Kelly Goshorn

Romancing History

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.

Amazon     B&N     ChristianBook     Kobo     Walmart     Target


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

Faith Among the Faithless by Barbara M. Britton & a Giveaway

I’m excited to welcome my friend and fellow author, Barbara M. Britton, back to Romancing History today. I’ve read and reviewed several of Barb’s books including her most recent release, Defending David. Barb has a gift for finding little known Biblical characters and fleshing out their stories with authentic dialogue and historical accuracy. Her stories are both action-packed and insightful and there’s usually a sweet romance as well.

Whether you’ve never had an opportunity to read one of Barb’s novels or you’re a die hard fan, make sure to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post to enter the drawing for a signed print copy of Defending David.

Today, Barb is going to share some practical faith lessons we can learn from the story of Ittai and King David.


About the Book

When a quiet journey to Jerusalem turns tragic, newly orphaned Rimona must flee a kinsman set on selling her as a slave. Racing into the rocky hills outside of Hebron, Rimona is rescued by a Philistine commander journeying to Jerusalem with six-hundred warriors.

Exiled commander, Ittai the Gittite, is seeking refuge in the City of David. Protecting a frantic Hebrew woman is not in his leadership plan. Although, having a nobleman’s niece in his caravan might prove useful for finding shelter in a foreign land.

Rimona and Ittai arrive in Jerusalem on the eve of a rebellion. In the chaos of an heir’s betrayal, will they be separated forever, or can they defend King David and help the aging monarch control his rebellious son?

You can purchase on Amazon, B&N, and wherever books are sold. Your library can order it, too.


Faith Among the Faithless

by Barbara M. Britton

 

My latest work of Biblical Fiction follows a little-known Bible character named Ittai the Gittite. Several readers have told me that they believed Ittai was created by my imagination, but Ittai is a historic Bible hero. A man that the world needs to discover.

Ittai is a Philistine from the warring neighbor of Israel. If you have read the Old Testament, you know that Israel and Philistia battled for hundreds of years. The restless Philistines worshiped idols while Israel followed the One True God.

When I discovered Ittai in II Samuel, chapter fifteen, I laughed. God must have a sense of humor. As a boy, David killed the Philistine giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. As a king, when David’s son was trying to kill him, God sent David a Philistine giant to protect him. Does this seem odd to you? If it does, wait until you hear Ittai speak.

As King David is fleeing his palace barefoot because his life is in peril, Ittai the Gittite appears and pledges his support to the beleaguered king. Ittai is not alone. He arrives with six-hundred Philistine warriors. Quite the gift when you need to form an army. Here’s my first surprise in this story. King David tries to send Ittai and his soldiers away and the king even suggests they fight for his rebellious son, Absalom. I want to shake David and yell, “Snap out of it.” Ittai has better words. Words that are shocking and inspiring.

Here is Ittai’s pledge from II Samuel 15:2.

Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives,”

Did you catch the capitalization of Lord? The first words out of Ittai’s mouth praise the Living God. The God of Israel. This is extraordinary to hear this praise from a Philistine.

And as my lord the king lives,

Whoa. They have a king in Gath where Ittai is from, but Ittai pledges alliance to King David—with a little l. Is this love of God and David why Ittai was exiled? We are never told in Scripture why Ittai was banished from Philistia.

wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death,

Following King David and the One True God is going to cost Ittai something. He will need to fight and kill and possibly be killed. The road ahead is difficult, but Ittai is willing to make that sacrifice for his beliefs.

there will your servant be.

What does Ittai call himself? Not commander, or warrior, or friend. He calls himself a servant. I was stunned. In the 21st century, do we have the same commitment to God as an exile named Ittai? How could we change the world if the first words out of our mouths were about Jesus and His unfailing love? What if we were willing to share God’s love with the world even if it was going to cost us something? Something substantial like our lives?

With Ittai, we see faith in action. He is using the gifts God gave him to serve God and God’s anointed king.

Are we using our gifts in 2022 to expand God’s kingdom?

One verse in II Samuel sets a challenge before believers thousands of years after it was written. Ittai lived the Great Commission before Jesus stepped into time, lived a perfect life, died on a cross, and conquered death, so we could spend eternity worshiping God.

You can see why I had to bring Ittai into the spotlight to encourage fellow Christians and those who don’t have a faith in God. Ittai is a true hero. He is willing to use his talents to help a friend, and willing to serve God, all the while knowing it may not end well.

And whose parents came from the line of King David? Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’s stepfather Joseph, both come from the line of King David.

Ittai is a faithful friend to King David, but Jesus is our faithful forever friend, Lord, and Savior.

When King David needed an inspiring pep talk about God, The One True God sent him an exiled Philistine ready to be a witness and encouraging messenger.

Can I get an Amen!

May you go forth with God today and share about His love with the boldness of an exiled Philistine commander.


Excerpt from Defending David

Another pep talk that Ittai gives King David after the rebellion.

“Your sons have failed you.” Ittai choked back tears. What he wouldn’t have given for a father like David. “Your sons knew the laws of God, of God’s justice. They failed to let God be God.”

