Meet Raphe Broussard from Valerie Fraser Luesse’s Under the Bayou Moon

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

Bonjour. 

You’re French?

Cajun. My ancestors were French Canadians.

Tell us something about where you live.

It’s a small cabin on Bayou Teche—not the main channel but a little tributary. Our town is called Bernadette, after St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church, which was here before I was. My family has lived in Louisiana for generations. Mamou—my grandmother—used to say the cypress trees were watching over the Teche during Bible times. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know they’re beautiful, especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sunlight is softer. That, mon ami, is a sight that will shake your soul.

Is there anything special about your name? Why do you think you were given that name?

My name is Raphael Broussard. I’m named after my great-grandfather, but only Mamou called me Raphael. To everybody else, I’ve always been Raphe—probably suits me better. I never thought too much about it until she—Juliet—asked me. There are many things I never thought about before Juliet came here.

Do you have an occupation? What do you like or dislike about your work?

I am a fisherman. But it’s hard now to make a living on the water, especially since I took in my nephew. He’s just a child, and children need so many things. I would never want him to do without because I couldn’t provide. My father taught me his skills as a mechanic before—well—before he was taken from us. So I travel to Morgan City to repair the big shrimpers. The money’s good. But it’s lonely work. The docks are loud, and the boats are hot. Can’t smell anything but fuel and fish. Makes me long for the peace and quiet of the bayou.

Who are the special people in your life?

There’s my nephew, Remy. He’s a good boy, but his parents put their selfish desires ahead of their own flesh and blood—the worst kind of betrayal. I worry that Remy will carry those scars with him all through his life. It’s up to me to see that he heals, but sometimes I don’t know if I can. What do I know of fatherhood? My sister Kitty gives me all the help she can, but she’s got a family of her own now, so I try not to call on her unless I’ve got no choice. Kitty and me, we grew up with a houseful of brothers and sisters. Now there’s just the two of us. I have friends here, most of them from the bayou but one who isn’t. His name is Heywood Thornberry and he works the oil rigs. He turned up in Bernadette a while back, looking for somebody to show him the ways of the Teche and the Atchafalaya so he could fish and take his pictures. Heywood loves that camera of his. We’re more like brothers than friends. And then there’s Juliet. But I can’t talk about her.

What is your heart’s deepest desire?

To find my missing piece. To feel whole again. To make a life with—well—I’ve said enough.

What are you most afraid of?

Finding what I’m missing and losing it again.

Do you believe the legend of the white alligator? Is it real?

That’s for you to decide. And it’s for me decide. You either see the alligator or you don’t. But this much I can tell you: Destroy it and you’ll destroy yourself.

Thanks for joining us today!


Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac, Almost Home, and
The Key to Everything, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for
her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel
editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse
received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for
her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A
graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband Dave.

MEET JANE LINDER FROM SUSAN ANNE MASON’S “TO FIND HER PLACE”

Tell us a little about yourself, Jane.

I’m Canadian, born and bred in Toronto, Ontario. Right now, I’m living with my widowed mother while my brother is away fighting in the war. I work at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society, where I’ve been a social worker for several years. Currently I’m the acting directress, filling in for my boss and mentor who is planning to retire after suffering a heart attack.

That’s quite an important job for a woman. Do you feel pressured to perform as well as a man?

Absolutely. Especially since I hope to impress the board of management and be awarded the position permanently. I’ve devoted my life to helping orphaned children find loving parents, and in this position, I hope to make policy changes that will allow more children, especially those who are deemed ‘unadoptable’, to find permanent homes.

That’s an admirable goal. What obstacles do you foresee in achieving this?

Other than proving my skills to the board, I have to contend with Garrett Wilder, an outsider they’ve brought in to study the agency’s procedures and overhaul the system. Apparently, there is a discrepancy with the finances, and I’m worried the board thinks I might have something to do with it. Also, I’m fairly certain Garrett is hoping to be awarded the director’s position himself.

Have you always wanted to be a career woman? What made you so focused on social work?

