Category: Balance of Faith whilst Living

Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Legacy of Mercy” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novel “Waves of Mercy” was inclusive of the audiobooks I am able to listen to due to my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook (and the borrowed print edition from my local library) which serves as a prequel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading INSPY Historical Fiction, especially Sagas:

I am a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Fiction – the kind of stories I love to read are reflective of my ardent passion for the collective works of Julie Lessman (which will start to be reflection on #JLASblog this coming Winter) wherein I discovered one of my favourite INSPY Historical saga writers! Her family within the original trilogy ‘Daughters of Boston’ became such a firm fixture of my heart and soul, I can’t wait to re-enter their lives starting inside the prequel this December wherein I finally get to read Marcy and Patrick’s courtship story! (A Light in the Window)

From there – I could aptly remember stories of my childhood which befit this category – even some one-offs such as Frontier Lady (which became a trilogy lateron) by Judith Pella were quite beloved (a series I dearly need to find second-hand if only to resume from whence I once left off) – whilst as a book blogger I’ve carved out a list of authors I am pursuing to read to curate a greater list of #mustread authors of both Historical and Contemporary INSPY Fiction.

This is why being a part of this blog tour was such a blessing – as I was hoping Ms Austin would become a new author I could continue to read and enjoy following – from a backlist and frontlist perspective of interest! As soon as I began reading Waves of Mercy, I recognised my instincts for finding a saga writer I could love was well founded!

The key reason I love reading sagas (especially of the historical past!) is the continuation of spending time with the characters! Of knitting out a well-rounded history of their families and of being able to stay with them as they grow, mature and move through the milestones of their lives! Oft-times sagas also embrace the next generations of their lives – through their children and grand-children – where each new story is an extension of the originals but moving deeper into their descendants and sometimes shifting backwards into their ancestors lives; depending on which way the writer wishes to take their focus.

I have an affinity of passion for serial fiction – this is why sagas are a wicked good fit for me! I have trouble parting with characters I feel especially close as a kindred spirit and being able to re-visit with them in latter installments if the best kind of joy I know as a reader! By extension, I also love this when it happens in motion pictures – such as the mini-series or tv serials on television or in motion pictures – a few which come to mind are the Love Comes Softly series, Avonlea, Anne with an E, Murdoch Mysteries (up til a certain season), Downton Abbey (up til a certain season), Legacy (prior to the final year), Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (prior to the final few seasons) and most adaptations based on Classical Literature. The one I never had the chance to see (as of yet) is Wind at my Back which is a Canadian series.

These are only a few of the ones I’ve appreciated over the years and I continuously find myself smitten by sagas in fiction – there is such a breadth of joy in seeing how the worlds are built and how the characters themselves become the touchstones of reading about our human condition whilst we sort out our lives as we live each day fully present and captured in the moments which become the memories we cherish in the future.

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Waves of Mercy
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription, Borrowed from local library
Narrator: Rachel Dulude

Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts,
Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town's settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0764217616

ASIN: B01LYI8NFZ

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Recorded Books

on 4th October, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback, Audiobook | Digital

Pages: 384

Length: 14 hours, 15 minutes (unabridged)

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Anna is terrified by her nightmares about being aboard a ship during rough weather crossing Lake Michigan from Chicago to the Michigan shore – to such an extent, that when she’s starting to experience this nightmare coming real to life it overtakes her sensibility to separate fantasy from reality. Her thoughts in turmoil over how her boyfriend and her separated – over a disagreement about a church and the beliefs therein are what brought her heart to be torn and spilt between letting go of the past and embracing the future. She was still tucked inside those moments they exchanged and the last fragments of her life she had lived in Chicago – all the while the storms continued to plague her anxieties and the manner in which she was about to arrive via the steamship which was a trial of nerves in of itself.

