Dr. Portia, Part 2

Peter McKnight, Portia’s father, showed Alexis the cotton fields on the McKnight plantation. Graciously, the McKnights invited Alexis to study cotton hybridization at their property instead of going to the Durham plantation in Winnsboro as was the original plan.

At the first meal that Alexis shared with the McKnights, fried chicken was served. When asked if he like fried chicken, Alexis replied, “I have heard the wonders of this fried chicken, southern style… but I have not yet tried it.” After the meal was finished, Alexis was asked what he thought of the dish. His response: “I am more than not disappointed!”

During that summer of 1907, Alexis experimented with cotton hybridization, but also fell in love with Portia McKnight.


The Cast Net is set in Charleston County, South Carolina in the late 1980s. I have woven the history of a tragic figure from American history into my novel. Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of Aaron Burr, and wife of South Carolina governor, Joseph Alston. Burr was Thomas Jefferson’s vice-president, and notoriously notable for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

During the War of 1812, Theodosia  mysteriously disappeared at sea while on a voyage to New York from Georgetown, SC.

Most of the action in my novel takes place in a fictitious town named Alston Station, which I named after Governor Joseph Alston. There is also a sophisticated sailboat, named the Theodosia, which is partially owned by one of the significant characters in my book. Like her namesake, the Theodosia, also disappears. I hope you’ll read my novel to find out her fate!  

The Cast Net Synopsis

When Mills Taylor, a talented New York advertising agent and artist, accepts a job as the director of an educational scholarship foundation in Alston Station, a town near Charleston, South Carolina, she never imagines that her new position will launch a year of living dangerously. Her boss, Cooper Heath, is as socially conscious as he is handsome, but not only does he have a missing wife, some people think he made her disappear. The Cast Net chronicles the year when Mills plunges into a socially unfamiliar world of Southern money and power in the late 1980’s. As she helps him to cope and seek the truth behind his wife’s disappearance, she learns the deeper meaning of “the cast net” and why it has been embraced by generations of Low Country residents. The Cast Net is a compelling and engaging novel about roots, a sense of community, trust, betrayal, redemption, and especially–about love.