I’ve always loved children and longed for a family of my own. But after two miscarriages and the breakdown of my marriage, it seemed that particular path was not meant for me. Instead, I threw myself into my career in the hopes that ministering to less fortunate children might bring me the fulfilment denied me through motherhood. There’s one little boy in particular who has captured my heart, and if I could adopt him myself, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I won’t rest until Martin has found his forever family.

Has the war had an effect on the Children’s Aid Society?

Very much so. There are more children in need of our services than ever before. With the pressure on women raising children alone while their husbands are overseas, more cases of neglect and abuse have been reported. At the same time, we have fewer and fewer foster families willing to take in children since they are struggling to manage their own families. And fewer families thinking about adoption in this time of uncertainty.

That does sound difficult. What will happen if Garrett Wilder is awarded the director’s position?

I don’t know. I’m not sure I could continue working there, now that I’ve started to develop feelings for Garrett. But he seems determined to keep me at arm’s length for some reason. Perhaps it’s due to the war injuries he’s hinted at. And then there’s my former husband, Donald, who has returned from the war with a tempting proposition of his own. I will have to pray very hard to determine where my true place lies. 

Well, thank you Jane for talking with us and giving us a glimpse into the Toronto Children’s Aid Society during WWII.

Thank you for having me. I’m certain that God will direct my steps toward my ultimate happiness, no matter which path I choose.


Susan Anne Mason’s debut historical novel, Irish Meadows,won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. She is the author of the Courage to Dream Series and the Canadian Crossings series. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two adult children. She loves wine and chocolate and isn’t partial to snow even though she’s Canadian.Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.net.

A Harrowing Interview with Priscilla Middleton from The Captain’s Quest by Lorri Dudley

Priscilla, tell us a bit about how you ended up sailing to the Leeward Islands?

It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, or fortunate, depending on how you look at it. My dearest friend Lottie Etheridge had married and moved to the island of St. Kitts. We were supposed to have our London season together. Lottie was my anchor, and without her, I was adrift. Desperate for another close confidant, I attached myself to Nellie Archard, who wasn’t the best influence. She persuaded me to attend the Lemoore Masquerade party because she was enamored with Lord Fortin, who would profess his sentiments of love any moment. I accepted to keep Nellie out of trouble, but matters got out of hand, and I had to sneak aboard my brother’s ship to save my reputation. 

But your brother was no longer captain?

Quite right, he’d been escorted off the ship while I awaited him in his cabin.

How did the new captain react to your presence?

Not well. He was not particularly fond of stow-a-ways, especially of the female variety. To make matters worse, I’d grown up the daughter and sister of British Naval Officers, and I had a different perspective of how a ship should run. Tobias is a routine and precise man who borders on controlling. We’ve come to a better understanding, but aboard the Trade Wind, the pair of us had many heated exchanges. 

Why didn’t the captain turn the ship around?

British soldiers’ lives were at stake. Tobias’s mission was to make haste to Brimstone Hill in St. Kitts, gather more ships, and lead them to battle in New Orleans. Intelligence had reached the King that the American General, Andrew Jackson, had assembled a rag-tag band of militia fighters, consisting of frontiersmen, Indians, slaves, and even Jean Lafitte’s pirates. Tobias and his men were to provide naval support to General Sir Edward Pakenham as they battled the “dirty shirts,” which is how the general referred to the Americans. I only recently discovered that a treaty had been signed between the two countries before the battle of New Orleans had even begun, but word didn’t reach either general in time. Many British lives were lost. So tragic.   

How did you end up on an island near Anegada?

A terrible storm blew in. We changed course and sought shelter in a cove off Tortola, but… I kind of… well, there was another embarrassing mishap. I’d prefer not to discuss it.  

What survival tips do you have for someone who, heaven forbid, lands in a similar stranded situation?

