Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.
It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.
With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?
Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.
This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.
This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.
You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.
Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.
Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.
Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!
This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!
I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.
Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.
Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.
Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.
I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?
An Amish Christmas Wedding is a compilation of four holiday Amish novella by well-known authors. Each of those stories was an encouraging and heartwarming Amish tale from beloved authors Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Vannetta Chapman. No matter what time of year, these are delightful stories.
The writing was excellent. Each one of the authors is well acquainted with the Amish way of life, and it showed up in her writing. The descriptions and conversations were authentic and took me right to Amish country.
Life and spiritual lessons are woven into each novella. The Amish tradition of being family oriented and serving God is inspiring. Their dedication to family and hard work is also.
I learned some things about Amish weddings in this delightful collection. Each of the four stories had characters that became like friends. I wanted to see what happened but hated for the story to end. Each novella receives a 5 star rating from me. They are all enchanting and captivating.
While they were all fabulous, my favorite was Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston. Reading this story and the forgotten love between Ryan and Lorene pulled on my heartstrings and gave me all kinds of emotions. Lorene’s younger sister is engaged to Ryan’s brother. She tries to be brave and show grace and happiness to her sister, but as she spends so much time with Ryan’s family before the wedding she forgets why she and Ryan were together. Ryan returns home for the wedding and finds Lorene there and the emotions fly off of the pages. It is a beautiful love story within a love story at a glorious time of year.
I highly recommend this holiday romance compilation. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A review copy was provided, but these are my honest opinions.
About the Book
Book: An Amish Christmas Wedding
Author: Vannetta Chapman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Amy Clipston
Genre: Amish Christmas
Release Date: October 6, 2020
From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings.
Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston
Ryan Lapp had promised to marry Lorene Bontrager as soon as he was able to build them a house, but the day never came. Ryan moved away. Five years later, Lorene has settled in to her old maid role, and she’s shocked when her younger sister announces her quick engagement to Ryan’s younger brother. As they rush to plan the wedding, Lorene is constantly around the family she almost joined. Worse, she’s forced to face Ryan himself, who has returned to town. As both Ryan and Lorene examine their own feelings, they must decide if they can find grace with each other—and the young people they once were—this Christmas season. There just might still be love in their future.
Holiday of Hope by Kelly Irvin
Henry Lufkin is one of four bachelors who lived in the West Kootenai, Montana, cabins that were destroyed by wildfires. He’s the only one of them who hasn’t since married, but he likes his solitude. Then an old friend asks him to care for his son, and Henry has to share his small cabin and his life with bewildered and rebellious ten-year-old Tommy. When the child encounters trouble at school, Henry reaches out to Tommy’s teacher. Leesa Yoder never expected to find herself single and teaching sixteen young scholars, and she certainly didn’t anticipate an inexperienced bachelor telling her how to do her job. Amid the flying sparks, can Henry and Leesa see that there might be hope and love in this unexpected situation?
Wreathed in Joy by Kathleen Fuller
Mary Wengerd and Jakob Mullet have been best friends since childhood. Pressured by friends and family, they decided to date—with disastrous results. When they break up, their friendship is ruined. A year later, Mary is baking her Englisch friend’s wedding and groom cakes for a Christmas Eve wedding. Mary loves the Christmas season, and had always dreamed of marrying during that time. Now she wonders if she’ll ever marry. After she and Jakob form a tenuous new friendship, Mary breaks her arm. As he steps in to help her with the cakes, Mary is inexplicably and suddenly falling for him. But they’ve already dated, and that ended so horribly. Could it be better this time? A Christmas Prayer by Vannetta Chapman
Widower Micah Miller runs the Amish Tour Company, offering Englischers a glimpse of a simpler life as well as tea at Rachel King’s. Rachel has never married and has recently lost her parents. When Micah comes across an abandoned and injured dog, he gives it to Rachel for company. As Rachel is charmed by the dog and shocked by news of the existence of family she never expected, her heart and mind bend toward the possibilities of change in her life—even toward the possibility of love.
