Kelly Goshorn

Romancing History

Book Review: On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue & a Giveaway

About the Book

Title: On Rumors Deadly Tongue
Series Info: Return to Trowleigh, Book #2
Author: Deanna Rutledge
Genre: Teen/YA, Historical
Book Info: Stout Castle Books, November 22, 2021, 27 pages


From the Back Cover

ENGLAND, 1193 A.D.
William Oliver, 14, loves telling scary stories, but his older sister, Lady Alix, reminds him that back at Trowleigh castle their priest said, “Such tales open the mind to great wickedness.”
They learn just how deadly exaggerated stories can be when two young refugees come to Fairfield Priory, where William and Alix have taken refuge. They have escaped the massacre of the Jews at the City of York, and are seeking sanctuary.
At once, the old, vile rumors begin to spread like wildfire in the priory village, and hostility toward them rises. The prior blames Alix and William for the trouble and wants them gone. But, urged on by the mysterious Lady at the Inn, the villagers decide to take matters into their own hands.
Meanwhile, Ivar the Dane pursues the Irish maid, Brigid, demanding to know where the Olivers are hiding. But it is obvious there is a soft place in his heart for the young maiden

Available on Amazon


My Thoughts

Although I don’t read a lot of Young Adult fiction, I was intrigued by the title. Of course, being a history nerd, it was hard to pass up the offer to read a novel set in the Middle Ages.

I thought Rutledge did an excellent job capturing the flare of this historical time period through riveting dialogue and excellent descriptions of castles, clothing, and customs. The plot moves along at a perfect pace, keeping readers engaged with a story line filled with chivalry, action, villainry, intrigue, and plenty of suspense. Through it all, Rutledge expertly weaves a Christian message of  redemption and grace.

I did find the POV shifts jarring at times as the author wrote in Omniscient point of view.

I did not read the first book in the series so I can safely say that On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue reads fine as a stand alone. I can whole-heartedly recommend On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue to fans of Young Adult/Teen or historical fiction.

I was given a copy of On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue by the author. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Author

A long-time teacher of classic literature, Deanna noticed that her students were especially captivated by fiction set in the Age of Chivalry and High Adventure. “We finished Ivanhoe and the Tales of King Arthur and they wanted more,” she said. That inspired her to write fiction of her own, set in that era. So far, two books have been published in the Return to Trowleigh series: A Far and Distant Cry (Book One) and On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue (Book Two). Book Three will be released in 2022..

Recently, Deanna and her husband, William, moved from Honolulu to Virginia to be near family where the adventure happily continues.

Connect with Donna on her website or follow her on Facebook.


Giveaway*

Leave a comment below to be entered to win an eBook copy of On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue, and a copy of the first book in the Return to Trowleigh series, A Far and Distant Cry.

*Giveaway ends at Midnight, Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

 

The Characters Behind “Hollow Hearts” – with a Giveaway

As you know, I love talking about historical romance here on Romancing History. That’s why I’m super excited to welcome author Donna Schlachter for the first time to my blog today.

Donna’s new release, Hollow Hearts, released yesterday and one of the things that has peaked my interest is that the couple is not the typical age for romantic fiction. As I age (a-hem), I’m finding love stories focusing on middle-aged couples very endearing.  Also the entire series is centered around the Pony Express so that is another huge factor in it’s favor. I’ve invited her to share with you some great background info about her characters and the story that I’m sure will wet your appetite to pick up a copy as it  has mine.

Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post and leave a comment. Donna is graciously giving away a print copy (U.S. only) of Hollow Hearts to one lucky Romancing History reader.


About Hollow Hearts
Hearts of the Pony Express, Book #2

Middle-aged widow Edith Cooper walks away from the cemetery along the Green River near Simpson’s Hollow, Utah Territory. Away from the husband buried there this morning. Away from their plans and dreams for their future. Along the way, two men offer their hand in marriage. For her protection, one says. For his children’s sake, says the second. Were any of these reasons enough to marry? She must choose one. But which?

Albert Whitt, stationmaster of the Pony Express Station, loves his independent life. Twice stood up by women, he takes the only course that ensures no more rejection: stay clear of them. But when he learns that the stoic Widow Cooper is considering two proposals from men not worthy of lacing her boots, he must do something. But what?

Can Edith and Albert find a new beginning in the midst of tragedy, or will they choose the most convenient path—alone?

Available on Amazon


The Characters Behind Hollow Hearts

by Donna Schlachter

 

Set in 1860 at a Pony Express station near Green River, Utah, this book is the second in the Hearts of the Pony Express series.

Edith Cooper is a forty-ish woman traveling west with her husband, Paul. They’ve been married for many years, but they’ve not had any children. This leaves a hole in Edith’s heart when Paul dies along the trail to Oregon.

Green River, Utah, provides the only suitable place for many miles to bury bodies. In fact, the soil is soft and relatively rock-free, and hundreds—if not thousands—are buried there.

As Edith leaves the cemetery, two men approach her independently. The local pastor, a widower with six rowdy children, suggests he could be the man she needs. After all, he’s obviously not deficient when it comes to producing offspring, and although he realizes Edith is getting along in years, no reason they couldn’t still enjoy the physical benefits of marriage.

Edith says thank you and she’ll think about it.

The second man is an alcoholic private who has been in the army for twenty-plus years, but because he keeps getting into trouble when he drinks, has been demoted to the lowest rank possible. He suggests he is the man for her because—well, because he is a man.

Edith, horrified by what could become her life, thanks him and says she’ll let him know.

