Tag Archives: historical romance

Guest Post: Excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge, by Christine Lindsay

Excerpt from SOFI’S BRIDGE by Christine Lindsay

releasing May 1, 2016

Sofi had been so angry with Neil for his secrets. But Neil had given Trina nothing but compassion. He’d put himself at risk to save Gunnar’s life. The contradictions in him persisted. But murder? The man she’d kissed, who’d held her in his arms, a murderer?

The following excerpt is set in 1913, in a remote town in Washington State in the beautiful Cascade Mountains that bridge the US and Canada. In this scene Sofi is secretly listening in on a conversation between an English lawman and a Pinkerton detective who are discussing the man Sofi has come to love, an Irishman on the run for a murder in Ireland who is seeking freedom in the US.

Read this suspenseful excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge

Sofi pretended she studied the view through the window beyond the two detectives. The tailored suit of the younger lawman sported a gold watch chain looped in front of his waistcoat. His hat sat on the table. The English police inspector in brown tweed kept his bowler on his knee that jerked with nervous energy.

A quiet burst of laughter erupted from the Englishman. “I’ve spoken to a conductor who saw a man fitting Jimmy Galloway’s description getting off a train here on Saturday. The man’s sure Jimmy hitched a ride to Orchard. I’ve the younger brother to thank for leading us to this valley, and those daughters of Mrs. Andersson’s. A coincidence? Certainly not. Good police work. I’ll soon have Neil Galloway clapped in irons.”

Sofi’s insides turned over.

The younger man spoke in a dry tone. “Yes, with Dr. Galloway clapped in irons, that promotion you mentioned, Webley, will soon be yours.”

“About time too, Joel. I’ve worked too hard to be passed over again. Perhaps with the promotion I can get transferred out of Ireland and back to civilized England.”

The man called Joel looked over a sheath of papers. “I’m puzzled by your Scotland Yard autopsy report, though. There’s nothing to suggest what type of weapon the decedent was stabbed with.”

The Englishman clipped out, “Had to be a scalpel, didn’t it? Who better to take a life than a doctor?”

“A scalpel? I don’t think—”

“Of course it was a scalpel.” The Englishman, Webley, grew red in the face. “Besides, only days earlier Neil threatened to kill Crawford. He was seen standing over the body. That’s the thing you’ve got to understand about the Irish—they’re always fighting. This Neil Galloway, putting on airs, getting himself an education, thinking highly of himself, will always, only ever be…good-for-nothing Irish.”

Shaking began in Sofi’s inner core. Neil…accused of murder? Stabbing? She carefully set her cup on the saucer and stared blindly out at the Cascade Mountains that under the heavy cloud cover appeared a dull jade. From the corner of her eye she caught the man called Webley craning his neck as he looked over the restaurant.

“It’ll be a few hours before that train for Orchard arrives. It’s a sore trial waiting in this blighted place, the back of beyond.”

The younger man’s words slid out in a low tone. “I’m sorry you find our Washington State such a trial. Most continental visitors compare its pristine beauty to Switzerland.”

Inspector Webley sat back. “Have I trod on a nerve, Detective Harrison? Well, once you’ve escorted me and my quarry back to New York to catch our ship, our paths will part, and I’ll be leaving this charming frontier patch. As it is, I must send a telegram to my superiors in Ireland with my progress.” With that, Webley marched out of the restaurant.

Sofi rose stiffly as though she’d aged a hundred years. The waiter came with her order balanced on a tray, but she swept past him. Thankful she’d already paid her hotel bill, she ran out of the foyer and down the steps to her car. She’d been so angry with Neil for his secrets. But Neil had given Trina nothing but compassion. He’d put himself at risk to save Gunnar’s life. The contradictions in him persisted. But murder? The man she’d kissed, who’d held her in his arms, a murderer? What little faith she had in Neil slammed up against the Englishman’s accusations. Think Sofi, think. Don’t feel. Put him out of your mind. There was the bridge to think of. Yes, her bridge.

The train was supposed to slow before reaching the bridge. It would come to a stop to allow Charles to board before it steamed into Orchard. The only safe place to stop the train was the switching yard. The limousine’s top speed was only thirty miles an hour. On rough road, much slower.

She’d have to hurry to beat the train that would leave Skykomish in a few hours. Minutes later she banged on the front window of the mining store. The owner snapped his suspenders into place and opened the door to her with a mild grumble. Rummaging through the tools she found what she was looking for, a large sledge hammer, a variety of wrenches, a hacksaw, most importantly, a set of bolt cutters.

She paid, and ran to the car under a sky bruised with cloud. Her only clear thought—and may the Lord forgive her—she must break the law. Stop that train. And when she saw Neil, do what? Warn him? Or tell the sheriff?

Sofi's Bridge, by Christine Lindsay

SOFI’S BRIDGE, by Christine Lindsay

Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.




Pelican Book Group


Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Born in N. Ireland, it was tales of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her historical trilogy, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the explosive finale Veiled at Midnight. Her Irish wit and joy in the use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming and in Sofi’s Bridge coming May 2016.

Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is the happy wife of David of 35 years, a mom and a grandma. She makes her home on the west coast of Canada, and in Aug. 2016 she will see her long-awaited non-fiction book released, Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother’s Story.

Please drop by Christine’s website www.ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and Goodreads

Review: Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, by Kathleen Y'BarboAnna Finch and the Hired Gun, by Kathleen Y’Barbo (WaterBrook Press, 2010)

In 1885 Denver, Anna Finch is the youngest of five daughters, and the only one unmarried. She’s far more interested in being a journalist, but her wealthy father would be horrified if a member of his family was known to be employed. He’s frequently horrified anyway by her less-than-decorous behaviour.

When Mr. Finch discovers she’s been out on horseback alone again, disguised as a boy no less, he issues an ultimatum. Anna must marry and become her husband’s responsibility, not her father’s. Until that time, her father hires her a bodyguard.

Jeb Sanders thinks it will be an easy assignment, but that’s before he meets Anna – and discovers she’s the “boy” who shot him. Jeb has also seen Anna talking with the notorious Doc Holliday, the man who killed Jeb’s wife.

Anna is a feisty character, but Jeb is very good at his job. Can he keep her safe while using her connection with Doc Holliday to bring the man to justice?

This is a light-hearted read, but Jeb’s struggle to let go of his need for vengeance gives readers something to ponder.

Favourite line:

Jeb spent the next several minutes staring at the apothecary door, trying to decide just how bad an idea it was to go inside. His stupid side won out. (p. 48)

The novel is the sequel to The Secret Life of Eugenia Cooper, which I hadn’t read. If you plan to read them both, do it in order, because this one clearly refers to events in the first one.

Kathleen Y’Barbo writes both contemporary and historical fiction. Anna Finch and the Hired Gun is book 2 of 3 in her Women of the West series. The full series is also available as a single ebook, The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Captured by Moonlight, by Christine Lindsay

Captured by Moonlight, by Christine LindsayCaptured by Moonlight, by Christine Lindsay (WhiteFire Publishing, 2013)

Captured by Moonlight is the second book in Christine Lindsay’s India-based Twilight of the British Raj series. Readers who enjoyed book one, Shadowed in Silk, will be glad to get hold of book two, and if you missed the first one you can jump in here.

Shadowed in Silk was predominantly Abby’s story although it did introduce Laine Harkness and Eshana, the heroines of Captured by Moonlight. Abby doesn’t play a significant part in this novel, but readers who count her a friend will appreciate seeing what’s going on in her life now.

The series is set in the early 1920s as the British rule in India is faltering and as Gandhi’s teachings are gaining hold. Historical figures are occasionally mentioned, but the central characters are fictional. Captured by Moonlight opens with Laine and Eshana rescuing (the authorities call it stealing) a pregnant Hindu temple prostitute who’s only 14. They’ve done this once before, but this time they’re seen.

Laine, a military nurse, could face disciplinary action. Eshana, a Christian who was once Hindu, could face much worse, especially if her family gets hold of her. To them she’s an offense: according to tradition, as a widow she should be hidden away, garbed in white and with a shaved head, not running a Christian mission.

Laine and Eshana leave the city of Amritsar in a hurry, Laine to work with two missionaries doing cholera research in Madras and Eshana to deliver the recovering temple prostitute to another mission where the girl will have a chance to gain an education and a happier life.

Both women encounter people they would have avoided at all costs: Laine meets her former fiancé, Adam, who broke off their relationship during the war. Eshana meets her uncle, who imprisons her. When Eshana’s friends realize she’s missing, Doctor Jai Kaur leaves Amritsar to search for her. He’s a devout Sikh, and she’s a Christian, each seeking God as they understand Him and each wishing the other could see God their way so they could be together.

Eshana is physically a prisoner, and her struggles to encourage herself in her faith are authentic and inspiring. I love how she dances her praises in her tiny room. Adam is a self-imposed prisoner on his estate with his former army troop, trying to keep his ongoing feelings for Laine at bay. Eshana longs for release, but Adam clings to his “cage”. Both will need help to walk into freedom.

The romances of Laine and Adam, Eshana and Jai, play out against a lush and dramatic setting involving tigers, cholera, monsoons, poisonous snakes and the after-effects of war. Captured by Moonlight is a richly detailed and evocative read, and I look forward to the third installment in the series, Veiled at Midnight, releasing in 2014.

You can read an excerpt from Captured by Moonlight or learn more about award-winning Christian author Christine Lindsay by clicking the links in this sentence. You can also find Christine Lindsay at her Facebook page.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Interview: Janet C. Burrill

Janet C BurrillJanet C. Burrill is a Canadian author celebrating the 2011 release of her first novel, Dark Clouds of the Morning. Because we share the same first name, I’ll be using initials instead of first names in the conversation below. To make it easier, remember the guest author’s comments are always in bold.