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.
KATHLEEN FULLER With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller.
KELLY IRVIN Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.
AMY CLIPSTON Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.
Read an Excerpt from An Amish Christmas Wedding
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The Bells of New Cheltenham by author Chautona Havig is a contemporary romantic holiday fictional novella. This is a sequel to The Ghost of New Cheltenham. It can be read as a standalone novella, but I wish I had read the other one. At times I felt like an outsider at a party of close friends. I did not quit understand everything.
Havig has an unique style of writing. I am always blessed when reading her work because of the spiritual content. Her books give glory to God. She writes plain, everyday scenarios that makes things seem plausible.
The Bells of New Cheltenham is an interesting story. I love Christmas and especially the beautiful music. Her writing took me to the quaint town where I could almost hear the carolers. The contest was a lovely idea. Ms. Havig has been blessed with a writer’s imagination.
The characters are very likable. Ken is a sweetheart. He is almost too good to be true. Justine is new to town. She seems to have money problems as well as other issues. They make a nice couple except for the fact they are unequally yoked.
This is an enjoyable tale. It was not a page turner for me. I was able to easily read a chapter or two and go about my daily activities. When time permitted I would pick up the story again.
I recommend this sweet holiday romance. The message is beautiful. Anyone will enjoy it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own opinions.
About the Book
Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?
Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.
Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.
“But what do the words mean?”
Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.
He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.
Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona Havig
3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing
I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.
The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down. This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.
The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection. Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.
Still, I tried to be responsible, you know? After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already. Bookers on the Rocks, The Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.” And those didn’t include anything I wanted to write in spring or summer.
Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme. That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?
The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections. She sent a list of those that had already been claimed. I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.
No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”
That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.
All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea. I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?
That’s when it happened.
There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination. My favorite moment. And it hit me. What if the theme for the collection was my story idea? My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.
And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh! Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest. And then… well…
The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.
If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone. However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited. Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”
But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.
The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.
Help from Heaven: True Stories of Rescues, Miracles, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder by author Andrea Jo Rodgers is a Christian non-fictional compilation of true stories. These accounts of miracles, rescues, and prayers that were answered are so inspiring. What happened in them is nothing less than miraculous.
The author uses her experience as an EMT and writes about actual events that have happened. It is a heart stirring book, and one that will make readers realize how much first responders actually face. Each story is accompanied with a scripture. It is important to see that God is the One the works miracles. The reflections allow readers to recognize that God guides and direct people here on Earth to help.
The writing style of the author is nice. I was able to follow each chapter and was emotional as I read them. Her passion for the job and patients comes through in her writing. I did not tire of reading these accounts.
If you are expecting stories of heavenly angels, you will be disappointed. This is not that type of book. There was one or two, but that is all. I was encouraged as I read these and filled with hope. If readers take anything away from this book I hope it is how powerful prayer is.
I recommend this compilation of true events. It would be a nice reading group discussion. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my true words.
About the Book
Book: Help from Heaven
Author: Andrea Jo Rodgers
Genre: Christian Nonfiction
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Do You Believe in Miracles?
Experience the heart-pounding drama of real-life emergencies. Veteran EMT and physical therapist Andrea Jo Rodgers shares this all-new collection of accounts from her 30-plus years as a volunteer with her town’s local first aid and emergency squad.
Arrive on the scene with Andrea and encounter…
Lou, a dedicated war veteran who is granted a new tour of duty from God.
A fearful flock of ducklings that slip down a storm drain during a false alarm.
Everett, a resilient older man who goes for an unexpected ride on the hood of an intoxicated driver’s car.
Jenna, a young woman whose dangerous heart condition is both physical and emotional.
Frank, a husband whose nasty fall down a flight of stairs earns him instant angel status from his devoted wife, Doris.
As you discover these and many more unforgettable stories, you’ll be reminded that miracles do happen, whether it be through the heroic efforts of first responders, the Lord’s divine intervention, or, often, both.
