Meet Julia Phillips from Heart’s Desire, book one in the Heart’s Desire series by Linda Hoover

~Julia, I understand you’re a member of one of Boston’s old families. Will you tell me what that means for a single young woman?

Certainly. Girls and young women are taught how to organize and manage a household and the ins and outs of entertaining. Marriage is one of the few options for women, so parents do their best to see their daughters well settled. When they reach a certain age, daughters accompany their mothers to call on friends for tea and help with charity events. And of course, we attend dinners and balls.

~Are marriages arranged or do you get to have a say in who you marry?

I’m the youngest of four and Momma’s advice to all of us was, “Family and finance are the most important considerations when finding a husband.” Many times, it goes that way, but up until recently I was given more freedom. Because of that, I was shocked when I came home from shopping one day to find out Papa had made an agreement on my behalf.

~It sounds like you’re not happy about it.

I’m not. I would never consider marrying the man Papa betrothed me to and it just so happened I met someone that very same day who could be the one I’ve waited for. He’s not in our social class so I thought my biggest problem would be how to get my parents to see beyond that. Now I have a bigger challenge.

~Can you change your father’s mind? You can’t go against his wishes, can you?

I’ve tried to talk him out of it. He tells me I have no choice. I don’t want to cause a scandal for my parents, but I can’t marry that man. Somehow, I’ll have to change his mind. 

Three months later:

~Thank you for speaking with me again. I’m interested to know what your progress is.

With the help of friends and two of my sisters, I’ve gotten to know the young man I met in February. My heart was right about him. We’ve fallen in love, but my fiancée informed me that because of a blackmail threat, I have to marry him to save my family from being ruined. I’ve been praying every day. I know God has a plan and if I have to marry Lucien, God will be with me. 

~I’ll pray too, Julia. I look forward to seeing how it all works out.


Heart’s Desire Kindle edition is available now on Amazon.

The print format is coming soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda lives in west central Ohio with her husband, daughters, grandson, two cats and a dog. She earned a degree in psychology from Anderson University where she learned the voices in her head were actually characters from stories waiting to be told. 

Linda recently retired from the county’s public library system. It was the perfect place to indulge her love of young adult and Christian fiction. It was also a good place to build a long “To Read” list. These days she enjoys being a fulltime author in her home office, despite interruptions from family members and pets. Linda is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 

To learn more about Linda and the books she writes visit her website:

http://www.LindaHooverBooks.com

While you’re there, subscribe to her newsletter to keep informed about new books, author activities and giveaways. Or stop by her Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/LindaHooverAuthor

All About Reggie from Rachel McMillian’s Murder at the Flamingo

Flamingo9_8_1Name: Regina Van Buren (but I only get Regina from my mother’s bridge club. I go by Reggie).

Parents: William Van Buren and Patricia Van Buren

Siblings: an older brother who is a stock broker in New York, Richard.

Places lived: New Haven Connecticut, Charlestown/Boston

Jobs: debutante (is this a job? No wonder I ran away), secretary to Luca Valari

Friends: Hamish DeLuca, Nate Reis, Vaughan Vanderlaan ( though I currently would like to throw a glass of chardonnay in his face, we are still friends).

Enemies: every other socialite at my parents’ tea socials who wish Vaughan Vanderlaan was on their arm instead of hers.

Dating, marriage: Vaughan proposed out of nowhere, in front of an entire garden party.  Obviously, I slapped him across the face and then hopped the first milk train run to Boston. Haven’t heard from him since so unsure if we’re still dating.

Children: none

What person do you most admire?  I’d love to have the panache and guts of Myrna Loy. She and William Powell just run headfirst into mystery and mayhem and adventure—and she does it with such style.  But speaking to people of my personal acquaintance, I would have to say Hamish DeLuca.  He has these episodes of nerves, see. Sometimes I think he is even having a heart attack. They can stutter his voice and cause his hand to shake but he is still determined to overcome and to see us to the end of our first amateur sleuthing opportunity. I admire his loyalty to his cousin Luca, too. Even if Luca doesn’t deserve it.

Overall outlook on life: I want adventure! And romance! And dancing! Life is exceptional, isn’t it? All the interesting people you meet and the corners to be turned … and the friends to be had.  Why, just the past Summer I met two new friends—Nate and Hamish.  Hamish of course looks at me in a way Nate never would… but he’s a dear, dear friend. Something in the tingles I feel down to my toes when we dance at the Flamingo make me wonder just how dear a friend…

Do you like yourself? I would rather be inimitable me than anyone else in the world! I mean look at the adventures I am having!  Cannoli every day, an office in the North End, a glistening world of night clubs and enough mystery to keep me jogging in my oxfords around the cobblestoned streets of Boston’s North End during the day.

What, if anything, would you like to change about your life? I wish that I didn’t feel guilty about the amount of wealth I had while so many have had nothing. Of course, Roosevelt’s New Deals are going a long way and I mean to start volunteering at Mildred Rue’s Temporary Employment Agency: but I have never known loss or suffering. I wish there wasn’t such a great divide between those who have and those who have not.  I am seeing it more and more as I work in the office for Luca Valari while he gets his Flamingo Club up and running.