Despite her mother’s kind assurances and her faithfulness in prayer and the virtues of affirmative thoughts to carry you through the roughest of situations – not even her memories of sermons and easier times could dissuade herself from rolling through afflicted memories which caused her more discomfort. It wasn’t until her ship allowed her disembark did she first find her feet and heart able to ease out of their quaking displeasure to give way towards a calmer beginning on solid ground once more.

This first chapter of the novel I listened to via audiobook – wherein I found the narrator had a pleasant way of bringing Anna to life even though a few of her phrases and wordings felt a bit harder in tone than what was necessary, she aptly described how the churnings of a worried mind could inflict undue duress during a lake crossing aboard a ship which was cast against a difficult storm. I felt she brought Anna’s emotional state to life quite well and allowed us to peer into this young woman’s thoughts in such a way as to make us feel as if we were aboard this ship ourselves, standing near to Anna and observing her discomfort first-hand.

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We first become introduced to Geesje as she observes the changes in her town – from communication and lightning changes to simply the way people were approaching their lives. Although she’s still in her sixties, people have the tendency to treat her as modern people would treat the elderly – as if she is fragile and not with a lot of her youth still left to give a spring to her step – yet as you observe her directly, she’s a young sixty-something who loves life, even if the changes round her leave her a bit unsettled as she remembers a simpler time before the complications of industry and progress catapulted everyone forward. How well we can all stipulate the same even over the past thirty to forty years where technology has almost superseded our own lives.

The irony here is how where progress can inflict a nuance in some ways it allows for shortages in others – how ironic Geesje would find it that infrastructure (ie. roads, etc) are still an oversight of progress (left to be the last of priority) and how we’re a disposal society inasmuch as the one she observed in the late 1800s just ahead of the dawning of the 20th Century! She was commenting how in the Netherlands they reused their buildings, cherished their architectural designs and yet, in Holland, Michigan (where this story is set) they would prefer to demolish and rebuild forsaking the old for the new; the irony dear hearts is that our society today in the 21st Century has the same pattern of destruction and reconstruction!

I love how Geesje is a knitter! If only I could one day master the art and complexities of socks, I think I shall be a happier knitter! For now, I appreciate what I can stitch into prayer shawls and friendship shawls – though to be honest, I yearn to aspire to master Fair Isle knitting patterns as much as wearables inasmuch as expound into fibre artist and textile arts of all varieties, techniques and styles. Once your hands enjoy the tactical blissitude of yarn, you find yourself drawn further inside Old World Arts & Crafts – though, of course, what I was most curious over is the pattern she was knitting as the style wasn’t mentioned.

You feel for her, truly! She’s being asked to write about her exodus from the Netherlands and what inspired the journey to Michigan – her family emigrated to the States when she was seventeen, which brought back memories of my own relatives who made the journey from their European countries to the States (as I am only a few generations down from when my relatives crossed the Atlantic inasmuch as I enjoy being an Ancestry Sleuth alongside my Mum) – as she started to talk about her honest emotions and the conflicting ways she struggled against her faith and finally found reconciliation – you could tell the journey to a new country was not without its depths of strife and adversity. It had to be incredibly despairing for her and even my own relatives – as I am sure not every person in every family who made the trip overseas wished to leave their home countries – some perhaps, but all? Surely, not! It was a daunting prospect – leaving everything behind to risk a stake of claim to set down new roots elsewhere? You can just imagine how that would lead to a conflict in faith and prayer – of where you might even feel distanced from your spirituality rather than closer in the walk you always felt endured through your life’s path. Especially of course if the hardest part of reconcile were the circumstances you faced after you arrived – if tragedy struck or affliction of illness took away lives – how do you rally against the darkness to resume your walk in the Light?

