Book Review: Waltz With Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

51teoT5RTyLAs Hitler and his Nazis march across Europe…

The splendors of Detroit’s ballrooms spin Esther (McConnell) Meir around like a princess in a fairy tale Here she meets junior engineer Eric Erhardt. But will Eric abandon his playboy ways for Esther?

When war comes to America’s shores, Esther questions whether she has the grit to carry on the McConnell legacy. Meanwhile, Eric comes face to face with death when he’s drafted into the Army and shipped to fight in Italy.

Once again, war separates a McConnell woman from the man she loves as the Destiny saga reaches a page-turning conclusion.

Award-winning historical fiction author Catherine Ulrich Brakefield weaves fiction with real-life events to create this inspirational fourth book of the Destiny series.

My Review:

Catherine Ulrich Brakefield’s Waltz with Destiny is the crown jewel of the Destiny series!
Brakefield brings 1940s Detroit to life, along with the WWII battlefields of Italy.

Esther Meier, daughter of Ruby (McConnell) Meier, has a legacy of faith to live up to and an unsure future with war looming and her annoying attraction to a man who seems to flirt with every girl who glances sideways at him.

Eric Erhardt is studying to be an engineer but also wants to win his father’s approval. Handsome and talented, he can’t see it in himself. When he meets Esther at the Vanity Ballroom, he finds there’s something different about her with her faith and the way she conducts herself. She captures his heart like no other girl. Though love grows between them, both are afraid to admit it and commit themselves to the relationship, especially with the war in full swing.

Brakefield has outdone herself in bringing to life battles of WWII as seen through Eric’s eyes: the angst, fear, deprivation, bravery, death, and injury that surrounded the men of the United States Army. It’s a good read to remind us of the sacrifices of those that have gone before us that have maintained our freedom at sobering cost, along with God’s grace and answered prayer.

Yet Esther is never far from Eric’s thoughts while he is away. And while she is faithful to write encouraging words to him she wonders … should she wait for him? It’s worth reading to find out! You won’t want to put this one down!

Sitting down with Darrell Anders Dean from A Bride for Darrell in The Proxy Bride Series by Marisa Masterson

proxy bride cover Bride for DarrellNovel PASTimes: Thanks for being with us today, Darrell. We’re going to get right to it. What do you want?

Darrell: I want to inherit the silver mine.

Novel PASTimes: Okay, but what do you really want?

Darrell: I want what is rightfully mine.

Some time passes before the question is asked a third time.

Novel PASTimes: That’s fine, but what do you REALLY want?

Darrell: I want to be married to someone who can be a companion more than just be a person who helps me to inherit a mine.

Novel PASTimes: Say you’re using Willa for something…what would it be?

Darrell: I need her for help in my store as well as to keep my home clean and to be a companion in and out of the bedroom.

Novel PASTimes: What is Willa using you for?

Darrell: I know she wants me to keep her safe from this red-haired stranger her guardian warned her of.

Novel PASTimes: How do you feel about that?

Darrell: I can’t send a telegram from Silver Town because I don’t trust the telegraph operator, but I desperately want to question her guardian and her grandfather’s lawyer. In addition, I’m worried that we aren’t really married so I won’t be able to protect her from whatever scheme is afoot.

Novel PASTimes: Assuming you and Willa work out your differences, what’s gonna keep you from living happily ever after?

Darrell: I am afraid the Pinkerton agent won’t get here in time to help protect her. The red-haired man has threatened her. What if he finds her? And her aunt has just arrived in town. What does that woman want? I have a bad feeling about her.

Novel PASTimes: Even though we hope they’ll never do it, for now just pretend it could happen: What’s the worst thing Willa could do to you?

Darrell: She’s always wanted to be welcomed into her family. They sent her away at the age of four to the girls’ academy. Now that her grandfather is dying and her aunt has found her, I’m afraid she’ll go back to New York to live with them. Can I be family enough for her? I just don’t know.

Novel PASTimes: Why would that be so bad?

Darrell: I know I hide my feelings usually, but Willa has broken through the wall of reserve I surround myself with. Since she has penetrated that wall, I’ll die a little each day without her.

Novel PASTimes: Why would you deserve it?