Meanwhile, the station keeper at the Pony Express station looks on. Albert Whitt has no interest in Widow Cooper or any other woman. Jilted twice by women, he’s vowed never to marry. But he overhears the two proposals, and pities the woman desperate enough to accept either one.

Besides, Albert knows he no great catch for any woman. No wonder the other two chose others instead of him. He likes his job, and manages most tasks. However, his cooking skills leave something to be desired.

When Albert is injured, he needs help, and the only person he can find is the Widow Cooper. Her excellent cooking and baking skills garners a reputation for the Station, and folks come from town, both to dine and to order her pies and cakes.

Albert enjoys her company, and she seems to like being around him. He teaches her how to help saddle a horse, to transfer the mailbag, and she tackles all the other chores. But she’s leaving at the end of the week when the wagon train heads west again.

The pastor and the sergeant continue to pester Edith, insisting she give them an answer. The pastor’s rowdy children have no respect for her, and neither does he, apparently, when she brings them a cake at the church social.

Humiliated, Edith feels pressured to choose her future.

Maybe she’ll stay, get her own lodgings, and find a job.

Or figure out a way to continue west.

Or return east where she and her husband came from.

Albert wants Edith to stay because he’d like to expand the kitchen and dining area at the station. But he also sees that having her around makes him miss her when she isn’t there. And that wasn’t part of his plans.

To find out which man Edith chooses, you’ll need to read the book, which is available on Amazon.


About Donna

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter.

www.DonnaSchlachter.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

www.DonnaSchlachter.com/blog

Check out previous blog posts at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com and www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

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Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Lexi H.

To enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy (U.S. only) or ebook of Hollow Hearts, leave a comment below and tell us if there is a favorite family name in your family?

Giveaway ends midnight, September 7.*

Character Interview with Jenny Thatcher and 3 Giveaways

I’m excited to welcome back friend and fellow author, Kathleen Bailey, to Romancing History! We have a special treat for you today, my very first Character Interview on Romancing History. I’m chatting with Jenny Thatcher, the heroine of Kathy’s latest novel, Redemption’s Hope, which releases tomorrow, Friday, July 22. Redemption’s Hope is the third and final installment in the “Westward Dreams” series. Jenny is what some might call a “colorful character,” so I’m gonna have my hands full.

I was honored to give Kathy an endorsement for Redemption’s Hope, and you can read my review on Bookbub. You can find the link toward the end of my interview with Jenny.

And, don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section below. Kathy is has three separate prizes for lucky Romancing History readers.


About the Book

Two distinct sets of villains. Two orphaned children. A man without a country and a woman with too much past…All in a rambunctious young country where anything goes, especially in the West. Seriously. What can go wrong?

In this latest installment of the best-selling series, “Western Dreams,” join Jenny and White Bear as they cross the historic West in an epic story peppered with grit, guns, and glory.

You can purchase Redemption’s Hope on Amazon.

Other books in the Western Dreams series are Westward Hope (Book #1) and Settler’s Hope (Book #2)


Meet Jenny Thatcher

Howdy, I’m Jenny Thatcher and I reckon I’m the subject of Kathy Bailey’s new book. I’ve been in everybody else’s books, so it’s about time. I first showed up in Westward Hope, as a saloon girl who ran away from St. Joseph on a stolen horse to tell my friend, Michael, two Irish thugs were after him. I stayed on as a wagon train scout, and made it to Oregon Country with Michael, and some friends I made along the way—Caroline O’Leary and Pace Williams. I also turned up in the sequel, Settler’s Hope, as a hotel cook. Kathy had me moonin’ over Pace for a brief spell, but as it turned out, Pace’s true love was Oona Moriarty. Don’t worry though, I didn’t hold no grudges against him (or Kathy for that matter). Turns out, Kathy made a good decision as I’d really never stopped thinkin’ about White Bear, the Cheyenne brave I met on my first trip across the country. On the pretext of paying his family back for taking care of me when I was mighty sick, I rode off on my stallion, Rebel, to find him again. But Kathy, like most authors I’m told, got me into a heap of trouble I hadn’t anticipated including two orphaned children and one menacing varmit who had a mind to harm me and the kids. If ya wanna know more, you’re gonna have to read my story. Just know that through all the trials, I gained a deeper walk with God.

Fast Five

Ok, Jenny, give us 5 fast and fun facts about yourself.

  1. Favorite Food: ANYTHING I ate in New Orleans.
  2. Favorite place: My home in Hall’s Mill, Oregon.
  3. Favorite hobby: Ain’t got time for anything like that.
  4. Favorite time of day: After the kids are in bed, and White Bear, my man, and I can talk.
  5. Favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28. All things work together for good. They sure did for me

Character Q & A

RH: Let’s start off with an easy question, Jenny. Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up? Who is your closest family member? Who would you like to disown?

JT: I  loved living on the farm in Arkansas. I helped my pa with lambing, calving and foaling, and I learned to ride and shoot as good as my brothers. We had fields, woods and a creek. My ma taught me to cook and sew, and I used to read the Bible to her by the fire. Wish I could have stayed on. My childhood ended when my weasel of a brother, Zack, sold the farm out from under us, and I had to make my own way in the world.

RH: That sounds like a wonderful place to grow up. Looking back at your life so far, what is your greatest regret?

JT: Going into the saloon business at fourteen.

RH:  You poor thing. I can’t even imagine. You must have been so frightened. What is your biggest secret?

JT: How unworthy I feel on account of my past.

