Two stories knit this adventure together with the excellence and vigor that Jaime Jo Wright’s debut novel embodied! What can I say about Annalise Forsythe and Libby Sheffield’s struggles, pain, and challenges? Their concerns merged into mine as I turned pages and tried to keep up and solve the long-kept secrets and reasons for dangers in these two main characters’ lives. Jaime Jo kept one or two steps ahead of me throughout both the historical and contemporary time periods. I enjoyed how easily I was drawn into discovering the differing personalities and their reactions to the events that unfolded, while all along the stories complemented one another all the way to the very end. What heroes and what villains! I refuse to say more for I just can't abide spoilers!
I so very much enjoyed the clever way that the mysteries were hidden and yet when the big reveals commenced, they made perfect sense. This read was an absolute delight for how it kept me on the edge of my seat and my mind spinning to figure out who, what, where, when and why! This author and her novel are definitely highly recommended! I’m grateful for Jaime Jo’s imagination and attention to detail. I applaud her mother for allowing her to read and develop her excellence sense of story when otherwise she’d have been slaving over the drudgery of dishes! Goodness, I even enjoyed her ACKNOWLEDGMENTS at the back of the novel!
And just think, Jaime Jo has another story out, which is called “The CURSE of MISTY WAYFAIR”. Guess who is going shopping for that novel soon! You may visit Jaime Jo at jaimewrightbooks.com and if you do, I think you’ll be glad that you did!
Questions for Jaime Jo:
What keeps your ideas and twists inspiring the ink on your pages?
A lot of imagination. LOL And I read a lot of books just to keep my imagination sharp and learn from other writers. I love watching crime mysteries or historical documentaries. All of those contribute to plots and ideas.
I had to cringe when you mentioned Folgers for that is the coffee I use when I make my sugar and cream drink with a spot of coffee! What is your favorite brand of coffee?
Don’t cringe!! That was Annalise’s snobby opinion. 😊 I actually grew up drinking Folgers with my Gramma and Grampa, so Folgers is a very nostalgic coffee for me. I think it’s a staple for every cupboard. I am a coffee snob, though too. But I’m not particularly loyal to one specific brands. I just tend to like the Fair Trade coffees and locally roasted ones.
Is Gossamer Pond a real place or does it represent a real place?
Gossamer Pond is not a real place. It has small components of little towns in my area but for the most part is a figment of my imagination.
Were the Corbin twins’ real people? I loved how they were interwoven into the story!
They are loosely based off of real brothers. For the most part, they’re completely fictional, but there were twin brother evangelists that came to my town at the turn of the century and really raised havoc in the city. Many of the events in the book, such as the riots were based on actual events.
What message do you want your readers to ‘take away’ from this novel?
Grace! Grace, grace, grace. There’s not enough grace to go around these days. While I believe God does have a firm line of right and wrong, He also shows how He tempers that with an opportunity to receive grace.
I just have to know—are you a seat-of-the-pants writer or are you a plotter?
I’m a skeleton. LOL By the I mean, I plot the skeleton of the story, but as write, that’s when I fill in the muscle and ligaments. I know the high points only when I start out. I am seat of the pants as far as the scenes go.
Who was your favorite character to write in “The RECKONING of GOSSAMER POND”?
Favorite character to write was probably Jacobus. He was just so different. Odd. Blunt. Theological.
Where do you want your readers to connect with you?
Definitely facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaimejowright
Or sign up for my newsletter at http://www.jaimewrightbooks.com
IN HIS OWN WORDS, Inspirational Reflections on the Life & Wisdom of BILLY GRAHAM by Jerry B. Jenkins
I’d had my eye on this book as soon as it was published in 2018, for it is about a man I’ve admired all my life. A man whose ministry jump started my walk with the Lord. These pages trace the life experiences and quotes by one of America’s most beloved evangelists, Billy Graham. If you want a peak into the life and thoughts of a fully committed and anchored-in-the-Lord man, this is the book for you! I myself have been reading it slowly, savoring the sweetness adorning the pages of IN HIS OWN WORDS.