Andrea Jo Rodgers is the author of award-winning Christian middle grade fiction as well as inspirational adult nonfiction novels. She holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and specializes in women’s health, orthopedics, and lymphedema. She has served her community as a volunteer emergency medical technician for over thirty years, responding to more than 8,200 first aid and fire calls. She lives on the east coast with her husband, two children, and their two rescue dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund.
More from Andrea
I’ve been blessed to volunteer as an emergency medical technician for more than thirty years and to work as a physical therapist for more than twenty-five. Help from Heaven: True Stories of Miracles, Rescues, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder relates inspirational and memorable first aid and emergency calls from my years on the rescue squad. First responders have a unique opportunity to assist people in moments of crisis when they walk along a tightrope between heaven and earth. Over the years, I have witnessed miracles in which people have been saved from danger with what I believe to be divine intervention. By sharing my experiences, I hope to comfort or inspire others.
Have you ever been absolutely scared out of your wits? It happened to me several years ago, when my son and I survived a life-threatening elevator accident. When we escaped death, I decided we were saved with help from our guardian angels and the Lord. The accident marked the first time that rather than responding to an emergency call, I was the 911 call. After working through the pain and fear, I realized something good came out of the accident, for it inspired me to start writing. As a result, my first book, At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue, was born.
I live in a small town. Without a doubt, I can say that some of the most precious moments in my life have occurred precisely when I was volunteering to help others. Participating in the rescue and resuscitation of fellow community member is an incredible blessing. Seeing people I’ve helped biking, shopping, or receiving a text from them makes all the nights of broken sleep and interrupted family gatherings worthwhile.
I’m currently the Lieutenant and training officer on my squad. Facing the COVID-19 crisis has catapulted us into unprecedented times. The outpouring of love and support from our community helped my fellow squad members and I to hang in there, face our fears, and do what we need to do to help those in need of assistance. As a first responder, all I can say is thank you! I hope you enjoy reading Help from Heaven. Maybe it will inspire you to find a way to volunteer in some capacity.
To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of At Heaven’s Edge: True Stories of Faith and Rescue and Help from Heaven: True Stories of Rescues, Miracles, and Answered Prayers from a First Responder as well as a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
This is the second book in author Rocky Mountain Revival series. If you have not yet read book one, this can be read as a stand alone novel. Characters from the first book are mentioned which is very nice when you recognize them.
I like the style of writing the author uses. It is easy to follow and understand. Characters are definitely unique and yet believable. Descriptions are vivid and placed me right in the middle of the story. There are life lessons woven throughout the book.
This is the tale of Will and Madeleine. Will, an older teenager, works at a logging camp. He carries misplaced guilt that he is to blame for his father’s death. Madeline is a young widow. She is pregnant and searching for a husband to be a good father to her baby. She happens to be the daughter of the logging camp boss and helps the camp cook, Shorty, who is her adopted uncle.Madeleine is methodical in her search. She has made a list of qualities for a second husband and Will fits all them. However, he is young so she does not consider him. Her choice happens to be the worse guy in the camp.
I enjoyed this suspenseful sweet romance. It was entertaining and inspiring. I highly recommend it. It gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest thoughts.
About the Book
Book: Rocky Mountain Revelation
Author: Lisa J. Flickinger
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2020
A Rocky Mountain logging camp may be just the place to start her new life.
Widowed at nineteen, Madeline Lamb seeks to find a new husband amongst the crew of the Rocky Mountain log drive. With a baby growing inside her, she has no choice. She signs on as cook’s helper, and it soon becomes apparent her options for a mate are limited. Madeline’s grieving heart wavers between the security an older man offers and the tender feelings a new crew member stirs.
Will Matheson earned the chance to work the high-paying spring log drive. The boon ensures he can recoup the logging wages stolen by a pretty face with some fast fingers. Frustration builds when the boss pulls him from the river and assigns him the job of camp chore boy. If it wasn’t for the pretty cook’s helper, he’d take the first train home.
