William Cole cannot forget the cruel burden he carries, not with the pock marks that serve as an outward reminder. Riddled with guilt, he assumed the solitary life of a long hunter, traveling into the wilds of Kentucky each year. But his quiet existence is changed in an instant when, sitting in a tavern, he overhears a man offering his daughter—and her virtue—to the winner of the next round of cards. William’s integrity and desire for redemption will not allow him to sit idly by while such an injustice occurs.
Lucinda Gillespie has suffered from an inexplicable illness her entire life. Her father, embarrassed by her condition, has subjected her to a lonely existence of abuse and confinement. But faced with the ultimate betrayal on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lucinda quickly realizes her trust is better placed in his hands of the mysterious man who appears at her door. Especially when he offers her the one thing she never thought would be within her grasp—freedom.
In the blink of an eye, both lives change as they begin the difficult, danger-fraught journey westward on the Wilderness Trail. But can they overcome their own perceptions of themselves to find love and the life God created them for?
Andrea Byrd is a Christian wife and mom located in rural Kentucky, who loves to spend time with her family in the great outdoors, one with nature. Often described as having been born outside her time, she has a deep affinity for an old-fashioned, natural lifestyle.
With a degree in Equine Health & Rehabilitation gathering dust and a full-time job tethering her to a desk eight hours a day, Andrea decided it was time to show both herself and her children that it is truly possible to make your dreams come true. Now with over 1,000 contemporary Christian romance novellas sold, Andrea is pursuing her passion of writing faith-filled romance woven with a thread of true history.
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There is so much inspiration that fed into the creation of Rescue in the Wilderness.
Not only was the Good Lord’s guiding hand ever-present, but so was the influence of those that came before me. This story was inspired by my own ancestors, as well as the countless others, that made the arduous journey through Cumberland Gap to settle in Kentucky. Those brave souls opened up a whole new world, and for some of us, established the area in which their families would preside for centuries to come.
As a lover of books that integrate history into fiction myself, I also wished to shed light on the “Hard Winter” of 1779-1780. This was a winter that came early, and with great intensity. While it caused hardships for many across the country, it made the journey through the Cumberland Gap all the more perilous.
Beyond these historical facts, I also wished to pay tribute to those who suffer from chronic pain conditions. I will never forget the day a friend of mine, whom the Lord called home all too soon, told me of her childhood rheumatoid arthritis and how there were days she was in too much pain to leave her bed. In this book, I wished to explore what pioneer life might have been for someone who suffered from such a condition.
Rescue in the Wilderness is book one in the Frontier Hearts series that is written by Andrea Byrd. The author does a beautiful job in transporting us back beginning in 1779. I love how accurately she captured the historical detail.
William carries a lot of demons around. He does not think that he is worth anything - and has accepted that he will be by himself the rest of his life. He meets Lucinda, who has some limitations but she finds herself in a not so great situation, thanks to her own father. I liked the banter between these two characters.
I really enjoyed seeing our characters navigate what God has in store for them. That even if we have scars and limitation, God can still use us.
The book is well written. It will draw you in within the first few pages. The characters are well developed. I cannot wait to read the second book - thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this book - all thoughts are my own.
Love’s gentle promise becomes nothing more than a withered dream.
With dreams of love and a hope for belonging, shy Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Colt Lawson’s letters hold great promise and while his devilishly handsome face matches his picture, something does not add up. Discovering his lie only moments before they wed, Belle flees the church and straight into the Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. Giving up the prospect on ever marrying, she dons her nun-like uniform and focuses on her role as a Harvey Girl waitress until a strong, former Texas Ranger rides into her life.
Colt Lawson didn’t want to send that letter to Belle Parish in the first place, but her first response had all but captured his heart. When he is left standing at the altar alone, he is left with two choices—either release his dream of a love marriage, or attempt to win her heart. Wooing her would be a lot easier if that Texas Ranger wasn’t back in town. Who wants a dusty rancher with a past when she could have a shining knight in a Stetson?
Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.
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Questions from READERS for Grace Hitchcock
Q: As a mom, how/when do you find time to write?
