Saturday 31 December 2011

Guest Post: Author Susan Fraser King of Queen Hereafter

I'd like to welcome author Susan Fraser King to The Sweet Bookshelf! She's here telling us about her new book, Queen Hereafter! Take it away Susan!
Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King
December 2011

Researching Margaret
Queen Hereafter tells the story of Margaret of Scotland, queen of Scots in the 11th century—a Saxon princess, Hungarian-born, she was descended from Alfred the Great and became a refugee from the Norman Conquest. Shipwrecked with her escaping family along the Scottish coast, she married her protector, King Malcolm Canmore, who had defeated Macbeth for the throne of Scotland. Margaret succeeded Lady Macbeth as queen of Scots, and so she seemed a perfect subject for a sequel to my novel about Lady Macbeth—and Margaret was an intriguing woman in her own right. 

A good deal is known about Margaret, which is unusual in an early medieval queen and made the research and the writing easier in some ways than my novel about Lady Macbeth—and in some ways more complicated, as so much was known that some, inevitably, had to be cut from the novel. The contrasts in Margaret’s life and character were fascinating—piety and worldly power, gentleness and temper, obedience and mischief, saintliness and temptation: all those angles were part of her. She emerges from history as a real young woman thanks to a rare medieval biography written by her friend and confessor, Bishop Turgot—who seemed a pretty dry character in history until I discovered that Turgot, or Thorgaut, was a Viking name, and that this priest and monk had previously escaped from a Norman prison and had been shipwrecked and rescued by monks, so that he joined their order after his recovery. Tor, as he’s called in the novel, idealized his friend Queen Margaret, but in his biography of her, he left tantalizing hints of a vital, fascinating young woman.

Her biographer seems to have fallen under Margaret's spell—which says something about her personality. Reading between the lines of Turgot’s biography, Margaret comes across as a very real and fascinating character. And there is a lovely fairytale element to her true story that has such naturally romantic elements that a story was easy to develop: a beautiful, exiled young princess, a shipwreck, love at first sight (so says Turgot!), a brawny royal husband who adored her, eight healthy children, and enough charm and determination in this foreign queen to win the affection of the resistant Scots and then change them, bringing them from the Dark Ages, basically, into the Middle Ages. Margaret’s influence in that transition was quite significant, as medieval historians note about her. Yet some inner torment kept Margaret from being truly happy despite all she had – her story was hard for a historical novelist to resist. 

Margaret is a crucial part of Scottish history at a critical moment, the period of the Norman Conquest of England, which threatened Scotland’s well-being too. She had a cosmopolitan upbringing in Hungary and then the English court; Edward the Confessor was her uncle, and after his death, when the Normans invaded England, she and her mother and siblings fled. Their ship wrecked on the Scottish coast and they came under the protection of Malcolm Canmore – and Margaret’s contribution to Scottish history, and to the history of women in power, began.
Turgot created an amazing document in his Vita S. Margaretae, written for Margaret’s daughter—it’s full of wonderful anecdotes about her, insights into her character, and verifiable facts. Other sources mention Margaret and her family, such as in annals and charters. The rest of the picture is provided by historical events and the actions of her husband, Malcolm Canmore, her brother, Edgar the Aetheling, and others. 

Despite the amount of information available about the real Margaret, writing a novel about her required filling lots of historical gaps, extrapolating and leaping in order to bring history to life. I wanted Margaret to emerge in the novel as a real, vulnerable, sympathetic character. Part of the challenge was that she was represented as perfect and virtuous in her lifetime, a woman who later was named a saint. But along with the perfection were hints of flaws and quirks, such as her temper, her sharp intelligence, her impatience, her tendency to be very hard on herself and others, all revealed by her biographer along with her more idealized qualities. I was looking for the real Margaret, a young woman in a strange land, who was not always so sure of herself—a young woman who fell in love with a man who was very nearly her complete opposite—a love match that even the earliest historical sources attest—and a woman who loved deeply, passionately, not only her husband and children, but her loyalties, her causes and charities, and her adopted country of Scotland. I discovered that Margaret of Scotland was a complex woman who seemed very real to me—and I hope she seems that way to readers of Queen Hereafter too.  