When the dangers of the river journey prove more treacherous than anyone expects, the budding attraction between Will and Madeline is put to the test. If they survive the adventure, life as they know it will never be the same.
Lisa J. Flickinger lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her other books, visit www.lisajflickinger.com.
More from Lisa
When I research a new novel, I love to find obscure facts about the setting. My study of the old time river drives for Rocky Mountain Revelation led me to a particularly tasty morsel. The river crews were served massive amounts of food over four meals to make up for all the energy expended transporting logs in the frigid water. Often, their meals included donuts.
Yes, donuts! However, we’re not talking about the scrumptious treat picked up at your local bakery or grocery store. These donuts were cooked over an open fire in the backwoods. Yum.
Picture what they call a tin kitchen, a small boxy metal contraption, set over a blazing fire. The cook would place a wide mouthed aluminum basin on top and fill it with cooking oil. When the oil reached the perfect temperature he would drop the batter into the oil using a ladle. The piping hot donuts would be rolled in sugar when they were cooked and served to the crew fresh from the fire. A half whiskey barrel of donuts could disappear in just one meal. Several times a day, the cook would travel downstream by raft and repeat the process.
Will, the hero of Rocky Mountain Revelation, finds his sweetheart Madeleine particularly pretty with flour up to her elbows. However, he grows tired of the mounds of donuts and by the end of the drive attempts to trade them for the cook’s fluffy biscuits.
Enjoy the trip downriver with Will, Madeline…and the donuts.
So This Is Love: An Austen-Inspired Regency is written by author Laura Hile. This is based on Jane Austen books and characters. Christian Historical Regency fans as well as Jan Austen fans will love this new offering.
Meet the new, refurbished Charlotte Lucas. She is finished with romance. After a recent broken engagement she is sent away to stay with an elderly aunt until she is no longer talk of the town. Traveling with a maid and her twelve-year-old brother Johnny, Charlotte’s journey to the Allens proves to be exciting. The stage they are in is held up by highwaymen. Captain Jack Blunt of the Royal Navy, comes to her rescue.
He sees her again at her relatives’ home. While a few sparks ignite, he has permanently given up in the romance department. Something intrigues him about Charlotte, and she finds him easy to befriend.
The author has done a beautiful job describing the scenery and customs of England in the 1800s. Her characters are spot on and lovable. Their conversations flow elegantly and realistically. It is quite obvious author Hile has done extensive research.
There are many life lessons woven throughout this delightful novel. The story does contain a faith lesson, too. It is entertaining and encouraging.
I would recommend this sweet story. It was a fun read. The hero is definitely swoon-worthy. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: So This Is Love
Author: Laura Hile
Genre: Historical Christian Romance; Regency Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2020
“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”
Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.
But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?
Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely. She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.
So This Is Love is a joyride of a Regency, bringing whirlwind romance and happily-ever-after to Jane Austen’s staid and practical Charlotte Lucas.
By day, Laura Hile teaches at a Christian school. By night—or rather, in the early morning when she can think! —she writes Jane Austen and Regency romance with laughs and happy endings.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with middle school students!
She enjoys gardening (she is a weed warrior!), choral singing, and having coffee with friends.
Laura lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with her husband and a collection of antique clocks. One day she hopes to add a cat or three.
More from Laura
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas is stuck marrying the awful Mr. Collins. It is a prudent choice, given her age and circumstances, but still.
Generations of women readers have felt badly for her, including me. “No, no!” we want to shout. “The man’s a spineless braggart! Don’t marry him!”
Charlotte claims that she is not romantic. We don’t believe that for a minute. She simply hasn’t met the right man.
With an eye on the rugged seaside setting of the classic movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), I decided to change all that. With two little words, I sent Charlotte’s story spinning from its Pride and Prejudice rails: What If?
What if, when Collins returns to Meryton to negotiate the settlement, his lustful thoughts overpower good sense? What if, before they are married, Collins gets handsy—and something within Charlotte snaps? What if she abruptly ends the engagement?