Grace Hitchcock: I used to walk around the block to my favorite coffee shop in New Orleans, writing with a delicious latte and scone beside me, headphones in with the perfect soundtrack playing waiting for the muse. . . and now days, I write during Sofia the First episodes blaring in the background for my toddler while the baby sleeps and my Kindergartner is in half-day school.
On the days when I can’t get the word count down during those tiny moments, my husband takes the babies for an hour in the evenings and tells me to go write! When I’m on tight deadline with days left to go, the house usually isn’t the cleanest and Laundry Mountain, in all its splendor, may just fall on top of us. Sometimes while on deadline, I get the urge to pause and clean, but if I ignore the impulse long enough, the feeling generally passes. Once the book is in to my editor, it’s time to clean.
Q: What is your favorite source of inspiration for creating the characters in your stories?
Grace Hitchcock: For main characters, I use Names Through the Ages to figure out their names based on their background and once I know a character’s name, it’s as if the heroine/hero stroll into my writing room and I get to know their personality, the story closely following.
For the supporting characters, I have a need/plot point that they need to fill and I build their personality around that need. Not quite as exciting haha but they serve a purpose. But, I always remind myself to try to fill them out because they do not know they are not the main characters.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Grace Hitchcock: One of my earliest memories is writing stories in my little diary in my closet. (Remember the diaries with the locks on them that were super easy to pick, but still dreamy to have a book with a lock on it.)
I started taking my desire to write seriously when I was a senior in high school. I was homeschooled and my mom let me write a novel for my senior English project to test that theory if I wanted to write. It was so fun to write, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I got my Masters in Creative Writing and I’ve been typing away ever since
Q: What is your writing process like?
Grace Hitchcock: I usually begin with a spark of an idea that I at once research to see if it would work with the eras I enjoy writing (Gilded Age and Regency England). From there, I do a deep dive into writing out a chapter by chapter plot, which generally takes about a week to ten days.
Once I have my plot down, I do about a week or two more of basic research and begin the first very, very rough draft that I usually finish at 50,000 words after 3 months of writing.
Then, I research any spots that needed improving in the first draft and go full editing mode, pausing throughout the book to research spots that need more description and historical accuracy, which is about two months and then, I do a third round of edits and research while doing a line edit, which takes a month.
By the time I get to the 6-month mark, I am more than ready to have a break haha and I send my 75,000/80,000 word novel off to my publisher/editor who does a content edit, sends it back to me for three weeks, another editor does a line edit, sends it back to me for three weeks, then another editor does a copy edit and sends it to galleys (where they format the book) and send it back to me to proof one last time for two weeks! Then, it goes to press at usually 75,000-100,000 depending on the novel. So long story short, 6 months to write and about 2 months to edit!
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Grace Hitchcock: In this business, just about every author gets a rejection from a publisher . . . even by publishers who later accept them!
When I began sending out one of my first manuscripts, I thought it was pristine, but after about 15 rejections, I put it on the shelf and focused on a new manuscript with fresh eyes and new goals based on some of the industry professionals’ suggestions. Six months after I shelved that first manuscript, I went back and looked over it . . . the professionals were right. It wasn’t ready and it would require a lot more love (aka bleeding edits) before I attempted to send it out again. Sometimes, time is what you need to get a fresh perspective.
But it is also important to remember thatwhen you get a rejection letter, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the work. And as much as you see it as a work of art, the publishers see it as a product. They are there to sell a product and if the product isn’t ready, it won’t sell well, so take heart and “hone your craft” and focus on any feedback you received that has merit.
That critique was very hard for me to hear haha but it helped push me to keep learning, attending writer conferences, and following my dreams. Over the years, I have had novels rejected by Barbour, Bethany, and Kregel, but I tried again and again and eventually signed with each publishing house! So keep it up! You can do it!
The Pursuit of Miss Parish is written by Grace Hitchcock. One of the things that I love about this author is how she has brought the past to life. This book is part of the Aprons and Veils series, they can be read as stand alone. The author has brought to life the Harvey Girls and their responsibilities.
Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Things do not go as planned when she meets Colt, a rancher. She leaves him at the alter and starts to work at Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. She does not give Colt a chance to explain anything. Then a Texas Ranger rolls into town - and Belle finds herself with two men vying for her attention.
Not only does this book have romance, it's got action - with a gang that is committing train robberies and killing those who may stand in the way. This book took me on quite the adventure and I loved it.
Thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this book - all thoughts are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of The Finding of Miss Fairfield AND The Pursuit of Miss Parish with bookmarks and book magnets, and a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Dreams of adventure send him across the country. She prefers to keep her feet firmly planted in Ohio.
Rennie Hill has no illusions about the hardships in life, which is why it’s so important her beau, John Welch, keeps his secure job with the newspaper. Though he hopes to write fiction, the unsteady pay would mean an end to their plans, wouldn’t it?
John Welch dreams of adventure worthy of storybooks, like Mark Twain, and when two of his short stories are published, he sees it as a sign of future success. But while he’s dreaming big with his head in the clouds, his girl has her feet firmly planted, and he can’t help wondering if she really believes in him.
When Rennie must escort a little girl to her parents’ home in San Francisco, John is forced to alter his plans to travel across the country with them. But the journey proves far more adventurous than either of them expect.
Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.
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It was fun to invite readers on this book’s journey!
To those who lived in the 1880s, venturing into this newly-settled and largely-unsettled West had become much safer—though not without danger—with the system of railroads already in place. I enjoyed taking readers to Chicago, Omaha, Oakland, Ogden, and Sacramento, as well as frontier towns along the journey such as Cheyenne.
Our heroine is a telegraph operator. She temporarily leaves her job to escort a little girl to her ailing mother in San Francisco.
My research about telegraph jobs taught me quite a bit of terminology.
For example, a clatter arises when another operator “calls.” The call begins with something like “B m—X n”, which means the B m is the station receiving the call and X n is the caller.
B m must signal a reply that she’s ready to receive the call.
The Sounder receives sounds of the alphabet in dots and dashes. Some operators sent messages too rapidly to understand. When this occurs, the receiving operating asks for it again with a Break (she opens her “key” to break the circuit) and interrupts with “Please repeat.”
“G.A. the—” means “Go ahead” and “the” was the last word she understood.
Operators end every message with his/her own private “call” as well as the office’s call and “O.K.” at the end of each message.
Wired Love, which was written by telegraph operator Ella Cheever Thayer in 1879, provided many insights about the job’s daily tasks.
One of them was the lack of privacy on the lines. She can hear the messages sent to other wires but only offices on the same wire. In Wired Love, operators heard messages sent to and from twenty offices.
By the way, the public grew so fascinated with the role of women in telegraphy that it became the topic of romance novels and short stories, creating a new genre called “telegraphic romance” in the latter 1800s. That’s a little-known fun fact for you!
I enjoyed writing this series. I invite you to read the whole “Second Chances” series beginning with A Not So Convenient Marriage, Book 1, A Not So Persistent Suitor, Book 2, and A Not So Peaceful Journey, Book 3.
A Not So Peaceful Journey is the third and final book in the Second Chance Series that is written by Sandra Merville Hart. I’ve enjoyed this series so much and I’m sad to see it end. This story is set in 1884. The author does a wonderful job capturing the time period.
Rennie and John have been together for awhile. Rennie wants John to keep his stable job with the newspaper. John has some big hopes and dreams of becoming a writer and publishing stories. Rennie, in my opinion is selfish. She wasn’t considerate of the bigger picture.
Rennie finds herself getting to escort a young girl back to her parents in California. John goes along for safety concerns. The train ride isn’t a smooth one. There’s bandits and thrives along for the ride.
