Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy


I am so happy to tell you that my last and final book, By Broken Birch Bay, in the Sheltering Trees series has released today!

I set out to write a mystery with this book, but it’s not your typical mystery, with a murder at the beginning and a person who investigates the crime to catch the murderer. Rather this book starts each chapter, set in the future, with prison diary entries from the perspective of the person who has committed the crime. The following portion of each chapter is the narrative. The timelines converge at the end.

In writing the story this way, I kept the prison diary entries ambiguous, so even I didn’t know who did it until the very end. I knew who was going to die, but I didn’t know how or who would commit the deed. I would like to write more books this way. It was fun! Every reader so far has really been kept in suspense and no one has guessed correctly who did it at the end.

Read more details about the book and where you can purchase it here:

Thanks for being a part of my writing journey! If you are on Facebook, please join my release party tomorrow in my group, Journeying With Jenny. Visit the group link below and request to join. I’m giving away a number of prizes, including two paperback books. I hope to see you there! J

I dug through my upcoming release, By Broken Birch Bay, and thought you might enjoy reading the pre-Thanksgiving scene. It comes about mid-way through the story.

Many years ago, I used to work in a local, hometown café as a short-order cook. It was actually my first real job. I have some good memories from that time, but I also can attest to the craziness of how busy it would get and the idiosyncrasies of customers.

EXCERPT:

The week before Thanksgiving 1924
“Do we have any more pumpkin pie?” Petra shouted at Mick from the cafe’s pass-through.
Mick, cooking a steak atop the stove, appeared to ignore her. Petra notched up her volume. “Mick!”


He turned his head in a quick motion.
“What?” he shouted back. “Can’t ya see I’m busy?”


Petra huffed. This is ridiculous, shouting through a hole in the wall. She took the time and trotted around the wall, through the swinging doors, and into the kitchen. She marched up to the stove.
Petra cocked her head and stood waiting with one hand on her hip, trying her best not to show her frustration. “I have another order for pumpkin pie, but I believe we’re out, unless you made more. Did you?”


Mick flipped the steak, a sizzle emanating from the pan, the smell of black pepper and onions rising up. “No. That’s on the agenda for tomorrow morning. What’s with people and pumpkin pie lately? By Thanksgiving we’ll be out.”


Petra snickered and thought of the mound of pumpkins inside the cellar at home. “Oh, don’t you worry. I know where you can get your hands on some pumpkin.”


“Good, ’cause I’ll probably need ’em.” Mick took a quick gander at Petra before examining his steak. “How’s it going out there without Ginny?”


Petra didn’t want Mick to think she wasn’t up to the challenge.
“It’s busy, but I can handle it,” she told him.
Petra needed her job at the cafe. Though, it wouldn’t hurt Ginny to show up when she’s supposed to.


“That girl’s got one more chance to get to work on time. If she pulls this again,” Mick ran his finger across his neck, “she’s done.”


Petra nodded, silently agreeing but inwardly groaning. She could handle the extra work for a few hours, but night after night? No way. If Ginny got herself fired, Mick had better have someone else lined up soon.
Petra pointed to the dining room. “I gotta get back out there.”


Mick raised the spatula in his hand. “Wait. Take this with you.” He plated the steak and added a baked potato he pulled from the warming oven. He split the potato with a flash of a knife, dolloped a blob of butter on top, and scooped a big spoonful of peas on the side, adding more butter as a yellow crown to the mound of legumes. Mick handed Petra the plate and the slip. “Table six.”


“Gotcha.” Petra took the plate and hurried back to the dining room, depositing the meal with a smile to a beefy man in plaid at table six. “Sorry,” she told him. “We’re out of pumpkin pie.”


“Apple, then,” he said.


“Right,” Petra confirmed. “I’ll be back.”
She had seen a few pieces of apple pie remaining in the pan
in the pie safe. Hurrying back to where the pie was, she stumbled and almost fell.