Locating fresh water is crucial. We can only survive a few days before dying of dehydration. A fresh spring or fast-moving stream are best, but coconuts will work in a pinch. They contain water and a food source. Just be careful of the brown coconuts lower in the branches. They wield more oil, which can… hmm… let’s merely say that partaking can leave one indisposed. 

Second, find food. Snails, clams, oysters, and conch in tide pools can be easy prey if you can stomach the slimy creatures. We didn’t initially have a fire, and I can still feel them wiggle as they slid down my throat. Yuck. 

Third, you’ll need to build a shelter. Higher elevations have fewer mosquitoes, and the more inland you go, the fewer sand flies. A simple Y-frame lean-to covered in palm branches will suffice. 

Lastly, trust God. He is with you. He won’t leave you, nor will He forsake you. It is truly by His power that I’m here today.


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Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household.  

www.lorridudley.com

Buy The Captain’s Quest hereAmazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Apple Store

Meet Tansy Calhoun from Ann Gabhart’s Along a Storied Trail

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

I’m very glad to be here. Mrs. Weston, our head librarian, said you were interested in learning more about our packhorse library. So what would you like to know? 

We do want to know more about the packhorse library, but first tell us something about yourself so we can get to know you. 

All right. My name is Tansy Faith Calhoun. I live up in the hills in Owsley County, Kentucky. I’m one of six children. One sister is older than me and one sister, much younger. The others are boys, all younger than me. Sadly, one of my little brothers died of a fever a few years ago. 

I’m already twenty years old with no suitors knocking on my door. Most of the people around think I might end up a crotchety old spinster like Aunt Perdie who lives a couple of hills over from us. Girls get married young up here in the hills, but I figure I still have a few years to go before I have to admit to being an old maid. Meanwhile, I can enjoy being a book woman.     

Book woman? Is that what people call the packhorse librarians? 

They do, and I love it. I’ve loved books forever, but books are a luxury for most families like mine up here in the Eastern Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. Of course, we have the Bible, but books just for reading pleasure were few and far between before the packhorse library project. I did read every book I could get my hands on, sometimes three or four times. Pa says reading those stories turned my head and has me thinking above myself. He might have a different opinion about my love of books if he could see me now as one of the book women. 

Doesn’t your father know you’re a packhorse librarian?

No, I got the job after the mine where Pa worked closed down and he took off for the flatlands to find work. We haven’t heard from him since. Things got hard around our farm what with no money coming in and how last summer’s hot, dry months parched our cornfield and sass patch or garden. We didn’t have enough corn and beans to last through the winter. We thought we’d have to go on the dole but then I got hired on as a packhorse librarian. President Roosevelt–or some say it was Mrs. Roosevelt’s idea–came up with a way to put some of us women in the mountains to work and get books to folks up here that never had a way to have books before. I love my job of carrying books out to people on my book routes.

This program, the packhorse library, sounds fabulous. Tell us more about it.

I’m sure you already know about all President Roosevelt has been doing to put people back to work during this depression time in our country when so many can’t find jobs. The government came up with all sorts of programs. Men work at constructing schools, bridges, roads and more. Women do sewing projects. Young men joined up with the Civilian Conservation Corps. The government even started programs for out of work artists, writers and other creative people. 

But one of the best ideas for us around here is the packhorse libraries. We’d never had a library like some of the bigger towns and even if we did, most of the people wouldn’t have much way of getting to it. That’s why the program came up with a way to take the books to the people instead of making them come get them. A truck to deliver the books might sound better than packhorses, but here in Eastern Kentucky our roads are often creek beds running up the side of a mountain. Most people go by horse, mule or shankmare. That’s mountain talk for on foot. So we take the library to the people by loading our saddlebags of books on our horses or mules and riding miles along some rough trails up into the hills. The government pays the packhorse librarians, but doesn’t supply any books. We had to come up with a central location and the books to circulate.

You can’t have a library without books. So how did you fill your shelves? 