Friday 30 December 2011

Christy's Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Doubleday Children's
Pages: 880

It began with Eragon . . . It ends with Inheritance.

Not so very long ago, Eragon - Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider - was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.
The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaƫsia? And if so, at what cost?

I’ve been waiting nearly eight years to read the conclusion to the Eragon series. My mother pointed me toward the first book in the series in 2003, while I was home on a school break. I was immediately fascinated and drawn into the world of Alageisia and young Eragon and his Dragon, Sapphira. I was doubly impressed on finding out that the author, Christopher Paolini had finished the first draft of the book when he was only 15 years old! What a feat! Years passed and I read the second book in the series, then the third. I didn’t love the third book and was almost of a mind to skip book four, being so disappointed by the previous book.

Boy oh boy, I’m glad I picked up book four! Book four was everything book three ought to have been. It was a beautiful way to end this epic fantasy series. Everything was well thought-out and nothing felt easily arrived at or thrown together. The characters and the integrity of the world Paolini created were all respected with this concluding novel. Obviously, some time has passed since the first draft of the first book, and Christopher Paolini’s maturity really shines through in this last book.

Without giving anything away, I LOVED the resolution between Galbatorix and the Varden/Eragon (and his allies). It was beautifully done. It really, really spoke to me. I *may* have cried. If only we could give to our foes in life the gift that Eragon gave to Galbatorix! While I would have loved a bit more resolution given to a couple of the budding love subplots, I commend Paolini for not taking the “easy way out” on those storylines. In my mind’s eye, everything ended as realistically as it ought to have done. (For a magical, fantasy world, of course!) I would love to see Paolini’s next project include a proper love story.

The first 1/3 of the book really took me a while to get through – about two weeks (seriously unusual for me) of slow reading. I should have re-read book three before jumping in, in order to get back into the language/names, etc. But as I mentioned earlier, I hated book three, so I didn’t re-read it. That said, at around the 1/3 mark, I became intensely involved with the storyline and finished the rest of the book in three days! Couldn’t put it down!

Great read. Great conclusion to an immensely impressive series.  If you haven’t checked out the Eragon series yet, you really should! This book is a bit more “high fantasy” than I usually read, but not so demanding or as high fantasy as Anne McCaffrey or Tolkien. If you enjoyed the Inkheart series, you'll most likely enjoy this series.

(And please avoid the terrible movie at all costs. It should be completely redone by Peter Jackson.)

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Review: Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell

Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 251
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Kindle

Eighteen-year-old Quinn MacPherson's biggest fear has always been turning out like her mentally unstable mother. (Solving algebraic equations comes in as a close second.) 

That is, until she meets Benjamin Shaw. Quinn thinks hooking up with Ben over summer vacation will be nothing more than a quick fling. She can’t even commit to a nail polish choice, much less some guy. Unfortunately for her, Ben is not just some guy. Ben gets her- the real her, flaws and all- and that scares the hell out of her. When Ben does the unthinkable- tells Quinn he’s in love with her- she does what comes naturally. She pushes him away. Ben can only watch from a distance as Quinn lashes out, and punishes him for daring to care about her. 

But how far can you push someone, even someone who loves you, before they are gone for good? 

I've been wanting to read this, and so when I finally saw it on sale in the Kindle Store for £0.86 (99cents) I grabbed it! Yay! 

This book was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. Quinn's family is dysfunction all around. But, who's family doesn't have a little bit of dysfunction? I know mine does! Quinn takes it to another level though.  She thinks because her family isn't perfect and she has many problems, that she isn't worth loving.  That made my heart hurt. We all are worthy of love.  No matter how much of a screw up we are (or our family).

That's when Ben comes in.  Ben makes Quinn feel normal.  Or at least Ben gives her the peace she needs to get through all the drama with her family.  Until Ben says, "I Love You." Quinn doesn't think she is worthy of that. So she does the unthinkable. She pushes Ben away. Her life is such a wreck now more than ever without Ben in her life. 

I liked it.  It hit home for me in many ways though. Brought feelings up from my past that I was sure were buried deep, but weren't. Actually shook me a bit. I wanted more of a resolve at the ending, but I like everything packaged up in a neat little bow. This story isn't like that.  Ben is my favorite character, he's a rock. Everybody needs a rock in their life.  This is a heavy story, but a good one!