“Oh, Ittai. Why couldn’t I be that raider of Ziklag that you remember so well? One who rights wrongs and is feared by men because God rests at his side?”

Hamuran was right. Ittai was not good with words. How did one comfort a warrior king who fought champions and claimed victory? He would tell the truth and share the knowledge in his heart.

“You are the raider of Ziklag, and you will always be that man to me.” Ittai’s throat grew as thick as the reeds along the bank. “You lead a nation in worship of the One True God. Your words and deeds brought that God into my life. Look at the forgiveness you extended to Absalom after his sin. A sin against you and against God.” Ittai stood and brushed the mud from his knee. The raven darted to the other side of the Jordan. “God has brought us this far even with Absalom and Ahithophel aligned against us. If God desired your death, it would have happened in Jerusalem, and you wouldn’t be sitting under an oak with a smelly exile like me. Your son is the man who must answer to God for his actions. I must answer to God as well. And I will not explain to God how I let a traitor kill a man after God’s own heart.”

David rose and laid a hand on Ittai’s bronze-studded breastplate. “Don’t flatter me. I am not the raider of Ziklag at the moment.”

“No, you’re not. Aren’t we going to Mahanaim?” Ittai grinned through unstable lips. “You are the gray haired, disheveled raider of Mahanaim, who needs a dunk in the river.” He met David’s gaze and gripped his mentor’s hand. “I cannot think of a man that I am more honored to fight for. I don’t know the mind of God. But I have witnessed your faithfulness to Him, and I have seen His faithfulness to you.” Ittai stepped away from the king, remaining close enough to still clasp his hand. “I will walk with you as you join your family and your officials. And I will considerate it an honor.”


About the Author

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical Fiction and loves bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

Find out more about Barbara and her books on her website barbarambritton.com and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Julia White!

Barb is generously giving away a signed print copy of Defending David to one lucky Romancing History reader. If you’ve already read Defending David, you have the pick of any of her novels you haven’t read. To enter, share what inspires you most about Ittai’s story.

**Print copies available to U.S. residents only. International winners will receive an eBook copy of the novel. Giveaway ends midnight, May 4th.**

Book Review: Counterfeit Love & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: Counterfeit Love
Series Info: Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age, Book #1
Author: Crystal Caudill
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: Kregel Books; March 15, 2022; 336pp


Blurb

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancée is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     BAM     Book Depository     Christianbook


My Thoughts

Wowza, what a debut!

I’ve been looking forward to reading Counterfeit Love and I wasn’t disappointed. Caudill has written a spell-binding historical mystery filled with plenty of conflict, danger, and intrigue that made it impossible to put down.

I loved the heroine, Theresa Plain. She’s very much like me—a strong, independent woman (that some like to call bull-headed and that may be appropriate at times. Ah-hem). I love that despite the obstacles placed in her way, Theresa won’t quit. Though her faith is challenged, she is a fighter.

And Broderick—what’s not to love about this swoon-worthy, badge wearing hero. I love that he has a strong moral compass and that despite how things look, he knows in his heart that Theresa can not who his boss suspects she is.

As a lover of all things history, I was thrilled with the historical accuracy of this novel. The author brought the neighborhoods and people of 1880s Cincinnati to life with realistic dialogue and vivid descriptions, including the historic floods of 1883 & 1884 and their devastating effects on the city. The story was impeccably researched and filled with rich historical details about law enforcement, counterfeiting, and the Secret Service during the Gilded Age.

Although I purchased a paper copy, when I saw the audio book narrator was Stephanie Cozart, one of my favorites, I decided to listen to the book as well. As I expected the narrator did a fabulous job setting the mood of the story and bringing the characters to life.

If you enjoy historical fiction with strong faith elements and a villain you won’t see coming, then I highly recommend Counterfeit Love!


Favorite Quotes

“I’m not some brittle piece of china that needs to be packed away and forgotten.” “No, you’re not. You’re a beautiful, independent woman who drives a man to distraction.”

She could do this. She could march into a man’s world and demand her place. She would command it, just like her Grandfather always had.

He couldn’t remain her any longer. If he had to crawl across the floor and up the stairs, he would make it to her.

Once committed, she would not turn back, an admirable quality and a terrible nuisance all at the same time.

“Fine. but just one cup, and then I’m going to see Nathaniel.” His teeth shone. Let him think he had won. She was getting chocolate and her way.

“No one, not even skunks like Drake or Grandfather’s partners, can chase me off. This is my home. My sole connection to family, and i dare anyone to remove me.”


Spiritual Takeaway

‘You and I have been trying to overcome our problems on our own, but that’s not how God wants it.
Sometimes he has to strip us of everything
even the illusion of control—for us to see our need for Him.’

That quote is the essence of the spiritual message behind Counterfeit Love.  The events of the story strip the main characters of every illusion they have of control and makes them realize that they are nothing without Christ. They learn to love and rely on God in new and deeper ways. I could so relate to Theresa and Broderick. I’ve been there and no matter how deep you dig, in the darkest seasons of life, we can’t go it alone—none of us can. Theresa and Broderick’s story is a great reminder that God is always with us, that He alone is our strength and our shield.