People in the community donated some books but most of our books come from a central location in London, Kentucky that oversees women’s work programs. Once the news got out that we needed books for our packhorse libraries, donations started coming in from all over the country. Those who head up the program divvy them up and send them out to the different packhorse libraries here in Eastern Kentucky. Some of the books and magazines we get are throwaways from city libraries. We don’t care if what they send is in bad shape. We work to piece them back together and tape up the binding. If the magazines are too tattered and torn to circulate, we cut out pictures from them to paste on thick paper. Then we print out something about the pictures or maybe poems to make books to loan out to our people. We even make book from recipes or quilt patterns our readers share with us. Those are popular loaners. 

You sound very creative. Have you written any stories yourself?

I don’t know if a mountain girl like me could know enough to write a book, but it is an idea that pokes at me sometimes. I did come up with some stories for kids that I made into books to share with our young readers. And I wrote down a Jack story that Aunt Perdie told us. A Jack story is a story passed down through families here in the mountains. As Aunt Perdie says, there’s no right or wrong way to tell a Jack story.    

That’s twice you’ve mentioned this Aunt Perdie. Is she your favorite aunt?

She’s not really my aunt, but she is a relative. My father’s second cousin. That’s still family and in the mountains we take care of family. So, when she needed help, we had to be the ones to give that help. But I can’t say she’s a favorite of any of us. Well, except Coralee, but that’s another whole story. Aunt Perdie is as contrary as sore-footed mule and seems especially prone to pointing out ways I could do better. Could be sometimes she’s right, but that doesn’t make her any easier to get along with.   

What do you expect the future will hold for you?

More rough trails to ride as a book woman. More books to read myself. More family to love. More mountain air to breathe, and maybe someday, love to grab hold of. 

That sounds good, Tansy. But before you have to go, tell us what you’ve learned while riding those rough trails as a packhorse librarian?

Oh, so many things. I’ve had the chance to have many more books in my hands and time to read more than a few of them. I’ve gotten to know my neighbors better and found out that even those who aren’t good at reading still like getting those magazines and books. Sometimes they simply enjoy the pictures in the magazines or they get their children or grandchildren to read to them. I do some reading aloud to people on my route when time permits. I never let weather stop me no matter how bad it is, because I know people are waiting to get those books to bring some light into their hard lives. But I’ve also learned books don’t hold all the answers. Some things you have to figure out on your own such as how the people nearest you can be the dearest. While books and stories are fine, the people you love are what make life blessed. 

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better and about the packhorse libraries!

Thank you for inviting me over. Now I’d better go pack up my saddlebags and get ready to head out on the trial to share some storiesThe people will be watching for their book woman to show up.


Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Refuge,
The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as
other historical novels, including Angel Sister, These Healing Hills, River to
Redemption, and An Appalachian Summer. She and her husband live on a farm a
mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the
everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her
grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com

A Conversation with Dorothy Clark from Amanda Cabot’s Dreams Rekindled

NOVEL PASTIMES: Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

DOROTHY: Thanks for inviting me. Others, including my sister-in-law Evelyn, have told me how much fun it is to chat with you.

NOVEL PASTIMES: She had quite a story. When I talked to her, she and Polly were living in the apartment you now call home. I was surprised when I learned that you’re living there alone. 

DOROTHY: You’re not the only one who was surprised. My mother wasn’t thrilled by the idea of my leaving the ranch and moving into the apartment, but with Evelyn and Wyatt gone, someone had to keep the restaurant running. Oh, I see the questions in your eyes. You know that Evelyn’s the owner of the restaurant, but you may not know that she recently married my brother Wyatt and that they’re in East Texas taking care of some business.

NOVEL PASTIMES: I hadn’t heard that congratulations were in order, but I’m not too surprised. When Evelyn and I talked, I thought there was a special man in her life. But back to you. You must be a wonderful cook if Evelyn left you in charge of her restaurant. 

DOROTHY: You’ve obviously never tasted my cooking. Fortunately, my best friend Laura is an accomplished chef. I just help her. 

NOVEL PASTIMES: If cooking isn’t your passion, what is? 