"I have no clue what my motive is for following him, maybe I'm just bored. Maybe it's just so easy to cyber-stalk hotties on Facebook that I've moved on to doing it in real life." 

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Monday 26 December 2011

Review: Sophie and Carter by Chelsea Fine

Sophie and Carter by Chelsea Fine
Publisher: Acacia Publishing Inc.
Pages: 126
Format: Kindle

A girl. A boy. A porch swing.
Sometimes life breaks your heart.
And sometimes the boy next door puts it back together.

I thought this was going to be a fun contemporary.  Why? I'm not sure.  Maybe it was the cover. Isn't it a great cover? 

It is a fast read.  I zipped right through it.  But, it's heavy. It was heartbreaking.  Being a mom, my heart broke for those kids.  I kept wanting to go over there and take care of them.  Give them their childhoods back.  Give them something.  I'm glad Sophie has Carter and Carter has Sophie.  I was worried they'd never get together!  

Loved it! The prose is actually quite beautiful. It is written really well. I want more. I want more of the characters and the story.  I went to bed thinking up what really happened to them later.  Beautiful story of triumph over trials and finding true love. Great read! I wish author Chelsea Fine would write a sequel!

"He's not the most popular guy in school. He's not the hottest guy to ever live. But to me, he's everything." 

Sunday 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Who got a KINDLE?! 

Friday 23 December 2011

Review: Six Geese A-Laying by Sophie Kinsella

Six Geese A-Laying by Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Format: FREE on Kindle

A special Christmas gift for fans of Sophie Kinsella, available to download for free! Includes a mini short story, Six Geese a-Laying, and sneak peak at the first chapter of Sophie's fabulous new novel, I've Got Your Number.In Six Geese a-Laying, Christmas is approaching, and Ginny is looking forward to the birth of her first baby. It's a pity her partner Dan is so useless, and she has to keep reminding him where he's going wrong. Luckily she's enrolled into the most exclusive antenatal class going - all the highest achieving, smartest mothers-to-be aspire to be taught by the legendary Petal Harmon. Like the other five women in the class, Ginny already knows exactly what she wants, and how she's going to handle motherhood.But when they turn up for the final class it isn't quite what they expect. As Ginny discovers what parenthood is really going to be like, she begins to realize the things that really matter...

Short Story is right. It's super short. It has an erie Ghost of Christmas Future thing going on with it too. There's a happy ending, and it made me think about how I'm too hard on my husband sometimes. Merry Christmas!

The reason for downloading this FREE e-book though is really for the 1st chapter in Sophie Kinsella's new book out in February! I've Got Your Number! She is laugh out loud! I can not wait for this new book. Kinsella is one of my very favorite authors. 

Thursday 22 December 2011

Review: Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr

Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr
Publisher: Mira Books
Pages: 331
Format: ARC-Kindle

A special Thank You to Mira Books and NetGalley for sending me this book to review.

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list—getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago, Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It's time she got over her silly high-school relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother's men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters. As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Usually romance novels aren't this good. This was brilliant! It actually had a plot!  The character's were loveable, and I even shed a tear for all the Christmas spirit at the end.  What a great book to get me in the Christmas mood!

Becca shows up on her brother's doorstep at 3am, bags packed, ready to go on a guys hunter trip.  She says she just needs to get away, but she really wants to see if Denny, her ex-boyfriend, and her can finally have some closure to their breakup a few yrs ago.  I smell trouble!  And romance! It is kind of funny the situations that Becca gets herself in, and ultimately end up her saving grace. 

We actually got to know the character's well, and I wouldn't mind living in such a town. If they exist! It was like a dream.  This book was full of Christmas spirit and love.  I'm totally in the mood now and can't stop listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. I actually wanted more of the story. I know you'll enjoy this. I did!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Review: Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly
Publisher: Cedar Fort Books
Pages: 304 
Format: ARC-Kindle

A special Thank you to Cedar Fort Books and NetGalley for sending me this book to review.

Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady.  She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man.  And she is certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavour and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected-a young English Lord. 

