. The traditional contributions of women to society and culture are as valuable as those of men, and we seem to have collectively forgotten this, to a large extent.

        To “princesses” I would add “heroes” “successes” as caricatures of traditional male roles, as well.


  8. Hi Adrienne, thanks for visiting and following my blog. It’s always nice to meet another writer of historical fiction (especially one of modern history, which seems so much harder to me than ancient history!)


  9. Thanks for stopping by our blog. We are so excited to find your blog. Just ordered your book from Amazon. We live in Texas but I raised in New Jersey and know Englewood well,so I can’t wait to read your book.
    Look forward to following your blog. Junior is a Reading Education Assistance Dog, so I will be reading your book to him too. He loves historical fiction .
    Paws Up!
    Jill and Junior


  10. I just finished reading a book (okay, a Reader’s Digest Condensed version while on vacation!), about Martha Washington. The history and the story was fascinating especially intertwined with her second marriage to George Washington and the beginnings of the USA.


    • textbooks always make George and Martha so boring but they were fascinating people. George was a VERY impressive man. I think those are the people we should be reading about! Thanks for the comment Debbie.


  11. Hi Adrienne,

    I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I recently saw your “Happy” post in Holistic Wayfarer. I was one of the other Happiness posters, and I noticed your entry was about an experience you had in Nicaragua, which happens to be where I’m from!

    I thought it was too big a coincidence to pass up, so here I am, saying hello!

    I look forward to reading your blogs.


    • We were told when we got to Nicaragua to try not to look too American (by the American missions leaders). I thought that was so funny. The Nicaraguans immediately noticed us 🙂 I had a great time there. Such a beautiful country.

      Are you originally from there? Oh, I guess I can find out more about you on your blog.

      Thanks for coming by.



      • I don’t haven’t gotten around to talking about my background much on my blog. I stay pseudo anonymous in the sense that I don’t really give much detail on myself or even post my full name anywhere that I can think of.

        But yes, I was born and raised in Managua. Nicaraguan mother and Italian father. Lived there until I was 18 and then came here for college. Went back and forth a few times before finally leaving “for good” (for now) in 2005.

        Thank you for stopping by my blog, by the way. I would love to exchange a few emails with you, if you don’t mind, about how you became a writer (among other things). But first, I will read more of your blog – and buy The House on Tenafly Road!


  12. Thank you so very much for the “like” on my recent post about the Antikythera Mechanism at First Night History. I am working on a history book-blog of my own, which can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg brain asks with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Art. Literature. Science. Military. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, give a read, leave a comment or create a link. Again, thanks.

    P.S. I lived for several years in Albany, not far from Ft. Edward.


    • I’m glad 🙂 I think YA novels are some of the best. My favorites are from earlier time periods but when I used to teach 5-8th grade I LOVED reading the books they read–all of us discovering together great authors and stories.

      I’m enjoying your blog as well.

      All the best~

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Adrienne, Thank you for liking one of my posts, Animals Can Be Costly. I am glad to meet you. I hope you will come back and read more posts. I will be checking out your blogs as well. Have a great weekend. 🙂


  14. Those who eschew the past don’t know who they are… 🙂
    My God, did I really write “eschew”? I don’t know why the word popped in my mind. 😉
    A happy new year Adrienne, to you, your family and your friends. 🙂


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