DOROTHY: Writing. I don’t know whether you’ve read Uncle Tom’s Cabin – after all, it’s banned here in the South – but more than anything, I want to write something that will change people’s lives the way Mrs. Stowe’s book did.

NOVEL PASTIMES: That’s certainly a worthy goal. Why haven’t you done it?

DOROTHY: I could say it’s because I’ve been too busy, but the truth is, I haven’t had a single idea that’s important enough to be turned into a book. The only writing I’ve done was an article to help my brother publicize his first horse sale.

NOVEL PASTIMES: That sounds interesting. Did it bring more people to Mesquite Springs?

DOROTHY: It did.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Then maybe you should write more articles.

DOROTHY: Are you a mind reader? I’ve been thinking about that ever since Brandon Holloway came to town. Laura’s convinced he’s the man she’s going to marry, but what attracts me is the fact that he’s starting a newspaper here.

NOVEL PASTIMES: So you don’t find him attractive?

DOROTHY: I didn’t say that. Brandon’s handsome, but more than that, he’s kind and thoughtful and doing something important. Mesquite Springs needed a newspaper, and he’s giving us one.

NOVEL PASTIMES: That makes him sound like the perfect man for you. Would you consider marrying him if Laura weren’t interested in him?

DOROTHY: No! I won’t ever marry.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Oh, Dorothy. You surprised me before, but now you’ve shocked me. I can see you believe it, but I don’t understand. Why won’t you marry?

DOROTHY: I can’t.

NOVEL PASTIMES: You can’t? Why would you believe you can’t marry?

DOROTHY: It’s more than believing. I know I can’t. Please don’t ask me to say anything more, because it’s not something I talk about to anyone, not even my family. 

NOVEL PASTIMES: And nothing would change your mind?

DOROTHY: No. It’s too great a risk.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of Out of the Embers, as well as the Cimarron
Creek Trilogy and the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series.
Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and
the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.

Book Review: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

Feb. 2, 2021, Revell, Paperback, 352 pages.

First of all, can we just agree that this is a gorgeous cover! This historical romance takes place in 1921 when Moira Doherty moves from Boston to her deceased mother’s hometown in County Donegal to take the job of village teacher. There is a secret about her mother that Moira doesn’t figure out until the end. The story explores the theme of trusting God in the face of adversity even when you’d rather run the other way. A strong concept worth exploring.

I liked this book. What I loved most was the depiction of Ireland. The author lived there for several years and described the dialect, the people, the landscape so much more accurately and vividly than many other books set in Ireland I’ve read.

I thought the romance between Moira and Sean was sweet and genuine and the ending satisfying. Midway through the story slowed down a bit for me and there were some plot aspects that either didn’t make sense to me or seemed somewhat forced. That being said, read A Dance in Donegal if you’re eager for a pleasant trip to Ireland, a sweet romance, and an inspiring and satisfying ending.

A note if you don’t normally read Christian fiction: This story has a lot of scripture, characters reading the Bible, and inter dialogue about trusting God. I’m fine with that, but if you’re sensitive to it you should understand that it’s meant for readers of Christian fiction.

Novel PASTimes received an Advanced Copy from the publisher for the purpose of an honest, unbiased review with no obligation.

Meet Moira and her Friends from A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

Moira, you recently moved to Ireland after your mother passed away. Why did you move there?

Thanks for having me! I had always dreamed of seeing my mother’s home country of Ireland. She used to tell me all about the céilí dances they would have in the town hall. I loved to hear about all the crazy people from her village, and the antics they would get into. But, I never expected to go live there.

However, when Mother died, I started to sense God leading me there. Mother, in fact, had implored me to go just before she passed. I didn’t want to go so far away all by myself, but the more I fought it, the clearer it became that I was meant to go there. 

There seems to be a theme of dance running through your story. Why is that?

I’ve always loved to dance. My favorites were the old style céilí dances our community used to do a few times a year back home in Boston. I used to imagine I was back in the halla of Mother’s village in Ireland as I swirled around the dance floor, and dream of one day visiting there. I had no idea just how much of her hometown I would end up getting to experience.

