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Minnie Vautrin Novel

New and incredible novel on Minnie Vautrin!  Discover the great energy of Minnie Vautrin and uncover her life's work! 

Minnie Vautrin Minnie Vautrin and High School Students Minnie Vautrin in China

All photos from Ms. Hua-ling Hu's book, American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking, The Courage of Minnie Vautrin.  

Born in Secor, Illinois, Minnie Vautrin moves to China and begins the challenging work of starting a school for girls.  She succeeds as an educator and missionary, but this becomes torn apart during the rape of Nanking, when she dedicates all her energy to helping refugees.

Minnie Vautrin loses her mother at the age of 6 and fears she will become a burden to her father.  So she works hard at school and puts her own self through college.  She joins the Foreign Christian Society to become a missionary and chooses to go to China.  There she must fight the Chinese culture of believing that girls should not be educated and remain ignorant.  She makes a middle school for girls a success and this leads to her appointment at Ginling College, where she must again face the difficult task of educating Chinese women and ensuring that the college grows.  This success becomes overshadowed by war where she fights with all her strength to save thousands of Chinese during the rape of Nanking.

Introduction

There is loss of a loved one and the pain thereafter that becomes a motivation.  There are father-daughter conflicts.  There is the choice of making a home in a foreign land.  There are challenges and difficulties of starting a school from nothing.  There is romance.  There are female issues.  There is war and everything that comes with it.  Finally, there is faith.

Toward the end of her life, Minnie Vautrin sent this poem to a friend:

 

SURVIVAL

By Ted Malone 

 

A thousand years from this tonight,

When Orion climbs the sky

The same swift snow will still the roofs

The same mad stars run by.

And who will know of China's war

Or poison gas in Spain

The dead...they'll be forgotten, lost,

Whether they lose or gain.

But only beauty, only truth

Will last a thousand years.

It’s understandable why Minnie Vautrin would take special note of this poem, especially after being witness to the Sino-Japanese War.  It has been proposed that, like all the soldiers who died, she, too, was another unfortunate victim of the war.

There have been plays written about her life.  She was a big supporter for the performing arts.  She and her students performed many stage plays for good reasons such as raising funds for an elementary school to educate the poor children living near the college.  She gave a speech to the League of Nations and visited Europe, to observe their schools, noting a folk school in Denmark, and returned to China to apply those methods for the good of the Chinese people, especially the poor.  But war got in the way.

Whether her life is celebrated in a play, biography, movie, or novel such as this one, the issues, questions, and resolutions her life bring about make this novel a must-read for anyone wishing to be passionate about the good and great potential of the human spirit, the kind Minnie Vautrin lived.

Thank you to the books on Minnie Vautrin by the late Iris Chang who included Miss Vautrin in her best-selling book, The Rape of Nanking.  Thank you also to Ms. Hua-ling Hu for her excellent biography, American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking, The Courage of Minnie Vautrin.  

This novel would not have been written without these two books.  Thank you also to the websites and pages that first introduced me to Minnie Vautrin.  After reading about Miss Vautrin online on the few pages available, I knew this was a life that interested me and made me want to take time out and stay up late into the hours writing, because like many of us, we have families to attend to first.

One website talked about the preparations for Minnie Vautrin Day in Secor, Illinois, where Miss Vautrin was born.  Unfortunately, Miss Vautrin never made it to this big welcome home celebration due to the tragic end of Miss Vautrin’s life.  Another website includes a testimonial from a lady who had just read about Miss Vautrin.  This same lady, I believe a member of a book club, claimed that Miss Vautrin is one of her heroes.  

There are also book review sites and libraries where you can obtain historical documents and data about Miss Vautrin’s life, including the Yale University Library, Divinity Library Special Collections, which claims that individuals making documentaries are usually the ones who go through the information surrounding Miss Vautrin and especially her work in China.  There is also a museum in Nanking, China that shows her own personal belongings which has been visited by her grandniece.

Thank you to all these little bits of information and the books by Ms. Iris Chang and Ms. Hua-ling Hu, I have been provided enough to feel comfortable in capturing the spirit of Miss Vautrin’s life. 

Thus, this novel, Minnie Vautrin, places Miss Vautrin in the decision-making moments of her life and how these decisions lead to her greatness no matter what tragedies have befallen her.

The first three-fourths of her life is my favorite and I wish I could end the novel there.  However, to truly write a novel based on her life, the story about the Sino-Japanese War needs to be included.  I have great respect for Asian cultures, including the Japanese and the Chinese cultures.  Unfortunately, the clashing of the two in the early decades of the twentieth century exploded around Miss Vautrin’s life.