Darrell: I suppose some people in Silver Town might say I deserve to lose her since I jilted a former fiancée at the altar. But how was I to know I was already married? I lost track of a few weeks of time when I was injured by a falling beam rescuing a child during the terrible fire last year that destroyed the town.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing you could do to Willa?

Darrell: She deserves to be married. I have to find a way to marry her for sure. The letter she has proving I sent for a proxy bride is not in my handwriting so I am just not sure how legal our marriage is. The only pastor was suddenly called out of town. An odd coincidence just when we needed him to make sure we were truly married.

Somehow, I think for her to be safe we need to marry. I’m afraid it’s already to late for me to inherit the mine. It’s February 1, and I needed to be married by January 31 to inherit. I don’t care about that. All that is important is Willa. The worst thing I could do is stay in my store and pretend that I believe we are married or pretend that she is in no danger.

 Novel PASTimes:Why would she deserve it?

Darrell: Willa may have surprised me. I certainly didn’t expect a wife to show up and interrupt my marriage ceremony. That’s not important, though. In two short days, she’s brought joy into my life and has wiggled into my heart. She may have prevented me from inheriting the mine, but I need to protect her.

Novel PASTimes: Why do you want a relationship with this person?

Darrell: Willa has such incredible poise and beauty. She is giving and affectionate. Her strawberry blonde her is like sunshine to my sad life.

Novel PASTimes: With all the difficulties surrounding your relationship, why haven’t you given her up already?

Darrell: I can’t give up her, even though I told myself I only wanted to marry to keep Harv Perkins from taking my inheritance. Nights are lonely and Willa needs me to keep her safe. Besides there’s a part of me that feels like I’ve waited for years to meet this woman.

Novel PASTimes: Assuming it would hurt, why would it hurt if you gave her up?

Darrell: Like I said before, since Willa is with me the loneliness is gone. I don’t like the struggle I have right now to keep my emotions controlled and hidden, but I will go through it just to be with her.

Novel PASTimes: What does this person give you/do for you/complete in you that nobody else ever has?

Darrell: I thought one woman was the same as the next. Willa proved this wrong. She’s shown me the importance of having a companion I really like and want to be with.

Novel PASTimes: What do you do for her/give her that completes her that nobody else ever has?

Darrell: Willa has never had a home, aside from the girls’ academy. I can give her that. I want to give her that. She craves affection and responds so easily to any little touch I give her. It makes me want to love her. (Now where did that thought come from? Love?)

Get A Bride for Darrell now on Amazon or Read it for Free in KU

zSheilaAbout Marisa Masterson

Marisa Masterson and her husband of thirty years reside in Saginaw, Michigan. They have two grown children, one son-in-law, a grandchild on the way, and one old and lazy dog.

She is a retired high school English teacher and oversaw a high school writing center in partnership with the local university. In addition, she is a National Writing Project fellow.

Focusing on her home state of Wisconsin, she writes sweet historical romance. Growing up, she loved hearing stories about her family pioneering in that state. Those stories, in part, are what inspired her to begin writing.

Interview with Willa Brown and Harrison Holt from Jenna Brandt’s Wanted: Tycoon

Wanted-Tycoon-KindleNovel PASTimes: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Willa: I think they like me. I hope they do. I try to be friendly, even though I’m naturally shy.

Harrison: I tend to focus on accomplishing tasks, and forget to think about anything else. I don’t mean to, but it can cause me to come across serious and to-the-point.

Willa: I wasn’t sure what to make of him when I first met him, but once I got to know him, I realized he was a good person.

Novel PASTimes: What’s your idea of a good marriage?

Willa: A partnership between to people who love each other.

Harrison: I agree with Willa. It’s all about being with someone you can trust.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most proud of about your life?

Willa: Helping my family. They were in need, and I found a way to help them.

Harrison: Making Willa happy. Helping her help her family and giving her anything she wants has made me more happy than all nine of my brick yards.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

Willa: The death of my mother and brother. I learned those you love can be gone with a blink of an eye, so you should love them as best you can while you can.

Harrison: I learned the same lesson from the death of my parents. Though I wasn’t as close to them as I would have liked, I never got a chance to rectify that. Now that they are gone, I never will.