About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Crystal can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at crystalcaudill.com. Keep up with all of Crystal’s author happenings at:

Facebook     Facebook Reader Group     Instagram     Twitter     Goodreads     BookBub    Author Newsletter


Giveaway**
This giveaway is now CLOSED

Congratulations to our winner Kathy B!

I’m giving away one paperback copy of Counterfeit Love to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter the drawing, take this quick Counterfeit Love Character Quiz, then drop your character name in the comments. While on Crystal’s website, you might enjoy checking out additional Bonus Content about Counterfeit Love.

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Paper copy for US residents only. International winners will receive an eBook copy.

 

Excerpt from A Wing and a Prayer & a Giveaway!

I’m absolutely thrilled to share an excerpt from A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman, one of my all-time favorite authors! A Wing and a Prayer is a novella from Julie’s O’Connor family saga. A Passion Most Pure is the book that introduces us to the O’Connors and is one of only a few books I’ve read twice. If you’re a regular Romancing History reader you know I rarely reread a book because there are sooooo many to read once! LOL! I highly recommend A Passion Most Pure or any of the O’Connor books. Well, really, any of Julie’s novels for that matter!

And, how fitting is it that we get to visit with the O’Connors on St. Patty’s Day?

Speaking of St. Patty’s Day, Julie is lowering the price on A Wing and a Prayer starting today through March 20! You can pick up your Kindle copy for only $1.99.

And make sure you read to the end, because there’s a giveaway!


About the Book

She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …

Even if it means losing everything in a war of the heart.

A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot, she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she “borrows” foreign correspondent credentials from the Boston Herald—where her father is the editor—to stow away on a medical ship to the front.

Lieutenant Alex Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field as a WASP cadet. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Alex is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. As her WASP flight instructor, Alex eventually expels Gabe when she pulls a dangerous stunt. But when he is an evacuation pilot in France eight months later, their lives intertwine once again, exposing them to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest: a love that neither expects.

Check out the book trailer here.

Available on Amazon


Excerpt

SETUP: Although the hero, Lieutenant Alex Kincaid, is attracted to the heroine, WASP recruit Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor, he wants nothing to do with her romantically, not only because it’s against WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) regulations for an instructor to fraternize with a recruit, but because she’s not a woman he can trust. Unfortunately, Gabe railroads him into giving her a ride home from a local picnic event because she’s on crutches, a turn of events that “cripples” his own resolve to steer clear emotionally. This excerpt begins in Gabe’s point of view, then switches to Alex’s in the next chapter.

____

Alex slowed as he pulled up to the military gate, greeting the guard manning the gatehouse. Gabe’s stomach quivered while he signed the proffered clipboard with their names before continuing on to her barracks. He offered her a faint smile. “We need to get you inside, resting that leg.”

Halting the Jeep in front of her bay, he wasted no time in carrying her and the crutches to the front door, where a dim bulb lit a postage-stamp-size concrete pad. “Easy does it,” he said as he gingerly set her down on her good leg, his palm warm at the small of her back. He handed her both crutches. “It’s against regulations for me to be inside. Will you be okay if I leave you here?”

No.

“Yes,” she said in a rush, unable to thwart the bob of her throat. Hands slick with sweat, she grappled with the crutches, suddenly shy for the first time in her life.

He waited while she struggled to get her bearings, but she was so nervous, she wobbled as she turned. He immediately gripped her again. “You sure you’ll be okay?” He shot a glance down the lonely line of dingy white barracks, as if contemplating helping her inside.

“The bays are tiny, so I don’t have far to walk, and I plan to go right to bed.” Her gaze flicked down the darkened compound like he had, and her throat went dry at just how alone they were. Yellow lights winked on each porch, the only sign of life between the two rows of housing. A moonlit alleyway flanked by weedy grass separated the two barracks, both it and the bays’ cracked sidewalks crisscrossed with dandelions and crabgrass.

It was still early for a Friday night, so everything was silent and still except for the faint hoot of a faraway owl and the rasp of Gabe’s uneven breathing. “Alex, I … can’t thank you enough,” she whispered, pulse chaotic when he reached around her to open the screen door.

“My pleasure. It was fun,” he said as he tugged her close to pull it wide, propping it with his elbow while he reached around to jiggle the temperamental knob of the old wooden door. Gabe’s heart stuttered at the proximity of his dark-bristled jaw.

Mere inches from her lips.

And that’s when she realized it had been fun. More fun than she’d ever had in her life, and she didn’t want it to end. Ever. She wanted to thank him and she wanted to touch him all at the same time. Without a second thought, she leaned in and brushed her lips to his cheek, totally unprepared for the rush of heat hurtling through her veins. She immediately felt the jolt of his body as he gave a sharp jerk of his head, shock glazing his eyes when the motion instantly aligned his mouth with her own, a shallow breath away.

Gabe had always been one who knew what she wanted and just how to get it, and she certainly had never been a woman to dally. So in the split second that she felt the catch of his breath, she didn’t pause. She didn’t think.

She simply kissed him.

With everything in her, heart thundering over the single most earth-shattering moment of her young life.

She was in love!