JS: Welcome, Janet Burrill, and thanks for joining us. You’ve published shorter work before, but congratulations on your new novel! Tell us a bit about Dark Clouds of the Morning.

JCB: The story centres around the Halifax Explosion, Canada’s worst disaster, and the world’s worst prior to the atom bomb. I created a cast of lovable characters who experienced various true-to-life situations that survivors went through at that time.

JS: Where did the story idea come from?

JCB: I became interested in the Halifax Explosion from hearing my mother tell what she knew about it. Years later, I became more interested, and decided I’d like to write a Christian novel set in this time period.

JS: Dark Clouds of the Morning is set in 1917, and the setting of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has changed a lot since then. You did a lot of research into the time period as well as into the explosion itself. Care to share some of the stranger bits of trivia you picked up?

JCB: There is a lot of material out there, where one may learn more about the subject. I collected every book I could find on it, as well as accessing information from the N. S. Archives. I discovered, for example, that the train from Boston, bearing doctors and nurses to aid in the disaster relief, ran into complications. A fierce snowstorm blew in from the Atlantic seaboard, and stalled the train on Folly Mountain, 75 miles from Halifax. Despite the efforts of the engineer and train crew, the train was immobile for several hours. All on board were frantic; Halifax needed them.

I discovered, too, that soldiers wives whose husbands were overseas were classed as prostitutes. As such, they were not given much, if any, financial help for their needs. 

Another shocking thing I discovered was that those Canadians who bore German surnames were treated unfairly and blamed for the explosion. Many of the men were incarcerated, and their children had the distress of being cruelly mocked by their peers.

JS: I hadn’t known these things before reading your  novel! Another thing I was surprised to learn was that the burial efforts for the Titanic victims in 1912 actually helped the citizens of Halifax when the explosion occurred five years later.

JCB: Thankfully, those who had worked to set up and operate a morgue for the Titanic victims were still around. They quickly came forth to offer their services to do the same for the explosion victims.

JS: Do you have a favourite character in the novel?

JCB: You bet! It’s the heroine, Jennie. (I’m mighty fond of several others, too.)

JS: Is there a sequel in the works?

JCB: Yes, I’m pleased to say that I’m working on it now. It follows the same characters, and introduces a few new ones.

JS: Dark Clouds of the Morning was a few years in the making, and as a member of your critique group I enjoyed hearing the early excerpts. I’m sure the sequel will come together faster because you’ve already done the research, but how long did book one take to write?

JCB: Oh, my! I’m sorry to say it took ten years, and that is because certain events in my life kept me away from writing for a while. I pray, Lord willing, this new book will come together much more quickly.

JS: Writers are told to read widely and voraciously. I think that’s one of the perks of the deal. What are you reading these days?

JCB: I always have a book on the go. There are several authors I enjoy, like Jan Karon, of the Mitford series, and Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, who co-authored the Stonewycke Trilogy, of which I’m now reading the second book. These last are historical romances, which are my favourite. (Maybe that’s why I prefer to write them.)

JS: What do your family think of your writing?

JCB: I am blessed! They all love what I write, brag about me (blush!) and help sell my books.

JS: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

JCB: God is my fortress and my strength. In Him do I trust.

JS: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever done?

JCB: I would say when I contacted 100 Huntley Street this summer, and told about my book. The kind lady I spoke to said, “We take people, not for what they’ve done, but for what God has done in them. Send us your testimony.” I did, and to God be the glory, they accepted me. You can view the programme here: Janet Burrill interview part 1 and Janet Burrill interview part 2

JS: Thanks so much for taking time to let us get to know you a bit, Janet Burrill. May the LORD continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others—in every area of your life.


On December 6, 1917, two ships collided near the waterfront of the Halifax, Nova Scotia  Harbour. One was carrying tons of munitions. On impact, a giant explosion occurred, killing and injuring thousands. Can Jennie and her family rise up from the tragedy and trauma to ultimate triumph?

See my review of Dark Clouds of the Morning.

To learn more about Janet C. Burrill or to order signed copies of Dark Clouds of the Morning visit her website. The novel is also available through online bookstores or for order in your local brick-and-mortar bookstore. The ebook is available through Books on Board.

Interview: Amanda Deed

Amanda Deed photo

Amanda Deed writes historical romances set in mid-1800’s Australia. Before publishing her first novel, the award-winning The Game, Amanda was heavily involved in music ministry. These days her focus is on her family, her writing, and involvement in her local church.

Janet: Welcome, Amanda, and thanks for taking time to join us. What got you started writing?

Amanda: I always loved writing – especially doing creative essays in English in school. However, I never received outstanding grades for my work, so I assumed I wasn’t very good. I kept writing only as a hobby for many years until I was encouraged to try and publish.

Janet: Balancing writing and family… tell us what a typical day looks like.

Amanda: I usually do most of my writing between 5 & 6am and on the days I’m not working at my accounting job. Afternoons/ evenings and weekends are usually tied up with being a mum (mom), a wife and church commitments. It is a difficult balance and takes lots of discipline (No, Amanda, you cannot sleep in!).