Maybe too many of our thoughts dwell on the belief that the grass is greener—for others. We may think that a man who is so favored in the public eye and with the Lord would not have struggles or challenges. But that isn’t true. Time after time and trial after trial Graham prospered because of his love and obedience that carried him over his challenges. This is a man who became increasingly humble as he grew stronger in his walk and relationship with God.
Jerry B. Jenkins interviews with this evangelist covers Graham’s core message, Christian living, humor, aging and death, heaven and legacy. All of these topics are important to everyone, whether we will admit it or not! As I’ve paged my way through Billy Graham’s years I smile and feel that pull of inspiration to grow deeper and know our Lord better than the day before.
I received this book from Tyndale Momentum and this post is an accurate and honest as well as appreciative review. I highly recommend this book. I’ve been touch deeply by the wisdom and reality of a man of God who said yes and kept say yes to our divine Creator and Lover of Our Souls! Talk about adventure! Thank your Tyndale Momentum and Jerry B. Jenkins for this amazing gift.
Dinner PAWsible: A Cookbook of Nutritious, Homemade Meals for Cats and Dogs by Cathy Alinovi, DVM and Susan Thixton
The first time I checked out this COOKBOOK of nutritious, homemade meals for cats and dogs—I admit it—I was impressed. Not only was I drawn to the various benefits this book offers, but when I tried some of the recipes on the dogs, the joy they shared proved more than I can express! I have to thank my sister Pat for her amazing ability to find such useful and entertaining books such as this one.
This book offers more than recipes. Cathy Alinovi, DVM and Susan Thixton, the PAWsible authors, know that acquiring enough time to cook for ourselves can be challenging. So, they offer advice on mass food production so that you are not always slaving over the hot stove for your pet’s dinners. There is a section about foods that will help your dog or cat with ailments. Each recipe is equipped with serving sizes for let’s say a 10-pound cat or a 30-pound dog. Supplements are addressed and special hints are located at the bottom of each recipe.
Our dog, Cricket, is an amazing addition to our family. Yes, I can even say that after I arrived home today to find my tissue box torn apart all over the living room floor! (I suppose he was bored!) Anyway, Cricket has a sensitive stomach with any changes in kibble. As I eased him into cooked meat and vegetables his movements became normal and problems disappeared. I also have discovered that when I feed him freshly cooked vegies and meat that he does need to be let outside more frequently. The extra moisture in his food has been a challenge on the days that I work full time hours.
With our previous dog, Porschea, I hadn’t tired the real meat diet until her end of life. She loved the chicken and adored me all the more for that change of diet. Also, Porschea had a chronic problem with crystals in her urine. She had been prescribed many different antibiotics to help her with her many bladder infections through the years. Once I started feeding her chicken and lessoned the kibble the crystals disappeared from her urine samples completely! It is my opinion that she would have lived longer and healthier had I fed her fresh meat and vegetables. I know for a fact that she was happier with the real food instead of kibble!
I recently was sick with the flu and I had to resort to can dog food and some kibble with some cooked vegies and noodles or rice for Cricket. But, if I’d followed the recipe book I could have had a stash of casseroles premade for any interruptions and life emergencies. 😊
I appreciate the information that holistic veterinarian, Dr. Cathy Alinovi and Susan Thixton, also know as the “Caped Crusader for Safe Pet Food” share in this book. I have an eye for keeping our pets healthier and happier and these two ladies have researched and compiled their wonderful information for such a time like this! This is a highly recommended book in my opinion! Let me know what you think too!
I never tire of Regina’s historical adventures! This is book 4 in a wonderful London, England Regency series. Lydia Villers is strong and admirable, but feeling a tad unsettled over this new position with someone who has spurned her previously. I must admit that I didn’t know what to think of Lydia in book 3. I even disliked her at times! In book 4, I found Meredith Thorn and Fortune the cat at their best when introducing Lydia to Frederick, Viscount Worthington. When a lady loves science she will even put up with the discomfort of a past acquaintance who would otherwise have caused her to—run. An imperfect but excellent choice of a hero keeps the tension and questions coming. There is a pleasing thread of mystery throughout this 1812 tale.
