A Bruised Reed is based on bites of information about the life of Lucey Hanks, Abraham Lincoln’s grandmother. This work is not intended as a biography, since so little is known about Hanks’ life. Not even her size, attributes, or hair color found agreement among historians. However, the story that can be pieced together from these historical bites gives a beautiful revelation of how deeply God loves His children and works through circumstances and persons to bring them to Himself.
The author, Helen Stephenson Spaulding, is eighth cousin to Abraham Lincoln. Because of a challenge to prove the relationship, much research was done into Lincoln’s relatives, especially his grandmother, Lucey Hanks. During this research, the gaps in Hanks' life were intriguing. What changed a young, rebellious, unwed mother—indicted for “unbecoming behavior”—to a married mother of eight more children, of whom two became ministers of the gospel and all the rest were active, deeply committed Christians? It was a story that begged to be written! (A few years ago, some interested persons worked hard to have the indictment expunged from Hanks' legal record.)
Some parts of this work are historically accurate. Others could have happened, given the actual history of that time. For instance, the massacre of Christian Dakota Indians did occur in 1782; the survivors did migrate south. Fictional events were woven into these historical parts to carry forward the theme.