That’s what we would do in real life, right? We’d kick Collins to the curb!
What if, to escape gossip, Charlotte is sent to live with her father’s sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Allen (borrowed from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey). Mr. Allen’s heir is also a house guest, and thus we have a perfect opportunity for romance.
Although I intended to use The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’s Captain Gregg as a model, Captain Jack Blunt wasn’t having any. He strode onto the story’s quarterdeck as very much his own man. For one thing, he is Royal Navy (1812), not merchant marine. And for another, he is surprisingly devout. Although he has a gentleman’s beard like Gregg, he is blond.
If you’re thinking Chris Hemsworth in Thor, you’re getting the right idea.
Look, if our girl Charlotte is brave enough to give Collins the heave-ho, she deserves to meet a swoony hero, right?
Captain Blunt’s house by the sea in Dorset plays the role of Captain Gregg’s Gull Cottage. Cliff House, and the cove it’s built above, almost become characters themselves as Charlotte and Jack share daily walks beside the sea. This book is filled with delicious banter between the two. Isn’t that our favorite thing about a romance?
So This Is Love is a swashbuckling, sweep-away Regency that is just plain fun to read. I think you’ll enjoy it.
“Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune” by author Linore Rose Burkard is a Christian Historical Regency Romance. It is an engaging, clean fiction that is interesting and entertaining. This is Book Two of The Brides of Mayfair Series, but can be read as a standalone.
This romance is set in 1815 in London and captured my attention at the very beginning. The writing was easy to understand and smooth. The story flowed effortlessly. There was a mystery with some twist and turns to make it exciting.
The characters were endearing. I adored Miss Frances Fanshawe. Frannie was a darling even though she was either up on top of the world or having a terrible, awful day. She had been told for years by her mother that she had a trust fund set up by her father. Now her mother is dead and she is without funds. It is up to her to find her father. Unfortunately she has led a sheltered life and often makes unwise choices.
Sebastian Arundel comes to her aid to solve the mystery. The question is why does he. He is a nice man guided not by what society says is correct but by his own self.
There is quite a bit of humor in this book. Many times I chuckled. The characters are Christian and often give food for thought. At one time after prayer it is speculated the person praying is a Methodist instead of an Anglican due to the prayer.
A glossary, timeline, and map are in the back of the book. I found these helpful. It is quite evident the author did extensive research before writing this novel.
I would recommend this delightful book. It is clean with no ugly words or violence. The romance is sweet. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words. It receives 4 out of 5 stars from me.
About the Book
Book: Miss Fanshawe’s Fortune
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
Genre: Sweet and Clean Historical Romance (regency)
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Miss Frances Fanshawe’s past is shrouded in mystery. Raised genteelly by her mother in the knowledge she is heir to a fortune, she is forced to question everything after her mother dies and leaves her with only a single clue to the money. Unless she can locate her father or otherwise prove her heritage, not only the fortune but her very respectability is at stake.
In line for a baronetcy, Sebastian Arundell has no time for sorting out questionable tangles for young women with dubious histories. No matter if they are young, appealing, and have ridiculously large chocolate eyes to melt a man’s heart. But when it becomes apparent that other people are after Frannie’s supposed fortune, he is drawn to investigate. As the search deepens, Frannie falls in love with handsome, proper Sebastian. But ifit only proves what he suspects—that she’s an illegitimate pauper—will all hope to win his heart be lost?
Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes YA contemporary suspense and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.
More from Linore Rose Burkard
Today we have a multi-published author with us, Linore Rose Burkard. She writes “Romance to warm the Heart, Fiction to Stir the Soul.” Linore’s first novel, an Inspirational Regency Romance, was actually the first of its kind and opened the genre for the CBA. Linore, welcome. Please tell us more about yourself as a writer. I understand you feel very purpose-driven in you vocation.
Linore: I do. Newer writers usually say their purpose is to write whatever specific book they’re working on. But I believe our purpose goes deeper than that, deeper than any single book. My purpose—which some may consider a humble calling—is to write smart, well-researched romance infused with humor that literally warms the heart. My readers close my romance novels with a smile and the feeling—at least for a few minutes—that all is right with the world.