Janet: Now that’s dedication! Your new novel, Ellenvale Gold, released November 1. Please tell us a bit about it.

Amanda: Ellenvale Gold is set in the Victorian gold rush time of 1854. My story is about a young woman who finds herself alone on a large sheep-run. Her pride and the deception of those around her make it difficult for her to know where to turn. Will it be her handsome neighbour, or the mysterious trespasser she accidentally shoots?

Janet: I’m intrigued…. Where did the story idea come from?

Amanda: You know, I really can’t remember exactly where the idea came from. I began writing it in 2000. I know I had been looking for Australian Christian historical fiction and there wasn’t much around, so I figured I should write one myself. 🙂

Janet: What is it about this particular era in Australia’s past that intrigues you?

Amanda: Being from Victoria, the Eureka Stockade (a riot raised by gold diggers fighting for their rights, in which many men were killed) is known as an important part of our governmental development. I really wanted to use the building tension on the gold fields as a backdrop for a novel. It was also a time of great struggles between the squatters who claimed huge tracts of land as their own, and those leaving the gold fields wanting a small piece of land to live on.

Janet: In your research, what’s the weirdest bit of trivia you’ve picked up?

Amanda: I found out about this character they called “Tulip” Wright. He was first transported to Australia for poaching and served his time in a penal colony in Tasmania. He then worked as a District Constable in Hobart. He didn’t wear a uniform but dressed in an outlandish fashion – thus earning the nick-name “Tulip”. He then progressed to being Chief Constable in Melbourne before becoming a publican along one of the roads to the gold fields. He would charge travellers a large amount to be ferried across one of the rivers there. What a colourful life!

Janet: Does Tulip have a cameo appearance in Ellenvale Gold?

Amanda: No, Tulip doesn’t make an appearance in Ellenvale Gold as I would have had to search for his descendants and ask permission. However, I have created a character using part of what I learnt about him – I really liked the idea of his outlandish dress sense. My character is called “Pinky” Wallace. He is a big landowner and is mentioned in Ellenvale Gold, but will probably feature more in the third instalment of this series.

Janet: What one key thing do you want readers to take away when they’re done?

Amanda: More than anything, I would like people to have a deeper understanding of the grace of God. And, of course, a greater appreciation of Aussie history. 🙂

Janet: Is there another novel in the works?

Amanda: Yes. I am working on the sequel to Ellenvale Gold, tentatively called Black Forest Redemption. It continues with the backdrop of the Eureka Stockade, but involves the Black Forest – a favoured haunt for bush rangers (Australia’s version of Highwaymen or Outlaws) – need I say more?

Janet: People can read chapter one of your first novel, The Game, on your site. What was reader response like for this book?

Amanda: The most common response has been “I couldn’t put it down.” I couldn’t ask for more than that. But my favourite responses are those where the reader has found healing or a new understanding of grace through my work.

Janet: I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. What are some of the things you like best about living there?

Amanda: How much time do you have? J Golden beaches, lush rain forests, glorious outback, mountains, desert – I keep praying for an itinerant ministry here. Apparently, Melbourne (where I live) has just been voted the world’s most liveable city. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi! (Ok can you tell I REALLY love it here?)

Janet: Your books are published by Australia’s Ark House Press. How can readers in Canada, the US etc get hold of them? And are they available as ebooks?

Amanda: The Game is available through Arkhouse, but my new novel, Ellenvale Gold, is being published by Even Before Publishing. It will be available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

Janet: Accessible to North Americans… I’m glad! Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Amanda: Psalm 139 has always been my favourite. I struggled with self esteem as a young person and it blew my mind to realise how intimately God knew me and loved me.

Janet: I’m still realizing that. Psalm 139 is one of my favourites. What do you like best about the writing life?

Amanda: Creating. Escaping into another world.

Janet: What do you like least?

Amanda: Marketing. I’m still trying to get used to feeling like I’m selling myself. (shudder)

Janet: What do your family think of your writing?

Amanda: I am so blessed to have a supportive family. I have not received a single discouraging remark from any of them. My kids, hubby, parents, siblings – they all brag about me so much I get embarrassed. 🙂

Janet: Writers are told to read widely and voraciously. I think that’s one of the perks of the deal. What are you reading these days?

Amanda: Not enough! I wish there were more hours in the day – or that I didn’t need sleep. I mostly read fiction in my genre if I can. I’ve read a lot of great Aussie books this year. I also try to read a bit of non-fiction so I can learn something for my spiritual growth.

Janet: What are you listening to?

Amanda: Hillsong (worship), Brooke Fraser (Aussie/NZ), Iona (Irish) & Casting Crowns.

Janet: I’m a Newsboys and Peter Furler fan… love Australian exports! What do you like to do to get away from it all?

Amanda: Umm … read or watch movies … in a silent, empty house. 🙂

Janet: What’s the most surprising/fun/zany/scary thing you’ve ever done?

