Tag Archives: Lindsey Brackett

Book Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway!! — A Mosaic of Wings

3 Jun

This is going to be some post! Not only am I reviewing A Mosaic of Wings, I have an interview with debut author, Kimberly Duffy. Plus a giveaway of a copy of the book thanks to my author friend Lindsey Brackett. (Have you read Lindsey’s novels, Still Waters and The Bridge Between? You need to!) So let’s get to it!

 

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India — and of Owen — fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind. You can find Kimberly at www.kimberlyduffy.com.

 

My Impressions:

A debut novel? Really? You sure wouldn’t know it. A Mosaic of Wings is a beautifully crafted historical novel that hit all the right buttons with me — an historical setting that was new and exciting to experience, characters who are of the time, but not afraid to try to break free from restrictions, and a relevant story line linking the past with the present. This one is a highly recommended read.

A Mosaic of Wings whisked me away to a richly detailed place and time I have never before experienced in a book — India in the late 1800s. All my senses were engaged as I took in the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of this exotic setting. The characters were not the only ones to experience the wonder of that place. The novel follows Nora Shipley in her quest to prove herself as a scientist in a male dominated field. She is not perfect, but she is definitely a character to love. I loved how Duffy portrayed the obstacles that Nora faced, but I especially was impressed with contrast of Nora’s plight with those of women in India at the time. Like Nora, it is easy to get lost in our own situations when treated unfairly. Duffy not only opened Nora’s eyes, but mine as well. Nora grew in her understanding of self and others. Supporting characters were well-drawn with both flaws and virtues mixed together, making them very realistic. And the subject matter — entomology — was fascinating. I’ll never look at an insect in the same way again! Although I will probably still kill those I find offensive. 😉 Romance is a part of the story, but not the driving force — that was a big plus for me. Spiritual themes are woven naturally throughout the narrative. The book is never preachy, but does expose the hypocrisies of organized religion in the face of individual faith. There are parallels with today’s world that caused this reader to stop and ponder. With all its layers, this book is a great choice for book discussion groups.

There’s so much more to say about A Mosaic of Wings, but I will leave you with just one more thought. Read this book! I am excited to have discovered a new author and look forward to many more wonderful reading experiences.

Highly Recommended

Great for Book Clubs

Audience: adults

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Q&A with Kimberly Duffy

BTB: Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Kimberly: I wrote my first story at the age of eleven. It was about an inchworm. When I was twelve I wrote my first romance — about a girl who gets stuck in an elevator with her celebrity crush. And I really haven’t stopped writing since. Before I began writing, though, I loved stories and words and daydreams. 

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing? 

My eleventh grade creative writing and journalism teacher was the first person to ever encourage me in my writing. I had written an autobiographical short romantic story about a trip to Ukraine and he suggested I expand on the story and turn it into a book. I didn’t, but I did thank him in the acknowledgements of A Mosaic of Wings. 

Why did you choose historical fiction? 

I’ve always loved historical fiction but I was initially scared to write it. The research necessary intimidated me and I wasn’t sure if I could do it properly. I took an online historical fiction course Anne Mateer was offering and it really helped me get over that mental hurdle. I don’t know that I’ll write anything else now. I really love exploring the human experience through the different cultural and historical perspectives of my characters. It’s super interesting to me that no matter where you live, or when you live, those desires and fears don’t really change all that much. There’s a kind of reassurance in realizing that there truly is nothing new under the sun. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication? 

My biggest obstacle was one all writers who want to be published traditionally face and that is the fact that it’s a very competitive field. There are only so many spots and for each one there are an incredible number of people vying for it. And many of them are just as talented, just as experienced, just as hopeful. I always told my husband, though, that I would outwork anyone and eventually, I would write something someone would want. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

I always start with browsing Google. Then I buy a bunch of books. I’ll try to find an expert I can interview or speak with. I really love historical documents and research projects and there’s a series of books on the history of cities around the world — I got one on Kolkata that was so helpful for setting book two. I also love looking at 19th century photographs. That’s probably the thing I google most — 19th century saris or Poona or entomology laboratories. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule? 

I’m a blend of both. I have four kids, homeschool, and care for my husband’s grandmother so I have to be. I try to write a little during the afternoon after schoolwork, but that isn’t always possible. Most of my books are written in the evenings and on weekends. I’m disciplined and don’t struggle with procrastination. My biggest problem is that I become hyper focused—especially during the plotting and drafting stages—and I forget about everything else in my life. Balance is hard. 