RH: I think we all have things we regret in our past, things we’d like to keep hidden. I know I’m thankful for the blood of the cross so I can stand redeemed and I don’t have to hide in the darkness where the enemy can use my shame against me. I bet that’s why Kathy wrote your story. So other’s won’t stay hidden in the darkness, too. Thank you for being brave enough to  share your story. I hope you don’t find me a bit too nosy, but my readers and I would like to learn more about your romantic interest in Redemption’s Hope?

JT: My romantic interest? That’s mighty fancy talk. Are you askin’ about my fella? That’d have to be White Bear. I didn’t have no use for romance when I was in the saloons. Men were just a way to make money. When I was riding after Michael and I got lost and sick, White Bear’s family took me in. I never met no one like him, before or since. He knows what I was and he don’t care. But he was a Christian, and I didn’t want none of that at the time. We lost track of each other for three years, and then we found each other again in New Orleans. By then I was a believer, so there was nothing to keep us apart. Except for two thugs that were after him and two thugs who were after me. It ain’t never easy.

RH: That is so true, Jenny—even in the 21st century. Now that Kathy has bared your soul on the written page, what message would you like readers to gain from your story?

JT: Hmm, that’s a mighty good question. I suppose, that nobody is beyond the reach of His love. Not the thief on the Cross, not the woman taken in adultery, not even Jenny Thatcher.

RH: Amen to that, Jenny! Amen to that!

JT: Is it all right for me to ask you a question? Or is that against the rules? I don’t want to get Kathy in any trouble.

RH: Nope, fire away!

JT: Did you happen to read my story?

RH: I sure did, Jenny. Here’s a link to my review on BookBub.


About Author

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. Her first Pelican book, ‘‘Westward Hope,” was published in September 2019. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020. She published two Western Dreams novellas, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride” in December 2019 and “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle” in December 2020, both as part of Pelican’s Christmas Extravaganza. “Redemption’s Hope,” the third Western Dreams novel, was published July 22, 2022.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters.

For more information, contact her at ampie86@comcast.net, her website, or @piechick1 on Twitter, or Kathleen D. Bailey on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Giveaway*

*This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winners!

Redemption’s Hope (eBook): Rhonda M.
Westward Hope (Print): Pam L.
New England Gift Basket: Beverly D.

Kathy is generously offering three prizes to 3 different Romancing History readers.

Prize #1 — an eBook copy of Redemption’s Hope (print copies not available yet)
Prize #2 — a print copy of Westward Hope (Western Dreams, Book #1)**
Prize #3 — a New England gift pack**

Character interviews are a fun way to find out about a novel. To enter the giveaway, what question would you have asked if you were interviewing Jenny (or any character from a Redemption’s Hope)?

*Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, July 27.*
**Sorry, these prizes are available to U.S. residents only.**

 

Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli & a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome author Heidi Chiavaroli back to Romancing History today. Heidi is an award winning author of both dual timeline and contemporary romance novels. I’m a huge fan of Heidi’s dual timeline novels—Freedom’s Ring, The Hidden Side, The Edge of Mercy, The Tea Chest, and The Orchard House.

After you read the interview, make sure to visit the giveaway section and enter to win a print copy! Thanks, Heidi, for this generous giveaway!


About Author

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com. You can also connect with Heidi on: Instagram and Facebook.


About the Book

From award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli comes a sweeping dual timeline story that explores hope
and enduring love in the midst of the impossible.

Massachusetts, 1993

After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten?

Massachusetts, 1916

Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way.

On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul?

A testament to faith and love, Hope Beyond the Waves is the raw account of the journey of two generations of women running from desperate situations toward irresistible hope.

To purchase a copy directly from Heidi or from Amazon, B&N, etc., please visit http://www.heidichiavaroli.com/hope-beyond-the-waves/


Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli

Fast Five

  1. Dark or Milk chocolate? Definitely dark.
  2. Mountains or the Beach? Oh, is this question even fair? I love both so much. If I had to pick one, I’d have to go with beach.
  3. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter? Summer!
  4. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife? Downton Abbey.
  5. Puzzles or Boardgames? Boardgames—I’m hopeless at puzzles.

 

Author Q&A

RH: If I got to sneak a peek inside your purse right now, what is the strangest thing I’d find in there and why is it in your purse?

HC: I don’t know how strange this is, but I can usually be counted on to have at least six pens in my purse. All the same kind of gel-style pen. I have this irrational fear of not having a pen with me at all times—I can’t explain it. I might not have money when I need it, or a mint, or even feminine products, but I’m always prepared with a pen!

RH: That’s pretty funny, Heidi. I’m often without a pen primarily because I’m spoiled knowing my hubby usually has one in his pocket. If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?

HC: They’d probably say I’m pretty mean as I write them through some hard times! They also might say I’m fairly lenient, as I tend to allow them to have minds of their own once they are in those hard times. Sometimes, I think, “How did you end up falling in love with him?! That’s not what I had planned for you!”

RH: Hahaha! I think that’s the sign of a good writer, really putting the screws to your characters and hyping up the tension for your reader. What has God taught you along your writing journey?

HC: Patience! It took me a long time to get that first contract, and I’m still learning patience in building my readership, in writing my stories. My most recent release is a story I began 11 years ago—a story that has been close to my heart for years. And it’s only now seeing the light of day.

RH: Isn’t that that the truth? I have a have sign on the bulletin board in my office that says, “I prayed for patience and God gave me a book to write.” When writing time slip fiction, which thread is the most challenging to write—historical or contemporary?

HC: It always varies and seems to depend on the story. If I’ve done enough research for the historical portion and I’m super excited to write it, sometimes that one is easier. More often than not, though, I’d say the contemporary portion comes more natural to me.