This books was so much more than I'd hoped.  I loved it! What a Christmas story!  There was plenty of fun, adventure, intrigue, mystery, and love.  Yes, ALL of those! It was such a pleasant surprise!! I really enjoyed it and the time period. I kind of felt like I was reading some Austen, with a twist. 
Loved the characters.  Marian and Gil were my favorite, of course.  They have so much fun! Marian and her brother Alistair get themselves into so much trouble time and again. It never ceased to amaze me. 
I also love it when the characters are friends first before they fall in love. Isn't that how it really happens?! I think it adds something special. I stayed up into the night to finish reading this book. I really enjoyed it.  It has all the elements of a perfect Christmas story! I know you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Santa Would Bring

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

I usually don't ask for books for Christmas. I generally get myself whatever I want in books, and/or I'm picky.  BUT, I thought this Top Ten Tuesday looked fun, and I'm sending the list to my husband as well! Maybe he'll put a surprise or two on my Kindle on Christmas morning. 

Here it goes: My list of books I wish Santa would bring.

What books are you hoping Santa brings?!

Monday 19 December 2011

Review: A Christmas Melody by Anita Stansfield

Title: A Christmas Melody
Author: Anita Stansfield
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Pages: 219
Format: Kindle

For twenty-year-old Melody Morgan, Christmas is nothing but a source of shame and embarrassment – just like all the other holidays in her life. She has grown up hating special days – and Christmas is the worst of all.

Then Matthew Trevor walks into her life one November afternoon and turns her world upside down. For Matthew, it’s love at first sight. But how can this handsome, upbeat returned missionary possibly know about the dark, desperate side of Melody’s life – and once he finds out, will he still love her?

I love a good Christmas story! Something to get me in the mood to enjoy the holiday's and this is just what I got.  It starts off before Thanksgiving, and ends at New Years. My favorite time of year!

I use to live in Utah and could picture all the places they had gone and at Christmas time, nobody does it better! I really enjoyed the characters.  Melody is in some ways a lot like myself , minus all the dysfunction. What I mean is, she is independent.  Living on her own. Taking care of herself.  I like how she just does what needs to be done because there isn't any other way. She doesn't have a family to fall back on. Matthew is a great guy.  Always loving and caring.  Always thinking of others.  His thoughtfulness and faith made me want to be more like him.

This is not just a Christmas story. It’s a touching novel of discovery, renewal, and commitment to eternal principles of love and faith. What Melody learns about Christmas – and about herself – is the greatest gift of all. You’ll be charmed and moved by this sweet and satisfying adventure of the heart. And along the way, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the spirit and wonder of Christmas.

"I intend to show you what Christmas is all about.  Whether or not you and I ever get past New Years Day, I'm going to give you a Christmas you'll never forget."
"Now listen to me, Matthew.  The last thing I want is for you to feel sorry for me and go out and spend money to--"
"He pressed his fingers over her lips. "It has nothing to do with money, Melody.  And I'm going to prove it to you."

Saturday 17 December 2011

Why Give Books This Christmas?

It is not news that the economy is rubbish right now.  No matter where in the world you are.  Christmas gifts are getting harder and harder to buy each year.  This got me thinking about what are the best gifts to give.  It is no surprise I would say a book.  But why?

I'll start off with the obvious first.  You can buy a book for under £10 (or $10).  Many book stores have deals where you can buy 2 and get one free. What's not to like about that?  It is affordable.  

When you give a book you are saying, "I've taken the time to think about what you'd like." Or sharing a book that you enjoyed says,"I loved this book so much I want you to have it so we will have more we share together."  It also says,"I'm giving you a gift you can re-open again and again." Giving a sweater doesn't convey that message. When you go to buy a book you are actually forced to think of the recipient.  What are their likes and dislikes? You are picking something personal.

Reading a book offers the chance to get away from it all.  That's why I read!  I want to use my imagination and have a little bit of peace and quiet in this hectic world.  Giving a book offers that to those you love. 

I know not everyone is a reader, but giving a book is an invitation.  So give a book this Christmas!

There is a list of my favorite books on my sidebar.  If you'd like some personal help recommending a book for your loved one, please email and I'll be so happy to help!