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits) 

About six months, give or take a couple months. 

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel. 

A Mosaic of Wings was inspired by my daughter, Grainne, who has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five. The late 19th century saw an explosion of women pursuing scientific careers and many of them made indelible marks on the world. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels? 

I hope they see God’s grace, first and foremost. I always write very flawed characters because I think that’s the best way of demonstrating it. I hope they come away having been entertained, of course, but also having been encouraged and challenged. 

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?  

Yep. Book 2 releases winter of 2021. It’s set in 1887 Calcutta, India and Wiltshire, England. It’s about family and belonging and faith. I really love this story. It’s incredibly personal and I poured a lot of my own struggles with doubt and home into it. 

 

Thanks, Kimberly for sharing with my readers. You can also listen to an interview with Kimberly on the podcast, A Rough Draft Life, hosted by Kristi Ann Hunter and Lindsey Brackett.

 

Giveaway!!

My friend Lindsey Brackett has an extra copy of A Mosaic of Wings to give away to one of my readers. To enter to win, please leave a comment. A winner will be randomly selected on June 17. Please, US entrants only.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Cover Love

2 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is summer vibes. I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Sunny South, summer has arrived — temps in the 90s and lots of sun. I decided to head to my shelves to find book covers that just say summer to me — June weddings, lush vegetable gardens, special visitors to the bird feeder, 4th of July celebrations, and travel to new places, or just the title. As I looked at the covers of these books — some I have read and others I have not — I thought ahh, that’s summer.

Do you have a summery read awaiting you?

 

For more summer vibes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Summer Vibe Covers

 

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice — one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.
 
Newly married to her second husband, Max, Bethanne Scranton is blissfully in love. But with Max’s job in California and Bethanne’s in Seattle, their long-distance marriage is becoming difficult to maintain. To complicate matters, Bethanne’s cunning ex will do anything to win her back.
 
Lydia Goetz, too, is wonderfully happy with her husband, Brad, though lately she worries about the future of A Good Yarn. As she considers how to bring in business, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the punch. Baskets of yarn are mysteriously popping up all over town, with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and bring it into Lydia’s store. Never before has her shop received so much attention, but who hatched this brilliant plan?
 
As three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, Lydia, Lauren, and Bethanne realize that love heals every heart, and the best surprises still lay ahead.

Hope Springs by Lynne Hinton

Pull up a chair and discover the strength and sustenance of friendship with Jessie, Margaret, Louise, Beatrice, and Charlotte, as the unique bond forged between these five remarkable women is put to the test when one of their own is stricken with a deadly illness. Filled with the mystery and wonder that make life worthwhile, Hope Springs will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

 

 

Lemon Jelly Cake by Madeline Smith

A surefire cure for the headaches and stomach upsets of the twenty-first century, The Lemon Jelly Cake carries readers back to kinder, gentler times in a small town at the turn of the last century. Evoking a forgotten America of lush lawns, bountiful summer picnics, and shady front porches, the tale is set when the day’s toughest decision might have been what to serve for dinner or which suit or dress to wear.

 

‘Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon

It is summer in Euharlee, Georgia, and Imogene Lavender’s garden is bursting with snap beans, okra, and tomatoes. The household — made up of Imo; her daughter Jeanette and her new baby; and Lou, Imo’s niece — is about to grow as well. Imo’s estranged mother, Mama Jewell, has begun to show signs of senility, and Imo has decided that it is her duty to take her mother in. Mama Jewell brings with her some secrets from the past, including the story of Lou’s mother, a revelation that sends Lou in search of her ne’er-do-well father. For Imo, who is feeling the squeeze of being in the middle of the generations, Mama Jewell’s temperamental nature stirs up long-buried memories of a difficult childhood. And much to everyone’s surprise, wild Jeanette is so determined to find a husband that she joins the church choir to be closer to the handsome and enigmatic young reverend.

‘Mater Biscuit is a wonderful evocation of small-town life in the South, a world where hard work and prayers unite the community. Life isn’t always easy for Imo and her girls, but they have only to look as far as Imo’s beloved garden to be reminded that all things change with the seasons.

Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south — into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting — even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling

“But Mother is always dying,” is Gillian Ormsby’s sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed–waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there’s no medical reason behind her mother’s state.

Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows.

Soon, Mother’s health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio are going on a cruise. Before Gillian has time to turn around, her mother is gone and she is left high and dry again, and wondering, what is she going to do with the rest of her own life?

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

Sometimes you have to go a little bit crazy to discover the life you were meant to live.

Heather Curridge is coming unhinged. And people are starting to notice. What’s wrong with a woman who has everything — a mansion on a lake, a loving son, a heart-surgeon husband — yet still feels miserable inside?

When Heather spends the summer with two ancient Quaker sisters and a crusty nun running a downtown homeless shelter, she finds herself at a crossroads.

Sandpiper Drift by Vanessa Del Fabbro

When journalist Monica Brunetti enters the town of Lady Helen, she is awed by its beauty. A tiny jewel on the west coast of South Africa, its bright tin roofs and swaying palms seem made for picture postcards, not the real-world problems that have led her there. But the village takes hold of her heart, especially the beleaguered residents of Sandpiper Drift, who are threatened with eviction from their tranquil neighborhood beside the lagoon. And so Monica packs up her laptop, her adopted sons and housekeeper Francina, who’s wrestling with a major decision of her own, for the journey of a lifetime.

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her and — Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

 

Reading Road Trip — Beach Reads

27 May

A lot of plans have been disrupted this year. My bucket/birthday trip to Ireland is postponed, hopefully just until next year. For a lot of you, summer vacation is going to look so much different from previous years. So I decided to list some titles that make for great beach reads. Whether you will be sticking your toes in the sand or sitting in the backyard with a cool drink, the books on my list will take you away. I previously have visited the Atlantic Beaches and The Gulf Coast in my Reading Road Trip posts — you will find even more great books there.

Did you know there is actually a definition for beach read? Me either, until I googled it.

Beach read: a book you can take on holiday, which is good enough to keep you engaged, but not so serious it will spoil your holiday. (Macmillan Dictionary)

Really?! I think I have higher standards than that. I want a good story foremost, and you will get that from the books on my list. And whether you want action and suspense, romance, or all the feels, you will find a book to suit your mood. Most are actually set at the beach (or near enough) — win-win, while others capture the essence of summer. I hope you find one to enjoy.

 

Reading Road Trip — Beach Reads

 

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars — those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

As The Light Fades by Catherine West

After her carefully constructed life crumbles, Liz Carlisle finds herself back on Nantucket, picking up the pieces. With the family estate under renovations, the solitude she craves seems out of reach.

Matthew Stone intends to steer clear of his new tenant. She’s carrying a load of baggage, but as long as she pays the rent, he’ll let her be. He’s got enough to deal with caring for his wayward niece, Mia.

Liz doesn’t have time for teenagers and her track record with men is abysmal, but an unlikely friendship forms between the three.

When her former boyfriend is charged with assault, Liz is called to testify against him. But he knows the darkest secrets of her life — secrets she’d hoped to keep buried forever, and he’s ready to reveal them. Telling the truth is the right thing to do, but it may cost her everything she’s worked so hard for, and all she’s come to love.

The Bridge Between by Lindsey Brackett

Louisa Coultrie Halloway has returned home as caretaker for the family home on Edisto Island, but years before she left this world behind. Now she flounders to find her place. When Liam Whiting, a local professor studying tidal creek preservation, invites Lou to join his research team, she welcomes the opportunity for purpose.

David, her ex-husband, has followed Lou and their children to Edisto. As he finds his footing in this new life, their once strained relationship eases into a familiar rhythm — and he hopes for more.

But the past still has a hold on them all, especially in the presence of Grace Watson, whose son intends to marry Lou and David’s daughter. Somehow, Grace and Lou must let the past of a shared love settle between them.

In this idyllic setting, relationships deepen and shift. And once more, Lou finds herself caught between the life she’s chosen — and the love that might be meant to be.

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

The only thing certain is change — even in a place as steady as Perry, Alabama, on a street as old as Glory Road.

Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants — operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo. When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions — particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future. Once again, Jessie feels her protected and predictable life shifting.

In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer’s boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter — and Finn’s boss’s sister — Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she’s back, the tug on Finn’s heart is strong, but with the risks she’s taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can’t ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.  