Novel PASTimes: What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Willa: She loved her family well.

Harrison: He was an honorable man who did right by all he knew.

Novel PASTimes: Thank you for your time, Willa and Harrison. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Get your copy of Wanted: Tycoon on Amazon.

Jenna headshotAbout the author:

Jenna Brandt is an international bestselling and award-winning author who writes Christian historical and contemporary romance. Her historical books span from Victorian to Western and all her books have elements of romance, suspense and faith. Her historical series the Window to the Heart Saga and contemporary series Billionaires of Manhattan as well as her multi-author series, The Lawkeepers, Match Made in Heaven, and Silverpines have garnered praise and love from readers. Both 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 is a contributor and curator for the website, Novel PASTimes and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Writing is her passion, but she also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, engaging in social media and spending time with her three young daughters and husband where they live in the Central Valley of California. She is also active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team and in the crisis care ministry.

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

Her reader’s club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/844819802336835/

The Lawkeepers’ 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

Like her on Facebook www.facebook.com/JennaBrandtAuthor

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Look her up on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16847426.Jenna_Brandt

Check her out on Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jenna-brandt

 

 

A Conversation with Aimee Jarre of Amanda Cabot’s A Tender Hope

A Tender Hope-Book Cover
NOVEL PASTIMES: Good morning, Aimee. Did I pronounce your name correctly?

AIMEE: I’m afraid not, but don’t feel badly. Most Americans have trouble with it. It’s eh-MAY, not Amy.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Of course. You’re French.

AIMEE: You might not think so from my accent, but I was born right here in Texas. That makes me a Texan, doesn’t it? It is true, though, that until a couple months ago, I lived in France.

NOVEL PASTIMES: So, why did you come to America, or am I being presumptuous in asking?

AIMEE: It’s not a secret. I wanted to find my mother – my birth mother, that is. You see, when my parents died – my French parents, that is – I learned that I’d been adopted.

NOVEL PASTIMES: That must have been a surprise.

AIMEE: A surprise, yes. Also a shock, but it explained so many things.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Like what?

AIMEE: Like … Would you mind if we talked about something else?

NOVEL PASTIMES: Of course not. Please believe me when I say that I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. It’s simply that I’ve never met anyone who lived in France. What was it like?

AIMEE: Beautiful but old, and the people are more … how do you say it? Reserved. That’s the word. Reserved. I find Texans friendlier.

NOVEL PASTIMES: We pride ourselves on that. We’re curious too, which is why I want to know more about your trip here. I heard that you came to Cimarron Creek with our new midwife. What’s she like?

AIMEE: Thea’s wonderful. I’ve always wanted a sister, and she’s as close to one as I could ever have dreamt. Truly, God led me to Ladreville at the perfect time. If I’d arrived a month later, I might never have met Thea.

NOVEL PASTIMES: The ladies are all happy that we have a new midwife, but I heard some of them say that sometimes Thea seems sad.

AIMEE: That’s only natural, don’t you think? After all, she lost both her husband and her baby this year. Wouldn’t that make anyone sad?

NOVEL PASTIMES: Of course, but I sense that you think there’s something more.

AIMEE: I shouldn’t say anything.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Whatever you say, it’ll just be between you and me. A secret. I promise.

AIMEE: Thea says there are no secrets in Cimarron Creek.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Then she’s wrong. There are plenty of secrets. But if you don’t want to tell me more about her, I won’t press you.

AIMEE: One thing I can tell you is that I hope she finds another man to love and maybe even marry.

NOVEL PASTIMES: What about the Ranger who’s been spending so much time in town?

AIMEE: Jackson seems like a good man. He might be the right one for Thea.

NOVEL PASTIMES: What about you? What kind of man would be the perfect husband for you?

AIMEE: Me? I don’t plan to marry anyone.

NOVEL PASTIMES: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you? You’re a pretty girl and a smart one. I’m sure all the single men in town are standing in line to court you.

AIMEE: That’s not so, and even if it were true, there’s only one who’s caught my eye.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Who’s that?

AIMEE: It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t feel that way about me.

NOVEL PASTIMES: But he might change his mind.