Who doesn’t love a mystery? I know that I do!
Regina kept my attention through the entire story and I felt fully entertained and engaged in both the plot and the characters. I love that NEVER VIE FOR A VISCOUNT is set in this wonderful time period. This novel made me smile! Well done, Regina. Also, Regina’s beautiful website http://www.reginascott.com/ includes announcements and her blog page includes interesting tidbits of historical facts.
I did receive this novel for free and I’m thrilled and excited to share this honest and informative review. I love clean, historical fiction with engaging characters who are caught in the whirlwind of difficulties and challenges.
Questions for Regina:
How did you come up with the room spaces used for the scientific experiments?
For Lydia to be able to get easily back and forth to her new position, I knew Worth’s laboratory needed to be located near Miss Thorn’s home on Clarendon Square, which is mostly populated by townhouses. Like most condominiums today, they were narrow and had relatively few rooms. So, I had Worth purchase the adjoining townhouse to his as his base of operations. Using an architectural plan of one such house from the Regency period, I mapped out which rooms might serve for what purpose. For example, Worth’s experiments require access to heat and water, so I gave him the kitchen of the second house. One of his colleagues, Miss Pankhurst, needs more space to store and spread out the textiles she is researching, so I allotted her the old dining room with it built-in cabinets. I also had Worth remove most of the things that might burn—like padded furniture, draperies, and doilies—from all his research rooms to prevent a fire should an experiment go awry.
If you were to rewrite a character in this story, who would it be and what would you add or take away?
I might rewrite John Curtis, Worth’s rival natural philosopher, to give him a bit more of a backstory. Or maybe I’ll save that for another book.
What was the most fun historical aspect to study in this novel?
The ballooning! It is always surprising to me to learn what was available during the Regency period, and what wasn’t. Now we take sandbags and pull cords for granted in a hot air balloon, but those were just starting to be tested in Worth and Lydia’s time. They couldn’t isolate oxygen easily, and helium had yet to be discovered as an element, so their choices for lifting gasses were pretty small. The French had experimented with hydrogen, with sometimes disastrous results!
What would you like to share about your adventures writing this novel or the history you discovered in your research?
Napoleon wanted to conquer England so badly, but England’s might at sea kept him from crossing the Channel easily. So, he started his own air force—of balloons—and the head of it was a woman! Alas, Madame Sophie Blanchard was killed when her balloon caught fire and crashed, before she could make plans for invading England from the air.
What is the take-away that you would love your readers to benefit from reading this story?
Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. God gave you talents, dreams. Embrace them, and benefit the world. That’s what Lydia learns to do.
Will there be a book 5?
Yes, there will! Never Kneel to a Knight, featuring Worth’s sister Charlotte, releases in mid-March. When the thoroughly poised Charlotte Worthington requests that Miss Thorn and her cat Fortune find her a position, she never dreamed the savvy employment agency owner would reunite her with Matthew Bateman, her brother's former bodyguard. Matthew is about to be knighted for an act of valor, and he and his sisters could use some polishing if they're to enter Society after his elevation. Yet how can Charlotte maintain her calm, cool demeanor as their sponsor when she harbors a secret love for him? Matthew Bateman cannot forget the beauty who is miles out of his league. Once a boxer called the Beast of Birmingham, Matthew would like nothing better than to be worthy of Charlotte's hand. As old enemies and new ones attempt to bring him low, can Matthew prove to Charlotte that their love is meant to be?
How do you want your readers to contact you?