“Whoa, there,” a familiar voice said, and a hand steadied her elbow.


Petra looked back into the bright blue eyes that had stolen her heart. Unsettling prickles sped up her arms.
“Thanks,” she managed to get out, lowering her eyes away from Don’s.
He must have come in while her back had been turned. He still had his coat buttoned and his gloves on. He stood near the bar.


“Sure is hopping tonight. Where’s Ginny?” he asked.


Petra flicked her eyes up to his. “Late. Which she better fix, if she wants to keep her job.”
Don smiled, slow and easy, and the sight of it made her slightly woozy.
Pull yourself together!


But his smile faded. “I better let you get back to work. When you have time, I’ll take a cup of chili, hot tea, and a slice of pumpkin pie.”


“Oh, no!” Petra groaned.
She splayed her hands out to her sides.


Don’s eyes widened behind his glasses. “What? Did I say
something wrong?”
He half laughed.


Releasing an exaggerated sigh, Petra found the humor in her
predicament and chuckled. “It’s just that you’re the fourth person to request pumpkin pie tonight, and we’re out.”


“Mick, out of pie? It’s unheard of.”
Don feigned shock, and Petra jabbed him in the arm. Boy, it was great to laugh with him like they did before things changed.


Petra turned serious. “Take a seat. I believe your usual is available.” She pointed out his stool at the bar’s counter. “I’ll get your tea and chili. Want some bread with that?”


“Sure.”
Don’s eyes said so much more than the one word, but what they were saying Petra wasn’t sure. She desperately wanted to find out.


Trying not to think about him, Petra bustled around filling his order and getting the apple pie she’d promised to the man in plaid. After she’d placed Don’s order in front of him, she allowed herself to look into his eyes. Hers were almost level with his, even though he sat, and she stood.


Don held her gaze, unwavering. “Petra, I…”


“Miss! Miss!”
Petra looked up and saw a woman toward the far end of the
cafe waving a hand in the air, a pinched look on her face. Petra hitched her thumb toward the back of the cafe. “I should go see…”


He didn’t drop his eyes from hers. “Yes.”


Petra grabbed the plate of pie and pulled herself away from
Don. On her way to the woman calling her, Petra handed the plate of pie to Plaid Man. Going one table over, she went to see what the woman wanted.


The woman complained about the peas, saying they were “old and shriveled,” but wasn’t that how canned peas always looked? Then she went on and on about a hair she’d found in her bread. The woman made it sound like Mick had put it there on purpose to annoy her. And, of course, she had to be one of the customers who’d wanted pumpkin pie. Petra gritted her teeth. This day just keeps gettin’ better and better.


“I’m never coming back here again,” the woman stormed.
Before Petra could offer something to appease her, the lady stood, as if she had a steel rod rammed up the back of her corset. She pointed to the door and tipped her chin up. “Come along, Bert.”


The poor, thin man next to her rose slowly, whispering an apology as he passed Petra.
Petra shook her head and wished them good riddance. She turned and took two more orders before walking back to the counter. She reached into the pass-through and clipped the orders where Mick would see them.
“Order!” she shouted.


Mick turned her way and acknowledged with a tip of his finger that he got the message. Turning back to face Don, Petra wondered what he’d been about to say.


“What was all that ruckus about?” Don asked between bites of bread dipped in his chili.
A hint of stubble darkened the lower half of his face, and though it made him appear a little unkept, Petra also thought it made him look more handsome. Why, she couldn’t say. Maybe the idea of a rugged man more than a well-groomed one fed her romantic side. It certainly wasn’t her touch of sense governing her reason. Whiskers scratched, plain and simple, and that was a fact.


“An unhappy customer.”
Petra gave him the details, and he laughed.


Shaking his head, Don said, “What people get annoyed over
never ceases to amaze me.”


Petra agreed. “You aren’t kidding! I mean, really, shriveled
peas?”