Amanda: I’m not really that adventurous in real life – I save it all for fiction where I can’t really get hurt or embarrassed. J Well, I did wear running shoes under my wedding dress, does that count? My hubby does enough zany/fun/scary for all of us.

Janet: One in a family is probably enough… someone has to operate the camera or call the ambulance! Thanks so much for taking time to let us get to know you a bit, Amanda. May the Lord continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others—in every area of your life.


You can visit Amanda Deed’s website and find her at her blog, Amanderings and on Facebook.

Ellenvale Gold cover art

Ellenvale Gold

It is the time of Australia’s harsh rogue-filled gold rush of the 1850’s when Miss Penelope Worthington suddenly finds herself orphaned, isolated and alone. With a large sheep station to run single-handedly, she has little option but to enlist the aid of a mysterious, but sinister stranger. But who is the more treacherous? Gus—the scruffy, trespassing, ex-convict who co-incidentally shows up looking for work just when she desperately needs a farmhand or Rupert—the handsome, wealthy neighbour who would willingly marry her at the drop of a hat and solve her apparent dilemma?

Repeatedly, her faith is tested as she faces the unforgiving elements, deceit, lies and uncertainty. But where and how will it all end? But…is it the end? Will vengeance return or will Penny’s faith prevail?

Australian orders (paperback) through Amanda Deed’s website or through Even Before Publishing.

International orders: paperback: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk. At the time of this posting, the ebook order links weren’t available, but let’s keep watching!

Friday Friends: Interview with the Characters of Shadowed in Silk

Interview of characters from Historical Romance Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay. EBook is available now, paper version Sept. 2011.

Leave a comment and your name will be put into the hat to win a free E-copy of Shadowed in Silk. [Draw is now closed, Stephanie is our winner, and I hope she enjoys the novel as much as I did. Thank you to everyone who commented!]

Christine Lindsay, author of Shadowed in Silk: First of all, on behalf of Major Geoff Richards and Abby Fraser, I’d like to thank you, Janet, for inviting all 5 of us, real and fictional. We brought along Eshana, Abby’s maid, and of course, Abby’s little 3-year-old son, Cam.

Christine:  So Abby, let’s start with you. Why did you decide to sail to India in Dec. 1918?

Abby: The war in Europe was over at last. I’d waited 4 years, so it was time for my husband, Nick Fraser, and I to be reunited. He’s a soldier in the British army and served the entire war here in India. We had a whirlwind romance at the beginning of the war, and unfortunately don’t know each other very well.

Christine: I’ll bet Nick was thrilled to see you at the pier in Bombay after such a long separation.

Abby: I wish that were so. But Nick didn’t meet me when my ship docked. With Geoff’s help I found my own way to the bungalow that Nick rented for me. Since then my relationship with my husband has been . . . well he’s hardly ever home.

Christine:  Oh, that must be terribly disappointing.

Eshana:  If I may say a word, it has been most upsetting for my dear friend, Abby. Perhaps we should talk of something more cheerful. Her husband, Lieutenant Fraser, is no longer even at home with her. He has been banished to a station in the wilds of Waziristan.

Christine:  You don’t say. Do I smell a bit of mystery?

Geoff:  If I may interject as this is upsetting the ladies. Nick Fraser’s commanding officer transferred him to a non-family station due to ah . . . improprieties on Nick’s part.

Christine:  Of course, Major. Let’s chat instead about you and your career as a Cavalry officer in His Majesty’s army in colonial India.

Geoff:  Be pleased to. My Indian troops and I have just been demobilized after the war in Europe. I can’t be more proud of them than I am. It is my prayer that England will keep her promise to India and grant them independence that was promised a few years ago.

Christine: I hear revolution is in the wind—all this talk of Gandhi and his peaceful rebellion.

Eshana: But the revolution might not be peaceful. There are many Indian people who wish the British to leave, and they will resort to violence to make this happen. It is the same sort of people who show violence to Christians in India. What is worse, the British are terrified and they will retaliate. We are living in fearful days.

Christine:  You are an Indian Christian, Eshana? Not a Hindu?

Eshana: I was born into a Hindu family, but when I was 13 the boy I was married to died of cholera and I was sent away to live in poverty as a child widow. But I became a follower of Christ. Now I am trying to show Abby that it is only Christ who can lift the veil of sin from us, so that God can look upon us face-to-face.

Geoff: Yes, my dear little sister-in-Christ, Eshana, has been a great help to Abby and Cam.

Christine:  I hear that you, Geoff, are also a great help to Abby and Cam. It’s hard on a little boy when his father is not a loving parent.

Geoff:  Well . . . ahem . . . I take Cam out for rides on my charger. The child does get lonely.

Christine: Cam, how do you like the rides on Major Geoff’s horse?

Three-year-old Cam (smiling):  I like Geoff’s horse. His name is Sampson. And Major Geoff is my best friend.

Christine:  But, Cam, don’t you miss your daddy?

