By Gene Hoopes
In the full-length portrait of Joan Cort; the heroine of his warm and sympathetic novel, Gene Hoopes presents a memorable and unusual fictional creation where characters in distinguished by unremitting honesty and uncompromising loyalty.
Joan’s Conquest traces the life and development of Joan Cort from her formative years — during the pre-World War I period — to the attainment of life’s dream during the mid-years of the great depression.
Born in the depressed area known as “The Flats” in a typical American town called Williamsburg, Joan gets to know the different life of the more affluent dwellers on Mervin Hill obliquely through her early friendship with Ross Marvin. Through her efforts and encouragement, the young Ross attains stature among their school friends and Ross becomes the controlling image of her dreams after his departure from Williamsburg.
Death and sorrow, the loss of both her parents and the separation from Ross mature Joan. Her human qualities become increasingly manifest through her associations with the redoubtable and engaging Uncle Billy Leigh and Judge Thorne. Destiny and time conspire to have Joan and Ross meet years later after Ross’s return from World War I and his unhappy marriage to the cold, socially ambitious Jean Hollander. After their reunion and separation, Fate again finds a way to bring them together in an unforeseen place and under strange circumstances. Simply and gracefully written, Joan’s Conquest is the tender story of a young woman’s inner struggles and spiritual achievement. Joan Cort is more than a character encountered in the pages of a book. She becomes the symbol of understanding and deeply searching womanhood and is a noble evocation of the highest virtues in modern women. Through the clear, untainted vision of Joan Cort, one sees the everyday world in new terms and fresh colors.
Joan’s Conquest is unashamed of sentiment and human emotions and rediscovers many facets of the human heart that many contemporary novelists have bypassed. It is a love story that is at once moving and uplifting.
About the author
Gene Hoopes was one of those remarkable, yet humble human beings that you would like to meet and spend time with. Though I never met my paternal great-grandfather, as he passed away in 1967 and I was born in 1969, I feel that I knew him from his history and his writings. Gene Hoopes was an adventurous, resourceful, and creative person. These traits can be traced through his entire life from his time as a captain in the Army Air Service during World War I, to being president and general manager of the Union Drawn Steel Co. in his hometown of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania after the war, and president of various banks in Pennsylvania. But what really intrigued my great-grandfather was the spirit and rustic beauty of the American West and the untold stories waiting there. He decided to leave Beaver Falls after the Union Drawn Steel Co. was purchased by Republic Steel Co. and travel to the West, where he finally settled in Prescott, Arizona. There he established a dude ranch and penned several books, of which Silent Friends was one of his first and some say finest. He loved animals, and when you read this book, you will immediately fall in love with the fun and adventurous tale of Gene Hoopes four-legged animal friends. My parents, who live in Skull Valley, where my great grandfather had his dude ranch, did a great deal of research on Gene Hoopes. They uncovered many interesting facts and anecdotes about his time in Arizona. My parents have the original books that my great-grandfather published in the 1950s, and I have them to thank for their inspiration to bring this book and the others Gene Hoopes wrote, into print again so that you may enjoy some classic writing and heartwarming storytelling. My love and thanks go to my maternal grandmother for providing a safe and quiet environment in which I could compile and organize the original books to be digitized and transmitted to my friends at Inkwell Productions, who have been gracious and helpful with the process of preparing this and the other books for production. In this busy and hectic twenty-first century, I feel that, with the advent of advanced technology, we have missed taking a breath. We need to step back for a moment and see the beauty in nature and in the animals that God has provided us for company. My great-grandfather did and, during and after reading this book, you will momentarily be taken to a more peaceful world.