How are you viewed by others?  I suppose as another New Haven debutante.  As someone who ought to be more graceful than she is. I feel like a dandelion at the end of a long line of roses.  But I am trying. I know that Hamish thinks me trustworthy and Nate thinks I am smart and Luca thinks I have the taste and class to help him manage before his club’s opening.

Physical appearance:

Eyes: brown

Hair: brown. I try to set it in finger waves carefully but the Boston humidity can wreak havoc on all my efforts. And unlike home when there was always someone to do it for me, it’s gotten harder.

Voice: Hamish says I have a bit of the Brahmin about me. Crisp glass like Clara Bow or Katharine Hepburn.  Alto.

Right- or left-handed? Right.

Characteristics: I have freckles.

When are you happy?  The first bite of Mrs. Leoni’s cannoli, ripping up the dance floor with Hamish.

What do you like best about the other main characters in your book? I like Luca’s suave sophistication and the way he can Clark Gable a room, I like that Hamish has a good heart and a need to see everything right. Not to mention his loyalty to Luca.  I like Nate’s sense of humour.

What do you like least about the other main characters in your book? I don’t trust Luca Valari as far as I can throw him.

Thanks for visiting with us today on PASTimes, Reggie!

Rachel McMillan is a history enthusiast, lifelong bibliophile, and author of the Herringford and Watts series. When not reading (or writing), Rachel can be found at the theater, traveling near and far, and watching far too many British miniseries. Rachel lives in Toronto where she works in educational publishing and is always planning her next trip to Boston. Facebook: RachKMc1; Twitter: @RachKMc; Instagram: RachKMc.

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Meet Violet Channing from Beside Still Waters by AnnaLee Conti

19390578_1363467877068622_3142695911782601619_oMy name is Violet Channing.  Orphaned at a young age, I found myself tossed about by life’s turbulent waters when my Aunt Mabel who raised me died.

I always wanted to be a teacher, but my education was cut short by the untimely death of my Uncle Chester. He made poor business decisions, and as a result, my aunt lost their large Victorian house in a wealthy neighborhood to the creditors at his death.

In order to support us, I had to quit normal school at the age of 18 and take the only job I could find for an unskilled woman in 1915 Boston as a seamstress in a ramshackle wooden garment factory. With its accumulated dust and lint, it was a tinderbox. Fire was my greatest fear.

My wages only afforded Aunt Mabel and me a cold-water flat in a dirty tenement with stark chimneys that belched soot-ladened air. When Aunt Mabel got sick, we couldn’t afford a doctor.

“It’s just a cold,” she said.

But when she began to cough up blood, I quit taking a lunch to work so we could pay his fee. “Consumption,” he told Aunt Mabel. “Keep warm and rest.”

Then, he called me aside. “There’s nothing I can do for her. Her lungs are too far gone. She probably only has a few weeks.”

Heartsick, I quit my job to take care of her.

Now, she’s gone, and I have to figure out what to do with my future. I can’t bear to go back to that firetrap of a factory. At the corner grocery, I buy a few necessities and a copy of the Boston Globe with the last of my money. In the corner of the Classifieds, an ad catches my eye: “WANTED: a young lady to be a companion and tutor to a sick child.”

I read the fine print. No teaching credentials required. Room and board provided. Can this be the answer?

Before I grow fainthearted, I pen an application and mail it off to the address.

A week later, I receive a cream-colored envelope addressed to me in a feminine hand. Excitement pulses through me as I withdraw the note which requests that I come for an interview on Saturday at one o’clock in the afternoon.

Laying aside my mourning clothes, I dress carefully in my best, though slightly out of fashion, outfit. At the address, a three-story brick house in Cambridge, a gracious lady invites me in. Over tea and snickerdoodles, a treat I hadn’t enjoyed since my uncle died, Mrs. Henderson describes the job.

Her granddaughter, Jenny, was recovering from rheumatic fever. Her mother had died, and the girl’s father needs a nanny and tutor for her as he has to be away frequently on his job as a railroad engineer.

The job offer sounds too good to be true until she tells me where they live—in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory!

Uncle Chester had regaled Aunt Mabel and me with his reading of Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” All I know about the Yukon is that it is wild and frigid. Do I have the courage to go there?

I think of my shabby apartment. I have nothing to keep me here, but will I be jumping from a city firetrap into frozen wilderness icebox?

I decide to take the leap. Sailing up the Inside Passage of Alaska on my way to Whitehorse, I fall in love with a dashing Yukon riverboat captain. But do we live happily ever after? That’s a secret revealed only in Beside Still Waters.

 

DSC00225Edit3ANNALEE CONTI’s experiences growing up in a missionary family in Alaska in the fifties and sixties provide inspiration for her writing. She has published numerous short stories, devotionals, articles, and church school curriculum on assignment for Gospel Publishing House, as well as four books. Beside Still Waters is the third novel in her Alaskan Waters Trilogy that tells the life and death saga of a Norwegian immigrant family who battles the beautiful but often treacherous waters of early twentieth century Southeast Alaska to find love and happiness in the midst of tragedies.

AnnaLee is also a teacher and ordained minister, who resides with her husband in the Mid-Hudson River Valley. Together, they have pastored churches in New York State for more than 35 years and are now retired. Learn more about AnnaLee and her books at www.annaleeconti.com and sign up for her blog at http://annaleeconti.blogspot.com/.