Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

It’s cover reveal day, and I’m super happy to show off this lovely lady, ON BUR OAK RIDGE, the third book in my SHELTERING TREES SERIES. Molly, one of the main characters is set against the backdrop of the view from the top of the ridge on the farm my husband and I live on.


“The plot has its twists and turns to keep readers intrigued…to the very end. A great comfort read that will soothe the spirit with renewed hope and faith.Readers’ Favorite five-star review 


In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons’ farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face. 

Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons’ hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel–seeing past Molly’s scars–draws her out of her self-protective shell. 

Molly and Samuel form a friendship, but just as their hearts lead them deeper, an unexpected guest comes calling, demanding what’s his. 

Will Molly and Samuel find a way to be together or will they be separated, due to impediments beyond their control? Can they trust in God’s plan and travel a path that heals the hurts of the past?  

Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian historical romance will delight in this beautifully wrought story of the healing power of love. 

“A heartwarming story of healing from external and internal scars. Through some of life’s harder lessons the characters learn to trust, forgive, and find second chances out of the ashes of pain and loss.” 

Anne Perreault, author of eighteen inspirational novels, including the Yellowstone series

“A beautifully written portrait of the past, and dramatic historical fiction at its best. A slow-burning romance with dual narration for a fully immersive experience. This story feels archetype, unfolding with exquisite execution.” Self-Publishing Review, five-star review



I pause in my writing, sensing something or someone. I look up from my journal into the eyes of Mrs. Lund. My cheeks blush warm; she has caught me writing and thinking about her. I quickly slap my journal closed.

Her good eye focuses on me. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

I swallow, trying to settle my nerves. “Didn’t expect anyone, that’s for sure.”

She looks over the scenery, a faint, rough edge to her tone. “A good day for a stroll.”

“Yes.” I look down and notice King, the Nelsons’ pet blonde Labrador, at her heels. King, congenial to most people, has taken a special liking to Mrs. Lund. I remember my manners. “Care to sit?” I ask, and I move over on the slatted bench to make room.

Her hand flutters to her neck, wrapped in a colorful, crocheted scarf.

“I…suppose,” she answers without much certainty behind her words.

She sits on the edge of the bench, leaving some space between our legs.

What do we talk about?

I regret asking her to sit. Presently, my mind doesn’t dwell on conversing but on writing, and I can’t very well talk with her about what I’ve written in my journal. Or can I?

She releases me of the initial duty. “Did you grow up on a farm?”

She gives me the briefest of looks and focuses back on the rolling hills to the north. King slumps at her feet, unperturbed by the interruption in their walk.

“Yes. A dairy.” How much should I tell her? “You?” I ask.

She keeps her gaze straight ahead, but I notice how she nervously picks at the hemline of her blue, wool blazer. “No. My pa was a lumberjack and my ma a washerwoman. I took after my ma.”

I sense there’s more to her upbringing.

“Oh? How so?” I ask, hoping to draw her out.

I desire to know more about this mysterious woman with a

past as veiled as her face.

She sighs heavily. “I married a man like my father and got

hired on at the hotel where my mother worked.”

“And…your husband did not move to Menomonie with

you?” I inquire.

She intakes a sharp breath. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry,” I reassure her.

“No. I am sure you are curious about my…situation.” She

turns and slants a short-lived smile at me, looking almost mischievous. “I would be.” She pauses and appears to be thinking. “To tell you the truth, I’ve not seen my husband for over five years. I believe that he’s dead. Jacob left me after…” She doesn’t continue but bows her head and clenches the fingers on her left hand into a fist. With her right she reaches for the scarred side of her face. “Well, after the accident.”

I nod, not knowing whether to keep asking questions or not. Maybe if I offer something more personal, she might be more comfortable sharing those sorts of details about her life with


“I was…to take over the home farm after my father died. Even though in his will he left the place to Mother. Plans were that I would operate the farm. But, unexpectedly,” I tilt my head and navigate how to proceed, “my mother remarried, and the farm is now in her husband’s name.”

I don’t tell her that my mother’s husband is dead and that it’s my fault. That’s too heavy. Too much.

She turns a sympathetic eye my way. “I’m sorry to hear that. It must be very difficult.”

I nod and agree. “It was. Is.” I switch the heat off myself. “But what about you? Why did you move from northern Wisconsin to Menomonie? And how did you and Mabel meet?”

“Ah, well. That’s a long story.” She smiles, slow and sad. “But I don’t want to ruin this pleasant afternoon with my misfortunes.”

“Well, it should be ‘tit for tat.’ We can share the unpleasantness.”

On a whim I wink at her. She responds with a blooming blush on her smooth, ivory cheek.

“Let’s just say ill-fortune led me to Menomonie, and I met Mabel through her sister, Robin, whom I…gardened with. And Mabel has been asking me to come visit for quite some time. I finally agreed.”

Her voice sounds scratchier, and she coughs.

I offer my canteen of water to her, unscrewing the cap. “Here, take a drink.”

She takes it, and our fingers brush; hers are icy cold. I’d like to wrap them in the shelter of mine, which, I’m sure, are many degrees warmer.

“Um, thank you,” Mrs. Lund says.

She tips the canteen back, drinks, wipes her mouth, smiles, and hands it back to me. I take it, affixing the cap.

I search her good eye for the truth. “Are you glad you’ve come?” She nods like a happy child. “Yes.”

“Me too,” I tell her, and we sit in silence for a few moments,

watching a flock of blackbirds swoop and dive and land in the branches of a nearby oak.

Their cackle reaches an annoying decibel and severs the companionable link we share.

I stand, sling the canteen on my shoulder, tuck my journal in my large coat pocket, and offer my elbow to her. “Can I escort you back to the house, Mrs. Lund?”

A half-smile appears on her face. “I’d like that. Thank you. And you must call me Molly.”


Thanks for reading this excerpt from ON BUR OAK RIDGE. I hope you enjoyed it! Have a great week, and I’ll be back next week with more about my writing process for the novel.

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