This is the conflict Geesje is having now – of weighing how to best explain the past without revealling herself in such a way where she could lose favour with her neighbours, family and friends alike – as if being completely transparent about the journey and the settlement in a new country could somehow become a negative influence or muddled in such a way with emotional anguish as to paint her life’s story in a different light than it was previously viewed. This gave a deeper scope of insight into how everyone is at times hesitative to share portions of their story – of sharing the living truth of their own lives if it runs against what society or community perceive of a person’s life. Where strife and adversity afflict the memories, there are moments where it feels as if absence of disclosure is a better course than honesty; however, it isn’t the best way of leaving behind a historical artifact of the hours lived but a gentler course if you don’t want to erase someone elses perception of the past. It was interesting watching her work through her emotions and sort out her thoughts on the subject – seeing how she chose what was best for her and what might benefit the community of Holland.

Before we can resume Anna’s story, we must first experience Geesje’s through a series of flashbacks and recollective memories. As we move backwards into her childhood in the Netherlands we learn about how her family were Separatists from the main church striving to hold-fast to a living God and not to be confined by the rituals of change ordained by man taking them further away from the scriptures they lived by. For her family, their faith was their rock and foundation of how they approached living – they were tethered to their beliefs as it was as important as air, shelter and food. They believed so dearly strong in their faith their attempts to outwit their opposition and repressive tactics of those who felt they had no right to rebel against the status quo set them apart from most of their family members who despite holding their same thoughts on the subject were not as strong as they were to leave and seek a better place to live.

As your reading about Geesje’s family’s history it reflects back on the stories I’ve read during the World War eras – of how irregardless of which country of origin or which era in history you move back inside – there have been many instances of persecution and violence. The manner in which Austin approaches this realistic truth of Geesje’s past points towards her compassionate heart for writing convicting narrative rooted out of History itself and re-fuelled inside fiction to offer keen insight into lives which were once lived but perhaps are not as readily known as other stories oft-times gain the spotlight more often.

Anna has gone to Michigan to find recovery after her spilt with her ex and to heal a heart which is still in the process of understanding why relationships can splinter a person’s resolve. Her very first day at the hotel she runs into Geesje’s nephew (an adopted one by association and neighbourly love) Derk which didn’t surprise me as this is a close-knit community. I had a feeling this is the kind of place where most know each other quite well if not by reputation and regards to visitors or tourists, I would imagine they would readily separate a stranger from familiar community members rather quickly. Likewise, I was not surprised either when Derk started to mention how many ships have been lost on the Lake – as the Great Lakes are notorious for keeping their dead, especially shipbound souls as the Lakes hold many watery graves. Anna’s fears of drowning were not misguided whims – especially if you consider the song The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

What perked my interest is learning Anna was adopted – as I love sourcing stories of adoption and foster care story-lines. It was revealled through her conversation with Derk who presumed she was from Holland or had family settled there due to how she appeared to be of Dutch ancestry. I could understand where he was coming from as people from similar origins have the tendency of taking on the same features of each other – from hair colour to eyes, as well as the features which make them stand out from others such as height or bone structure or even how they speak or use certain phrases in their speech. There are little hintings towards our origins without even realising we’re giving away clues to our present or past.

Due to my migraines and my eye injury this October, I wasn’t able to read this story in full – however, the first four chapters were so illuminating towards the arc and journey Anna and Geesje were taking I felt as if I could predict how their lives would start to intersect and unite! It was such a warm-hearted insight into both their lives – especially as it was revealled in this opening bridge of the novel what stirred so strongly inside Anna’s heart – why she felt lost inside her relationship with her fiance and why she ached to learn about her birth parents and the origins of her birth if not strictly the country of her origins. I knew after the fourth chapter I had enough insight to head into Legacy of Mercy as this was tracking into a beautifully lovely saga following in Anna’s footsteps and building on the foundation set forth within Waves of Mercy. At my leisure this Autumn or Winter, I would love to re-explore Waves of Mercy and seeing for myself how Geesje and Anna’s paths finally united, though I suspected I might learn a bit about this as I moved into reading Legacy of Mercy!