RH: As a historical romance writer myself, I know how hard that research is but its also the most fun part for me. I just love how dual timeline writers seamlessly weave the two plot lines together. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

HC: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

In Hope Beyond the Waves, my heroine finds out she has a horrible, highly-stigmatized disease. One of the main themes of the story is how each of us—no matter how broken in health, spirit, or mentality—are wonderfully made because of Who made us and because of our capacity to reflect His face and His grace.

RH: Amen! I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life and that verse has played an important part in accepting myself as I am while working on being physically healthy. Did the story end up like you had imagined, or did it take a surprising turn while writing it? If so, what changed? Why?

HC: When I started this story eleven years ago, it was a historical novel. It stayed that way until the last year, when I thought it might be interesting to tie in a more contemporary story. Penikese Island, Massachusetts (the main setting for the story) has a reputation of being a place to dispose of outcasts—first in the early 20th century as a leper colony and later in the same century as a school for troubled boys. I thought it would be interesting to tie these two setting together. I also believed that adding in a contemporary storyline would lighten up the book as a whole. I’m so glad my editors helped me brainstorm this route. I believe the story is so much stronger for it.

RH: “A place to dispose of outcasts…” that is intriguing. I’m really curious about Penikese Island now. What else can you tell us without any spoilers?

HC: By far the most interesting piece I learned was that an island off the coast of Massachusetts was used as a legitimate leper colony in the early 20th century. This caught me completely by surprise. I mean, leprosy? Wasn’t that a biblical disease? Something that didn’t even make its way over to America?

My research brought me to the island itself, to experience the graves of the lepers who died upon the island. I also visited Harvard’s Countway Library of Medicine to read the correspondence of the doctors who worked on the island.

I was fascinated by the search for a cure, how a small number of doctors and staff bravely worked alongside those society feared. What if, I thought, a cure was possible back then? I wanted to write that story.

RH: Wow, Heidi! I didn’t know that either. That’s fascinating! I’m so looking forward to reading this story! Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

HC: Sam is my contemporary hero. He’s a teenager with a lot of quirks and a bit of tough history who is determined to persevere. He loves science fiction, his grandfather, and vanilla ice cream with gummy bears on top. He also plays a pivotal role in helping my contemporary heroine, Emily, face some hard truths about her life and her relationship with her parents. I love him, and I hope readers will too!

RH: Sam sounds like great guy. I imagine his story will rise up and his past will enable him to help Emily. While I’m not a fan, the fact he loves gummi bears on his ice cream sounds like the quintessential teenage treat! What do you hope readers will take away after reading Hope Beyond the Waves?

HC: I hope readers will find reason to hope in God through the darkest circumstances life has to throw at them. I pray it will be a reminder of the love we are all capable of giving, and receiving.

RH: A lot of people are facing tough times right now with this turbulent economy, illness, marital conflict, parenting concerns…the list can go on and on. If our stories cannot offer hope to the lost or hurting, I’m not sure what purpose they serves. And before you leave, please tell us what are you working on now?

HC: I was in the middle of writing The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast Series (three more books planned!), when I turned forty and decided that Hope Beyond the Waves needed to be a priority. Now, I’m looking forward to returning to the Martin family, my “contemporary Little Women with a twist” family.

Thanks for chatting with us today, Heidi. Blessings for a successful release of Hope Beyond the Waves!


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Maria M.!!!!

Heidi is giving away one print copy of Hope Beyond the Waves to one lucky Romancing History reader. ** To enter, tell us if you’ve ever heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony that once occupied it?

*Giveaway ends midnight, July 20, 2022.
**Sorry, print copy for U.S. residents only.

 

Book Review: All That Is Hidden

About the Book

Title: All That Is Hidden
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Laura DeNooyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Info: Lighthouse Publishing, 323 pages
Publication: December 2012; Re-release Fall, 2021
Recognition: Serious Writer semifinalist for “Book of the Decade”


Blurb

Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep?

Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way.

She always knew her father had a secret. But all of God’s earth to Tina are the streams for fishing, the fields for planting and harvesting–a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. Other than the seasons, nothing ever changed.

Until the summer of 1968.

Tina’s life changes forever. Trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her tiny southern Appalachian town.

Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father.

A past he has hidden catches up to him as his secret settles in like an unwelcome guest. The clash of progressive ideas and small town values escalates the collision of a father’s past and present.

View the All That Is Hidden book trailer, here. (BTW, the trailer just happens to be produced and voiced
by my daughter, Maddy Goshorn. Yes, I know, it was a shameless plug.)

Available for purchase on Amazon.


My Thoughts

Get ready for a nostalgic journey back in time to late 1960s Appalachia in author Laura De Nooyer’s, All That is Hidden. Folklore, superstitions, and Appalachian dialogue are deftly woven into the story making the mountain setting as alive as any of DeNooyer’s characters. Small town wit and wisdom reminiscent of The Walton’s stirred up feelings of a bygone era when life seemed much simpler. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the novel, “Maybe it’s not the falling down that matters. It’s the getting back up. Maybe it’s not the mistakes you make, but what you do after you make ’em.”

All That is Hidden is the coming of age story of two siblings, Tina and Nick Hamilton. At first, it was a bit challenging to get invested in a book with a ten-year-old heroine, but I’m so glad I did! Tina and Nick have their idyllic mountain life disrupted when secrets from their father’s past come to life that affects Tina and Nick’s family. The children learn that choices, even those hidden in the past, have consequences.

Both tender and heart-wrenching, I recommend having a box of tissues handy as the book comes to an end. If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna need them for this fully satisfying, but somewhat unexpected, ending.