Readers can reach me via my website at www.reginascott.com, on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorreginascott, on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/reginascottpins, at the blog I share with young adult author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.com, or on Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/reginascott. If you want to know when the next book is out or on sale, please sign up for a free e-mail alert at http://eepurl.com/baqwVT
To Laura, who’s masterful pen spins lore and imagination into a mesmerizing tale that follows me throughout my days, until the stories very end. But who am I kidding? A Bound Heart sweetens my musings—well past the reading of the last richly written word—all for envisaging Lark MacDougall, Granny, Larkin, Magnus and Rory, the handsome captain of the Merry Lass. Their struggles are a glimpse into the anguish, which hundreds of immigrants suffered after they were spirited from their homes—willing or not—to arrive in a vastly different land. The cost to these brave souls, whether they welcomed the New World or feared their indenture was inspired by Laura’s own family history. Dedicated to her sixth great-grandfather, I find this story appropriately named. A Bound Heart has enriched my appreciation for my own ancestors daring and dangerous trip across the Atlantic, which planted them in a young country whose culture proved strange compared to their heartfelt home. This story is filled with dreams, ache for what was and what could be as well as danger met with courage. Laura has put her heart and soul into this novel and I feel this to be true for how her words reached out to me.
This novel was given to me by Laura, and I’m honored to present a true and accurate review of this more-than-worthy read. If you enjoy adventure, beautifully written depictions of location, eighteenth century time period, and characters that leap off the page with authenticity, then I recommend this novel to you. In fact, I doubly recommend this story to you! I plan to purchase the audio version of A Bound Heart for I have enjoyed every audio rendition from Laura’s collections of novels. Hearing her tales unfold with turns of phrases—uniquely Laura’s—makes the mundane seem so much less common as her lively tales even stir an eagerness for me to put my hands in the suds!
QUESTIONS FOR LAURA:
I’ve loved the photo you shared from Kerrera, Scotland on Facebook! How did you settle on this location?
I’m so thankful I was able to take several trips to Scotland, one with my pastor brother in Spain, and other trips with Liz Curtis Higgs. Scotland is a very compact country so I found, after taking the train and driving all over, that the Hebrides and that stunning coast with all its rich history would be an ideal setting. The castle ruins and vistas provided so much inspiration!
Was Kerrera Castle modeled after your sixth great-grandfather, George Hume’s Wedderburn Castle? Did you ever see Wedderburn Castle in person or if it is not standing—its ruins?
Yes, to modeling the fictitious Kerrera Castle after the rebuilt Wedderburn which had fallen to ruins but has been restored, thankfully. Though it looks very different now than the original castle where my kin lived, it’s on the same grounds.
Oh, Larkin has stolen my heart! Was the baby photo on your website the beginning of his character’s creation for A Bound Heart? What an excellent addition to your story he is indeed!
So happy Larkin stole your heart, too! I hadn’t thought to include him then found that amazing photo of a red-headed infant on the web. When Lark was boarding the ship for Virginia, I thought her life would be wonderfully complicated by a baby. I love babies so tuck them in books whenever it suits the story 😊
Granny said the most amazing things! Thank you for her and for Lark’s amazing love interests: Lard Magnus MacLeish and Captain Roy MacPherson. Which one of these characters was your favorite to write?
I loved Granny, too. So happy you want to quote her! I enjoyed Magnus very much as a character yet felt the heaviness and responsibility of lairds back then tending their tenants and sheep and heartbreaking things that stretched their lives to the seams. So here is a fun Granny quote! Thank you Laura!
"His whiskers need trimming," Granny said in the next breath. "He has the look of a pirate, he does."
Elsewhere, you’ve shared about reading diaries from the time period of your story. Where did you find such treasures to glean the authentic thoughts and attitudes of the people in your story?
Much can be found on the web if you take care to check the legitimacy of your sources and through inter-library loan for out of print books, etc. What helped, most of all, was the collection of letters penned by my Scottish ancestors, written back and forth between Virginia and Scotland in the 18th-century. A true treasure trove! Somehow those letters were lost about 1900 by the family but thankfully someone had copied them, so we still have what was said. Also remarkable are the legal documents and business dealings and surveys signed by my George which also include the signature of George Washington as well. Truth really is stranger than fiction!
Will you pen another winsome tale from your beloved Scotland? (I hope so!)