On A Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not on

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

One Little Lie by Colleen Coble

It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsay Harrel

Brought together across time by a love of story, three women in England fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.  

As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature. 

Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance. 

Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch. 

Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon

A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good–but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.

First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence — until she’s recruited to advocate for a cause that’s dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven’s assistance, sparks fly — especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.

As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection–and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?

 

First Line Friday — A Mosaic of Wings

15 May

Happy Friday! Yesterday was my birthday — the big 6-0! It was a bit different than what I had expected. This morning I was supposed to awake from a flight to Dublin. At first we thought my cancer diagnosis would cancel our plans, but all my test results were great and I had a green light to go. Until all that’s going on right now (code for pandemic here in the South) destroyed my hopes and dreams. Okay, that’s a bit too dramatic 😉 . Let’s just say I was disappointed.

So my birthday consisted of a backyard social distancing get together with a few close friends. I got to see two of my three kids last weekend, so I have been very blessed. And a quick trip to the grocery store for a couple of forgotten items resulted in LYSOL SPRAY! Yes, a birthday miracle. LOL!

This week’s First Line Friday is courtesy of Bethany House book mail. How did they know it was my birthday? I met Kimberly Duffy last year at the Christy Awards and have been on the lookout for her debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings. So Lysol and a long-awaited book — big birthday wins for me! To learn more about Kimberly and her writing journey, check out the podcast A Rough Draft Life hosted by Lindsey Brackett and Kristi Ann Hunter. They are hosting debut authors and are offering a fantastic giveaway!

 

Here is the first line, fitting for the subject matter:

Nora Shipley’s ears buzzed as though a thousand bees were trapped inside her head.

 

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

 

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:

http://www.kimberlyduffy.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberlyDuffy/

 

For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Parties

5 May

Parties of more than 10 people won’t be happening for many of us in the near future. It is sad that the things that bring us together — celebrations large and small, somber or silly — are prohibited during these days of social distancing. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about bookish parties. I have gone in a different direction this week than was probably intended in order to bring you books that feature gatherings that violate safer options. It doesn’t hurt that several of these books are also set at Christmas — the ultimate gathering time. I am hopeful that soon we will all be able to crowd together to laugh, cry, dance, sing, and just party!

For more bookish party fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Parties Found in Books

 

Balls

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah Ladd

 

Family Gatherings

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

 

Festivals

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

 

Parades

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade by Virginia Smith

 

Weddings

Glory Road by Lauren Denton

The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachel Hauck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — 10 Years of Reading Changes

19 Nov

I am celebrating 10 years of book blogging this month. Woo hoo! (You can find my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway HERE.) Over the last 10 years a lot has changed — 3 children out of the house and well into successful adulthood (through with college/grad school/law school), a new daughter-in-law, and a first grand baby on the way — some very great changes! With the increased time on my hands, my reading life took off at a greater pace and back to the pre-kid levels I once enjoyed. And book blogging has influenced my reading choices even more so.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme — Changes in My Reading Life — fits in well with my month long blogiversary celebration as I reflect on all the benefits blogging has brought to my life. So here are some of the changes that have occurred in the past 10 years.

 

10 Years of Reading Changes

Reading on a schedule. Book blogging requires a good bit of organization, and reading according to a schedule keeps me from being too behind in my reading commitments.  Where once I picked up any old book that caught my fancy, I now have a list I follow pretty faithfully.

Reading new-to-me authors. I have been introduced to some great new favorite authors because I was introduced to them through blogging opportunities. Of course, this just makes the TBR pile bigger and bigger.

Reading small press and indie-published authors. One big benefit to blogging is coming into contact with authors who are independently published or from smaller houses. Again, I have new favorites I may have missed because of limited exposure. I hope my blog has introduced you to some great authors you may have missed otherwise.

No more binge-reading. In the past when I found an author I liked, I read ALL the books! I can remember reading Mindy Starns Clark’s Million Dollar Mysteries straight through. Now due to that pesky schedule, I have to wait to fit in books to read.

Less and less just because books. Again the reading schedule keeps me from reading on a whim. I am trying to allow for more gaps in the schedule to accomodate books that catch my eye and my fancy.

