Cherie is a retired Community College teacher who reinvented herself in retirement: she’s an active volunteer, a writer, blogger, and family historian working on a series about a midwestern family, Grandmother’s Treasures. She’s also a geek, who loves to play with technology and write about it. She’s married to retired librarian Mike Dargan and they have two grown children, both married: Jon (and Anna) and Michelle (and Sean), and two lively grandsons, Corbin and Mason.
Shortly after retirement, Cherie joined a community-wide Committee for the Cedar Falls Authors Festival (CFAF) and became the webmaster for www.cfauthorsfestival.org. The CFAF celebrated the literary legacy of five nationally known, best-selling authors with Cedar Falls connections: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Ruth Suckow, James Hearst, Nancy Price and Robert James Waller. Over twenty local organizations came together to plan 60 programs beginning in May 2017 and ending in May 2018. More recently the CFAF II offered programs during 2021.
She’s written two academic chapters for collections of essays about Midwestern writers.
Her most recent chapter is about the city of Cedar Falls, and its literary heritage. “Mind and Soil: an Iowa Town that Grows Writers.” The Sower and the Seer: Perspectives on the Intellectual History of the American Midwest. February 2021. Wisconsin Historical Press.
Her chapter, “The Realistic Regionalism of Iowa’s Ruth Suckow,” was included in The Midwestern Moment, a collection of essays about Midwestern authors in the 1900’s, published by Hastings College Press June 1st, 2017.
Cherie earned her B. A. from Buena Vista University, an M. A. from Iowa State University, and another M. A. from the University of Northern Iowa. She’s a member of the Cedar Falls Supper Club, a member and webmaster for the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association, as well as the Cedar Falls Authors Festival.
American Civil War Era Historical Fiction
Sarah, a widowed schoolteacher, rushes to be with her sister, Emily, about to give birth. It’s September 1864, and the war has come to Winchester, Virginia yet again. Sadly, Emily and her baby die, leaving Sarah to take Emily’s maid Rebecca and son Bobby to freedom. Her mother insists she take along a young slave named Thomas for protection. It’s almost one hundred miles to Baltimore, where they can take a boat to Boston, and then board a train west. Can Sarah lead this group to safety, avoiding stray Confederates, Union soldiers, and slave catchers? And why does Rebecca say to look for quilt squares on their journey?
In present day, Gracie and her boyfriend, David, visit Grandma Molly over the Christmas holidays. Forty years ago, Molly helped her sisters-in-law clean out a house after their Grandma Mary’s death. Molly found a red and green quilt that no one else wanted, so she brought it home. An old legal envelope was safety-pinned to the quilt, which had a faded bloodstain on the back. A great aunt warned her to burn the envelope and quilt, and after a family gathering, the envelope disappeared. Molly hid the quilt away. Now she wants Gracie to find out if the quilt dates to the Civil War and who made it? However, Grandpa Patrick walks in and makes a fuss. “Ah, Molly, what are you doing with this old quilt again? Can’t you let it go after all this time?” Gracie wonders, what’s going on with my grandparents?
Can Gracie find the story behind the red and green quilt and help her grandparents resolve their problems the way she did with the California quilt?
Also by Cherie Dargan
The Gift, takes us back to the days of WWII with a set of cassette tapes telling the story of three Iowa farm girls who went to California to work at an aircraft factory and hospital at a nearby navy base. Grace, a country schoolteacher, and her younger twin sisters Vera and Violet. When they returned, their family would never be the same.
“Quilt lovers will flock to this novel which offers mystery, love, betrayal, and family reconciliation played out in two connecting eras.”