Although I have since purchased my own copy, I did receive a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Author

Laura DeNooyer thrives on creativity and encouraging it in others. A Calvin College graduate, she has decades of experience teaching art and writing to middle school and high school students. She and her husband raised four kids. An award-winning author of heart-warming historical and contemporary fiction, she is president of her American Christian Fiction Writers chapter. When not writing, you’ll find her reading, walking, drinking tea with friends, or taking a road trip. For a FREE prequel from Laura DeNooyer, join her monthly newsletter: www.StandoutStoriesNewsletter.com.

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The Songs That Could Have Been & a Giveaway

About the Book

Title: The Songs that Could Have Been
Series Info: Sedgwick County Chronicles, Book 2
Author: Amanda Wen
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Time-Slip Fiction
Book Info: Kregel Pulications; June 21, 2022; 333 pages


Blurb

Two couples in love.
Two sets of impossible circumstances.
One powerful God of grace.

After a tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Her battle with bulimia is under control, her career is taking off, and she’s surrounded by a loving family. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, leads to old feelings returning with new strength. And suddenly her well-balanced world is thrown off kilter.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But the reasons they broke up aren’t lost–and those old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. He isn’t sure he’s courageous enough to make a different choice this time around.

When Lauren’s elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim–a name her family has never heard before–a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie’s past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives–and Rosie’s–forever. Along the way they’ll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.

The Songs That Could Have Been is full of the same deftly handled, resonant writing that readers and critics alike enjoyed in Amanda Wen’s first book in the series, Roots of Wood and Stone. Fans of Lisa Wingate and Rachel Hauck will add Amanda Wen to their must-read shelves.

Click here to read an excerpt.

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My Thoughts

The Songs That Could Have Been is an amazing time slip novel by new-to-me author, Amanda Wen. Wen’s characters are endearing and multi-dimensional and her dialogue is both fresh and robust. I was pulled into the story from the opening line and couldn’t read fast enough to discover how she would meld the two timelines together.

The second installment in the Sedgwick County Chronicles centers around Lauren’s grandmother, Rosie, and her friend, Ephraim, during their high school years in the 1950s. When present day Rosie, who is suffering from dementia, continues mentioning Ephraim, a mysterious man from her past, Lauren and her brother attempt to find him. At the same time, Lauren also has a chance encounter with a man from her past and the two rekindle their friendship. They must fight the demons from their past if they have any hope of their relationship blossoming into something more.

Wen deftly handles such emotionally charged subjects as forbidden love, prejudice, addiction, eating disorders, and dimentia with grace and compassion. I appreciated how the author helped the characters overcome their past by relying on their faith and trusting God’s mercy and healing in the present.

Warning: The Songs That Could Have Been has ALL the feels. Grab a box of tissues and clear your calendar, because once you begin this touching story you won’t be able to step away.

I received a copy of this book from the I Read with Audra book tour. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Author

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. Her debut novel was a 2021 Christy Award First Novel finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. She is the author of Roots of Wood and Stone and The Songs That Could Have Been.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit www.amandawen.com. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


Giveaway

 

 

 

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Interview with Karen Witemeyer & a Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Karen Witemeyer to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2016, but I’d been a fan of her books way before that. In fact, meeting Karen in person was similar to a little girl meeting her favorite Disney princess.

Karen’s newest release, In Honor’s Defense, released June 7 and is the 3rd book in her Hanger’s Horseman series. Here’s a link to my review on BookBub.

And don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section below and enter to win a print copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks (sorry, giveaway open to U.S. residents only). Many thanks to Karen for her generous donation for our drawing.

Before we chat with Karen, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Karen

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

Connect with Karen:

The Posse (Karen’s FB Group)     Amazon     BookBub    Inspired by Life & Fiction Blog


About the Book

He’s Faced Countless Perils on the Battlefield, but Nothing so Dangerous as Falling in Love.

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Purchase at:

Amazon         Baker Book House        B&N         Christianbook.com


Interview with Karen Witemeyer

 

Fast Five

1. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? (I should warn you, there is only ONE right answer, LOL!)!

Colin Firth – He was my first Mr. Darcy and remains my favorite. (Excellent answer, Karen!)

2. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Early Bird. It’s rare for me to stay awake past 10:30 pm.

3. Dark or Milk chocolate? Dark.

4. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife

Downton Abbey – although I only watched the first few seasons.

5. Kindle, Audio book, or Paperback?

Tough call – I use all three. I’ll go traditional, though, and say paperback.

Me, too, but I tend to listen to more audio books these days.

Q & A

RH: You’re a pretty well-known author to Romancing History readers. Rather than giving us the typical back of the book author bio, please share something quirky about yourself?

KW: Here are a few random quirks you might not know about me:

  • I love groan-worthy puns
  • I’m super competitive when it comes to board games (though my sweet disposition masks my desire to stomp my opponents into the ground)
  • I can’t start writing for the day until I’ve cleared out all the unread email in my inbox.
  • My feet are perpetually cold, so I always have a pair of socks on when lounging around the house.
  • In keeping with the previous item, I collect book-related socks.
  • I am a horrible horticulturist. Only the hearty survive.
  • I love avocados but hate guacamole.

RH: Those are absolutely fun quirks! As a member of the Posse, I’ve learned about your propensity for puns, which by the way, I also find very punny. I also knew you loved board games but had no idea you were so competitive. You are too sweet so I’m finding that very hard to believe. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your hubby meet?