When did you realize that was your purpose?
A writer needs to be humble enough to accept what their giftings are. I had to accept that I wasn’t going to write the next ‘great American novel.’ I wasn’t going to be a Hemingway. Having been schooled in the classics, both British and American, writing inspirational romance seems lightweight. Georgette Heyer, a writer I greatly admire, once said she ought to be shot for what she writes! Because there’s this perception among the literati that romance literature is less than respectable. But I’ve learned that heartwarming romance is worthy in itself, whether it is overtly evangelistic or not, and whether English professors would agree or not. Readers have written to me with such gratitude that it showed me that what I write is no less valuable –to those who will be blessed by it—than the classics.
How did you get started?
I’ve been an avid reader all my life and was always was drawn to write, even as a child. But I saw a need for something specific that wasn’t out there—Regency Romance that included a Christian worldview. I wanted to read that book, but it didn’t exist. So that’s what I started out writing. My first three novels with Harvest House were Inspirational Regencies. The genre since then has grown by leaps and bounds, which I think is great.
Would you like to give a tip for writers?
It’s important to write the book on your heart, not the one you think you should write because it will make money, or because it’s what people want. A lot of gurus are out there saying you should research the audience before putting pen to paper to make sure your book will be marketable. Well, there is some truth in that—if you write a book about some obscure dog breed that only 200 people own, you’re not gonna have a bestseller. But there’s a big danger in that method, too. The book on your heart, the story that won’t go away, is most likely the one that will help point you to your purpose in writing; and it will be the one that resonates with readers.
The Red Ribbon is Book Eight in the True Colors American Crimes Series. Author Pepper D. Basham penned this captivating tale that was based on true events. I was immediately interested in the story and invested in the lives of the characters. It is a Christian, Historical, Mystery, Crime, Intrigue novel.
The tale is set in Appalachia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in the early 1900’s. It is a fictionalization of a family feud between two families. This reads like a story. It is hard to remember that many of the events actually did happened. The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912 is the story of this book.
Ava Burcham wants to be a newspaper reporter. She will do almost anything to get a good story. Her friend Jeremiah is a guardian angel and tries to keep her out of trouble. Sadly the end up in the middle of a long-standing feud.
I became invested in this story within a few paragraphs. It was a page turner and nearly impossible to put down. The characters were believable, flaws and all. I enjoyed watching Ava’s character grow.
The author’s notes on the actual story are fascinating. She did such a good job researching and planning this remarkable account of what might have happened. Life and spiritual messages are included. There is a lot to this story. It stuck with me long after I finished the book.
I highly recommend this entertaining and even educational fictional tale. It illustrates what happens when matters get out of hand and facts misconstrued. This would make a wonderful small group selection.
The Red Ribbon gets a 5 star rating from me. It is my favorite from the True Colors series. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Red Ribbon
Author: Pepper Basham
Genre: Christian historical/suspense
Release Date: October, 2020
An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912
Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.
More from Pepper
Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham
My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.
The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.
One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.
The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.
A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.
Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.
What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.
I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A Christmas Tale for Little Women by author Linda Brooks Davis is a Christian historical holiday romance novella. It is a short read and perfect for this time of year. I love holiday books and novellas.
This story is the prequel to The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. I have previously read and reviewed this brilliant story. It earned a five star rating from me. This novella is just as good.
Adelaide is an endearing character. She is talented, charming, and caring. We meet her nieces Dahlia and Camilla. Both girls are delighted to spend time with their aunt during the holiday season but are missing family.
There are precious life and spiritual messages woven throughout this poetic tale. The characters are wonderful and the writing is beautiful. You will be glad you read this sweet story.
I highly recommend this novella. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: A Christmas Tale for Little Women
Author: Linda Brooks Davis
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Broadview is attired for Christmas. Oklahoma heiress, Adelaide Fitzgerald, is hosting two young girls who have chosen to celebrate Christmas with Auntie Addie rather than their family in Colorado.
