Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

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

I haven’t written in over a month, except for social posts and my blog. I took a much needed break, but the weird thing was that the longer the break stretched out, the more getting back in the writing saddle seemed too exhausting. This in a life where simply taking care of myself tires me out.

But yet that voice… it speaks again. Last night I wrote the opening to my second fairy tale, The Wildest Rose, my retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I‘m not sure if I will ever finish or publish this one—the way my health is going—but here’s hoping.

EXCERPT

1473 Evermoor
Rhea

In my dreams I see him, his hand held out, palm up with a rose thorn protruding from his index finger like a freakish fingernail. Though I want to, I cannot resist moving towards him. He is the moon, and I am the tides. My dark wavy hair flutters behind me in the air, as graceful as fish fins in water, and tickles my neck with each step forward.

His eyes, the color of walnut dye, are not unkind but bore into mine until I look away and fix them on the thorn again—the foretold means of my death. Sweat beads on my lip as my hand reaches towards his extended one, my fingertip only inches away from the thorn. I try to pull back, but my arm is immovable. Fated, like me.

It was foretold that I’d die today, on my twenty-first birthday. I’ve heard whisperings of it from the lips of my three aunts when they hadn’t thought I was listening, but never was there a man in this fortelling. Where has he come from? And where will he take me? Into the light or into the shadow?

He speaks, and my ears strain to hear his words, “Do not be afraid.”

But I am petrified.

My eyes shift to the thorn again. Where has it come from? All the rose bushes in Evermoor have been burned. Cut asunder. Forbidden and utterly outlawed. I have never even seen a rose other than depicted in works of art, carvings, or an illuminated text. I have imagined them, of course, and Aunt Tansy has spun me a story or two about them, despite Aunt Bella and Aunt Iris’s protests.

I sense the prick of the tip of the thorn is imminent. A cry of protest rises in my throat, but it does not come forth. My voice is trapped. Caged. Suddenly, pain bursts through my finger, and with it I succeed in screaming. Then my eyes flash open, and it takes me some seconds before I realize I am in my bed in the loft room of the cabin in the woods I share with my aunts and am still alive, for the present, at least.

Thank The Light!

The hammering of my heart becomes slower, and I roll on my side, taking in the red blush of dawn through the leaded glass windowpane.

Does the color of the sky signal my death as much as the dream I’ve just had? I hope not. I am not ready to die, but then I suppose no one is…

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading the start to my next story. Please pray for me as I continue.
Blessings, J

Another of my book babies (this is number nine so far) has entered the world. 🙂 I’m thrilled to announce that my third novel in my Sheltering Trees series, On Bur Oak Ridge, releases today! Also as a bonus, the first book In a Grove of Maples is free on Kindle now through July 31st.

A bit about On Bur Oak Ridge:

“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 

A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

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

About In a Grove of Maples:

… a heartfelt tale of the struggles of married life on a nineteenth-century farm. Edward and Beryl are both relatable and sympathetic. Knipfer expertly captures the emotion and stress of their lives and relationship. It’s a touching and realistic portrayal of love, loss, and friendship.” Heather Stockard for Readers’ Favorite five-star review

A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF THE PERILS OF NEWLYWED LIFE AND ALL THAT COMES TO DIVIDE LOVERS

In 1897 newly married Beryl and Edward Massart travel more than one thousand miles from Quebec to farm a plot of land in Wisconsin that they bought sight-unseen. An almost magical grove of maples on their property inspires them to dream of a real home built within the grove, not the tiny log cabin they’ve come to live in. 

Misunderstandings and tempers get the better of them when difficulties and troubles arise. Just months after they wed, Edward leaves pregnant Beryl in the midst of the coming winter to tend the farm and animals while he goes to be a teamster at a northern Wisconsin logging camp. 

Will Beryl and Edward walk into the future together to build their house of dreams in the grove of maples, or will their plans topple like a house of sticks when the winds of misunderstanding and disaster strike?

Readers of Christian historical fiction, Historical fiction, Women’s fiction, and Christian historical romance will be endeared to this slice of late 19th century farm life. 

Editorial reviews:

“In a Grove of Maples presents a fascinating look at what life was like for a young couple starting out on their own and how necessary it was to have friends and neighbors that you could call on for help. Even though the book is set in the late 19th century, the struggles Edward and Beryl have in their marriage are things many people deal with today.” — Kristine Zimmerman for Readers’ Favorite five-star review

“Dramatic character development and lavish descriptive language make Knipfer’s prose shine, and carry this emotionally stirring plot from start to finish. The storytelling is casual but unmistakably aged, and the research into this particular time period is remarkable, while the variation in narrative format keeps the story engaging throughout.” — Self-Publishing Review four and a half-star review

“Readers of women’s fiction and Christian historical romance will find In a Grove of Maples an engrossing story of 19th century rural life that examines matters of heart, ethics, morality, and belief as Beryl faces a new world with few resources other than her faith and love. It concludes with an unexpected twist that comes full circle to leave the door open for more.” — D. Donavon for Midwest Book Review

Thank you!

Thank you for following my writing journey! If you’ve read and enjoyed my books, please recommend them to friends and family. If you’ve not read my books, I hope you will enjoy your free copy of In a Grove of Maples and the start to the Sheltering Trees series.

Happy Reading! J

My younger self, telling me to be brave

 I am half a century old. That fact is strange to me. I don’t feel that old, but yet my body often tells me I have reached that mile marker and much more. Reflecting back, I consider the question: what have I done in my fifty years? As if life is all about what a person accomplishes. But isn’t it more than that? 

Growing up a farmer’s daughter makes me think of the analogy of planting seeds, tending the fruit of one’s labor, and harvesting the produce. What seeds have I planted in these five decades? I’d like to think I have sprinkled grace, kindness, encouragement, faith, and love in the soil of other’s lives. I wish to leave a harvest of good things behind me when I’m gone. Even if I pass out of memory in the future generations, I hope I will live on because those seeds will continue to grow and bloom in the lives of others far past my lifetime. Those things never have an expiration date. I take comfort in that—leaving something good in the trail of my brief, vaporous existence on this Earth. 

Two tintype pictures rest on my bookshelves of people no one in my husband’s family remembers anymore. It saddens me to know these lives have been forgotten. Who were they? What was their story? I guess I’ll never know, but I like to believe the seeds they have sown in their lifetime pass on in a perennial cycle. As I hope mine will.

However, the idea of only leaving good things in our wake is fantasy. We also influence those who come after us with our failings. Our sins. But God. Because of His working in my life I can, hopefully, transfer more good than not, for He is goodness itself, and His Spirit is in me. None of us have any goodness apart from Him. And if we believe we do and reflect that goodness, it’s only because we are made in His image. I pray that my shortcomings will not take root in the lives of those to come. I hold to the promise that God will bless my children and their children for many generations because I’ve chosen to honor and love Him.

Still, with my declining health, the direction of my life often appears to me like a downward spiral staircase, rather than an upward one, in which I gradually lose everything, but I know that’s not true. It’s a lie. I will never lose His love or the things He has grown in my life. You might ask—how can I believe in God’s goodness and love in a life lived with the debilitating disease of MS? Because I have faith that He can bring purpose and meaning to what I cannot.

In my ponderings this month, I’ve come to the conclusion that this life is not about our monetary or personal achievements but about the way our lives have touched others and about our relationship with God. When we die I believe the only things we can take with us are hope, faith and love, and really the only lasting things we can leave behind. 

Here’s to fifty years, to what we leave behind, and bravely trusting God for the future. 

Blessings, J

Me with my first book, Ruby Moon

 I have a confession to make. I have not been reading or writing much, lately. Not like I used to, every day for an hour or two. I have other things on my mind, and I don’t have or make the time. That feels weird to me to say. Characters always seem to be speaking in my head, and I’ve never not read, except for about six months, some years ago, when I was having migraines on a daily basis. Thank goodness I am past those days. But what is it that has kept me from reading? From writing?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ll be turning 50 this summer, and I find myself reevaluating what I’m spending my time on. I may have very little of it left—time. At least quality, functioning time where I can actually do something. I have no idea when my MS will take more from me. It could be the slow gradual decline that I’ve been experiencing. That’s been like watching the corn grow. You know it has grown by how tall it’s gotten and how deep green and long the leaves have become, but you can’t say when it’s grown. It just has.

Or I could wake up tomorrow and have any number of terrible possibilities happen. It’s like living in an unpredictable war zone. With MS, anything the nerves govern can go awry. From eyesight and movement to bodily functions, and even the autonomic nervous system can be affected, like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing… You get the picture.

All this to say that I am rethinking how I want to spend my days, how I want to move forward, and I’m not sure if it’s continuing to write and publish books. Is that the best thing I can leave behind? Is there something else that would be better? I’m not sure yet. And I’m not sure that writing is making me as happy as it used to. Some portions of my days are spent in frustration over one thing or another in the indie publishing world. I’m becoming weary of the cost marketing has become to my wallet, my peace, and my time. I’ve decided to get through my series this year and aim for publishing my fairytale book early next year, but beyond that I cannot see. I need to pray and think about what the next few years hold for me and how I can best spend my days. 

If you have been following my writing journey, I would appreciate your prayers as I pause to consider how to move forward. 

Image under copyright

It’s “To Quote Tuesday.” I made this card up to go with a collection of note cards I’ll be giving away in my Facebook group, Journeying with Jenny, when On Bur Oak Ridge releases on July 29th. The note cards will feature photos I took from around the farm we live one—and that I set the novel on.

It’s often difficult to see how good things can come from painful circumstances. In this excerpt from On Bur Oak Ridge, Molly reminisces about her opera vocal training and singing with a clear voice and without pain.

FACT: I considered pursuing a career in opera at one point. My Italian vocal teacher said I had the talent for it, but I’m thankful my life took a different direction.

Has your life ever changed direction?

EXCERPT:

Molly
My throat pricks, and it feels as if a hand squeezes my neck, trying to choke me. I hate this feeling, even more than the raspy sounds my voice often brings
forth.

When I think of the damage I’ve suffered and all that I’ve
lost, it threatens to overwhelm me. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten better, able to push past those terrible feelings, but every once in a while, they come rushing back.

Sometimes in my dreams I sing, still, unencumbered by the pain and damage to my vocal cords. I touch my throat, fingering the familiar, marred skin, sensing the scorching, caustic water as if it were yesterday. The hot splash searing through my skin and down my throat. My vocal cords reaping the scourge of that moment. Instead of seeing the laundry kettle toppling, I see my vocal teacher, Mrs. Strenelli, sitting at the baby grand in her parlor…


Thanks for reading! Have a great start to your week. J

Today, as a part of the Coffee Pot Book Club, I am happy to be hosting a stop on the book tour for Raleigh–Tudor Adventurer, by Tony Riches.

Book Title: Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer * Series: The Elizabethan Series, Book 3 * Author: Tony Riches * Publication Date: 1st May 2022 * Publisher: Preseli Press * Page Length: 332 Pages * Genre: Historical Fiction

BLURB:

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

EXCERPT:

Westminster Palace

July 1580

Sir Francis Walsingham gestured to me to sit, and returned to studying his papers. I’d never been inside Westminster Palace before, and was surprised at the plainness of his office. His desk was empty except for an inkstand and the papers in front of him. The tapestries on the walls were faded relics from another age.

His trimmed beard was tinged with grey and he dressed in black with an outdated figure-of-eight ruff. I noted the hem of his sleeve was frayed and repaired. It seemed impossible such an influential and powerful man might be short of money, and I guessed that, unlike me, he had no concern for what he wore.

His terse note summoning me to see him offered no clue as to the reason. I expected to finally account to the queen’s principal secretary for the ruin of the Falcon. I had no idea what the punishment might be, but was so deep in debt a fine would be of little consequence.

‘It seems you’ve been making quite a nuisance of yourself since your return, Master Raleigh.’

His softly spoken voice sounded more sinister than if he’d shouted and, for once, I hesitated to spring to my own defence. I’d been restless since landing at Plymouth, fallen in with the wrong company and turned to drink to forget the burden of guilt.

‘Nothing to say?’ Sir Francis raised an eyebrow. ‘I was told you are something of a poet.’

‘I’ve been unwell, sir, after contracting a fever at sea.’

He looked through his papers. ‘There is the matter of oranges, stolen from a Spanish merchant ship in Dartmouth.’

‘I swear I had no part in that, sir.’

‘The Privy Council believes you did, but I’m sure the Spanish can spare a few oranges.’

I smiled at his understatement, beginning to like him, despite my dire situation. Some members of the impoverished Falcon crew had taken the Spanish merchant ship one moonless night. They sailed her to Torbay, and sold her valuable cargo of ripe fruit before the alarm was raised.

Sir Francis turned his papers to the next page. ‘You were summoned again to the Privy Council, and sent to the Fleet prison for a week for fighting with Sir Thomas Perrot.’ His eyes narrowed. ‘You know Her Majesty’s views on duelling?’

‘It wasn’t a duel, sir. Thomas Perrot was also sentenced to the Fleet, so the Privy Council understood the fault was not entirely mine. He offended me, and I demanded his apology.’

‘Sir Thomas Perrot is well known for his ability to give offence. If I were to demand an apology from every man who offended me, I would be busy indeed.’ He read the next page and looked up at me. ‘You were then committed to Marshalsea prison for fighting in the street and wounding a man named Edward Wingfield.’ He frowned. ‘You were released from the Fleet on a good conduct bond from the Privy Council.’

My hand formed a fist at the memory. ‘I was set upon by Perrot’s friends, who lay in wait to ambush me as I walked here in Westminster. I believed they intended to murder me, sir.’

‘This was the third time you’ve been before the Privy Council in as many months.’ Sir Francis leaned forwards in his chair, fixing me with his intense stare. ‘What are we to do with you, Master Raleigh?’

I had no answer for him and sat in dejected silence, waiting to hear my punishment. I cursed my bad luck. Things could not be much worse. My reputation was destroyed, and I’d come to the Privy Council’s notice once too often, through no fault of my own.

Sir Francis smiled, for the first time. ‘You are fortunate that I see some of your redeeming qualities. You are the only commander who refused to abandon Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s expedition. I also hear you’ve proved a natural leader, and an able ship’s captain.’

My conscience urged me to point out that half of my crew failed to return, but I recalled that Simon Fernandez was Sir Francis Walsingham’s man. We’d formed an unexpected bond, and he would have given the queen’s spymaster a colourful account of my part in our voyage.

Sir Francis didn’t wait for my answer. ‘The Spanish believe Ireland is our Achilles heel and are plotting another revolt. We’re sending reinforcements, and you will have a Crown commission of the rank of captain, and an opportunity to redeem yourself.’

It sounded like an order, but my mind filled with the possibilities of a new adventure. My brother had been knighted for his service in Ireland. I could become one of Walsingham’s men, part of his network of trusted informers, put my past behind me and win my longed-for place at court.

‘I would be honoured, sir.’

He nodded. ‘A hundred men have been mustered here in London. You will take them to Cork, and report to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Lord Grey of Wilton.’ He spoke as if I had no choice, leaving me wondering whether this was my punishment, or a test.

PURCHASE:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link: mybook.to/Raleigh

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09Z98J183

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z98J183

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09Z98J183

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09Z98J183

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the lives of the Tudors. He also runs the popular ‘Stories of the Tudors’ podcast, and posts book reviews, author interviews and guest posts at his blog, The Writing Desk. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Blog: https://tonyriches.blogspot.com/

Website: https://www.tonyriches.com/

Podcast: https://tonyriches.podbean.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyriches

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyriches.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tonyriches.author/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/tonyriches

THANKS:

Thanks for reading and congratulations, Tony on your book!

My novella, Violet’s Vow is on tour this month. On today’s stop–and with a healthy dose of imagination–my main character, flower shop owner Violet Brooks, is chatting with author Amy Walsh on her blog in her character cafe.

FOR FUN

Violet’s Closet:

In the story Violet works in her shop, visits family, does business around town, and goes on several dates. Which outfit would you choose for her to meet a gentleman for lunch? How about work?

READ AN EXCERPT

Violet stood along with her customers and said, as she walked them to the door, “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon. Thank you so much for stopping in and for your business. I look forward to creating something special for your wedding, Miss Moore.”

Extending her hand, Violet shook Miss Moore’s. 

He turned and left, closing the door softly behind him, leaving a whiff of clove and bergamot behind him.

Miss Moore flashed another winning smile Violet’s way. “It is I who should thank you for your expertise. I will inform you as soon as I can about my availability. Good day.”

With a spring in her step, she walked out of the shop door, which Mr. Moore held open.

Still leaning against the door, he caught Violet’s gaze. “Forgive my saying so, but you seem the semblance of your namesake.”

He cleared his throat and dropped his gaze a second, as if repenting of speaking.

Violet did see herself as reserved and holding a quiet beauty, of a kind, which the botanical violet was said to be known for. Roger had always said so.

She took Mr. Moore’s words as a compliment—though Violet would rather have been perceived as something more exotic than the modest and humble violet—and replied simply, “Why, thank you.”

He lifted his forget-me-not eyes again and tipped his head toward her. “Not at all.” A reserved smile arched his lips. “Good day, Mrs. Brooks.”

Through the glass panes of the front window, Violet watched niece and uncle amble away from the shop, arm in arm. Not one to form attachments easily, a slight sadness picked at Violet.

It would be nice to have the cheery company of Miss Moore in the shop, she decided, and she began to hope Miss Moore’s fiancé would agree to their employment scheme.

Expelling a large breath, Violet turned and walked back to her worktable to finish the arrangement she’d been making before the Moores had walked into Fragrant Sentiments, undeniably brightening her day. She whistled as she nestled carnations next to voluptuous branches of lilacs and pictured Mr. Moore’s forget-me-not eyes. 

THANKS FOR READING!

Thanks for reading more about Violet. Just for curiosity’s sake… What kind of eyes do you find dreamy? Violet clearly has a thing for Devon Moore’s baby blues.

A SPECIAL GIVEAWAY:

For newsletter subscribers this next season, I am offering a chance to receive a packet of note cards designed by me with the theme of Violet’s Vow in mind. I will choose one winner in August. SIGN UP HERE.

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.

BOOK DETAILS

“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 

A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

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

AN EXCERPT:

Samuel

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

me.

“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.”

THANK YOU!

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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