Readers have said they’d love a sequel to A Bound Heart. So happy about that though I’m not sure it will happen as I’m slated for other stories. Something about Jamaica in winter sounds quite nice!
Where do you wish your readers to connect with you?
Shall I start by telling you how I felt at the end of the novel? Sure, it was like a holy hush as the splendidness of story washed over my heart and mind.
This story has depth and take-away, excellent character if you will. Jane writes with unique dazzling detail that kept me turning pages as fast as I could during this extremely busy Christmas holiday.
Evelyn Lewis is amazingly complex and quite likable. I believe there will be many who can relate to her struggle with a past that will not stay forgotten. The hero, Taylor, well let’s just say that he was also believable and worthy of the heroine’s notice.
I love how Jane used an innocent and exuberant child to tie these pages together in a memorable knot of love and southern down-home welcome. I’ve had a Bonnie Sue in my life a time or maybe two. Are you curious to find out if you could say the same? There are so many perfect-to-fit personalities represented that I felt that this was a unique and interesting story all the way through--till the very last word.
Bravo Jane! I’m giving this shout out with hope that you’ve already started book two. This is a novel to read and re-read for sure and I've already gifted this book to another excited reader. (Who will love me forever for sharing this debut novel. I’m sure!)
QUESTIONS FOR JANE:
How long has this story brewed in your inner being?
Some of the elements of the book are from my childhood--the sunset porch, a farm, Tennessee. It's been brewing for years but begged to come to life over the last few years.
Your characters sparkle with authenticity. How did you accomplish this in your first novel?
Thank you so much for that! I've had some excellent mentors in my life, some fabulous friends, and a terrific editor. Plus, I rewrote the book 1,000 times, more or less.
Have you known an Evie or two?
Maybe we all have a little bit of Evie in us--it is easier to avoid some of the past because we don't know what to do with it. And I do love her strength and survival skills.
Do you enjoy writing fiction or non-fiction better? Or is this not a fair question?
That's a good question. My first non-fiction book, Quiet Places, took a zillion years to write. My last non-fiction series I wrote four books in a year! So The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis as a first novel took a long, long time to write--so it would be tempting to say "I like writing non-fiction better" but that would mostly be because the novel took a long, long time to bring to life.
What is an important theme in this story that you want your readers to realize?
That no one's past needs to be unconquerable, and no one's future needs to terrify. And that healing happens best in community.
What other types of books do you write that could relate to this fiction story?
Part of the lure of fiction is to flesh out in "real people" the principles I know to be true in my own life. So, exploring issues of fear, trust, healing in fiction, as I do in my books such as Resting Place, Worry Less So You Can Live More, and others, was super appealing.
How should your readers reach out to you?
Oh, I'd love to hear from readers! You can reach me through my website, JaneRubietta.com and also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Amazon best-selling author of Her Deadly Inheritance, Beth Ann Ziarnik, is back with another romantic suspense. This is the sequel that I’ve been waiting for! Jill Shepherd is to meet her father for the first time at the Gates Mansion in Wisconsin. (Which in our real world is the Pabst Mansion from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) Clay Merrick, the hero, has his own struggles, so my question to you is—will he be there when the heroine needs him most? Jill faces extreme rejection from those in the household as well as welcomed love and acceptance from her father. Someone tips her off that her father’s illness may be caused by poisoning. Jill and Clay investigate all who have visited her father recently in order to find any possible mysterious murderer—before it is too late. Yet no one seems to be a likely suspect. I enjoyed this read and do recommend this novel. If you have not read Her Deadly Inheritance, I suggest that you begin with that novel and read this one next!
QUESTIONS FOR BETH ANN:
When a historic home is used in story I feel that adds pizzazz, immediately. How did you come to the decision of using the Pabst Mansion instead of any other?
I had looked at a book about mansions in Wisconsin and liked the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee. I knew that Jill’s father lived in Milwaukee, though she didn’t. Oshkosh Senior Center sponsored a bus tour, which included this mansion and I attended. A bocent, who is a trained guided tour specialist, was assigned specifically to me to show me all the nooks and crannies of this mansion in case I could use those areas in the novel. They were so excited about Pabst Mansion being used for a story setting.