Merry Christmas!

Friday 16 December 2011

Christy's Review: The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 304
Pub Date: January 3, 2012
Format: ARC

A special Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for sending this book to review. 

Two high-school sweethearts, a wedding reenactment, and one absent-minded preacher. Is it a recipe for disaster or a chance for a new beginning? 

Shay Brandenberger is a survivor. She's lived through a crazy childhood, a failed marriage, and single parenthood-with her confidence intact.
But not for long. Because when Shay participates in her town's Founder's Day wedding reenactment, she finds herself face-to-face with the one man who takes her breath away and leaves her weak in the knees: Travis McCoy.
Travis is back in town after years way on the rodeo circuit. His one regret in life is breaking Shay's heart when they were high-school sweethearts. He's determined to get it right this time.
So when their Founder's Day "marriage" is accidentally made official, Travis seizes the day. Can Shay put aside her pride to let Travis help her, or will their accidental marriage be dissolved before it can begin?


I loved this novel. It’s a great light read. From the get-go you know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s a love story and you expect a happy ending. But, as with every story, it’s the telling that counts and this book is no disappointment. (The author)’s country colloquial dialogue is charming and perfectly done. The pacing is great and the romantic moments just keep coming (Yes, please!). Shay is a great spitfire character with a whole lotta heart and soul. Travis is the picture-perfect dream country gentleman with a good heaping of rough n’ tumble. The world could use a few more men like him!! I loved every minute of this story, even the cheesy, predictable ending. It turned my insides to mush. Sigh.

I had issues with two things:
1.     This novel is classified as Christian, and there are many, many references to God and to praying and pleading with God. But there aren’t really any references to the characters receiving answers from God, they just pray and then make up their mind and go ahead with what they want to do. There’s never a “I felt good about it, or I needed to do such and such…” The lack of answers from Heaven made it feel as though God were just a device to refer to rather than an Omnipresent, caring being.
2.     Hmmm, issue number two… How do I address this issue without giving away the story? An action is decided upon at one point in the book. I was surprised about it because it really felt to me like Shay was betraying herself in that action, and also that Travis had broken Shay down rather than helped her to see what she really wanted. Despite his own feelings on the subject, I think Travis should have been attentive enough to Shay's feelings and have support her decision. It seemed out of character for both people. I think if the story had been slightly re-worked around the “spirit of the law” as well as the “letter of the law,” it would have been much stronger.

Those things said, I still loved the book.

“Go ahead. Spill it.”
“Another time, Shay.”
“I’m too cranky, that it? Can’t handle it, McCoy?”
“I can handle you just fine, and we both know it.”

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Favorite Gifting Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I think books make the perfect present.  I shows you've really thought about your gift and the receiver.  I have so many that I want to give to friends/family.  Here is my Top list of books I'd like to give for Christmas!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon—from child to determined young adult to loving mother—she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her, and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

The Mortal Instruments series 
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

AMAZING paranormal series!

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...
Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

Super hot right now! 
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

Last but not least, the Kindle.  I LOVE my kindle. It is my most favorite thing I have ever owned in my life. Ever. I wish I could give a kindle to all my friends and family!  They make the PERFECT gift!! Give the gift of reading this year!! Will you be giving a Kindle?

What books are you giving this year?  Or what books are you asking for?! 

Monday 12 December 2011

Enduring Light Blog Tour

I'm so excited about this blog tour! I'm a sucker for anything turn of the century, and especially when it has a western feel to it.  I don't know what it is about those early western settlers and their hardships that gets me every time.  Today I've got my review of the book and an interview with author Carla Kelly!  Enjoy!


Enduring Light by Carla Kelly
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Pages: 392
Format: ARC- Kindle
Pub Date: January 8, 2012
Series: Borrowed Light

A special Thank You to Cedar Fort and NetGalley for sending me this book to review.

Julia Darling is finally able to marry her Mr. Otto for eternity. But it's a hard world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. And when people start talking, it's up to Julia to prove she's her husband's equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.

I was looking forward to the 2nd instalment in this series.  I'm enamoured with the time period and I wanted to learn more about Paul and Julia. This story takes place directly after Borrowed Light.  Julia has been burned by the fire on the ranch, and Paul's home on the Double Tipi has burned to the ground.  What trials await for Paul and Julia?