Cam: Nope. I’m glad my dad is far away. He’s not very nice, and he smells funny when he drinks that brown stuff.

Christine: Abby, tell me more about you and Nick. Have things been difficult since you were reunited?

Abby: It is not easy for me to talk about this. I suppose . . . well I think Nick married me only to further his career. My father was a famous general . . . and well it’s Nick’s drinking and his gambling. And he can be rather nasty. Once . . . well once . . . he became abusive. I gave him an ultimatum—if he ever strikes me again, or hurts Cam . . . well I don’t believe a wife should put up with that sort of thing.

Geoff:  Abby is in a tough spot. I’ve encouraged her to befriend other Christian women. She needs the friendship of Godly women to help her through this unhappy situation, women such as Eshana. But I agree, a wife should not subject herself to abuse like that. I pray for Nick—only God can change him though.

Christine: And you, Geoff, are you Abby’s friend, like you are Cam’s friend?

Abby (flustered):  I must object to the inappropriate tone of your question, Christine. Major Geoff Richards is an honourable man. A friend of our family.  I’m grateful for his interest in my son. A boy needs a man to take an interest in him, especially when his father shows no interest what-so-ever. And there’s enough gossip in this town already. I was warned when I came out to British India that flirtation is the national sport. But Geoff is nothing like that. And neither am I. I’m doing all I can to save my marriage.

Christine:  Oh dear Abby, I didn’t mean to offend. But tell me, Geoff, are you married?

Geoff:  My wife died a year before the war began. No one could ever take my wife’s place.

Christine:  You seem to have suffered greatly during the war. I notice your right hand shakes quite a bit. Can you tell us of your experience during the war?

Geoff (shifting in his chair):  Not really . . . ahem . . . nightmares . . . the men dying . . .

Christine:  I can see this is distressing to you . . .

Eshana:  Yes, it is distressing to my brother in Christ. And I fear for Geoff’s safety and of all the soldiers. If there is going to be war between Britain and Afghanistan many men may lose their lives. But I am praying that in time, Geoff will come to see that there is still goodness in the land of the living. Right now, his heart is too sore to see this.

Christine:  One last question, Geoff, is there any truth to the rumours that there is a Russian spy in our midst, stirring up the Indian people to revolt against British rule in India?

Geoff: My dear lady, it is never wise to listen to rumours. Besides, whatever befalls us here in India, you can be sure everything will be done to protect all our citizens—British and Indian. That is my vow to you, and to the Indian people I love.

Christine: Thank you all of you for coming all the way from India for this interview. I’ll just let our readers know that Shadowed in Silk can be purchased on EBook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and anywhere else EBooks are sold.

A suspenseful, romantic read for less than the price of a couple of coffees.

The printed version comes out Sept. 2011 and can be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble as well.

Shadowed in Silk

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

An interesting note to readers, the model for the front cover art and in the book trailer is Christine’s birth-daughter—the child she relinquished to adoption when she was 3 days old and was reunited with 20 years later.

Here’s the book trailer for Shadowed in Silk

Review: Fit to Be Tied, by Robin Lee Hatcher

Fit to Be Tied, by Robin Lee Hatcher (Zondervan, 2009)

It’s 1916, and Cleo Arlington is not your typical Idaho rancher’s daughter. She’s a better wrangler than the hired men, and it takes church on Sundays to get her into a skirt. Cleo’s hardly a conventional woman, but she hopes one day she’ll find a cowboy who’ll love her as she is.

Lord Sherwood Stratham is the fourth son of a British Duke, and a constant disappointment to his father. Wild living is his way of coping with the pain of his war injuries—and his memories. His punishment? A year working on an American ranch, isolated from his friends and diversions.

Cleo is not happy to have the job of turning him into a ranch hand. Sherwood feels the same about taking orders from this testy female who dresses like a man—and who insists on calling him “Woody”.

Cleo and Woody are surprised to discover the things they do have in common, and Woody makes the further discovery that faith can be more than church attendance. Working together might not be such a hardship after all.

But Woody—Lord Sherwood—must return to England when his year’s banishment ends. Will either of their hearts be unbroken?

Fit to Be Tied is a gentle love story of opposites who attract. The characters have depth, and I enjoyed the contrast between Cleo’s and Woody’s voices.

Cleo’s story is book two in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, and while you don’t need to have read A Vote of Confidence first, this is very much a sequel. I doubt there’d be many surprises now if I went back to book one. Book three, A Matter of Character, released in 2010. It’s Cleo’s relative Daphne’s story, and I liked Daphne from this book.

Robin Lee Hatcher is an award-winning author of over 60 novels. Fit to Be Tied is the first one I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. Click here to read an excerpt from Fit to Be Tied. If you’ve already read the novel, you might be interested in the discussion guide.