Do you have a favorite room in that mansion?
If I had to choose one it would be Captain Pabst’s study, which has four German proverbs painted into the design of the ceiling area that are meant to encourage people. I chose one of those sayings and included it in the story. This room had 14 secret compartments! ( Beth told me more about this grand place and I plan to Google it later to look up how special and interesting this mansion is.)
Which of Jill’s half sisters did you enjoy writing the most?
They were both interesting to write. I really enjoyed Lilly and how she developed. That she became one of the pivotal secondary characters was a total surprise to me.
What is a message woven into this story that you wish your readers to benefit from?
The message that love covers a multitude of sins, I Peter 4:8. We need God’s love to cover the wrongs we’ve done. The characters in this novel had to come to this place in one form or another. They also had to forgive one another.
Will there be another book for Jill and Clay?
Yes, I’m already writing Her Deadly Vows.
How can your readers reach you?
Beth’s other social media is listed on that website. Thank you Beth Ann for a wonderful read and interview! I look forward to book three! I will watch for it!
DEAD SEA RISING spans contemporary Manhattan, New York City to 200 BC, Ur of the Chaldees with seamless procession. Included are some scenes from the Vietnam War—another well laid facet to this story. This first novel for a new series by Jerry B. Jenkins delighted me. Jenkins master story-telling kept me questioning and flipping pages, while pure regret followed when I put the novel down to take care of life-in-general. A friend of mine looked at my copy of Dead Sea Rising and stated, “Oh, a bathroom book!” Of course, I asked the intelligent question, “Hugh?” She replied that the short chapters are easily finished when one is in the bathroom! Well, I learned something there! These short chapters keep the tension and curiosity thrumming the whole way through the story.
I enjoy the mix of ancient and then modern-day events. The various personalities and how they ‘play’ together on the page had me flipping emotions from concern, laughter, curiosity, and more. I love the professionalism that Jenkins used to create this memorable tale, for instance: historical and archaeology research was aided by Craig A. Evans, BA, MA, MDiv, PhD, Dhabil and John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Theological Seminary. These men brought an authenticity to Ur and the characters of that time period. I would have to say that Terah was the most entertaining character in this novel as well as the most alarming. His wife, Belessunu showed such strength of character! Of course, Nimrod the self-proclaimed god, was an absolute jerk. I know, I’ve never said that in a book review before but the man earned it!
I enjoyed the contemporary characters too. Nicole Berman and the quirky NYPD Detective Sergeant George Wojciechowski were excellent! Even though I’ve finished the novel, I’m now playing the audio version with matched enthusiasm! I’m looking forward to the next in this series and in my opinion, book 2 will not come soon enough!
It is not just that Sandra writes with skill and imagination. And it isn’t just that she leads her readers into the Victorian time period with realistic yet exquisite flair. This writer has a unique voice that captivated me immediately. I am a fan from the very first page and she held me securely till the last exquisite word planted her very satisfying ending.
The story-telling drops off the page as vibrant characters—those quite likeable and those not so much—intermingle to lead this reader on a journey raptured with intrigue, mystery, and heart-felt desire to know more. Who can one trust? Will Miss Eleanor Sheffield discern the false from the genuine concerning the most important relationships and individuals surrounding her? Much responsibility is laid upon this fine lady’s shoulders and the hero who’d been silent for so long is questionable to say the least. Especially when someone with influence—not dampened by the grave—reveals information that must be considered.
Re-read- most definitely- most desirably. Lady of A Thousand Treasures is a novel this reader will crave to read. I understand without question that the mood to experience Sandra’s books will drop upon me and I will have to seek the treasured tales hidden within her pages.
If you enjoy historical fiction, which includes actual people and plants your feet in the time period so naturally that you don’t know that you’ve been transported, then your will appreciate this first of THE VICTORIAN LADIES SERIES.
QUESTIONS FOR SANDRA:
Your novel is lush with historic atmosphere, yet what you paint with words only accents the story and adorns your characters. What was your favorite scene to embellish with historic props?