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Legacy of Mercy
by Lynn Austin
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours
Narrator: Rachel Botchan, Stina Nielsen, Suzanne Toren, Amanda Leigh Cobb, Laura Knight Keating, Andrea Gallo

She Knew Her New Life Would Not Be Easy,
But Nothing Could Prepare Her For What Waits Ahead

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her discover the whole truth.

But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden. With pressure mounting to keep the past quiet, she discovers daily that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants--including a teen with a troubled history--adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-0764217630

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Bethany House Publishers, Recorded Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Stories within the series Waves of Mercy:

Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLegacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Book One: Waves of Mercy (prequel) | Pub’d 4th October, 2016

Book Two: Legacy of Mercy

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPYHistFic, #INSPY or #HistRom

About Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Adoption, Audiobook, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Intergenerational Saga, Knitting, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mid-West America, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-traditional characters, Pinkerton Detective | Pinkerton Agency, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Harm Practices, Small Towne Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Gilded Age, Widows & Widowers, Women's Fiction, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret of Haversham House” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

Author Interview | Speaking with Lauraine Henderson on behalf of her novel “Building A Life”

Posted Friday, 20 July, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts, I have a special post for you today!

As you might have noticed, I’ve been reading offline a bit more this month than in the past – this is because I’ve been re-building my stamina to read print books, whilst happily off-setting my time spent in print with #AudioReads as a way to continue to offset my chronic migraines which truly affected my health and well being this past Spring [2018]. As a result, this July – my posts have been on the leaner side, whilst I’ve continued to micro-blog my reading adventures via my feeds on Twitter!

I previously disclosed I am participating in an INSPY self-directed reading challenge this month, where I have had the pleasure of JOY following in my Mum’s footsteps whilst we both are nearly tag-teaming our readings of the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense series! The authors I’ve read thus far and feel are wicked good for stirring my heart with their suspenseful pen are Laura Scott & Lenora Worth! Next in line is Elizabeth Goddard, as I’ve heard so many lovely things about her series from Mum, she makes you itch to get inside them yourself!

As I was pulling together which blog tours I wanted to join this Summer, I saw this INSPY novel was going on tour – I decided to switch things up a bit – hosting an interview & a behind-the-scenes insight post to compliment the convo!

I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY Lit my entire life, as I find literature rather remarkable for how brilliantly diverse the stories are to be found to cross our readerly path! INSPY Contemporary is definitely the one I am eager to discover even though the Historicals will always have a sweet spot in my soul as I’m a girl wicked addicted to reading Historical Romances and Historical Fiction narratives! (as well you all know – if you’ve spent time here on Jorie Loves A Story!)

I hope you will enjoy your visit today – learning more about the writer’s (Ms Henderson’s) writing process, a few insights into her story (‘Building A Life’) and perhaps, you’ll pick up a new read you hadn’t found previously! I appreciate your visitations and I appreciate your patience as I re-strengthen my health – I’ll be blogging a bit more regularly soon, as with each story I’ve been reading or listening, I’ve found my way ‘back’ into the niche of stories I love most to read! I feel thankful I could take the time to heal & find a new rhythm of reading which works best for me.

May your #SummerReads be as thrilling as mine have been!

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Author Interview | Speaking with Lauraine Henderson on behalf of her novel “Building A Life”Building A Life
by Lauraine Henderson

Sara Castleton resolved to make better choices now that there was a new life growing inside her. When her husband, Peter, plowed through that stop sign and left this world, he left a mess behind. Picking up the pieces of her shattered life and finishing the house Peter started could be the answer to her future, but she needed help.

When Nicholas Bradford was asked to step into Sara’s unfinished house project, he reluctantly agreed. He didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Peter’s friends and business associates, but one look at his pregnant widow and Nick couldn’t say no.

Before they know it, they aren’t just building a house, they’re Building a Life.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-0998310817

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Women's Fiction


on 19th April, 2018

Pages: 234

Published By: Books You Can Trust Publishing (@BOOKSYOUTRUST)

10 Behind the Scenes Facts about the Book

1. My husband, a builder by trade, built two houses for us during the writing and revision process of this book. To make sure I had the facts right, I would sometimes stop him in the middle of working on our house to clarify details.