KW: We met at church my freshman year in college. I recognized his roommate from a church camp reunion I attended back in California where I was from, and the three of us became good friends. My husband often led singing at our church, and one Sunday I happened to be sitting in the pew next to him when he was leading singing (we were not yet dating). After services, an elderly member came up to shake his hand and asked to be introduced to his wife – indicating me! It became a joke with us until the day we went out to lunch to celebrate our faux anniversary and Wes admitted he had true feelings for me and wanted to change our faux dates into real ones. Things progressed from there, and this month we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. The happily-ever-after is still in full swing.

RH: Aww, that is such a sweet story. Friends is the best way to start. It’s the foundation of everything. Speaking of love—well, book love anyway—I have LOVED the Hangar’s Horseman series. Matt and his compadres are swoon worthy heroes. Can I be terribly indiscreet and ask if you had a favorite horseman?

KW: That’s such a hard question! I love them all for different reasons. Matt for his courage, leadership, and dependability. Mark for his ability to tease and laugh while still being a man of depth. Jonah for his quiet strength, compassionate nature, and the way he never shirks away from something just because it’s hard. Luke for his protective nature, sacrificial spirit, and dedication to God’s Word. If I had to pick, I’d probably pick Luke because he is freshest on my mind, and because I’m a sucker for a wounded hero. Luke’s backstory made me ache to write him the sweetest happy ending I could.

RH: Hahaha! Aren’t I mean? I agree that was a hard question and I would’ve answered the same—with a wonderful reason why each would deserve the title of  “My Favorite Hanger’s Horseman Hero.” That’s probably because you excel at writing swoon worthy heroes. That brings another question to mind. What do you think is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

KW: I love writing the male point of view. Maybe because I like believing that I know what a man is thinking. Ha! However, it can be challenging to make the male POV sound authentic. I’m a natural explainer. I love giving lots of details and rationales. I like to look at things from all angles. Yet, when I’m writing in the male POV, I have to curtail these more feminine tendencies. Sentences must be shorter. Decisive. To the point. Fewer descriptions. More action. My cowboy heroes are not likely to be thinking in long, poetic phrases about their ladies, and they sure won’t be talking that way. Finding the balance between giving myself and my female readers the romance we want from our leading men while still being authentic to their characters requires a deft hand, one I’m constantly working to perfect.

RH: I think those are excellent points. While I love your humility, it would be hard to imagine anyone better at writing the male POV than you. Preach was a favorite of mine throughout the series and I was anxiously waiting to see who he’d “ride off into the sunset with.” Preach and his leading lady, Damaris Baxter, are very different characters in everything except faith. Does that make a romance easier or harder to write?

KW: I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both seek belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

RH: Speaking of Damaris, she seems by far the most timid of all the ladies in the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Why did you choose that personality type for her?

KW: It’s challenging as an author to create fresh characters for every book. Each heroine needs to be unique. I love strong, feisty heroines, yet I believe there are different types of strength. Damaris has a quieter strength. She’s introverted and shy, content to be invisible in most situations, yet she has a steel core when it comes to family. She will never give up on them and do whatever it takes to keep them safe and heal their emotional wounds. Luke looks like a mountain of a man from the outside—tall, muscular, good in a fight—yet deep down he carries hidden vulnerabilities that convince him he is not worthy of being loved or having a family. Damaris is timid on the outside, but she is an emotional lioness inside. The two fit together perfectly, each having what the other needs to be whole.

RH: I love that. Do you have a favorite quote from In Honor’s Defense?

KW: This is one of my favorites:

“He’s a Horseman…As opposite from my quiet bookish existence as one can be. Yet he actively seeks my opinion. Not only seeks it but honors it. Honors me. He looks at me as if I were a rare treasure he’d never thought he’d find, and when I look at him…It’s as if all my odd, misshaped edges finally fit somewhere.”

That is a great quote, and fits in perfectly with what we’ve been talking about—how opposites attract but need a common foundation to support the relationship, often fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle only the other can complete.

Just for fun, here’s one of my favorite quotes from In Honor’s Defense:

“I’ll stay as long as you need me.” The promise he made days ago reflected in his eyes.

Her heart thumped out the question she didn’t have the courage to ask out loud. What if I need you forever?

RH: Sigh. That quote still gives me goosies! This is the final installment of the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Did that make it bittersweet to write? Or is there a certain satisfaction in bringing their stories to completion?

KW: It’s always hard to say goodbye to favorite characters, yet I find great satisfaction in bringing a series to its conclusion. I loved bringing all the Horsemen back together in this story, giving them all a final moment to shine and celebrating the special bond of brotherhood they share. I like to imagine them continuing to live and love and adventure together as they raise their children and overcome the obstacles of life. They live on in my heart, hopefully inspiring me to be brave, to stand up for those the world dismisses, and to hold tight to the relationships that matter most.

RH:  Dang, Karen, you’re gonna make me cry. Whenever I tell my husband that a character’s story is making me teary, he asks if we should pray for them? LOL! But, I suppose that’s because the author has skillfully made them come to life, made them our friends and we’re deeply invested in their lives (a.k.a. stories). Any chance we can get a sneak peek at what’s next for you?

KW: I’m starting a new series where I will take familiar fairy tales and give them a Texas twist. I’m working on a version of Snow White first, featuring a Texas Ranger hero, a villainess with a fondness for mirrors, and seven retired drovers at the Diamond D ranch. Should be fun!

RH: That’s such a great idea! I loved how you did you put a Texas twist on A Christmas Carol in your novella, Under the Texas Mistletoe. I’m looking forward to your new series.

I had so much fun chatting with you, Karen. Thanks for visiting with my readers today.


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Lynsay F!

Karen has graciously offered an autographed copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks to one Romancing History reader.** To enter, tell me your first Karen Witemeyer story.