AIMEE: Maybe, but I think it would take a miracle.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Miracles do happen.

AIMEE: Not to me.

Well, thank you, Aimee. We are eager to hear the rest of your story!

***

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart and A Borrowed Dream, as well as 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.

Cabot_Amanda

Book Review: To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe

 

Back Cover Copy:

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn’t counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She’s willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie’s determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

My Review of To Claim Her Heart

Jodie Wolfe has created a lovely chemistry of opposites between Elsie Smith and Benjamin David as they each bring their dreams to the Cherokee Strip and fight for their right to the same piece of land. To Claim Her Heart is a beautiful story of perseverance, hope deferred, and reconciliation with God and fellow man. Wolfe draws the reader into the world of frontier settlers with impressive historical detail, revealing their daily struggles and battles against nature with realism. Her spirited characters, Elsie and Benjamin, have stayed with me long beyond closing the last page of the book. I highly recommend To Claim Her Heart to fans of inspirational historical romance!

A delightful read! Five stars!

As a side note, Ms. Wolfe precedes each chapter of To Claim Her Heart with a quote on etiquette for young ladies from Mrs. Wigglesworth. The author has compiled one hundred of Mrs. Wiggleworth’s 19th-century admonitions on how to behave in the presence of young men and suggestions for deportment to publish Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society. While I haven’t read this book yet, I’m sure it would make an enjoyable companion to this novel judging from the quotes in Ms. Wolfe’s novel.

 

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. Kathleen wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband, Jack, and the sassy tailless cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Twitter @KathleenRouser. and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/.

 

 

Interview with Em from Rachel Fordham’s The Hope of Azure Springs

Today we welcome Em, a character from The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham.

Name: Growing up my parents and sister called me Emmy but that seems like a very long time ago. For seven years I’ve been simply Em.

Parents: My parents were John and Viviette. I say were but even with them both dead I still think of them as my parents. I’ve missed them so much. It hurts sometimes just thinking of them and how things used to be.

Siblings: For many years my whole world was my sister. We rode the orphan train together. I helped her not be afraid by telling her stories. I never thought we’d be separated. It’s been seven years now since perfect Lucy found a home and I was put back on the train. Dreaming of being reunited with her is what kept me going all those hard and lonely years.

Places lived: I was born in New York. I moved with my parents from shared tenements to a little apartment and then with their passing I lived on the streets. I don’t like talking about that though. Those were dark days. After the orphan train ride I lived with George until being rescued and taken to Azure Springs.

Jobs: The only job worth mentioning is what I’m doing now. I work for Margaret Anders at her boarding house. She’s an eccentric woman but I adore her. She’s a dear friend.

Friends: Margaret Anders and all of the Howell family. I’ve also gotten to know Caleb Reynolds the sheriff. I like to think of him as a friend.

Enemies: I came into Azure Springs with a wound in my side. I suppose it’s safe to say I have enemies. I’d love to put a name to them but I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on.

Dating, marriage: I stood on train platforms as an orphan. No one ever wanted me. I was too plain as a child and even now with food in my belly and a little meat on my bones I’m still not much too look at. I can’t imagine that a man would ever want to marry me. But there was a time when I hoped. Perhaps someday, no, it’s foolish to hope.

Children: I’ve always adored children but I’ve none of my own.

What person do you most admire? That’s a hard question to answer. I’ll always admire my mother. Now living in Azure Springs I find myself wondering if I could ever be like Abigail Howell or Margaret Anders. It’s strange I’d pick those too. They are both very different, but they are both so good and kind. Only one is quiet about it and the other loud. Their kindness has changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful.

Overall outlook on life: At first I was living only to survive but the longer I’m in Azure Springs the more I believe and hope for brighter things ahead. I’m not one to wallow in my miseries. I aim to make the most of what I’m given.

Do you like yourself? I like that I’ve a body that I can use to work hard but I’ve never cared much for the way I look. There are days when I feel weighed down with regrets and I can’t help but blame myself. But I keep trying and I think that counts for something.

What, if anything, would you like to change about your life? I’d change so much. But most of all I wish I could have found a way to stay with Lucy.