They shared another laugh.


Petra inched her fingers closer to his on the countertop. She
looked down. “I’ve missed this, us laughing together.”


Don’s voice was soft, wistful. “Me too.”
He moved his hand until it touched hers, then he brushed
his fingers over hers. The simple action sent a shiver up Petra’s arm.


She had to know. “What happened? What did I do?”
She braved looking into his eyes, her heart thumping harder at what he might say. He shook his head, a frown on his lips.


“Nothing! You did nothing wrong,” he said in a fierce whisper.
He leaned across the counter toward her, the front of his shirt almost dipping in his chili.


“Then what?” Petra whispered back.


Tipping his head back, Don sucked in a breath and closed his eyes for a second. He opened them, connecting with Petra like a lead to a horse. “It’s more like who.”


Petra frowned. “Who? I don’t understand.”


“Order up!” Mick shouted loud enough for the whole diner to hear.
Petra nearly jumped out of her skin and rolled her eyes. “Just a minute,” she told Don.


She turned to collect the two orders Mick had filled. She carried them to their respective customers and made her way back to Don at top speed.
She faced Don. “You were saying.”


Giving a furtive glance around, Don said, “I think we should talk about this privately. Can I pick you up after work, or do you have to get home to Jefferson?”


Petra shook her head. “No, he’s staying at Mom and Dad’s tonight.”


“Fine. I’ll see you later. Around nine?” Don asked.


“I should be done by then. I’ll be waiting.”

Thanks for Reading!

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from By Broken Birch Bay. Read more about the book here: https://jennyknipfer.com/by-broken-birch-bay/

Often in the quotes I share from my books, I tend to choose dramatic ones that have conflict rather than romantic ones. But today I thought I’d give you just a little flavor of Petra’s budding romance with Don, a local fisherman and a frequent customer at the café Petra works at.

These quotes come from the ninth chapter in my soon to be released whodunit novel, By Broken Birch Bay.

Petra is rather gun shy when it comes to relationships. She had previously trusted her heart to a man who left broke it, leaving her expecting his child and alone.

Now, back home in Broken Birch Bay Petra is lowering her defenses once again, and praying this man won’t tread all over her heart like the last one had.

COMING UP:

A blog post on how I included how my parents met and fell in love in this book.

A Thursday Throwback pic of me next to my favorite trees.

The release date for By Broken Birch Bay is coming up, on November 18th. If you’re on Facebook, please join my release party, with fun historical and behind the scenes info, games, and giveaways. Request to join here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/402738713921985/

As always thanks for reading and following my blog and writing journey! J


I enjoy writing family drama, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the interchange of dialogue that isn’t romantically based. Romance bits are actually my least favorite to write because often they are so predictable, but with family drama you never know what’s going to happen. Writing it brings me joy, however it is not too pleasant to live through in real life. With my drama although there is tension, which needs to be there for the story, I always work it out in a way that brings hope.

In this scene Petra and her mom are cleaning up after a family meal, in which Honey’s finance, Jeb, had joined them. And in this novel, the parents are the ones that need the most growth. Parents don’t have it right all the time. I can say for certain that in real life—no matter what your age or level of wisdom—there is never a time where you stop needing to grow, stop needing to be gracious, stop needing to expand your own understanding.

Excerpt:

August 1924

Broken Birch Bay
Petra leveled her gaze at Mom, who looked away and continued to scour the crockery dish in the sink. If she rubbed any harder the glaze might come off.


“Aren’t you happy that Honey is happy?” Petra asked.


Mom rinsed the dish and handed it to Petra, who stood by with a towel. “She doesn’t know what happiness means.”


Her mother’s bitter tone surprised Petra. She didn’t know who this sarcastic, life-hardened woman was by her side, but she certainly wasn’t the mother of her growing-up years. That woman had been tender-hearted, had smiled at the drop of a hat, and certainly hadn’t shown such a sour outlook on most things in life. What changed her? Petra thought about it but couldn’t think of anything but her leaving to go to Colorado as the catalyst. Perhaps Petra could blame no one but herself for her mother’s hard spirit.