Review: McShannon’s Chance, by Jennie Marsland

McShannon’s Chance, by Jennie Marsland (Bluewood Publishing, 2009)

Beth Underhill is an independent-spirited young woman who wants to make her own choices in an era and society where that’s not done. She grew up in a wealthy family, accustomed to luxury. Now she’s an orphan, dependant on her relatives’ support. Her cousin expects to arrange a marriage for her, but if she can’t marry for love she’ll marry for business—and she’ll set it up herself.

The novel opens with the stagecoach depositing Beth in the small community of Wallace Flats, Colorado Territory, in 1870, as a mail-order bride.

Trey McShannon, her new husband, raises cattle and thoroughbred horses on property outside of town. It’s like living in the middle of nowhere, but Beth loves the horses, and the raw landscape is perfect for her watercolour paintings. And she discovers depths to Trey that attract her.

Trey fought in the American civil war—on the opposite side to his friends—and carries both physical and emotional scars. He wanted a wife to help with the workload, but he didn’t expect someone as beautiful and ladylike as Beth. How can he dare to believe she’ll stay?

Jennie Marsland has done an excellent job with her characters. I kept turning pages to read more about Beth and Trey as they learned how to coexist and began to fall for one another. The supporting characters are well done too, and there’s an interesting subplot between Trey and the town’s new sheriff.

McShannon’s Chance is satisfying as a western novel and historical romance. I did skip a bit here and there: it’s no surprise that a married couple would be physically intimate, but I’m not comfortable reading about it. What I saw wasn’t offensive, just very private and I felt like an intruder. This is a mainstream-market novel, and perhaps more sensual details are expected (maybe one reason I don’t read them too often?). It also has some moderate profanity, if that’s an issue for you.

Having said that, I look forward to reading the sequel. McShannon’s Heart is expected to release by year-end, and it’s the story of Trey’s sister, Rochelle. It’s set in the same time period in the Yorkshire Dales, England. You can read excerpts of both novels by following this link to Jennie Marsland’s books.

Canadian author Jennie Marsland connects to readers through her website, Hearts Through History, and through her blog, A Chat with Jennie Marsland. McShannon’s Chance is available in print and as an ebook.

[Review copy purchased from the author.]

Review: Becoming Lucy, by Martha Rogers

Becoming Lucy, by Martha Rogers (Realms, 2010)

When seventeen-year-old Lucinda Bishop’s parents are killed in a carriage accident, she must move west to live on her aunt and uncle’s ranch. The year is 1896, and the developing territory of Oklahoma is much different than the wealthy area of Boston she’s known as home.

Lucinda will come into her inheritance on her 18th birthday, but leaving Boston may not be enough to protect her from another uncle, who wants the money for himself and who may not stop at murder.

Life on the ranch brings many adjustments, and one of the strengths of the novel is in its portrayal of ranch life in that period of time and space. The narrative never stops to dump information, but we experience the setting through Lucinda’s eyes.

The title comes from her struggle with how much to embrace this new life. To belong in a culture where everything is less formal, including people’s names, can she trade Lucinda for Lucy without losing herself?

Aunt Mellie, Uncle Ben and the cousins are loving, faith-filled people who embrace Lucinda as her own. She’s a proper young lady, obedient to her elders and possessing a faith that seems to not have doubts. She’s strong, though, and determined to adapt to all that life has thrown at her.

Novels being what they are, life throws more at her before we reach the end. A deep attraction sparks between her and one of Uncle Ben’s handsome cowboys, Jake. But Jake doesn’t share her faith, and she knows that means she can’t encourage his attention. On his part, Jake doesn’t dare entangle himself. He’s on the run from the law.

This is a gentle prairie romance with characters who are for the most part kind people. The plot is well-woven and the setting rings true.

Becoming Lucy is Martha Rogers’ first novel. You can watch the book trailer for Becoming Lucy here. The next two in the Winds Across the Prairie series are Morning for Dove and Finding Becky (releasing September 2010). You can learn more about Martha Rogers at her website.

[book source: public library]

Cara Putman: author of historical romance and romantic suspense

Cara Putman is the author of three historical romances: Canteen Dreams, Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams (Barbour’s Heartsong Presents) and a romantic suspense, Deadly Exposure (Love Inspired Suspense).

She’s also an attorney, wife, mom, women’s ministry leader, and publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers and adviser to the Indiana chapter.

JS: Welcome, Cara, and thanks for taking time to join us. Along with all the other things you do, you’ve just had four books release in under a year. Wow! Do you have any advice for us on how to juggle priorities? Or do we simply have to give up sleep?

CP: Giving up sleep is part of it. LOL  But if writing is a dream and a passion, then you find ways to squeeze it in. And having deadlines makes it critical. I’m not writing just because I want to. I now have houses depending on me hitting deadlines. But I’ve cut 99% of TV watching, I’m very careful about commitments, and focusing on what I have to do. The rest slides to the side – at least for now.

JS: You started with historical fiction. Tell us a bit about your three Dreams books from Heartsong.