2. Nick’s two soccer goals in the book were taken directly from my son’s high school soccer experience as a center forward. Nick’s love of the game beyond high school and college stemmed from my husband’s experience playing on a city league when we were dating.

3. Nick’s neglected drafting table in his home office was a salute to my late father-in-law who was a professional draftsman before the days of computer aided drafting programs.

4. Brenda’s house that screamed with bright light was originally supposed to be a house that was immersed in darkness. I had stayed with some friends who lived with the drapes drawn, the blinds closed, and the TV room dark like a theater and found it terribly oppressing. I thought it played well into her dark nature, but I was afraid this friend would see themselves in the book if they read it and changed it to the opposite. I felt it still worked well, showing Brenda as a woman who lived in fear of the dark instead of embracing it.

5. Nick getting beat up was a complete surprise until the day I wrote the scene. In my notes and outline, there was no mention of Nick being attacked. When the story headed that direction, I followed along, interested in seeing where it would go. I was impressed by how well it fit into the story.

6. I didn’t dwell on the many opportunities for complications during the birth of Sara’s baby, but the part where she held Nick’s hand and squeezed it so hard she almost broke his fingers happened for real during the birth of my second child. It was my first natural delivery and my husband shook out his hand and offered two fingers for me to squeeze instead so I would hurt him. It’s amazing how much strength a woman delivering a baby has!

7. Nick and Josh’s experience with the welcoming attitude of people in the LDS church when they were investigating various churches was much like every ward I’ve ever visited or moved into. I wanted to show the openness that the church demonstrates to people who are new.

8. When Sara described Nick’s maneuvering in the trusses as a slow dance, it was exactly how I feel watching my husband when he sets trusses on a house. When the crane operator knows what they’re doing, it can be as smooth as I made it sound and just as riveting.

9. The name of Peter’s friend, Mitch, was just a name when I started writing the book. During the course of revision, I met someone named Mitch who turned out to be the boyfriend of the daughter of people who were living with us. (another story). While I was describing the storyline to the mom of the daughter (to pass the time while we painted the house), Mitch (the boyfriend) joined us. I immediately apologized for the name and explained that the Mitch in the story wasn’t a good guy. He reassured me it was okay and kind of liked the idea that his namesake was the bad guy.

10. Nick’s smile is a direct correlation to Josh Turner’s smile on the cover of his album Haywire. It’s a breathtaking sight to behold and truly swoon-worthy! (Or you can watch the video of Josh’s song Firecracker for more of that Hollywood smile.)

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Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction

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Posted Friday, 20 July, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Last Summer” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why ‘The Last Summer’ appealed to me to read this Summer:

I’ve been keenly interested in seeking out more Contemporary INSPY novelists, especially since I realised how much I appreciate reading the collective works of Brenda S. Anderson and Kellie Coates Gilbert – it would be nice to keep expanding my list of #mustread INSPY novelists who have a passion for writing the kinds of stories I am most interested in seeking out to read! This is how I came to find The Last Summer – as it was one of the last novels going on tour before SLB Tours took their hiatus ahead of the Autumn.

As I was reading about the premise, something ‘clicked’ and it seemed like the kind of novel you’d want to read in the height of Summer! Not to mention the fact, since it’s Southern Contemporary Lit, I could appreciate it a bit more as this is one of my niche of preferred interest when it comes to where a Contemporary story can be set! From the Carolinas to Texas, I am definitely a girl who appreciates the Southern hemisphere in Contemporary stories! It started with Sheryl Woods and grew from there – as the Sweet Magnolias were quite the close-knit bunch themselves!

I appreciate finding stories about how friends live their lives together – similar to why I appreciated the long-running tv serial: Friends which was an institution whilst I was in high school! The irony of course is I’m now the age of most of the ‘friends’ on that series as I’m about to exit my thirties and exchange them for my forties! Who knew!?