Chapter Twenty-Four

Alex gasped, but the sound was swallowed up by the press of Gabe’s lips, soft, pliant and hungry, fusing to his with a need that ignited his own. It was only a catch of his breath, but it seemed like eons that he wrestled with his conscience and lost, returning Gabe’s kiss with a fire that seared his very soul. Her crutches crashed to the ground when she rose on tiptoe to slip her arms around his neck, and her mouth united with his in a mating he never wanted to end. He lifted her off her feet, clutching her with an intensity that shocked him. Groaning, he pressed in while his mouth explored hers, his passion apparently buried so deep, he’d never even known it was there.

Well, he knew it now, and it scared him silly.

“Gabe,” he whispered, voice hoarse as he carefully set her down. He grasped one of her crutches to gently prod it beneath the arm of her bad leg with breathing as ragged as hers. Heart aching, he cradled her face in his hands. “Please forgive me. I never should have done that—”

Her eyes widened. “No, Alex, there’s nothing to forgive—”

Yes, Gabe, there is.” Struggling to regain control, he removed his hands from her face to retrieve the second crutch, slowly tucking it beneath her other arm. Inhaling sharply, he took a step back, fortifying himself against the hurt in her eyes. “I am your superior and I stepped over the line, which never should have happened.”

“But I kissed you!” There was an urgency in her voice he’d never heard before, a neediness he had no will to exploit.

He steeled his jaw, heartsick over what he had to do. “And I took it a step further, Cadet, which I deeply regret.”

“Well, don’t!” she shouted, lurching forward so fast, those blasted crutches teetered along with his heart. His palm shot out in reflex, girding her waist to keep both of them from falling.

Too late.

Sleet slithered his veins when he saw the yearning in her eyes. “Don’t you get it, Alex?” she whispered, her face contorted in pain that inflicted some of his own. “I think I’m in love with you because I can’t get you out of my mind.”

His body went to stone. An unholy mix of guilt and shock depleted his air, fingers flinching from her waist as if he’d been burned. And the look of abject longing in Gabe’s face told him he had.

Burned as a PT.

Burned as a friend.

Burned as a man who knew better.

“You aren’t in love with me, Gabe,” he said harshly, as if to convince himself as well as her. He took another step back, fists in his pockets to keep from touching her again. “It takes more than a kiss to fall in love.”

“It was more than a kiss!” she shouted. “You practically devoured me.”

Heat swarmed his collar as he glanced down the empty quadrangle and back. “I did, and it was unconscionable.”

She leaned in with a loud clunk of her crutches, fire replacing the hurt in her eyes. “No, it was uncontrollable, Lieutenant,” she said in a near hiss, “because you’re as attracted to me as I am to you, and I dare you to deny it.”

He stood his ground with a clamp of his jaw. “I don’t deny it. I denounce it because it’s-not-right.” He enunciated each word with brutal clarity, determined to nip this in the bud once and for all. His eyes softened despite the heft of his chin. “It was totally irresponsible of me, Gabe, and I can’t let it happen again.”

Her body went as slack as her jaw. “You mean to tell me you’re going to kiss me like that, then tuck tail and hide behind your almighty rules and regulations?”

Her words stoked his temper, helping his cause. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you, Cadet, because it’s the right thing to do. So I suggest you get some shut-eye, because this conversation is over.” He turned to head toward the Jeep.

“No!” she shouted, crutches clomping hard behind him. “You could have pushed me away when I kissed you—that would have been the right thing to do. But instead you kissed me back like I was your last meal before a forty-day fast, flat-out leading me on.”

He paused at the edge of the sidewalk, head bent while a groan slipped from his lips, her well-aimed barb of guilt hitting dead-on.


About Julie

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 21 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017-20, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.

Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.

Connect with Julie on:   Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Pinterest     Amazon     BookBub    Goodreads


Giveaway**

**This giveaway is now closed!

Congrats to our winner, Kay Enderlin!

And thanks to everyone who stopped by and visited during the week!

Julie is generously offering one lucky Romancing History reader a choice of any of her Indie eBooks. To enter the drawing, tell me about  your favorite member of the O’Connor family. If you haven’t yet read any of the O’Connor’s, visit Julie’s Amazon page, then tell me which book you’d like to read the most.

**Giveaway ends midnight, March 23, 2022.**

To Disguise the Truth & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: To Disguise the Truth
Series Info: The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, Book #3
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: Bethany House Publisher/January 18, 2022/352 pages


Blurb

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.

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My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Jen Turano’s books and To Disguise the Truth didn’t disappoint. Right from the fantastic opening line Turano drew me in and kept me turning the pages with the wit and charm of her very quirky but endearing characters.

Her most recent heroine, Eunice Holbrooke, was no exception. Unwilling to shed the Widow’s Weeds she has been wearing throughout the series, Eunice finds herself confronted with a man from her past when her newest potential client wants to hire the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to find HER!! Although Arthur Livingston’s appearance may seem a bit brash at first, he does have a heart of gold and turns out to be a perfect match for Turano’s feisty heroine.

Although you are sure to laugh out loud while reading this book, To Disguise the Truth, like all of Turano’s novels, sheds light on some aspect of history that readers may not be well-acquainted with. In this novel, the author examines the conditions inside mental asylums and how horribly easy it was for a woman to be committed during the nineteenth century when Eunice goes undercover on a case at the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum.

I loved that Turano incorporated all of the characters from the series, even if some had only a brief appearance on the page. What a fun way to wrap up the series.

I listened to this book on Audible and would like to say that the narrator, Andrea Emmes, did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life, especially Turano’s hilarious one-liners. If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend this series!

If you enjoy a light-hearted mystery filled with twists, turns, and plenty of witty banter, then you’re sure to be delighted with To Disguise the Truth.


Favorite Quotes

“Considering she’d once shot the man sitting across from her, Eunice Holbrooke was beginning to get the sneaking suspicion her past had finally caught with her.”

“It was rather astonishing how much one could apparently glean from reading a vast assortment of romance novels.”

“Eunice is not what anyone would consider normal.”

“…there’s something shifty about a bookstore owner who doesn’t sell Jane Austen.”

“The thought sprang to mind that she might have once again been a tad too direct, that idea reinforced when a blink of an eye later she found herself staring down the barrel of a pistol.”


About the Author

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, Colarado. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Connect with Jen:

Website     Facebook     Instagram     BookBub


Giveaway**

I’m giving away an eBook copy of To Disguise the Truth. Jen’s books are laugh out loud funny! To enter the giveaway, share a favorite quote from one of Jen’s books! If you’ve never read one of her books, tell me which of the quotes above tickles your funny bone the most.

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

Interview with Kathleen Denly & a Giveaway

Hello Friends,

I’m sorry for the long hiatus. I hope everyone had a very bookish Christmas! Mine was spent reading—big surprise I’m sure! One of those books was Harmony on the Horizon and today I’m thrilled to introduce you to the author, Kathleen Denly. You can read my review here.

Kathleen is graciously giving away an eBook copy to one Romancing History visitor so make sure to see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Denly writes historical romance to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at KathleenDenly.com. 

Kathleen lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, one dog, and nine cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Connect with Kathleen:
Website | Newsletter | FB Author Page | FB Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon

About the Book

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

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Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Cats!!! We have nine. (NINE???)
  2. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth (Excellent choice!)
  3. Kindle, Audiobook, or Paperback? Audiobook. I love the smell of paper and kindle is crazy convenient, but after a long day of writing or marketing, I’m ready to rest my eyes. Plus I can listen while doing other things. (I prefer Audio books too!)
  4. Run, Bike, Hike, or Swim? Running & Hiking. I can’t pick. Both feed my soul.
  5. Dark or Milk chocolate? Milk! Dark is icky. ;)cAuthor Interview with Kathleen Denly

RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in?

KD: I write historical Christian romance set in nineteenth century America, with a special focus on California. My hope is to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our God and how he sees us.

I have been writing in some form or another for almost as long as I can remember. However, I didn’t begin writing my first novel until high school and didn’t start taking my writing seriously until after the birth of my third child in 2010.

My debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, book 1 of my Chaparral Hearts series was published by Wild Heart Books and released on February 4, 2020.  I have three novels and one novella currently available for readers, with three more full-length novels and one more novella in the works. All of these are part of the Chaparral Hearts series, although each can be read as a stand-alone novel. All of my novels are published by Wild Heart Books, but I indie-publish my novellas. The Chaparral Hearts prequel novella, Ribbons & Beaus, is currently available for free to my newsletter subscribers. I hope to have the second novella available by fall 2022 and plan to also provide it free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members.

RH: Wow, you’ve been a very busy author. I look forward to reading some of your other titles. Can up share something unusual about yourself? Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky?

KD: It drives me crazy when people dig a gouge in a tub of food. For example, margarine, peanut butter, ice cream, jam…all of these should be scraped across the top when retrieving your portion. The result should be a relatively smooth surface left behind instead of craters that resemble the surface of the moon. LOL I have no idea where I picked up this bizarre pet peeve, but it was worse in high school. Back then, I would actually spend time smoothing out the damage others had caused and, if serving myself, would just keep scooping ice cream until the surface was level. You can imagine that this resulted in some larger-than-my-stomach portions. These days I mostly roll my eyes, grumble under my breath, and move on. But it still bugs me.

RH: Oh dear, good to know in case we ever get to meet for lunch! LOL! Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

KD: I was directing a children’s play at our church and my (now) husband volunteered to help build the props. This was a very large church that I’d only been attending for about a year, so we hadn’t met until this moment. It’s actually a very humorous memory because my first thought on meeting him was, “Not my type.” And I was in a phase where I’d sworn off dating. LOL! A few weeks later, a mutual friend pointed out that he and I had been flirting during our college group Bible study and I vehemently protested. I wasn’t flirting. We were just being friendly and having fun. Right? Right? Wait. Ummm. Yeah. LOL! I ended up fasting for a week in search of God’s guidance. Long story short, we just celebrated our twentieth anniversary and I’m more in love with this man than ever.

RH: Awww, such a cute story! Thanks for sharing! Which three words describe the type of fiction you write?

KD: Entertaining, encouraging, inspiring. 😉 At least, that’s my hope.

RH: What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

KD: Sometimes knowing how they’d react to a specific situation can be tricky. So I usually consult my hubby on those. Also, their scenes take more editing since most men are less verbose than my typical writing style. So I usually need to go back and rephrase things with fewer words in the scenes that are in a male’s POV. Then again, that can be true of any character. I usually write the scenes one way and then go back and tweak them to fit each character’s unique voice. That was triple true with Katie in Harmony on the Horizon since she is a first generation American who grew up in an uneducated, low-class, family from Northern England and thus has a very unique dialect.

RH: What was the inspiration behind Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: During a field trip with my kids to visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, we were given a tour of the Mason Street Schoolhouse originally built in 1865 (since been moved & rebuilt twice, but is now at its original location). During that tour, the docent shared the story of the Mary Chase Walker scandal. In essence, Mary, a northern teacher wound up in the southern-sympathizing town of San Diego on the heels of the Civil War. Through the choice to dine with a mixed-race woman, Mary infuriated many parents who then refused to send their children to class. Ephraim Morse was one of three members on the board of trustees at the time who were faced with the parents’ demands that she be fired. A meeting was held but we do not know the results of that meeting due to the records being lost in a later fire. What we do know is that by the end of the month, Mary was no longer teaching. She moved on to tutor children in a local family and Ephraim began courting her. Shortly thereafter they were married.

As soon as I heard this story, my writer’s brain kicked in and I knew I needed to do something with it. Thus, Harmony on the Horizon is inspired by, but not based on, the Mary Chase Walker Scandal. My characters, Margaret and Everett, are not meant to represent Mary and Ephraim. Rather, I used the framework of the true-life events to carry my own characters through their journey. I stuck as close as possible to the known facts of the true story, while filling in the blanks as I believed my characters would in the given situation.

RH: It’s always so interesting to hear how authors get their story sparks. Do you have a favorite quote from Harmony on the Horizon you’d like to share?

KD: “Even now the memory of her hearty laugh over dinner tugged a smile from his lips and tempted him to disregard the caution of reason, to forsake his ambitions for more time in her presence.”

RH: Sigh, that’s one of my favorites, too. It gives you all the “feels.” What scene in Harmony on the Horizon was the hardest to write? Why?

KD: Katie’s scenes were both the most fun and the most challenging to write because of who she is. As I mentioned above, she is not only uneducated, but her family is from a part of Northern England known as Cumbria. If you’d like to know how utterly unintelligible some of their speech can sound to foreign ears, search “Cumbrian dialect” on YouTube. I bought an entire dictionary and listened to hours upon hours of native speakers in order to understand Katie’s dialect as best I could. Then I needed to keep in mind that Katie was not raised in Northern England, but in America. So that had an influence on her voice as well. I then had to tone her dialect down enough for English readers to not feel like they needed a translator to understand her scenes. At one point I seriously considered including a glossary at the front of the novel. But in the end, I wanted Katie’s dialect to enhance, not distract from, the story. So I toned her dialect down even more. Just getting Katie’s scenes right doubled the length of time I spent in the editing phase. Hopefully I found that balance between showing her uniqueness and making her understandable.

RH: I really enjoyed Katie’s dialect and think you struck the right balance. I could hear her clearly in my head. Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

KD: Ha ha. I’m beginning to feel like I’m only talking about Katie, even though Margaret is the primary heroine of Harmony on the Horizon. But I have been hearing from readers that they connect with Katie because of the incredible difficulties she overcomes and the strength of her relationship with God. One reviewer even said that she wanted to be more like Katie.

RH: What a great compliment to  your writing! I liked Katie as well and her determination to triumph over adversity. Excellent life lesson! What do you hope readers will take away after reading Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: Life is messy, people are complicated, and there is no new sin under the sun. Don’t be quick to be offended or quick to judge, consider that there are layers to each person which we cannot see or know. Always hope for the best and never give up trying to make this world a better place—but don’t strive in your own strength. Look to God for guidance in both your deeds and words.

RH: That is an excellent reminder, Kathleen. Our human nature is usually quick to judge others. What are you working on now?

KD: I am currently working on a second novella for my Chaparral Hearts series which I’m hoping to offer free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members in Fall 2022. But soon I’ll begin writing the fourth full-length novel for the same series which will be published by Wild Heart Books and is scheduled to release in 2023.

RH: Congratulations on all your upcoming projects. Thanks for visiting today, Kathleen. It’s been wonderful to get to know you a little better! I wish much success with Harmony on the Horizon!


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Teri DiVincenzo!

Kathleen mentioned the great length of detail she undertook to make sure Katie’s Cumbrian dialect sounded authentic. To enter the drawing for an eBook copy of Harmony on the Horizon, tell us if you enjoy reading dialects in fiction. Do you like them? Why or why not?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, February 9, 2022.**

The Story Behind “Go Tell It on the Mountain”


Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born (Chorus)

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens there shone a Holy light
(Chorus)

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is one of the most well-known and beloved Negro spirituals and represents just one of the countless contributions made to American music by enslaved people. These songs represented a passion for life and living despite the suffering, humiliation, and unimaginable cruelty of slavery.