Anything having to do with the house. I love those old stately homes in England, with their secret rooms and corridors, the back stairs and the front stairs, the creaking hallways and the walls hung chock-a-block with pictures. It’s such a pleasure to bring my readers to those houses!
I appreciate your main character, Miss Eleanor Sheffield. How did you decide on her personality? What is the very best quality about Miss Eleanor and the hero, Henry?
I love that Ellie had many difficulties thrust upon her, and yet did not allow herself to become a victim. Victorian women had major constraints, and the heroines in my books cannot just solve their problems as you or I might—but I love them the more for that; they are forced to cleverly use the tools at hand. Truthfully, all of us, then and now, are constrained in some way from the full self-determination we would prefer, and perhaps that is one way we identify with them. And yet ... the human spirit, a strong woman's spirit, faces those challenges head-on, tries to think through what she wants, and then plots a way toward it. When roadblocks occur, she finds a way over, around, or through. That was true a thousand years ago, and it is still true, now.
Also—we must all be risk-takers to gain what we want: love, respect, a meaningful life, and personal fulfillment. Today's readers certainly have that in common with yesterday's women, my historical heroines. Ellie had to learn to do all of that and to trust herself. When she did, life unfolded for her!
Harry is a man after my own heart. I often find that, in novels, readers want the heroine to have to grow, but they expect the hero to be nearly perfect from the start. But that’s not a real man! Harry had to learn to leave behind trying to please everyone and prove himself and allow himself to be the strong, loving man that he is. No approval required!
How did you choose the Sheffield Brother’s evaluator of antiquities business?
My husband and I are devoted fans of British television and film, and we are especially partial to the early seasons of Jeeves and Wooster. In one episode, the older men are after one another’s silver collections, stooping to all manner of shenanigans to acquire them. Wodehouse uses humor, as always (the lowly silver cow creamer!) to wryly remark on an upper-class habit, the collecting of things and envy of others’ possessions.
I do admire the many collections the British have amassed over the years, though. Some are in country houses, as in my book and the Wodehouse episode, but some are in tiny cabinets of the middle class, and others consist of large numbers of pieces that have been donated to museums. I have always loved the V & A just for its sheer size, and I loved learning a wee bit about its predecessor, the South Kensington, and how some collections came to partially populate museums.
I think that we are all collectors of sorts. I moved recently, and one of my friends noted how many baking pans I had collected—Bundt pans in 10-inch, 9-inch, 8-inch, and 6-inch sizes, for example. Why? Baking is a way I provide affection to my family, and therefore it wasn’t so much about hoarding as what those pans meant to me. Jewelry, tea sets, artwork, even pennies and empty perfume bottles all carry an emotional value for those of us who treasure them. I wanted to explore that in the book.
What was your favorite collection that Miss Eleanor Sheffield worked with?
I loved exploring the difference between what her mother treasured -the valuable and showy jewelry, and what Harry’s mom treasured, the pelican pendant, and what it said about each of them. Ultimately, our treasures tell others a lot about us.
Who is your favorite troublemaker in this story? Or if you wish not to answer that, who is your favorite support character?
Marguerite is my favorite support character. Every woman needs a BFF, no matter what time you live in, someone who is unfailingly faithful to you but also loves you enough to speak the truth.
What experience or person triggered the “writing bug” in you?
I was always a reader; I learned to read and love reading at an early age. It followed, for me, that I wanted to create stories, too. The many historical books I enjoyed reading as a child and then as a young woman influenced me, too. I loved American set books such as the Little House on the Prairie series, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and others like that. I also fell in love with Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt and her books definitely influenced the topics I choose to research and write about.
How do you like to begin writing a novel?
I think of a main character, and the situation, and the romantic difficulties. Then I plot in layers. I research extensively, and those learned bits get put on my outline. Dates, and the mystery’s clues and outcome, are layered on next, and then the various threads: romance, character arcs, spiritual aspects. When I have the house framed, as it were, then I feel free to let my creativity loose because—hopefully—I haven’t forgotten anything.