“And you do?”
The question left her mouth before Petra had time to contemplate the boiling pot she might be stirring.


Flinging the last few pieces of wet cutlery on the towel on the counter, Mom said, “I know a far sight better than Honey. And I know that man will never make her happy.” She curled her bottom lip down at the corner, shrugging and shaking her head at the same time. “But you can’t tell her nothin’.”


Mom tipped the basin of dirty wash water down the sink. A gurgling, sucking noise followed. Petra heard in it a synoptic auditory semblance of how her gentle, loving family had changed—drained away by the messiness of life. And a lot of it had been her mess.


“Why don’t you like Jeb?”

Picking the cutlery up, Petra dried it and put it away, waiting for her mother’s revelation.
Mom heaved out a sigh, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s a number of small things. You wouldn’t understand, but a mother knows.”


Petra hung up the towel and faced Mom, her hands positioned on her hips. “Look, I can’t help if I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


“No one asked for your help,” Mom barked.


Petra widened her eyes in surprise. Where did that come from? She decided to take a gentler route and moved closer to Mom. “I love Honey too. You’re not the only one.”


A sniffle broke Mom into an outright cry. She beat her fist against her chest. “I wanted more for her and for you. I had dreams for you both.”


Petra hung her head, feeling like the black sheep again.
“Sorry to disappoint.”
She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up.


“No, I’m not blaming you.” Mom spoke with care and
longing. “I just wish it could have been different. That you hadn’t…”


Petra finished, “Come home in disgrace.”

Thanks for reading!

As always, thank you for reading my humble words and stories. You can find out more about By Broken Birch Bay and watch the book trailer here: https://jennyknipfer.com/by-broken-birch-bay/

The cast of characters for my upcoming historical mystery novel, By Broken Birch Bay, revolves around two sisters, Honey and Petra. Besides writing in the sisters’ perspectives, I also write in the perpetrator’s perspective. The person who commits the crime remained faceless and anonymous for me until the very end. Look over the images below to read about the three of them and their thoughts early on in the novel.

Some of my other characters include :

Luke Livingston, Petra and Honey’s father

A parent should never play favorites, but Luke seems to favor Honey, though Petra is actually more like him—determined, stubborn, and hard-working. He can’t seem to totally forgive Petra for leaving their hometown and coming back unwed with a child in tow. But Luke is not perfect—and no parent is—and leads him to intervene in Petra’s life when he shouldn’t.

Polly Livingston, the sisters’ mother and Luke’s wife

In the beginning, Polly comes off cold toward Honey. The favoritism is reversed with Polly where Honey is concerned, and Polly can’t reconcile the fact that Honey is marrying a man she doesn’t approve of. The family tension grows throughout the story, coming to ahead several times, leaving the reader wondering if the family troubles will ever be resolved.

Jeb Spangler, Honey’s fiance

Jeb is a handsome, rough fisherman who is often temperamental but also has a large heart, which is perhaps why Honey fell for him in the first place. In the time period his male driven dominance is not out of the ordinary, but the reader can’t help but want Honey to assert herself more in their relationship. The narrative tends to slant Jeb in a less than flattering light at first, until some of his background is revealed, and the reader can establish some sympathy for him.

Don De Muir, Petra’s love interest

Quietly handsome but yet confident older Don won’t take no for an answer and pursues Petra as she works in the local diner. He’s kind, a man of faith, and has his own business, but most importantly he’s taken to Petra son, Jefferson. But the path of love may lead him to places he had not expected.

Roxanne (Roxy) Pheland, Honey’s best friend

Roxy is beautiful, and she knows it. Vain, funny, vivacious, and a risk taker, Roxy is not afraid to express herself or press on boundaries. She appears to genuinely care for Honey, opposites though they may be. Roxy adds some spark, spunk, and controversy to the story.

