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

Like her on Facebook www.facebook.com/JennaBrandtAuthor

Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/JennaDBrandt

Stalk her on Instagram www.instagram.com/jennnathewriter/

Pin her on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/jennnathewriter

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

Meet Emily Hodge from David Armstrong’s new novel, The Rising Place.

NPT: Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Emily. We’re so happy you could join us today.

EH: Thank you. It’s a true pleasure to be here.

NPT: Before we get started, I just have to say that you are such a strong, spiritual woman. Where did your deep faith in God come from?

EH: I was always blessed with a strong faith in God—particularly in His love for us. It’s something I’ve never questioned.

NPT: Was this faith instilled in you from your parents, growing up?

EH: No, not really. I was raised Catholic because my father was Catholic. My mother was Methodist, though, so they never went to church together. In later life I became a Methodist.

NPT: Why was that?

EH: That’s something I’d rather not talk about. I don’t think it matters which religion you identify with. All that really matters is our faith in God and our love for and forgiveness of other people.

NPT: Fair enough. Okay, then, let’s change subjects. You just mentioned “love for other people.” You had such an amazing and abiding love for Harry Devening, but he never loved you back. This is such an enigma to me. How could you—

EH: Sorry, I don’t mean to cut you off, but I believe Harry did love me. He just never knew how to show it, or maybe how to even feel it.

NPT: I’m confused here. Harry never answered any of your love letters to him. In the end, he even returned all of them to you, unopened. Don’t you consider that “unrequited love?”

EH: I can certainly understand why you would think that, but don’t you recall that precious letter Harry wrote to our little boy, shortly before his birth? Surely, you could see the love Harry expressed for both our child and me in the words he wrote?

NPT: I don’t mean to offend you by this, “Miss Emily,” if I may call you that, but….

EH: Sure, that’s what I was called in later life.

NPT: Author Stephen Chbosky wrote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Do you think, perhaps, this applies to Harry?

EH: Possibly. Yes, possibly so. Actually, I’ve thought that before, several times. I never met Harry’s parents or his two older sisters, but from what Harry told me about his childhood, I don’t think there was a great deal of love in their home.

NTP: When was that? When did Harry tell you this?

EH: When I boarded a train from Hamilton, Mississippi to go visit Harry in Gary, Indiana, toward the end of the book. We spent four, wonderful days together.

NPT: And…?

EH: And then I took another train back to Hamilton.

NPT: So, why didn’t you stay up in Indiana with Harry?

EH: Harry begged me to stay with him, to start all over, try to make it work between us. He claimed he always loved me; he was just afraid to show it, even admit it. He also said it was the greatest mistake of his life—not returning my love. By then, though, my love for Harry was gone—only a memory—sort of like a distant dream I had had, once when I was young. Plus, my friend Wilma Watson was engaged in a great struggle for justice and civil rights, down in Hamilton. Wilma was my best friend. I had to go home to help her.

NPT: Miss Emily Hodge, you are such an intriguing and enigmatic character. I wish I had more time to visit with you. I’m just glad your lawyer found your letters and shared them with the world. Otherwise, we would have never known your beautiful story.

EH: Thanks. I’m glad David did, too.

NPT: Before we close, I do have one more question, though: Who was that “gray-haired stranger” in the Prologue who attended your service and placed a yellow rose on the top of your child’s grave? Was it Harry Devening or Streete Wilder?

EH: How do you know it wasn’t Will Bacon? After all, he loved me, too.

NPT: Point well made. I guess readers will just have to decide for themselves who that was. Speaking of readers, is there any thought or message you’d like to leave with them?

EH: Yes. Always live in the rhapsody of your own music. I did, and that’s what I’m most proud of.

NPT: Thank you so much for visiting with us, today, Emily Hodge.

EH: You’re welcome. And thank you.

About the Book:

The Rising Place is based on an interesting premise: What if you found a box of love letters, written during World War II by an old maid who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an incredible story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, Southern town over seventy years ago? After a young attorney moves to Hamilton, Mississippi to practice law, one of his first cases is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a 75-year-old recluse who is shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is intrigued by her and doesn’t understand why this charming lady lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life. When Emily later dies, the lawyer goes to her hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he finds an old sewing box full of letters in the back of one of her nightstand drawers. He takes the letters back to his law office and reads them, and he soon discovers why Emily Hodge lived and died alone, though definitely not forgotten by those whose lives she touched.