The shepherds feared and trembled, when lo! Above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus that hailed the Savior’s birth
(Chorus)

Because most slaves were uneducated, these songs were passed along through a vibrant and rich oral tradition and were eventually captured and written down by one special American family. Not long after the Civil War, John Wesley Work, a Black choir director in Nashville, Tennessee, began a mission to write down melodies and lyrics of these well-known songs, often traveling hundreds of miles to seek former slaves who had sung this and other songs while they labored.

Down in a lowly manger, our humble Christ was born
And brought us all salvation that blessed Christmas morn
(Chorus)

Work’s passion for the music and history of these plantations songs was passed on to his son, John Wesley Work II, whose wife was the music teacher at nearby Fisk University, one of the first universities for Blacks in the south. Beginning in 1871, the Fisk Jubilee Singers went on tour introducing the world to the genre of Negro spirituals while raising funds to keep the doors of their school open. Before long, their repertoire of uplifting spirituals not only saved their university but earned them world-wide recognition including notable audiences with President Chester Arthur and Queen Victoria.

When I was a seeker, I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me, and he showed me the way.
(Chorus)

During the Great Depression, John Work III, also embraced his family’s passion for preserving old Negro spirituals and took special interest in “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Through his own interviews and research, he changed the arrangement and added a stanza. In 1940, he published his rendition in his book American Negro Songs and Spirituals and is the version we know today.

Although the creators of spirituals like “Go Tell It on the Mountain” will forever remain anonymous, the Work family and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers have played an important role in preserving and popularizing this uniquely American genre of music.

He made me a watchman upon a city wall
And if I am a Christian, I am the least of all.
(Chorus)

I have several versions of Go Tell It on the Mountain in my Christmas playlist: The Golden Gospel Singers, Sara Evans, and For King & Country.

Your turn: Do you have Go Tell It on the Mountain on your Christmas playlist? If so, which version? If not, which version above is your favorite?

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy & a Giveaway

About the Book


Title: Every Word Unsaid
Series Info: Stand Alone
Author: Kimberly Duffy
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Info: Bethany House Publisher/November 3, 2021/358 pages


Blurb

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.

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My Thoughts

Every Word Unsaid is another excellent novel by Kimberly Duffy. The story gripped me from the opening scene with vivid descriptions and luxurious prose and never let me go. Page after page, Duffy brings the setting to life from dusty Deadwood, South Dakota, to the plague-ridden streets of Pune, India. Skeptical? Try this snippet and tell me it doesn’t make you want to read this book.

“America, with its youthful zeal and brazen thirst, whispered a sonnet to Gussie’s heart. But India sang, her voice a thunderous roar, to the percussion of drums. It reached inside her and wrestled with the accusations that had chased her across the ocean.”

The heroine, Augusta (Gussie) Travers, wants to shrug off the restraints of New York society and be a travel photographer. Her family indulges her temporarily, hoping the urge will pass, if she keeps her identity secret. When she is outed to New York Society on her sister’s wedding day, the ensuing scandal sends her to India, far away from the gossip but not from the unkind and often cruel words that her family have spoken over her which plague Gussie’s memory. In India, she reconnects with her childhood friends, Catherine and Gabriel. I loved Gabriel. I loved that their romance was a slow, steady burn built on a solid foundation of friendship. The romance is there but not as integral to the story as this romance lover would have preferred. If I must find fault with Every Word Unsaid, it would be that I would have enjoyed scenes from Gabriel’s point of view. His unconditional love and acceptance are integral to Gussie’s journey of self-acceptance.

I admired Gussie’s spunk and determination to follow her dreams. She is a strong yet complicated heroine who is not only independent but also shackled to the discouraging words spoken over her by her family who wish her to conform to their expectations. These words cause her to doubt her talent and Gussie struggles to believe she can use the gift God has given her to its fullest potential. When Gussie arrives in India, she has the opportunity not only to show the beauty of an exotic land through her Kodak lens, but her images can show simplicity, pain, sorrow, compassion, strength, poverty, disease, suffering, and resilience. It can transport people to another time and place where they can learn to think about the world beyond themselves not simply admire its beautiful landscapes. Through it all, Gussie learns God has given her a unique talent and an audience whereby she can make a difference by sharing the honesty of the human experience—both good and bad.

Some of the reviews I read for Every Word Unsaid seemed to think the heroine too selfish, and her catharsis too minimal. I would have to politely disagree. First, I like flawed characters. They seem realistic and relatable and look whole lot more like myself and those around me. These are the characters and stories that bid me to look deeper inside myself, to examine my own heart. and in the end, strengthen my faith. Second, while the heroine undoubtedly made some selfish decisions throughout the story, Gussie grew and changed emotionally and spiritually. God used the people she met and the experiences she had in India to widen her perspective, to soften her heart. She learns compassion and understanding. Isn’t that all we can ask of others, of ourselves—that we learn, grow, and change for the better by the end of our own stories?

I cannot end this review without a mention of the strong cast of secondary characters Duffy brings to the page. From the endearing Uncle James, who I kept hoping would choose to stay with Gussie in India, to her mentors Bimla and Ramabai—each brought life and depth to the story. They seemed to innately understand her emotional wounds while gently challenging Gussie to step from the shadows into the woman God had created her to be.