Reading the book first. This is one great perk to book blogging. I often receive books before release dates, making me very smug around my reading friends.  😉

Being in the know 😉 . Being in contact with authors, publicists, and publishers has increased my awareness of new books coming up in the future. It has also increased my book-bullying tendencies and my street cred with my book club. (Insert eye-rolls and raucous laughter here.)

Expanding genres. While I have always been very eclectic in my reading, I have added more books from less favored genres. Contemporary romance and Amish fiction were low on my preferred list, but because of blogging I have must-read authors from those genres now.

All the books — all the time. My reading time has increased with every book that makes its way into my house. It is not unusual for me to be reading 3 books at a time — one hard copy, one on Kindle, and one audiobook.

So there you have it — 10 years of book blogging has filled my shelves and my life with wonderful stories, authors, and experiences. I highly recommend it!

 

Guest Post — Lindsey Brackett, Author of The Bridge Between

11 Nov

Please welcome my friend Lindsey Brackett to the blog today. How cool is that? Referring to an author as a real friend! Lindsey will tell you how we met, but let me tell you I am the one who has been blessed to have gotten to know this talented author. Lindsey has introduced me to Edisto Island and the Coultrie-Halloway family and friends in her two Southern/Women’s fiction novels, and I cannot wait to get back there  . . . or anywhere her storytelling will take me. If you like this genre, please put Lindsey up at the top of your TBR list. Be sure to check out the blurbs at the bottom of the post.

Thanks so much, Lindsey, for helping me celebrate my 10 Year Blogiversary! (For a link to the Big Box of Books Giveaway post, click HERE.)

Guest Post by Lindsey Brackett

Last spring when I was named a regional author for a local literary festival, I realized quickly I was out of my league. Despite having a marginal amount of popularity in my local community, within this sphere of academic and literary minded authors, readers, and teachers, I was convinced no one would care about my inspirational women’s fiction. 

I was also convinced I’d have my first failed book signing in which I sat at a table alone, awkward, and surrounded by piles of unsold books. 

Then Beckie Burnham came. We’d met in a round about way—a mutual friend recommended I ask Beckie to review my book. I did and she chose it for her book club and then took the extra time to interact with me on social media. She could have stopped with a follow, but that’s not Beckie. She appreciates authors and is genuinely interested in who we are beyond the back cover copy. 

So when I was sitting — not alone but between two authors whose names I can’t remember — at the literary festival, just hoping someone would be interested in me, Beckie showed up. She was on a weekend away in the mountains, and the morning had been rainy, but she came over anyway. “I wanted to meet you in person!” she told me as I hugged her gratefully. 

We hung out all morning and then she took me to lunch, where we talked books and reading and book clubs and Jesus and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She made me feel like a real author — someone who had fans and was known and who had written words that mattered. 

It’s no surprise to me Beckie has lasted ten years in the blogging world which can, unfortunately, wear a person out. She’s built a strong following and gained the respect and friendship of authors like myself because she cares about more than our next book. She wants to know who the writer is behind the voice, and I am so very thankful for our connection. 

Here’s to ten more years — and then ten more, Beckie! Congratulations on your achievement. May your enthusiastic spirit for good books never cease and may we all benefit from your discernment, grace, and willingness to serve. 

Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past — despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

The Bridge Between

Louisa Coultrie Halloway has returned home as caretaker for the family home on Edisto Island, but years before she left this world behind. Now she flounders to find her place. When Liam Whiting, a local professor studying tidal creek preservation, invites Lou to join his research team, she welcomes the opportunity for purpose.

David, her ex-husband, has followed Lou and their children to Edisto. As he finds his footing in this new life, their once strained relationship eases into a familiar rhythm — and he hopes for more.

But the past still has a hold on them all, especially in the presence of Grace Watson, whose son intends to marry Lou and David’s daughter. Somehow, Grace and Lou must let the past of a shared love settle between them.

In this idyllic setting, relationships deepen and shift. And once more, Lou finds herself caught between the life she’s chosen — and the love that might be meant to be.

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett just writes life — blogs, columns, articles, and stories — in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications. She writes a popular bimonthly column for several local newspapers in which she meditates on small town southern life.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first novel, Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness. Thanks to her four kids, in her home you’ll find wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee.

Connect with her at http://www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she just writes life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Twitter @lindsbrac, or Instagram @lindseypbrackett.