About the Author:

David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an attorney, former mayor, and former candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Rising Place is David’s second novel. His third novel, The Third Gift, will be released this summer. David has also written four screenplays. He is the father of two grown sons and lives in Columbus, Mississippi, where he is the COO for the city of Columbus. His website iswww.therisingplace.com, and his novel is available on Amazon, as is the DVD of the film that was based on his book.

Interview with Nessie MacDonald from Recipe for a Husband by Anne Greene

Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Nessie. What is something important about yourself you would like to share?

 I have New England grit, and do what must be done. I decide against needing love in marriage. I must be pragmatic. Since my father’s recent death, I need a man to do the heavy work maintaining the lighthouse, especially since this is 1940, and the government tasked lighthouse keepers to patrol our Bar Harbor, Maine shores for German spies secretly landing.

 I hear you’re in quite a predicament and I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. What are you going to do to find extra help at the lighthouse this year?

With the eligible men my age signing up to join the war effort, and myself overwhelmed with work, I felt I had only one option. I advertised for a husband in the local Bar Harbor paper. I plan to prepare a special meal for each man who answers my ad. I realize most men my age have either been drafted or have enlisted to serve in the war effort. Of those men left, I shall choose the strongest one with the least drawbacks.

Tell us about the strange heirloom cookbook you found. What is the most interesting thing about it?

I’ve lived in the house attached to the lighthouse all my life. But one day, while cleaning the lighthouse windows—there are one hundred stairs to the light at the top and each bend in the circular staircase has a window—I discovered a leather-bound cookbook. I’ve cleaned those windows many times and never seen this lovely heirloom, Lady Jane’s New England Cookbook. Besides being filled with delightful, authentic New England recipes, this cookbook contains a sage saying and a Bible verse that relates to each recipe. I discover how amazing that each saying and Bible verse relates to each man for whom I make the recipe. For instance, one talks about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The ulterior motive for each man wanting to marry me.

That sounds like some cookbook! I heard you have a “guest,” an injured and stranded sailor. Who is he and what is he like?

 What can I say about Kyle? I, at the risk of my own life, dragged the ship-wrecked Australian from the sea with a broken leg. He became the torment of my life.

He lies in my small kitchen as I cook and serve dinners to the prospective husbands who answer my ads. He refuses to keep his mouth shut about each man who applies. He points out their flaws. He prods me to realize that any man who answers an ad like mine islooking for a sugar-mama and an easy life. He uses Lady Jane’s New England Cookbook to point out why each man is unsuitable to become my husband.

I do trust Lady Jane’s advice. The mysterious cookbook seems to know exactly what each applicant wants.

 Do you think he would be right for the job of husband by Thanksgiving? Why or why not?

With his undeniable great appearance, his sense of humor, and his being the first Christian man I’ve ever met, he is way too attractive for a woman looking for a husband. He’s strong enough to do any job on and around the lighthouse.

If he were not responsible for his parents and the upkeep and production of his Sheep Station in Perth, Australia, he would make the perfect husband. But I had to cross him off my prospective husband list immediately. So, he lies in my kitchen and jokes about each man who applies to be the future lighthouse keeper.

How do the two of you get along?

 If Kyle would stop baiting the men who come to my dinners, we would do well together. But he does torment me with how much more suited he would be as a husband than all the men who answer my ads. I can’t help comparing what I image his kisses might be with the few actual kisses I receive. And the idea of being snuggled in his arms sends me into a heat wave. Yes, we get along. I enjoy his company, his banter, and what help he can give while confined to his cot with his broken leg in my kitchen.

What will you do if your scheme to find a husband doesn’t work out?

My scheme must work. There is no plan B.

Well, then I hope it works out for you, Nessie. Thank you for being my guest.

About the Author: 

Anne Greene loves writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. Her Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II, first book, ANGEL WITH STEEL WINGSHer Holly Garden private investigating serie sblasts off with RED IS FOR ROOKIE. Enjoy her award-winning Scottish historical romances, MASQUERADE MARRIAGEand MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT. Anne hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart.

Her home is in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, just a few miles north of Dallas. Her husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. Her little gold and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares her writing space, curled at her feet. She has four beautiful, talented children, and eight grandchildren who keep her on her toes and running.

Connect with her here:

Website

Facebook

Anne’s Writing Updates

Anne’s Amazon Page

Twitter

 

 

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

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The Lawkeepers’ reader’s group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/430422374043418/

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