*Giveaway ends at midnight, June 29, 2022.
**Sorry, giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Book Review: Midnight’s Budding Morrow and a Giveaway

Welcome to the I Read with Audra Book Tour for Midnight’s Budding Morrow, a Regency-era novel by new-to-me author, Carolyn Miller.

While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”

Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the second book in the Regency Wallflowers series and reads fine as a stand alone. The first book in the series is Dusk’s Darkest Shores.

Don’t forget to visit the giveaway section to enter the drawing for a print copy of Midnight’s Budding Morrow.


About the Book

Title: Midnight’s Budding Morrow
Series Info: Regency Wallflowers, Book #2
Author: Carolyn Miller
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Book Info: Kregel Publications, May 31st 2022, 383 pages


Blurb

Can real love grow between a wallflower
and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend’s rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family’s estate, he can’t be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father’s stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn’t until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Click here to read an Excerpt

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My Thoughts

Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the first book I’ve read by author Carolyn Miller. This marriage of convenience story gripped me from the opening pages with its themes of forgiveness, mercy, and redemption, and never let me go.

Miller’s characters wound themselves into my heart. I adored sweet Sarah from first meeting her. It’s hard not to bond with a heroine who is a bit lost and longs to be loved and needed. It took a bit longer for me to warm up to James who agrees to marry Sarah to pay off his debt. The author did an excellent job flipping our rogue leading man into a swoon-worthy hero. I always like when characters are imperfect because it is more realistic, and I enjoy seeing their growth throughout the story.

I really liked that the author wove some deeper topics into the story, such as depression and alcoholism. Characters wrestle but don’t succumb. Instead, they learn to build deeper trust in one another and in their relationship with God. As the parent of two children who’ve struggled with depression, I found this hope-filled yet realistic aspect of the story line very encouraging.

I received a copy of the novel from Read with Audra. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.


About the Author

Carolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.

Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Learn more about Carolyn at website, or find her on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.


Giveaway*

Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter the drawing for a print copy of Midnight’s Budding Morrow.

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*Giveaway ends 6/28/22.

Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise & a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome author Susan G. Mathis to Romancing History today. Not only is Susan a multi award-winning author, she also writes both fiction (historical romance, children’s picture books) and non-fiction books (premarital books) and articles. That is truly a wonderful accomplishment!

Her latest release, Peyton’s Promise, is book three in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series which gets its name from that beautiful part of upstate New York where her stories are set.

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Peyton’s Promise and don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway to win an eBook copy of the book!


About the Book

Title: Peyton’s Promise
Series Info: Thousand Islands Gilded Age book three
Author: Susan G Mathis
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: 
Iron Stream Fiction, 264 pages

ABOUT PEYTON’S PROMISE:

Summer 1902

Peyton Quinn is tasked with preparing the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular two-hundred-guest summer gala. As she works in a male-dominated position of upholsterer and fights for women’s equality, she’s persecuted for her unorthodox ways. But when her pyrotechnics-engineer father is seriously hurt, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.

Patrick Taylor, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton has to ignore the prejudices and persevere or she could lose her job, forfeit Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossips.


Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise

Patrick chewed on the inside of his cheek as he concentrated on the intricate touchup work he’d accomplished so well before Peyton appeared like a ghost from his past. She’d haunted his dreams for nearly three years, and now she was here. Some of those dreams were sweet—of walking along the shore of the St. Lawrence arm in arm with the girl he’d loved ever since he was knee-high to a Daddy Longlegs.

As childhood best friends, they’d shared everything together. Their favorite fishing and swimming hole in a little cattail-sheltered inlet of French Bay just blocks from their homes. Studying in the same one-room schoolhouse, albeit he was a year ahead of her, and she was much smarter than he. Secrets and tears and laughs—oh, so many laughs. He’d quoted the Irish saying to her time and again, “A best friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” Indeed, he was a lucky young lad.

He loved to make her laugh, to hear that captivating little snicker. Not quite a laugh. Not quite a giggle. A fanciful pixie sound he called a liggle. Oh, how he loved—and missed—that sound!

Really, he couldn’t ever remember not loving her, not dreaming of growing old with the flaxen-haired lass with her haunting green eyes and soft, sweet lips. He’d kissed those lips once. His body quivered at the innocence of that childish moment.

While he fished on one hot summer’s day, Peyton had fallen asleep in the sunshine, beads of moisture wetting her brow, yet her placid features didn’t flinch in the heat. He’d probably been about eleven years old and just couldn’t help himself. Studying her angelic face, he’d bent down and touched his lips to hers. Barely. She didn’t even stir, but that stolen kiss became a golden badge of courage to him. He’d never told her—or anyone—about it. But it rarely left the recesses of his memories for long. And he’d never kissed anyone since.

Lighthouse Publishing     Amazon


About the Author

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. She has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. Susan has seven in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, and her newest, Colleen’s Confession. Peyton’s Promise and Rachel’s Reunion release in 2022 and she just finished book ten, Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.


Giveaway*

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Alison B.!

To enter the giveaway for a Kindle copy of Peyton’s Promise, tell me if you’ve visited the Thousand Island area of New York. What did you think? If you haven’t been there yet, what is your favorite New York destination?

*Giveaway ends at midnight, June 1st.

Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, Book Review & Giveaway

Welcome to the I Read with Audra book tour for Shadows in the Mind’s Eye.

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp offers readers a story rich in the tradition of Hitchcock with a hint of psychological thriller. She takes readers back to 1940s Hot Springs, Arkansas and explores the illness now known as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), its effects on families when soldiers returned home, and a persistent love in a world determined to destroy it.

