Author to speak at Androscoggin Historical Society meeting

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AUBURN — The Androscoggin Historical Society will host Maine author Deborah Gould at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at its museum on the third floor of the county building.

Gould will discuss her latest book, “The Eastern, Book One: The Early Years.” It’s the first of a two-volume work based on the lives of five families who settled along the Eastern River in East Pittston in the 19th century. The novel spans 45 years of social change, from 1820 to the end of the Civil War in 1865.

“The characters in this novel were real people who established an agricultural community that lasted well into the 20th century,” Gould said. “Only a few of those farmhouses are still there today, though.”

Gould bought and lived in one of those farmhouses in the 1990s.

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“I’ve researched every house I’ve ever owned, and the history of this particular house brought me to Joel Thompson and his family,” she said. “From there, I followed the deeds to the neighboring farms. Before long, I had an entire community.”

Both fiction and social history, “The Eastern” explores the themes of community and reciprocity in a 19th-century agricultural neighborhood.

Gould grew up in Portland and Brunswick. After college in New Hampshire and the beginnings of a publishing career in Boston, she moved back to Maine. She lived and worked on a dairy farm, then owned a successful graphic arts business before earning a degree in American Sign Language interpretation. She spent the next 25 years in public education, specializing in English acquisition for students with cochlear implants.

There is no charge for the program, but donations are encouraged. An elevator will take visitors to the third floor.

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