Five enthusiastic stars to Every Word Unsaid!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Pulishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Stop running from the things God has called you to because you’re afraid of what other’s will think.” ~Ramabai

“Don’t let what people say define you.” ~Uncle James

“There is beauty in loving those who cannot love you back . . . No one chooses not to love. Their own scars, their own brokenness, prevents them from sharing what God has given so freely.” ~Bimla

And from the Dedication page, “A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.” ~Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati


Spiritual Takeaway

Gussie is a deeply wounded character. She takes with her the scars and brokenness of “never being enough” for the people in her life, especially her family (with the sole exception of Uncle James). I could relate to Gussie who struggled to get unkind words spoken to her out of her head. Words have the power to lift us up or tear us down, and the most dangerous ones are the ones we repeat in our own mind every day. As the story unfolds, Gussie learns to cast off her emotional wounds and not allow the hurtful words from her past define her. As her friend and mentor, Bimla, tells her, “Nothing anyone else says or believes of me can diminish my value—that my worth is found in Christ and He is meant for everyone, even those who mistreated me.” Every Word Unsaid brings a powerful reminder that we have eternal value not because of what we do or say, or because other’s have a favorable opinion of us, but because Christ purchased us with his shed blood on the cross. That is what completes, what makes us ‘enough.’


About the Author

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:

Her Website     Facebook     Instagram     BookBub


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Jeanne Crea!

I’m giving away an eBook copy of Every Word Unsaid. To enter tell me your thoughts about flawed characters—like ’em or hate ’em? Do you like to read more light-hearted fare?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, December 1st, 2021.

Protecting Annie Excerpt & a Giveaway

I’m so excited to bring you an excerpt from Jodie Wolfe’s new release, Protecting Annie. Although I haven’t read this one yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Burrton Springs Brides series, Taming Julia.

Be sure to read the details below about the Giveaway before you leave!

About the Book

After twenty years of living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem, she no longer requires his protecting so he’s unsure of his next step.

Annie McPherson needs a change after the death of her father. She accepts a position as schoolmarm, hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky sheriff who continues to question her ability to adjust to life in the west and creates confrontations at every turn.

When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging him into the turmoil, Josh has to decide who he’s willing to defend.

Available on  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Pelican Book Group


A Glimpse into Protecting Annie
by Jodie Wolfe

 

My new book, Protecting Annie is book two in the Burrton Springs Brides series. My heroine in the first book, Taming Julia, was a no-nonsense, rugged female who dresses like a man and spent her life living along the trail. Jules (Julia) was a rough around the edges type of character who had a hard time adjusting to life in a town.

I figured it would be fun to create a heroine for book two who is the opposite of Jules, which is how I came up with Annie McPherson. This heroine is educated, feminine, and well dressed. What she lacks in common sense, she makes up for with her research and book knowledge. Here’s a peek at the opening scene of Protecting Annie.

Burrton Springs, Kansas
August 1, 1876

Death paced close enough for Annie McPherson to smell its rotted breath. A menacing growl rumbled in the beast’s throat. The animal bared his teeth when she attempted a tiny step. Perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades. She cocked her head a fraction of an inch, hoping to spot a bystander, but only a small glimpse of a barren street stretched between the tight alleyway. Her heart hammered beneath her polonaise.

Not a single soul in sight. “Where’s help when you need it?”

Her movement and words caused the monstrosity to circle closer. If Annie’d been on speaking terms with God, it would’ve been a good time to send a plea for someone to come to her rescue. But she’d fallen out of practice of praying over the past years, ever since—

She released a silent breath, shifting her foot in the dirt. The deranged creature snarled and snapped, just short of capturing her wrist in his jaws. Annie tried to swallow but her throat muscles refused to contract.

The wolf settled on his haunches, two feet in front of her. A glistening tongue protruded from his face. His beady eyes stared at her, unmoving. Was the beast contemplating how she would taste, like the one in the tale of Little Red Cap she’d read as a child? A shiver ran down Annie’s spine. She had no desire to be wolf chow.

“Easy, fellow. Don’t eat me. I’m sure I’m not very appetizing.”

It was time to take charge of her fate since no assistance was coming. Annie took a step sideways. Her back scraped against the rough boards of the building.

Why had she chosen to saunter through the narrow passageway and follow the jumbled directions the blacksmith had given her after she’d exited the conveyance? The other townsperson she’d asked had stared at her as if she’d spoken a different language, as if the man didn’t understand English when he heard it. Annie hoped he wasn’t an indication of what type of people lived in town. She’d have to make the best of it since returning to New York wasn’t feasible, not after that louse—

An ominous snarl snapped her back to her current situation. How many times had Mama warned her about focusing on the situation at hand? While she’d been woolgathering, the wild animal inched his way closer. He leapt.


About Jodie

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Connect with Jodie on website, BookBub, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon Author Page & MeWe


Giveaway*

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Amy Walsh!

Jodie has generously offered one eBook copy of Protecting Annie to a Romancing History visitor. To enter the drawing, be sure to answer this question: What is your favorite thing about historical romance?

*Giveaway ends midnight, November 24th, 2021.*

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