Adelaide must give these girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? What would top off this holiday in an extraordinary way?
The answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. But what will it take for her to realize it is the Christmas topper she’s been seeking?
It’s 1912, and Adelaide Fitzgerald’s view of Christmas is about to emerge as a tale for a lifetime.
Linda Brooks Davis is a lifelong Texan who devoted 40 years to special education as a therapist, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 2008 and now writes full time.
Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland,Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Book Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.
Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.
More from Linda
Everyone worked at my home on a South Texas farm near the U.S. border with Mexico.
My playmates were children of Hispanic laborers. Language never hindered playing la casa, making mud pies, or rocking los bebés. Frijoles and tamales served from stewpots over open fires tasted delicioso in either language. I learned outside their homes a broom works great on hardened soil.
Daddy paid workers on Saturdays, some by the hour, others by production. Lining up, they extended their hands, and he laid cash across their open palms. They checked the figures they had scribbled on paper scraps, trusting el patrón to correct discrepancies. Humble, grateful people, they showed respect.
My father verified immigration paperwork for those whom he housed. Others lived in the shadows, arriving around sunup and disappearing before sundown. Each evening a car or truck would rattle alongside the field, and the shadow worker would slip inside. Then the vehicle would clatter toward the horizon. And returned another day.
Occasionally, however, an alarm shouted in Spanish would sound across the field. Dropping his cotton sack, a worker would dash toward the cotton trailer in the turn row. Like hounds burrowing under a house, he and a compadre would leap over the trailer’s sides and dig a hole in the freshly picked cotton. The first crawled in, and the other covered him.
The immigration officer making his rounds would walk into the field and occasionally stomp around inside the trailer, searching for man-sized lumps. I never witnessed the discovery of a shadow worker, but I heard about them on other farms. Worst of all, I heard about tragedies. With very little oxygen between tightly packed fluffs of cotton, a man could suffocate and occasionally would. I wondered what would lead a man to take such chances and how my law-abiding, God-loving father justified his complicity. So, I asked, and he answered, “Desperation, sugar. All they want is work. A man wants to provide for his family wherever or however he can. I can’t turn them away.”
Sounded like work was a gift. Huh? my ten-year-old brain asked itself.
Years later, I understood this principle. The second chapter of Genesis shows us that God created man not to laze around all day, but to work.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.Genesis 2:15
Therefore, not only in “the beginning,” but on our farm in 1956, a man’s strength to work was God’s gift. The opportunity to work was Daddy’s gift to the men. The fruit of each man’s labor was the gift he sent home each week and the fulfillment of his need to provide for his family.
At Christmas we enjoyed preparing bushel baskets of meats, fruits and vegetables, candy and nuts, and toys for each family. I wondered about those who stayed around for a single day. Would their children find fruits, nuts, or even a piece of candy on Christmas morning?
Answers evaded me then—-as they do now—-but as a writer in my eighth decade of life, one truth I hold onto is that the strength for each day of writing and less pain in my arthritic hands and back are gifts from God. Each opportunity to write is an opportunity not only to entertain but to inspire readers to seek God in their everyday lives. Each word, unique turn of a phrase, or plot idea . . . is my gift to Him.
Protecting our safety is a far more complicated endeavor in 2020 than it was in 1956. Threats arise like none presented five decades ago, but work is still a gift. God wired it into our DNA. Come to think of it, the ideas for A Christmas Tale for Little Women and the subsequent novel—one set in the southern tip of Texas, a story about a loving, destitute man who wants only to provide for his family—are gifts.
Those diligent workers of 1956 and other years deserve a story that honors them. My gift to them and to Him is A Christmas Tale for Little Women.
To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of all 6 eBooks in the The Women of Rock Creek Series!! (The Calling of Ella McFarland, A Christmas to Remember, A Christmas Measure of Love, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, and The Awakening of Miss Adelaide)
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.