But, also, I find that a life of faith is much like a dance—with a rhythm and flow all its own. And we can fight the music so we can lead our own way…or we can listen to the One who created the dance—steps, music, and all—and let Him lead us in something more beautiful and joy-filled than we could ever do on our own.

Your mother put your name forward to replace the old school teacher. Why did you decide to go into teaching?

Oh, I just adore children. And I’m highly curious by nature, so education was a natural fit for me. Now that I think of it, Mother used to speak so highly of her childhood teacher in Ireland, Mrs. McGinley, I’m sure that influenced me as well.

You see, there’s truly nothing like that moment when everything falls into place for a student who has been struggling with a certain concept. When they’ve worked so hard, and fought for understanding, to see it all finally make sense is the most wonderful feeling in the world. There’s nothing like it!

So, you moved almost halfway around the world to a new country, a new job, a new culture. How did you combat the loneliness of being so far from home?

Oh goodness, that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done! In truth, it was so painfully lonely at times that it almost brought physical pain! But, God, in His kindness, brought me good friends.

Bríd, who runs the Guest House where I stayed my first days in town, became one of my closest friends. Her companionship, cultural insight, and—let’s be honest, her tea—was a balm to my grieving, homesick heart. She understood the loss of my mother, and seemed to understand my cultural struggles before I did.

Then, you look at Colm and Peg, and…well…of course, Sean. With a group of friends around you like that, anyone would be hard-pressed to fail.

Yes, it seems Colm and Peg, you played a big role in the adventures Moira ends up taking. How did you meet Moira, and what possessed you to take her in the way you did?

Ah now, ‘tis easy to see Moira’s a lovely lass, so ‘twasn’t difficult to “take her in,” as ye say.

We met through Sean here, my apprentice. Our wee village was hit by a rather nasty gale, and poor Moira’s chalet took some damage. Sean brought me over to help him with the repairs. Moira had a spread o’ tea and cakes set when we arrived, and that was it. I was smitten.

To be fair, though, once the missus and me got to know Moira, we could see she was special. The Laird gave her some mighty tricky tasks, and we wanted to be there to help and support her in any way we could.

Well, she seems very lucky to have friends like you. Sean, you introduced the Colm and Peg to Moira. How did the two of you meet?

Me and Moira? Ah, well…we, ah, bumped into each other a few times afore we were properly introduced. But, I used to help auld Mrs. McGinley at the school, so I wanted to make sure the new teacher was up to the task.

The moment I clapped eyes on Moira in that schoolroom, I could tell she was where she was meant to be. She looked at that space as if ‘twas her own sanctuary. I was drawn to her respect for the profession, and her compassion for the wee ones. But that doesna mean I wasn’t goin’ to give her a bit o’ jest along the way.

Well, thank you all very much for joining us today! Moira, is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Just that Donegal is truly an enchanting place, boasting some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in all of Ireland—and home to the most boisterous, beautiful, artistic, warm and loving people on earth.

There truly is nothing and no place like Donegal.

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on
(in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With
firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine
home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of
living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their
three children. You can find her online at www.thisgalsjourney.com.

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

Daniel Chambers from Mail Order Rachel by Kathleen Lawless

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? I would spend the day with my new wife and son, making them happy because their happiness is my happiness.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? I hope I come across as honest and sincere, because that’s who I am.  

What’s your idea of a good marriage? That changes throughout the course of this book.

What are you most proud of about your life?  Being beholden to no one.

What are you most ashamed of in your life? Being an orphan.  

What do you believe about God? That He is always there and willing to help

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done? I’m a simple man with simple wants.  At the beginning of the book I long for the family life I never experienced as a youngster

What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it? I almost lost my wife because of my pride and stubbornness. I learned to be more accepting and to listen to His guidance.

Tell me about your best friend. He came from means, but is no better off than I am because of it.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone? That I was a fair and good man.