CP: Each of these historical romances tells a homefront story from World War Two. You could call these the stories of my heart, since I get to tell the world about the wonderful people of my home state, Nebraska. Canteen Dreams is a novelized telling of my grandparents’ story along with the North Platte Canteen. The canteen served more than 6 million servicemen and women during the war. An amazing story of sacrifice and service. Then Sandhill Dreams pulls out the story of war dogs trained at a Fort way up in northwestern Nebraska. That one was fun to research! And Captive Dreams uses the prisoner of war camps scattered across Nebraska as the historical backdrop. Those elements make the stories unique, then the romance and characters blossom from there.

JS: It sounds like setting is important to you. Are you a writer who likes to immerse herself in details of the setting while incubating the story idea?

CP: Absolutely. The series I’m starting right now is set in Ohio. I’ve driven through, but never been. So I took a research trip there and am changing the setting for the first book because I couldn’t get up to the town and was having a terrible time getting resources and people to call me. Rather than get it wrong, I’m moving it. The history is too important to get it wrong.

JS: What differences did you find in writing romantic suspense?

CP: For me, the biggest challenge was making sure there was enough romance. I loved the suspense thread. And because of the tight timing I had to really work to get the romance thread to work in a way that was believable to me. The research is in different areas, but still very important. And it’s all about getting the heroine in lots of trouble. Gotta love that.

JS: Did you have all three Dreams stories written before writing Deadly Exposure?

CP: Actually Deadly Exposure was the first book I started. I wrote Canteen Dreams in the middle because an editor wanted to see that book. I wrote Sandhill Dreams while I edited Deadly Exposure. Talk about challenging. Music became an important cue to remind my brain which story I was writing.

JS: Which songs did you choose to identify each story?

CP: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” for the 1940s – though I have a CD of War era music that I’d listen to. And then for Deadly Exposure it would be contemporary praise and worship or Carrie Underwood 🙂

JS: Are you going to keep writing in both genres?

CP: I’m currently working on a three-book Ohio World War Two series. It will be a lot of fun! And a sequel to Deadly Exposure. I’m in one of those crazy places they always tell you not to go. I write historical romance and romantic suspense. I plan to move to legal thrillers, but right now, I’m straddling genres. I can’t wait to get back to Deadly Judgment, the sequel to Deadly Exposure. All kinds of chaos – and I love the ticking time bomb that suspense has. But I love writing books set in the early 40s, too. One day I’ll have to decide, but right now I get to write in two genres that I love.

JS: Working on so many different projects, do you ever find yourself thinking of one character only to remember that he or she is in a different book?

CP: Not often J But I use music and other cues to help me switch gears. And I keep photos of key characters in a file so I can pull them out when I get a tad lost.

JS: What do you like best about the writing life?

CP: I love creating a world and characters that are familiar, but bigger than my life at the same time. And I love the letters that let me know a truth that was sprinkled into the story resonated with a writer at the right time.

JS: What do you like least?

CP: The solitary nature. That’s why I’m so active in groups like American Christian Fiction Writers. I’m not an introvert, so I need to find time to be with others and sharing what I’m learning.

JS: What do your husband and kids think of your writing?

CP: They are literally my biggest cheerleaders. Abigail is quick to tell others about my books and booksignings. And Eric is always talking me up. I couldn’t do this if they weren’t excited and behind me.

JS: Writers are told to read widely and voraciously. I think that’s one of the perks of the deal. What are you reading these days?

CP: I read all the time! Love books. A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman was a great romance. And Sandra Byrd’s new book Bon Appetit was a delightful surprise. I LOVED Randy Singer’s latest By Reason of Insanity – move over, John Grisham, there is competition in town.

JS: Thanks so much for taking time to let us get to know you a bit, Cara. May the LORD continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others-in every area of your life.

CP: Thank you so much for having me. I so appreciate it, Joanna!

You can visit Cara’s website, or catch her at her blog, The Law, Books and Life. Cara is also the Thursday blogger at Craftie Ladies of Suspense.


“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. Isaiah 43

In Sandhill Dreams, Lainie Gardner finds herself on a train to Crawford, NE, and Fort Robinson. It’s the last place she wants to be, but if she wants to be part of the war effort she has no other options. Tom Hamilton enlisted to work with the thousands of horses at Fort Robinson, and finds himself assigned to the War Dog Training Camp.

From the moment Lainie and Tom meet, sparks hot enough to light the prairie on fire fly between the two. Tom is assigned to train the dogs that have been sent to the army by a patriotic public. The only problem is he’s afraid of dogs after being bit by one as a child. Lainie travels to Fort Robinson to find a civilian job at the post after her plan to ship overseas with the Army Nurses Corp. is ended by illness. Join them in their adventure during the summer of 1943.

Sandhill Dreams released in May08 from Barbour’s Heartsong Presents. Right now it’s available from the publisher, and it should be in the online stores sometime this fall.

Cara graciously gave me a copy of Sandhill Dreams. I enjoyed it, and learned something too: I hadn’t known dogs were used in WWII–nor that patriotic Americans were encouraged to donate their family pets!