I don’t think I could write historicals without setting a plot and a timeline ahead of time. It’s too much for me, personally, to keep in my head. Then once the math is done, so to speak, I relax and let my character command the pages.
How do you wish for your readers to connect with you? I would love for them to visit me at my website: www.sandrabyrd.com There is a contact button there if they wish to email me, and links to all of my social media pages!
This eighteenth century story slips the reader into an era when severe expectations cruelty thrived. Thankfully, those bondages are foreign to our time and experience. Revolutionary France had turned upside down as the guillotine destroyed way too many lives. Innocent people were disgraced or worse, all because of their wealth or wealthy connections. I will never be able to flippantly speed past any mention of this piece of history without thinking of the awful cost of lives and dignity. When hate flourishes so much is thrown into terror, wounded, and lost.
Jocelyn paints with vivid brushstrokes of elegant language the challenges, angst and depth of her character’s crisis and joys. Vivienne Rivard, lacemaker for the royal and wealthy, is in danger of losing her life, and she has lost so much already. Liam Delancy’s character is strong and compelling and ever so necessary for this story to develop. The varied characters and exciting plot decorate the pages, making this a must-read-again story for years to come!
A unique quality about this story is that Vivienne’s French ancestry is connected to the heroine, Liberty, in The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz! So, if you should follow my best advice and purchase or borrow A Refuge Assured from the library, make sure that you also do the same with The Lacemaker. I love a story with character connections to other series and this one leaps further to link authors and two publishing houses! This is a highly recommended read!
Questions for Jocelyn:
How did you get interested in studying the French Revolutionary War times? Somehow I came across a mention of refugees from the French Revolution making their way to Pennsylvania for political asylum. I dug deeper and deeper, reading narratives of people who fled, and I was hooked on this aspect that I had never heard of before. When I read that the entire lacemaking community of Chantilly was executed, I was shocked and intrigued. That’s when I began thinking of writing the story of a lacemaker who escapes to America.
I loved the real people you wove into this story. Which one was your personal favorite?
Eliza Hamilton. She only makes a brief appearance in my novel, but she was an incredible woman.
Was Asylum a real place? If so, are there any original buildings left to peruse?
Yes, it was! From 1793-1803, French Azilum, or Asylum in English, was a real settlement built in a horseshoe bend of the Susquehanna River in northern Pennsylvania. It was meant to be a refuge for Marie-Antoinette and her son, but even though they didn’t make it, dozens of aristocrats, priests, military and tradesmen did. You can still visit the location today, as I did for my research. None of the original buildings are left standing, but there is a reconstructed cabin and other structures built after 1803.
If you were to write a sequel to this story, what kind of heroine would you write about?
I would want to write about Tara Delaney, the hero Liam’s sister. In A Refuge Assured, she’s a feisty tavern owner in Philadelphia, widowed since the American Revolution. She’s full of personality, and I just have a feeling her story isn’t over.
Is there anything you would like to tell your readers about this story?
The primary theme is that of finding refuge in the Lord, when no physical place of safety seems to exist. But a secondary theme popped up through a character I didn’t plan on creating: Armand, the father from whom Vivienne had been estranged her entire life. The two flee France together, and through their relationship, a picture of reconciliation emerged. At one point Armand says to Vivienne, “One is never too old for a father’s love.” None of us are ever too old –or “too far gone”—for our heavenly Father’s love, either. And that is the greatest reconciliation story of all time.
Do you have other novels that are or will be published soon?
My next novel, Between Two Shores, will release Feb. 5, 2019. It’s set during the Seven Years’ War in Montreal, and the heroine is half-French, half-Mohawk. You can find more about the book here: http://www.jocelyngreen.com/books/fiction/between-two-shores
What an excellent interview Jocelyn! Thank you for taking the time and for caring for your readers! I did an earlier review for MARK OF THE KING, which was the first novel I read by Jocelyn Green! It was captivating! Again, thank you, Jocelyn!