How are you viewed by others? When I lived at George’s I don’t think anyone thought much of me. In Azure Springs I think those that have sat by my bed and spoken to me consider me a friend. Some take pity on me. There are others though that judge my appearance or gossip about my history. I wonder how the Sheriff would describe me. He looks at me sometimes like he is trying to decide what he thinks of me.

Physical appearance: I was frail and skinny when I first arrived. I hadn’t eaten enough for a very long time. I also have burns on my arm that I try to hide. Some call me waifish or plain. But one of my little seven-year-old friends told me I was beautiful and for a moment I felt I was.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Dull yellow

Voice: Often quiet

Right- or left-handed? Right

Characteristics: Hard working, loyal, forgiving, gentle, kind and loving

Strongest/weakest character traits: self- worth

How much self-control do you have? I’d say this is one of my stronger traits. I could ration my food for weeks or months even when I was so hungry at George’s place. I can wait when I must. I can also teach myself things even when it means doing something over and over again.

Fears: Never seeing Lucy again, being hungry or cold and failing to keep my promise to my mother.

When are you happy? I was happy the other day when I was racing Caleb up a tree. It sounds so childish telling you about it, but it was a beautiful escape from reality. For a moment it was just us and the vast sky. I could almost forget about the threats and unknowns that were in my path.

What makes you sad? I’ve been alone so much I often dreamed of friendships and family. I overheard girls my age gossiping about my past. It was lies and it hurt. I wondered in that moment if I was worth befriending. Why me? I didn’t understand, and it hurt.

What makes you laugh? I share a room with two seven-year-olds so laughter is easy to come by. They are always telling me the most adorable things. The other day they suggested that Caleb was the Prince of Azure Springs. We all laughed but the title stuck, and they’ve referred to him as such often since. I laughed with them but the more I think about it the more I think he is rather princely.

What’s the worst thing you have ever done to someone and why? I told Lucy I’d always be there for her. I remember looking into her round little face and telling her that I’d always take care of her. Days later we were torn apart and I’ve regretted it since. I blame myself.

Do you have a secret? Everyone keeps trying to put together the clues of my past and why I arrived with a wound in my side. Poor Caleb is forever pestering me to remember more. I try to tell him that I lived in the barn and I don’t understand it myself. I do have secrets, but the ones people are after I can’t seem to figure out myself.

Thanks for letting us get to know you, Em!

Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. Finally she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing, and she hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

https://rachelfordham.com

https://www.facebook.com/RachelFordhamFans/

 

William Seward, Secretary of State

Known for his purchase of Alaska, an unpopular event in its time, William Seward was also a major player behind the scenes during the Civil War.

Thought to be the leading contender for the presidency in 1860, his anti-slavery speeches caused many in his party to view him as a radical, and so they backed his competition, Abraham Lincoln.

It seems surprising in this day and age of political infighting that President Lincoln would appoint his rival to be Secretary of State, but he did on January 10, 1861.

Like so many of Lincoln’s unconventional moves, this one proved beneficial to the Union. The relationship between Lincoln and Seward was never warm, but they worked well together. The move Lincoln does an excellent job of portraying their relationship and is worth watching for that alone.

The big-picture complexity of the Civil War and the balance of powers internationally is something that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the history books, but Seward was a bulwark in the administration who helped keep foreign powers out of our internal struggles. The outcome of the war could have been much different without him at Secretary of State.

If you enjoy reading Civil War historical fiction, Smitten Historical Romance has A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart and The Planter’s Daughter by Michelle Shocklee. And look for Michelle’s post Civil War-era novel, The Widow of Rose Hill, releasing in February!

Pegg Thomas – Writing History with a Touch of Humor

Managing Editor for Smitten Historical Romance, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Find Pegg on Facebook and Amazon

  

Book Review: Swept Into Destiny

Swept Into Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Released May 24, 2017 from CrossRiver Media Group

Book Description from Amazon:

One brave decision leads to serious consequences. Maggie is secretly educating the slaves at Spirit Wind Manor. But the manor’s serenity is soon threatened by abolitionist John Brown. A new republic looms on the horizon and with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, her countrymen’s anger escalates as secession spreads across the southern states. With the fires of civil war glowing on the horizon, Maggie is swept into its embers realizing she is in love with the manor’s hardworking, handsome Irishman Ben McConnell. Ben joins the Union Army and Maggie is forced to call him her enemy. An unexpected chain of events leads her into choosing where her loyalties lie. Conscience and consequence—did she care more for Ben or for her beloved South? As the battle between North and South rages, Maggie is torn. Was Ben right? Had this Irish immigrant perceived the truth of what God had predestined for America?

My Review:

Catherine Ulrich Brakefield’s flowing descriptions pull you into Swept Into Destiny and keep you immersed in the world of the Antebellum south and beyond. This isn’t just a world of beaus, belles, and balls, but of moral ambiguity and searches for truth. As much as the readers are shown the beauty of Spirit Wind Manor, deep struggles are also revealed.

Maggie Gatlin secretly teaches the slave children to read and cares for them in real ways. The kindness she and her mother show to the slaves wins them more enemies than friends amidst the southern economy.

Enter Irish immigrant, Ben McConnell, who values freedom and principle above wealth and ease. Treated like dirt by those who hire him, his father, and friends for menial labor, such as clearing the swamp, he readily identifies with the plight of those enslaved.

As Maggie and Ben become attracted to one another, the war separates them as Ben fights for the Union Army. Maggie struggles with the questions of unity versus secession; all the while clinging to the Savior they share. Will the war separate Ben and Maggie forever?

Brakefield has researched the era well and adds details to evoke the reality of suffering at the time of the Civil War, bringing actual historical events and people into play through much of the novel. With a romance as tumultuous as the war that divides Maggie and Ben, Brakefield doesn’t leave any loose ends. Fans of historical fiction with a strong faith message will greatly enjoy Swept Into Destiny.

Digging deep with Clementine Hutton from Treasured Bride

51Lu9QxVOXLNovel PASTimes: If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Clementine: I would love to spend the day searching for new specimens for my rock collection. I’m a closet rock hound, much to other people’s chagrin. It’s simply not done for a decent young lady to be playing in the dirt. *grins widely* And I adore it!

Novel PASTimes: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Clementine: I think they believe I am clumsy or shy.

Novel PASTimes: What’s your idea of a good marriage?

Clementine: I believe having acceptance and friendship makes a good marriage. People aren’t perfect. I don’t believe you should expect perfection out of yourself or a spouse. Love them for who they are.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most proud of about your life?

Clementine: My strength and perseverance.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most ashamed of in your life?

Clementine: Believing that I had failed as a wife with my first marriage, when in fact, I had the wrong husband the whole time.

Novel PASTimes: Do you believe in God?

Clementine: Absolutely! I had once thought I was abandoned but then he brought me my own angel.

Novel PASTimes: Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?

Clementine: I think perhaps I would like to discover a new rock formation or mineral

Novel PASTimes: What was the best and worst thing that’s happened in your life?

Clementine: Worst was when I was lost. I fell and was trapped. I almost died! The best thing? Finding myself and my Micah.

Novel PASTimes: Tell me about your best friend.

Clementine: Oh, that is easy! Micah. I have never had anyone support me like he has. He loves me unconditionally and it amazes me every day.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?

Clementine: My goodness! Well, I… uh… I disobeyed my first husband. I guess that was the worst? He would get really angry when I acted out of line. I hate disappointing people so I try to treat everyone like they are family.

Novel PASTimes: What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Clementine: Very simple: Beloved wife and mother.

Novel PASTimes: Describe your ideal mate.

Clementine: Understanding, loving, strong morally

Novel PASTimes: What are you most afraid of?

Clementine: enclosed spaces

Novel PASTimes: What do you like best about yourself? Least?

Clementine: The best: I particularly like how strong I have become mentally and how much I feel like I have grown. I have been through a lot and feel like I can handle just about anything now. What do I like least? I hate being antsy or nervous.

Novel PASTimes: What do you like best and least about the other characters in your book?

Clementine: I found a few new acquaintances in Virginia City. Doctor Brown and his wife were a godsend! Such a warm and loving family. They took me in when I had no one and nothing left. I think they were my guardian angels when I needed them.