The author has done a wonderful job with this second chance story. It’s a brilliant conclusion to the series. Thank You to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
Even if she’s a seventeen-year-old, raven-haired bear slayer though? Ava May, head strong, fetching, and true of soul grew up wise in the ways of swamp living while so naive concerning the outside world. Gold for her ma to pay off her dead father’s debts and the promise of great adventure transport her from her backwoods Louisiana cabin to Montana’s big sky county to marry a stranger. However, love threatens to thwart all the plans made for the mail-order bride before the wagon train’s wheels stop rolling. Enjoy your journey with Ava and the other brides under Miss Lottie’s care on the Oregon Trail, living though temptations, dangers, and the harrowing trek.
Award-winning, Christian author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Of her best-selling novels, readers love her historical Christian romance family sagas most, but also enjoy their contemporary cousins, Caryl’s Biblical fiction, her historical mystery series, and tales for young adults, mid-grade booklovers, and pre-K through 2nd grade picture books.
The majority of reviewers award her stories five-stars and praise Caryl’s writing style, citing her extensive research and the depth of her characters.
The prolific writer loves singing the new songs God gives her almost as much as penning new novels—hear a few at YouTube! She’s been married to Ron fifty-five years, and they share four children and twenty-five grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
More from Caryl
2023 is the fifth annual Prairie Roses Collection, and I’m so excited to add AVA to my contributions for this multi-author, covered-wagon-stories project! The sojourners of these grueling treks fascinate me, willingly suffering such hardships and walking two thousand miles for a fresh start.
In fact, Ava May Harley never wanted to leave her home, a log cabin her father built in Skeeter Bottoms. She was born there, but with her Pap gone, for her family’s sake . . . The Word says if we don’t take care of our own, we are worse than an infidel, right?
What have you sacrificed for the sake of your family?
What immediately comes to my mind is the time we gave up our “golden years” and put off our empty-nest for fourteen years to take in four precious grandsugar-sons when we were fifty-two. They were six, four, three, and three-days-old.
Had we not, CPS was going to remove them from our family and spread the brothers out among strangers. Ron and I couldn’t let that happen and asked them to leave the boys with us. Of course, we thought it would only be for a few months.
We assumed their parents would attend the required classes and ‘get clean’ Figured we could do anything for a couple of months, right? The short months turned into years. Each boy left when the graduated high school, except the baby. When the third brother left, he asked to go with him to the other grandmother’s. He was fourteen then.
When people asked how we did it, there was an easy answer. “Only by the mercy and grace of God.” The boys are grown now. The oldest is a fire fighter, and the youngest is a Marine. Ron and I have enjoyed our empty nest since 2017 (at 67 years of age), but we miss our fellers!
In AVA, my sweet heroine was only seventeen when a cousin dangled gold coins in front of her broke and bereft mother. Ma could buy a proper gravestone for her dead husband and pay off his debts if she would only send her firstborn off to marry a stranger in Montana.
My brave and independent character made her own decision to make the journey for the betterment of her family and count it a great adventure. As the miles piled on top one another, taking her farther and farther from her life in the Louisiana swamps, the only home she’d ever known, she doubted her decision more than once.
Her strong faith in God worked with her naivety and kept her on the Oregon Trail, moving ever toward her future. When a person knows God has a plan, and believes they are on that very path, there’s no reason to be afraid or worry. She knew God would never leave her or forsake her.
She knew how completely trustworthy He is.
I fell in love with this precious character, and I hope you will, too. I hope you will enjoy going along with AVA on the harrowing journey! How involved have you gotten with a book character in the past? Share the character’s name and the book’s title if you will in your comments below!
Ava is written by Caryl McAdoo. This is part of the Prairie Rose Collection. The collection is written by multiple authors - and can all be read as stand alones. One of the things that I absolutely love about this author is her attention to historical detail. She has a way of transporting you back to the past and bringing it to life.
Ava, who is 17 years old, she is used to living more isolated, and is not accustomed to the world. She becomes a mail order bride and heads to Montana. Ava has a mind of her own - which in the historical setting is not usually a great thing. Ava is strong in her faith - and when she meets someone on the wagon train, she wants to make sure that he is a Christian.
The book is well written. It will draw you in within the first few pages. The author does a great job peppering in humor and wit throughout. I love this author, and will read anything that she writes.
Thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this book - all thoughts are my own.