Describe your ideal mate. This too, changed over the course of the book.  From expecting someone meek and obedient, to appreciating my wife’s strengths, capabilities and loyalty.

What are you most afraid of? Losing my family

What do you like best about yourself? I am fair and loyal.  Least? False Pride

What do you like best and least about the other characters in your book?  I try to surround myself with good people and loyal employees.  I don’t like being betrayed.

Grab your copy of Mail Order Rachel now or read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her alpha male heroes.    

Her hero, Steele, in UNDERCOVER, is a modern-day cowboy, so when she was wooed by a man called Steel— while he’s not a cowboy, he is an Alpha male and her forever hero.  Which is why all of her stories end Happily Ever After.

Not that she can ever stick to just one genre.  So many stories to tell—never enough time.

With close to 30 published novels to her credit, she enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into historical romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and stories for young adults.         

Sign up for Kathleen’s VIP Reader Group to receive a free book, updates, special giveaways and fan-priced offers.

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Meet Miranda Barton from Mail Order Miranda

Name: Miranda Barton

Parents: Deceased

Siblings: 1 sister, Elizabeth

Places lived: Lake Hope, Pennsylvania

Marriage: Mail Order Bride to Cade Tanner.

Children: None of my own, but charged with taking care of my niece, Eleanor.

What person do you most admire? Cade, he’s a hard worker with a kind heart.

Overall outlook on life: If you put your mind to something, you can do anything.

Do you like yourself? For the most part. I wish I could control what I said more than I do.

What, if anything, would you like to change about your life? I wished my family didn’t have to die. 

How would you describe yourself? Strong, determined, and kind

Fears: Not being a good enough mother for Eleanor or the twins.

Talents: People say I’m good with kids

Interests: I enjoy baking-especially pies.

When are you happy? When my kids are behaving and I get some time alone with Cade.

What makes you sad? When Cade won’t tell me what he is thinking. He often keeps his feelings and thoughts to himself.

What makes you laugh? When the twins doing something funny, like fall in the mud trying to catch frogs.

Hopes and dreams: To be a good wife to Cade and mother to the children we have and will have.

Do you have a secret? Not on purpose, but Cade didn’t know I was bringing my niece with me when I traveled out West. Everything happened so fast, I didn’t have a choice.

What does you care about most in the world? My family-I’ll do anything to protect them.


Grab your copy of Mail Order Miranda or read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Brandt is an international bestselling and award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance. Her historical books span from Victorian to Western eras and all her books have elements of romance, suspense and faith. She has her own best-selling historical series, Window to the Heart Saga and Civil War Brides, as well as contemporary series, Billionaires of Manhattan and Second Chance Islands. Additionally, she has created two best-selling multi-author series, The Lawkeepers and Disaster City Search and Rescue based off the life of her husband in law enforcement as well as Border Brides and Playing for Keeps. Both of her books, Waiting on the Billionaire and Lawfully Treasured, were voted into the Top 50 Indie Books of 2018 on Readfreely.com.

She has been an avid reader since she could hold a book and started writing stories almost as early. She has been published in several newspapers as well as edited for multiple papers. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bethany College and was the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper while there. Her first blog was published on The Mighty website, Yahoo Parenting and The Grief Toolbox as well as featured on the ABC News, CNN Health, and Good Morning America websites. She’s also a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) association. 

Writing is her passion, but Jenna also enjoys date nights with her hubby, cooking from scratch, watching movies on Netflix, reading books by her author friends, and engaging in social media with her readers. Jenna’s three young daughters keep her busy with Girl Scout activities, going to the mall, and playing at the park where they live in the Central Valley of California. Jenna summers on the Golden Central Coast where she finds endless inspiration for her romance books. She is also active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team.

To find out more about Jenna, to sign-up for her newsletter, or to purchase her books, visit her website at http://www.jennabrandt.com

Jenna’s Joyful Page Turners Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/844819802336835/

Heroes and Hunks Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/430422374043418/

Her books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Brandt/e/B0711MSFXW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1497269877&sr=8-1

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