So based on her true story, in this novel, you will discover the life, fate and faith of Minnie Vautrin.  In the end, you may have the same conclusion.  You may find yourself asking many more questions, but at least, her life provides a fundamental focal point, that greatness in goodness is something we need to recognize, refocus in ourselves, and be thankful for in others who have meant the same in our own lives.

Excerpt--Chapter One

CHAPTER ONE 

In a museum in Nanking, China, an old woman looks at several glass displays cases, and because she doesn’t quickly find what she came to see, she hesitates when she does recognize something she’s seen before.  She remembers the joyful energy, the drive to learn, the love for all, from the person who held the hairbrush, framed certificate and book inside a display case.

Standing next to the startled old woman who is locked in memory, is a young girl, no more than six years old.  She asks, “Grandmother Ze, what are you looking for?”

 

Decades earlier, six-year old, short-haired Minnie, brushes her dark strands of hair.  She feels hair does the opposite of a good night’s rest.  Rather than look peaceful and fall into shape nicely, the strands appear woken up by a windstorm.

In the kitchen, she looks out the window and sees wild cottontail rabbits romping all over the vegetable garden and feeding on saplings.  She pulls open a drawer and grabs a folded kitchen towel. 

As she runs outside barefoot, she feels her toes get soaked in cool, morning dew.  Minnie waves the towel in the air and the cottontails scurry away with no plan as to which direction, except to be far from the young girl guarding the garden.

Pauline Vautrin joins her daughter to look over the garden situation.  To her surprise, she has a little difficulty bending down to prop up a broken tomato plant.  She sighs at the zucchini saplings with the tender leaves eaten. 

Minnie, who likes to look at the positive, whenever she’s with her mother, says, “More leaves will grow, right, Mom?”

Pauline Vautrin smiles at her daughter’s lively spirit that looks for the good in things, and for some reason she feels a need to reveal to her unworldly daughter her hidden dreams.

“Did I tell you, when I was in elementary school, I had dreams of seeing the world?”

“Why didn't you leave Secor, Mom?”

“Because I realized home was with your father.  And my world became you, your brother, and your dad.  This is enough.”

She smiles at her pretty daughter who observes the plants carefully and can’t wait when the tomatoes are ready to pick.

“Do you still wonder sometimes, Mom?”

“Yes.  I sometimes wonder, imagine--speaking another language.”  When she tries to get up, she can't.  “I can't even leave my own vegetable garden.”

Minnie takes her mother's hand.  “I'll help pull you up.”

As a mom who wonders when is ever a good time to speak serious with one’s child, Pauline asks for Minnie’s undivided attention.  “Minnie, please look at me.  Do not be lazy.  Study, be smart, be strong, be good.”

Minnie helps her mother stand and notices her mother’s lack of strength but she disregards this, because like many her age, she believes her mother will live forever.

They walk to the house and for Pauline, this takes great effort, especially for something that was effortless before.

“Funny--why is it so hard to walk now?”

“You were walking good earlier, Mom.”

They reach the back door and while Minnie reaches for the screen handle, she helps to hold up her mom as they enter the kitchen.

From behind them, the screen slams shut as Pauline tries to hold a dining chair to rest on, but she instead falls to the floor.

Worried, Minnie shouts, “Mom.  Mom.  Mom!”

From the backyard, Edmund Vautrin and his son, Louis, are putting up fence posts around the yard when they hear Minnie cry out.  They hurry to the house.

Minnie looks at the wet dew on the floor from her feet.  She wonders if she were the cause of her mom falling because she made the floor slippery.

“Mom!”

Louis, Minnie’s brother, enters the house first, sees his mom and becomes worried.  “What happened?  Mom!”

Edmund Vautrin hurries to his wife.  Concerned and not knowing what to expect, nothing becomes more important than his wife at that instant.  “Pauline!  Are you all right?”  He picks up his wife and hugs her, crying as he looks at his son and daughter who are also crying.

Minnie Vautrin and Students

Minnie Vautrin and Staff

All photos from Ms. Hua-ling Hu's book, American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking, The Courage of Minnie Vautrin.

If you have any questions about the product or purchasing the product, please send an email to Marina at rundellmarina@gmail.com or by text/phone at 913-269-3177.

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Minnie Vautrin Novel

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Thank you and warmest regards,  

Marina Rundell

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