Tromp’s inspiration for Shadow’s in the Mind’s Eye was her own grandparents’ stories of adjusting to life when her grandfather returned home from World War II. Back then, soldiers returning home rarely talked about their experiences and the difficult adjustment of “getting back to normal.” In the process of writing the story, Janyre did extensive research on treatments for what was known as battle fatigue at the time. She also drew on personal experiences in dealing with PTSD herself.

I’m excited to be part of this tour and introduce Romancing History readers to this intriguing historical suspense novel. Make sure you visit the Giveaway section so you can enter to win a great prize package from Janyre!


About the Book

Title: Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Janyre Tromp
Genre: Historical Suspense
Book Info: Kregel Publications/April 19, 2022/288 pages


Blurb

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

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My Thoughts

Shadow in the Mind’s Eye is a jaw-dropping debut novel! Set in Hot Springs, Arkansas, immediately following WWII, author Janyre Tromp takes the reader into the troubled mind of a Pacific Theater veteran struggling with combat fatigue.

The novel has a slow, but steady start that I liken to a roller coaster making its steady, gradual ascent of that first towering peak. I believe this is deliberate on the part of the author so we can not only get immersed in the southern mountain culture but can become attached to the main characters because once the plot crests that first peak, you’d better be buckled in because the ride will take you on so many twists and turns you’ll be doubting what you think you know about nearly everything and everyone in this perfectly crafted historical suspense story.

DO NOT mistake that for a sluggish or boring beginning. “For sure and for certain,” Tromp has written an emotionally gripping cast of characters and possesses a true gift for southern dialogue. Despite Sam’s mental health issues that will leave you pondering what is real and what is only in his “mind’s eye,” I was cheering for him to get it all sorted out and at least discover a large enough portion of the man he was before the war so he could find peace in his own heart and with “his girls,” wife Annie and daughter Rosie. But many other challenges face Sam upon his return home including his wife, Annie, still haunted by the ghosts of her own abusive past at the hands of her father. His younger brother, Peter, who returned home much earlier from the war after losing his hand, seems to have taken his place as daddy to Rosie, and his best friend, Doc, appears to be a little too friendly with Annie. Not to mention that Hot Springs has become a hotbed of mob activity. And Sam, like the reader, is left to sort out what is real and what are figments of Sam’s battle fatigued imagination.

The whiplash from all the psychological twists is softened by the wit and wisdom of the utterly charming, Dovie May, Sam and Peter’s mother, who is determined to steer her son and daughter-in-law Annie toward one another and their faith, as their only hope to rebuild all the war has taken from them.

I listened to Shadows in the Mind’s Eye on Audible and was thoroughly delighted with this audio production. Sam and Annie’s voices were brought to life by narrators Matt Godfrey and Sandy Rustin who flawlessly captured the main characters’ southern dialect and drew me into the post-WWII era. If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend this Recorded Books production.

Although I received a copy of this book from I Read with Audra Book Tours, I also purchased this story on Audible. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Happily ever after don’t happen lessen each person in a marriage works. It’s like a team of horses . . . They both have to carry their own load.” ~Dovie May

“The only way you see a miracle is to believe in them first.” ~Dovie May

Light sneaks through the broken places.” ~Dovie May

“Wasn’t no way of going forward if you’re stuck going backward.” ~Annie

We never want to travel beyond the point where everybody’s happy. But life’s everything after, and the question is, what are you going to do with the truth life drops in your lap?” (and dag gone it, I forgot to note who said this)

“You’d think  holding joy right up against sadness would shatter a body. But it don’t. Joy, it sneaks in all around, sticks everything together, and finds a way to make you whole.” ~Dovie May

“One thing I know for certain is that memory’s a slippery thing. It changes and morphs…It gets so that no one’s ever quite sure what actually happened.” ~Annie

“Trying to pin down the cost of your choices is more than a little like trying to figure out the height of your shadow.” ~Doc


Spiritual Takeaway

“…and sometimes God uses broken things to save us… Ain’t no light that can get through something solid. It sneaks through the broken places.”
~Dovie May

Broken…flawed…that is what so many of us are as are the characters in Shadows in the Mind’s Eye. Who doesn’t feel broken from the depth of depravity and utter lack of humanity we see in the world on a daily basis? Who among us hasn’t suffered a broken heart, lost a loved one, felt alone, unseen, or less than? In our human strength, we try to super glue the pieces back together, put on a brave face, and attempt to protect our wounded soul from further damage.

But there is tremendous value in being broken because it’s in those moments, and in those dark places where we feel the deepest fissures that Christ’s redemptive work on the cross does its healing work. It’s the brokenness that sends us searching Scripture for answers, that makes us cry out to a God we otherwise ignore, that brings us to our knees acknowledging that we can’t do it without Him. And, it’s the cracks in our broken shell that lets His light nurture our weary soul.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12


About the Author

Janyre Tromp (pronounced Jan-air) is a historical suspense novelist who loves spinning tales that, at their core, hunt for beauty, even when it isn’t pretty. She’s the author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and coauthor of It’s a Wonderful Christmas.

A firm believer in the power of an entertaining story, Tromp is also a book editor and published children’s book author. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, two kids, two crazy cats, and a slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.

You can find her on Facebook (@JanyreTromp), Instagram (@JaynreTromp), Twitter (@JanyreTromp), and her website, www.JanyreTromp.com where you can download a free copy of her novella, Wide Open


Giveaway

The prize pack includes:

– A copy of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
– A custom made silver peach tree necklace inspired by the book
– A “Light speaks through the broken places” t-shirt also inspired by the book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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