This story is so full of love and longing.  There are so many twists and turns that I never saw coming.  We get to see so much more of Julia and Paul's personalities in this book.  We learn about them as a couple and how much they compliment one another.  I loved that. This is practically drowning in Latter-day Saint stereotype again, so if you aren't LDS I'm afraid you won't understand a lot of what is happening. It could have used less of that. But, I still enjoyed the story. If you are looking for an old western LDS love story, then this is your book!  It is quite beautiful!

He nuzzled her neck.  "I've been wanting to do that for months and months. Tell me when to stop."

********************************Author Interview***************************

Blog | Facebook | Book Page

You are already an acclaimed author,  what made you decide to write for a Latter-day Saint audience?   

For years, I've wanted to write a book for my "own" folks (i.e. Mormons). After quite a few Regency romances, I became typecast as a Regency author only, and that was never fair. I understand how it happened, though - they turned out to be popular, and publishers are only thinking about the bottom line. That's it. If Carla Kelly writes Regencies that sell, then for heaven's sake, don't shake the boat. I wanted to do something new, and get back to my Western roots. I started out writing and selling short stories about the Indian Wars army and its dependants.

What do you like best about writing in this historical time period? 

I like ranching. My aunt and uncle Trask ranched in Montana (east of Billings), my dad was from Cody, Wyoming, and Martin and I lived in Eastern Wyoming for a few years, where this story is set. Ranches are hardy souls and they make good subjects. Tell me: who doesn't like a cowboy just a little?  More to the point, I like to write about times that are changing. In 1900+, with the shrinking of the open range and the growth of agriculture on lands that used to be exclusively for bison and cattle, you see change coming, sometimes painful change. Changing times are always good times for writers. My principal guide through this was A.B. Guthrie's novel, Arfive, which is set in the Choteau, Montana area (his home) on the front range of the Rockies. It takes place between the 1880s and the 1910s, when this change was going on.  A great book. Guthrie may have written more famous books, but Arfive is my favorite. (Incidentally, Arfive is a brand, just as Double Tipi -TTP- is a brand.) Another thing I like about the 1909-1910 era is that the people are more like us than the folks in the 19th century. They spoke more like we do, and had similar experiences. That appeals to me, too.

For those who haven't read Borrowed Light, tell them a little bit about what they can expect from this series. 

Julia Darling from Salt Lake City, is a graduate of the Fannie Farmer School of Cooking in Boston. Miss Farmer, a real person, was a proponent of what was called "domestic science." She pioneered the use of graduated measurements in cooking (teaspoon, tablespoon, etc.) and geared her famous cookbook that way. Julia, eager to get out of an engagement going nowhere, answers an ad from "Desperate Rancher," who wants a cook for the Double Tipi. She goes to cook for cowboys. The bigger picture is a common enough one to LDS folks: we might be lifelong members, but everyone still has to discover for himself or herself whether it's actually true or not. That's what Julia must do. Until she does, she finds herself leaning on Borrowed Light.  In Enduring Light, I pick up the story about where it left off in BL. I won't give anything away, but in the course of the novel, Julia discovers how tough she is, and Mr. Otto discovers how tough he isn't. (FYI- when I finished BL, I had no plans whatsoever to write a sequel. I was talked into it by readers. And once I started, I wondered why I hadn't seen for myself that BL was completely deserving of a sequel. Will there be more? That might depend on my readers.)

What is the best thing about being a published author?

There is a satisfaction in pleasing an audience that seems to enjoy what I write. I really take the stewardship of words seriously. I mean, really. All I do really is write the book I want to read.

What books are you reading right now? 

I'm reading about mining and the WInter QUarters mine disaster, and also southwest borderlands history, another project close to my heart.

Fiction-wise, I just finished Michael Connelly's The Fifth Witness, and am looking forward to Robert Crais's new book in January. I am a total crime fiction fan. That's my light reading. For fun non-fiction, I've been reading Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City, and In the Garden of the Beasts.)

Thanks so much Carla! I know I'm sure hoping there is a sequel to Enduring Light! 

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