Jenny Knipfer–Author

Best-selling Christian historical fiction author, Jenny Knipfer, shares her books, inspiration, thoughts on life and writing, and book reviews. Purchase Jenny's books, read her blog, or listen to encouraging podcasts, highlighting the life of a writer.

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My latest historical novel, In a Grove of Maples, is inspired by my grandparents, my dad’s folks, and their lives as Wisconsin farmers in the late 1890’s.

I never knew my grandparents. They died years before I entered this world. Being the youngest of six children, and my dad being the second youngest of thirteen siblings, time kept us apart. Also, factor in that my Dad hovered around the age of fifty at my birth. 

So, though my grandparents lived to be in their 90’s I missed getting to know them. 

All I have of them amounts to a few stories my dad told me and three photographs. One of them with a car they purchased in the 1930’s, one with my grandfather, his horses, Sal and Sam, and my dad, and one taken at my mom and dad’s wedding in the 1950’s.

Even my siblings don’t know or remember much about them. They were young when our grandparents passed. My brothers helped me fill in a few gaps of missing information, but when we pooled together all we knew, a lot of gaps and questions remained. And when you are young, you don’t think about asking your parents about the details of their parents’ lives. I wish I’d asked more questions and listened better. 

I recall my dad telling me how grandma sold eggs to the store and saved her money to purchase special things for himself and his siblings. Out of the few times I saw my father cry, most of those were when he spoke of his mother. He had loved her greatly, and that told me all I needed to know about the kind of person she had been. 

knew that she stayed home and tended the farm and children in the early years of marriage, so Grandpa could go be a teamster at a logging camp up north in Wisconsin. (This made it into the book.) 🙂

Dad never talked much about his father, but I gathered from what he did tell me that  Grandpa had been a hard-working man but prone to temper, once in a while. I like to think that Grandpa and Grandma had forged a good life together through the years, despite the challenges.

Armed with a handful of historical facts about and when they bought the farm in Wisconsin—the farm I grew up on—I began to wonder and ask myself questions about what the lives of my grandparents may have been like as a newly married couple, and the book began to formulate in my mind. In a way I suppose it’s my attempt to bring them back to life in the only way I can. Characters took shape and spoke, showing me a story of trials, tested love, heartache, and tragedy with an underlying current that in spite of or perhaps even because of the unforeseen events of life, dreams can come true.

🍁Question: Did you know your grandparents? If so, what’s your best memory of them?

~ Watch the new book trailer on Youtube ~

A Sneak Peak:

I’m excited to give you a sneak peak at the cover of my next novel in the Sheltering Trees series, Under the Weeping Willow. The cover reveal is coming up on August 11th! Fun fact: I know the model in the photo. 🙂 Can you guess how?

The synopsis:

A historical novel about a mother and daughter and the secret shaping their rocky relationship

1918:

Just as Robin Holcomb settles into married life with her husband, Willis, on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Wisconsin, WWI calls Willis away. With an unknown future and a child on the way, Robin makes the best of life among people she barely knows.

After the birth of her child, Robin struggles with depression and battles to overcome her inner demons before despair and hopelessness drive her to attempt to take her own life. Will Robin survive her dive into postpartum depression, let alone see Willis again?

1985:

Enid Fenton clears out her Mother’s house and puts the family farm up for sale, trying to not be consumed by guilt for installing her mother into the county nursing home. 

Reading through some of her mother’s diary entries, Enid uncovers a secret that helps her make sense of the unnamed point of division that has always soured their relationship. 

Can Enid reconcile with her mother before the ravages of Alzheimer’s claim her?

Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction will be moved as this novel takes them from the depths of a person’s psyche and grief to the pinnacle of long-hoped-for peace. 

Until next time,

Blessings, J

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