Novel PASTimes: We have enjoyed having you share with us Clementine. Good luck with your endeavors in Virginia City.

Author bio: Ginny Sterling is a pen name for an Indie romance writer. She has lived in several different parts of the United States and settled finally in Kentucky. She spends most of her free time writing, quilting, shopping or watching a select few television shows.

Ginny has a twisted fascination with collecting Starbucks coffee mugs from all over the country and adores the smell of coffee brewing. Her collection has literally filled over six kitchen cabinets…and does she stop? No.

Ginny loves to write (and read) books that make her smile, laugh, or cry. She has been known to cry at Hallmark commercials and still cannot watch the movie “Titanic” or “The Notebook” to this day without bawling for hours. Softy!

If you would like to learn more about Ginny, you can reach her on her website or on Amazon.

Talking with Charlene Lehman from The Sheriff and the Miner’s Daughter

Sheriff and Miner's Daughter cover 2_resized - Amazon

Novel PASTimes: Are you dating anyone?

Charlene: Nobody right now. But I am sweet on Jubilee Springs sheriff – Jim Hawkins

Novel PASTimes: What person do you most admire?

Charlene: My father, Amos and the sheriff

Novel PASTimes: Overall outlook on life?

Charlene: Go for your dream or it just won’t happen

Novel PASTimes: Do you like yourself?

Charlene: Not at first, but once I got out from under Aunt Lucretia’s thumb, I have learned to like myself.

Novel PASTimes: What, if anything, would you like to change about your life?

Charlene: I want to be married and have a family of my own

Novel PASTimes: How are you viewed by others?

Charlene: Everybody likes me

Novel PASTimes: Quick facts

Parents: Amos and Kathleen Lehman

Places lived: Burlington, Iowa – Fulton, Mssouri – Jubilee Springs, CO

Jobs: Clerk for the Misouri School of the Deaf

Friends: Earl and Bessie Janney and their son, Donald in Missouri.  In Jubilee Springs – Josephine Jacobs and many of the town folks

Enemies: Aunt Lucretia

Physical appearance: Thin, but shapely, pretty, average height

Eyes: Very light blue

Hair: Medium blonde, like a wheat field

Voice: Soft, lilting

Right- or left-handed? right

Novel PASTimes: How would you describe yourself?

Charlene: Sometimes stubborn and insecure, I used to be a very untrusting person, but that seems to be changing.

Novel PASTimes: Strongest character trait

Charlene: When I love, I love with all my heart.

Novel PASTimes: How much self-control do you have?

Charlene: I have self control UNTIL I’m pushed beyond a certain point – then look out!

Novel PASTimes: What is your biggest fear?

Charlene: Something will happen to people I care for and I’ll be alone

Novel PASTimes: What do people like best about you?

Charlene: I’m a kind person who will help folks any time I can.  I have a good sense of humor and a ready smile.

Novel PASTimes: What makes you angry?

Charlene: People who are cruel or mean spirited

Novel PASTimes: Hopes and dreams?

Charlene: To have a family of my own

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing you have ever done to someone and why?

Charlene: I broke into my Aunt Lucretia’s room and rummaged through her drawers to find money she had stolen from me.  It was then I found years worth of letters from my father.

Novel PASTimes: Greatest success?

Charlene: Making enough money to leave my Aunt’s house and go find my father.

Novel PASTimes: What does you care about most in the world?

Charlene: My father and his new wife Josephine.  I also care deeply for Jim Hawkins and his daughter.

Novel PASTimes: What do you like best about the other main characters in your book?

Charlene: Jim Hawkins is extremely handsome, though when I first met him he thought I was a gold digger.

You can purchase The Sheriff and the Miner’s Daughter on Amazon.

PennyPenny Estelle is a best selling author who writes for all ages, from the early reader to adults. Her books range from pictures books for the little ones, to fantasy. time-travel adventures for ages 9 to 13. She also, under P. A. Estelle, has written adult stories including a family drama and contemporary, paranormal and historical westerns romances.

Penny was a school secretary for 21 years. She and her husband moved to their retirement home in Kingman, AZ, on very rural 54 acres, living on solar and wind only.

Penny and her books can be found on her website, Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Goodreads.