An excerpt from the second chapter, featuring dialogue between Polly and Honey:

August 1924
Broken Birch Bay


For the hundred-millionth time, Honey sent up a prayer of gratitude for Petra being back at home. Honey had grieved when her sister had left eight years ago. Petra had firmly stated, “I’m moving on to bigger and better things than what our quiet life here by Broken Birch Bay can offer, Kiddo, but we’ll stay in touch. Don’t ya worry. And someday I’ll send for you.” Petra had wrapped her sisterly arms around thin, fifteen-year-old Honey, engulfing her in a tight hug.


Well, “someday” hadn’t materialized, but Honey had been okay with that. She loved everything about the bay, their home, and Lake Superior. Her one dissatisfaction had been her sister’s absence from her life. But now, with Petra’s return, things would be different. Hopefully, a better kind of different.


And then there was Jeb. Life had patched the hole in her heart with two people for the price of one. Jeb had put a ring on her finger last month, and they planned to marry by Christmas. At this point in time, life couldn’t look more positive for Honey.


Mom called from the back door. “Got all them clothes hung up?”


Honey called back, “Yes, Mom,” and clipped the last pin on a pair of her father’s jean overalls, hung over the clothesline in the middle of the backyard. Smoothing her clover-honey- colored hair—her namesake—behind her ear, Honey stooped to pick up the empty basket, wet clothes snapping and flapping against her side in the breeze off the lake.


Mom shaded her gray eyes, the same shade as Petra’s, from the noonday sun. Her daisy-printed, white and blue apron bustled in the air around her thin hips, echoing the wet clothes.
“What about Dad’s patch pair of pants? I had to scrub those extra hard and left them on the wringer.”
Honey clutched the empty basket to the side of her body and stepped lively toward the white, clapboard house with green trim, her long legs making short work of the distance.


“Yep. All done,” she told Mom.
Honey and Petra differed drastically in stature and hair color. Petra’s hair burned a burnished red, and her petite frame stood four inches shorter than Honey. Their faces were similar, though, with fine bones, evenly set eyes, and mouths that took up half their faces. That trait had come from Dad’s side of the family. The portrait of Dad with his siblings evidenced the fact that they all had smiles large enough to put a sausage and bun in sideways.


“Mr. Spangler coming for lunch?”
Mom emphasized Jeb’s name and narrowed her fine brows down, not exactly hiding her displeasure. Honey couldn’t understand her mother’s hesitancy when it came to Jeb. After they’d gotten engaged, Mom hadn’t uttered a word of congratulations but in private had offered, “Are you sure? There’s somethin’ I don’t trust about that boy.”


Dad had been all for the match. “Long as he takes care of my little girl, I’ll be happy.”


Honey climbed the few steps to the back entrance to the house. “He said he might, if they get back in time.” Jeb had gone out with his uncle on his fishing trolley, hoping to catch some haddock. “Might bring us back some fish too.”
Honey smiled, hoping to put Jeb in Mom’s good graces.


Mom didn’t crack a smile in return. “Hmm. Well, we’ll see, won’t we?”


Honey rolled her eyes and walked past Mom into the kitchen.
Really? Would it kill her to give Jeb a little credit?
She plonked the empty basket down on the table and turned to her mother, one hand on her hip and a sassy tone in her voice. “Anything else?”


“Don’t get your feathers in a flutter.” Mom let the screen door bang behind her and said in an even tone, “That’s all for now. I’ll call you when I need help with lunch. Got the pie made, just need to get the main dish together.”


Honey nodded, swiveling on her heel and marching to retrieve a novel from her room to get her mind off her frustration with her mother. She trailed her finger along the spines of the books on her bookshelves, waiting for one to grab her attention. Honey’s index finger stopped at Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. For some reason a gothic novel appealed to her at the moment. She knew the gist of the story but hadn’t ever read it. Plucking it off the shelf, she cozied herself on the window seat Dad had made her. She always felt rather like Charlotte Bronte’s neglected and ill-treated Jane Eyre, curled up as she was on the cushioned, tapestry-covered seat. A couple of pages in, Honey let the book drift down to her lap. Something unsettled her, and she couldn’t concentrate on the words.


What is it? What’s the matter with me?
Still the same thing: Mom’s lack of enthusiasm for Jeb. What was it that she didn’t like about him?

Thanks for reading!

As always, thanks for reading my humble words and stories. Blessings on your day! J

I promised to share a little bit about one of my main characters, Honey, in my upcoming historical mystery, By Broken Birch Bay. Honey is tall, blonde, mild mannered and almost the exact opposite of her sister, Petra.

The sisters had grown up close, but when Petra had moved away, a part of Honey had gone with her.

Excerpt

August 1924
Broken Birch Bay
For the hundred-millionth time, Honey sent up a prayer of gratitude for Petra being back at home. Honey had grieved when her sister had left eight years ago. Petra had firmly stated, “I’m moving on to bigger and better things than what our quiet life here by Broken Birch Bay can offer, Kiddo, but we’ll stay in touch. Don’t ya worry. And someday I’ll send for you.” Petra had wrapped her sisterly arms around thin, fifteen-year-old Honey, engulfing her in a tight hug.
Well, “someday” hadn’t materialized, but Honey had been okay with that. She loved everything about the bay, their home, and Lake Superior. Her one dissatisfaction had been her sister’s absence from her life. But now, with Petra’s return, things would be different. Hopefully, a better kind of different.
And then there was Jeb. Life had patched the hole in her heart with two people for the price of one. Jeb had put a ring on her finger last month, and they planned to marry by Christmas. At this point in time, life couldn’t look more positive for Honey.

But…

Life seems to have a way of throwing us some big surprises when the road seems smooth and straight forward. And Honey will find that out all too soon.

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER


Thanks for reading! J

Happy #ThankfulThursday. It’s a cool misty autumn morning here in Wisconsin, my favorite kind. My mini Yorkie Ruby and I are tucked up in my recliner right now. She’s curled in a little ball on my lap, and I am drinking a cup of tea and talking with you.

However, the morning didn’t start out too well for me as I fell in the kitchen trying to get myself some breakfast. Thankfully, my son was at home yet and helped me get up. Though getting to my feet these days is itself a feat.

I don’t have the strength to pull myself up, and for someone lifting me, it’s just a lot of deadweight. So he pulled me over to the few steps we have leading down into the mudroom, and I dangled my legs over them to get some footing. Then with his help I was able to stand, though it was a lot more difficult this time. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to do that. I’ll probably have to call emergency services the next time I fall. 

But for today, I am thankful that I didn’t badly hurt myself and that I’m safe and warm.

🍁What about this particular day are you thankful for?

BOOK REVIEW:

I recently enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel by an author friend of mine, Dawn Klinge.

Palmer Girl, About the book:

Elizabeth Nordman accompanies her wealthy parents to Chicago. Her father is set to work on a project for the 1893 World’s Fair, staying at the illustrious Palmer Hotel. When Elizabeth, who becomes known as The Palmer girl, seeks employment for her flower design skills at Marshall Field’s department store, she meets humble John Lewis, Field’s talented window display designer.

John and Elizabeth become friends with the inclination of deeper feelings, though another man, determined to gain Elizabeth’s hand, threatens their relationship. But the difference in John and Elizabeth’s social and financial standings weaves a wedge in between the would-be lovers as well.

Will John and Elizabeth conquer the obstacles in their way to love and build a potential life together, or will outside forces and hard times cause too much of a rift between them?

Palmer Girl transports the reader back in time to the late 19th century in an easy and believable way. Klinge’s writing is clean, focusing on the characters and their interpersonal relationships while also constructing the scenes to give the reader a sense of place. Elizabeth and John’s romance is slow, sweet, and yet dotted with enough tension to give the story dimension, becoming a lovely all-around read. I particularly liked the floral design aspect, as I worked as a floral designer in a local flower shop for many years.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day, J

It’s cover reveal day for my last novel in my sheltering trees series, By Broken Birch Bay. I have always wanted to write a mystery and at the heart that’s what this novel is, but it didn’t quite come out like a regular mystery would have. Even I was kept in the dark as to who commits manslaughter in the end.

I start each chapter with ambiguous diary entries from someone in prison. They could be the father or mother of the main characters—sisters Honey and Petra—one of them, a boyfriend, or a friend… Who will it be? Let me tell you, the guilty party surprised even me!

THE BLURB:

A HISTORICAL MYSTERY OF FAMILY, ROMANCE, AND HIDDEN DECEPTION 

Set in the early twentieth century, single mother, Petra Livingston, and her young son, Jefferson, have come home to Broken Birch Bay, Minnesota braving the town gossips over her sordid past. 

Spurred by contention with her dad, Petra takes a job at a local cafe, working for her independence and meets Don De Muir, who worms his way into her heart—which she swore she’d never give away again.

Thrilled to have her ally and sister, Petra, back home, Honey sets aside her mom’s disappointment in her and plans her wedding to a local fisherman, Jeb Spangler, a man with a broken past and a temper. However, as the time draws near, Honey gets cold feel, reevaluating her feelings for Jeb. 

Will Petra allow Don past her defenses? Will Honey and Jeb move forward into their future or be derailed by what comes between them? Will it be one of the sisters, a boyfriend, or a parent who lifts their hand to protect another, taking a life in the process?

Told in a split-timeline of prison diary entries and narrative, fans of Christian mystery, Christian historical fiction, and clean romance will relish this unique mystery.


The opening lines of the narrative are in the graphic. Here, we meet Petra, one of the main characters. She is short with red hair, a little spunky and a little broken. She hopes for a fresh start for her and her son in her hometown of Broken Birch Bay, but her own fears and difficulties with her parents hold her back.

Next time…

I‘ll introduce Honey, her sister and exact opposite.

Thanks for reading! J

I actually had time to read a few books this month so far. The first was a historical fiction novel by an Australian author I am friends with on Instagram, the second a juvenile/young adult fiction book that was written by a sweet friend of mine from Estonia. I hadn’t realized when I begin this author journey how many friends I would make around the world. It has been a rich and unexpected blessing.

Dare Not Tell

By Elaine Schroller

On the Western Front during WWI, Aussie Joe Parker leaves behind his son and wife to fight. Through battle after battle he tricks death while his friends succumb. He struggles with how to manage the reality of the atrocities he’s seen and committed until by chance he meets a young war nurse, Sophie Holt. 

Joe and Sophie are drawn toward each other and end up writing one another. Joe can’t tell his wife the things that he can open up to Sophie about. Eventually, the war and circumstances drive them apart, until Joe makes an effort to find Sophie and tell her how he feels. But will it be too late, and if not, how could he ensure that Sophie would love him through everything he has been through? Everything he has done. 

The story continues on many years later through sorrows and joys for both of them before coming to an end shortly before the drums of WWII start. With a mystery they uncover in the French Alps, Joe must face his past and the secrets he holds, one last time. 

Do Joe and Sophie build a lasting life together, or will their relationship be one more casualty of The Great War? 

Scholler weaves an in-depth and touching tale of WWI from an Australian’s perspective and etches a fated loved story that is saga-worthy, painting each scene richly in the telling. Dare Not Tell is a refreshing take on wartime drama, told in an easy style that draws the reader in. A wonderful portrayal and glimpse into the psyche of a soldier and the woman who loves him. 

Note: for those sensitive to swearing and violence, you will find some of both in the story.

A Sweet Scent

by Ksenia Sein

A promise. An adventure. A treasure hunt.

Author Ksenia Sein creates an engaging and meaningful adventure tale in A Sweet Scent. Perfect for late middle grade to early young adult readers, the story weaves around Lara, who deeply misses her grandfather. He is the one person who she thinks really understood her. That special bond had never been there with her grandmother, a mystic woman of herbs and teas. 

Lara is desperate to seek a special gem her grandfather told her about, and with the unlikely help of her—up until then—distant grandmother, the two set out to find it. Memories, dreams, faith-filled inspiration, and a little element resembling magic, all work to help the granddaughter and grandmother duo in their search for what they seek. 

But will the trail of clues lead to the promised treasure that Laura was told about or amount to little more than fiction? And if she and her granny find it, will it resemble something more deep than she could have ever imagined? 

Kudos to Sein for instilling the story with excitement and the fragrance of love, crafting a sweet story that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. The lovely fragrance of family, faith, and adventure combine and seep through A Sweet Scent, which I’m sure will inspire readers to seek out and discover true treasure of their own.

What books have you read this month?

Thanks for reading my reviews! J

Autumn approaches and with it my favorite time of year. I loved going for a walk this time of year and looking at all the changing things along the path: the green ivy that had turned red, the fuzzy heads of milkweed, the distant hills dotted with color. The simple movement and motion of my legs and arms, along with my lungs working with them to propel me forward relaxed me. I also enjoyed the companionable presence of my dog at my side. I often prayed as I walked. This was a natural pairing of two things I took joy in and that brought me life.

Now, with my MS I can no longer go for a walk and enjoy the things I once did. My longing to do so is deepest at this time of year, and I am unashamed to say that I grieve a little and that’s OK. But instead of wallowing in sadness I decided to write a poem about it. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into how I remember see myself going for a walk.

There She Goes

See her

She was you, once, walking

Into an open day, with open hands

Feet and legs, taking her anywhere she wants to

Glorying in simple motion, her dog at her side

There she goes…

***

Watch her move

Fluid, rhythmic, propelling

Along a path ahead, and with it freedom 

Stepping forward, limbs doing, not thinking

Simply present in the moment

There she goes…

***

Breathe with her

In and out, drinking 

Fresh country air, no filter needed

Lungs expanding and contracting, effortless, 

Life-giving functionality 

There she goes…

***

Look through her eyes

A world, living

Gem green grass, colorful trees, robin’s egg-blue sky

All slowly changing, growing, with her in its midst

Feeling small but yet a part of it all

There she goes…

***

Listen with her ears

Sounds humming, ringing

Both loud, then soft

Dragonfly’s wings fluttering, leaves rustling in the breeze, a hawk screeching

A symphony all its own

There she goes…

***

Hear her whispered words

Praise, thanks, supplication

Blending together, sending

Her thoughts toward God

With each step her heart emptier but also fuller

There she goes…

***

Sniff deeply with her

A warm subtle sweetness, nostrils flaring

Wildflowers on the hill, blooming 

Bright zinnias, blue cornflowers, fuzzy-stemmed black-eyed Susan’s 

Nature’s beautiful bits of joy

There she goes…

***

Touch what she does

Her hand out, palm down, grazing 

The tip of her dog’s tail, tickling her

Then fingertips extended,

brushing by blades of grass—razor sharp, thick veined, smooth oak leaves, downy milkweed

All a veritable trove of textures

There she goes…

***

Feel the sun on her face

Its bright rays, stretching 

across skin and shadow

Bringing warmth and happiness 

Filling her with renewed energy and the sense of a heavenly kiss 

There she goes…

***

Walk with her

Remember 

Glory in movement once again

Be immersed in God’s creation, letting it bring you…

Peace

There she goes…

(C) Jenny Knipfer 2022

Thanks for reading! J

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