Today’s INSPY market is full of changes – new publishers are focusing on giving authors more chances to tell their stories and the writers themselves are giving all of us more to chew on than what traditionally we might find in an INSPY novel, too! I find it a wicked good time to be reading as an INSPY reader, as you get a hearty array of realistic story-lines from strong voices who are curating a new wave of where INSPY can take us all. This is partially why I was excited about participating in the #SummerReading challenge for July, as it helped me re-align my intentions of reading more INSPY stories!

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Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.The Last Summer
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce,
published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Used by permission.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016195

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 7th June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 234

Published By: Bling Romance
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction & #SummerReads + #TheLastSummer_novel

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

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Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Star-Crossed Lovers, Sweet Romance, Texas, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | feat. The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade, especially “Then Came You” (prequel, audiobook), “True to You” (book one) and “Falling for You” (book two)

Posted Sunday, 17 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Falling for You” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novella “Then Came You” was a self-purchase of my own which I added to my personal digital audiobook library. The copy I read of “True to You” was borrowed via my local library. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook novella and the first book in the series are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the joy of finding a new INSPY Contemporary novelist I love reading,

within the *prequel!* novella ‘Then Came You’ | #BradfordSistersRomance series

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I truly have been thankful for my discovery of reading this series by Ms Wade, as I journalled my initial reactions to listening to the *prequel!* audiobook on Twitter, sharing the following:

As you can gather, I hadn’t connected the dots – nor the sequencing of the series – in essence, if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing my reactions soon!) I might have missed the beautiful back-story of how this series centres on one man’s joyful presence as a father to three darling daughters! They are the ‘Bradford Sisters’ who populate the series, as the novella (Then Came You) explores what happened to Garner Bradford, how he fell in love with parenthood and how he took a rather unconventional approach to both marriage & becoming a Dad!

Initially, it took me a bit to get my bearings within the novella, as this was writ within the style of narrative I personally *adore!* called: Epistolary, where the main format alters points of view from a variety of sources. The traditional approach are through letters (postal mail), postcards & telegrams as I have found this style most present in Historical Fiction. However, in Contemporary story-lines with the advantage of technology, you can see these perspectives explored using a variety of different entries of thought from cell phones, voicemail, text messages, chat interfaces, email exchanges whilst still pulling together a feel for the traditional by augmenting the ‘tech’ with passages from diaries, journals or the letters themselves.

Ms Wade opted to use a journalling approach to allow Garner to get his thoughts down onto paper whilst she used the letter-writing approach to anchour the thoughtful musings of Kathleen into the context of the story-line as well. Supplemented by  phone calls (ie. voicemail or live calls), official office memos or notes used for personal correspondence and other variables, you have to get your ‘head’ to wrap round how this novella unfolds in an audiobook narration. Thus, there are some prompts to help you navigate it which I found to be the best way to segue into the story itself, as those prompts helped me realise what was ‘shifting’ in and out of focus. I would presume the shifts would be as easy to read in the print edition as generally speaking that’s where publishers get creative by showing the differences in straight dialogue exchanges and background narrative by selecting certain bits of text to ‘stand-out’ from the rest.

Either way, if I had to choose how I wanted to first ‘greet’ this series, I would hands-down pick the novella audiobook!! By the time I reached the concluding chapters, I was so emotionally taxed and committed to the characters, I felt this true ache in my heart just to *know!* the ending! You truly are on the edge of your soul listening to this story unfold – due to the circumstances contained within it but also, the heart-pulse of watching a relationship build through the aftermaths of how sometimes life doesn’t quite go according to plan. In truth, I felt like I had found a new beloved INSPY Contemporary novelist I could enjoy reading for years to come which is why I capstoned my notes on Twitter by saying the following:

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Posted Sunday, 17 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Clever Turns of Phrase, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Domestic Violence, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The Writers Life, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Washington, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice