To Capture Her Heart releases Tuesday

In a writing style unique to her, Rebecca DeMarino continues the 1600’s saga of her family’s emigration from England to America in To Capture Her Heart.  The second installment of the Southold Chronicles is scheduled to release this Tuesday, June 30 and joins A Place in His Heart which was published in 2014.

The new tale is filled with many plot twists, a wonderful historical adventure that will leave readers breathless. Don’t try to guess the outcome because DeMarino will keep you reading to the very last page.

Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is captured while celebrating her wedding, taken away, and left to die by a warring tribe. Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren risks his life to rescue her, discharging the woman to English friends with whom she has spent part of her childhood. One of those men, Benjamin Horton, along with Dirk, become contenders for Heather Flower’s affections. Broken by her past, she must heal, forced to choose between family loyalty or following her heart.

Sprinkled through the action-packed scenes and the delightful dialogue is an abundance of history with which DeMarino has seasoned the romance like fine spice. One prominent theme is the evident care and concern the different peoples have for one another. The English strive to maintain the tentative peace between themselves and the Dutch settlers who share territory on Long Island, while showing reverence for the native Americans as well.

Rich character profiles abound. Readers who finished the first book in this series, A Place In His Heart, will remember Barnabas Horton as the man who married for convenience in England and dragged his new bride, Mary, to Southold. Many booklovers labeled Barnabas an uncaring man who put everything before his wife, a woman only seeking his love. In this story, Barnabas has learned his lesson. He and Mary are now happily content and rearing three more sons and two daughters. Not a bad change for a cold fish.

Don’t miss this second story in the continuance of the Southold Chronicles from Revell. Available in bookstores and online.


Forming A Child’s God Image

Never without a second pursuit to earn extra income, my father defined the word entrepreneur. A tool-and-die maker when his family moved from their big city home to the small mill town where he met my mother, Dad worked as a lumber grader while he and Mom reared their children.

To supplement his earnings, Dad volunteered for odd jobs at the mill, earning precious overtime hours that paid for music lessons, instruments, summer camps, and other extracurricular activities.

The Bible teaches us in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for men.” Working hard would have been my father’s mantra.

At home, he always had a business going. As a small child, I remember the large chicken barn where he and Mom kept Leghorns for several years, raising fryers and selling eggs. They included me, making every duty—gathering and candling eggs, marking laying cards, culling out non-productive hens—important.  

Raising rabbits also made Dad’s money-making schemes. But when the rabbits multiplied—and believe me, they did—his tender heart stood between him and butchering the creatures. The rabbit hutches soon resembled an avalanche with eyes. Difficult to sell a live fryer, fur intact.

Over time Dad investigated chinchillas. Though their furs made them valuable, the rodents were vicious little creatures with nasty habits. When we moved to my grandmother’s century farm just before I entered high school, the chinchillas were sold, the chickens turned loose, and the rabbits skittered for parts unknown.

I will never know how much extra income Dad’s penchant for business earned him. But the lessons I learned watching him be industrious stuck with me. He didn’t fear failure—he only looked for ways to start a new venture. He didn’t believe in being idle.  

In both Colossians 3:21 and Ephesians 6:4 the Bible instructs fathers to not “exasperate their children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  

Psychologists claim earthly fathers shape a child’s perception of God. I thank my father for instilling in me a zest for living and for being the earthly father from whom I could shape my view of the heavenly Father. You are missed, Dad.



Beyond the Ashes, by Karen Barnett, releases Tuesday

Reading Karen Barnett’s newest release in the Golden Gate Chronicles, Beyond the Ashes, is like eating gourmet ice cream served in a crystal goblet with a demitasse spoon. Each page is well-crafted and should be savored, letting the richness of the characters linger in the mind, just as every bite of the sweet dessert remains on the tongue.

Ruby Marshall, a young widow who has had enough of grieving, decides to don her nurse’s cap and join her lonely, bachelor brother as he practices medicine in what’s left of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. When she arrives, though, her happy brother introduces not only his fiancée, but his handsome, unattached senior partner who can’t mask his attraction to the beautiful newcomer. Since Ruby has sworn off romance, that’s a problem.

This story contains everything a good novel should. There’s devastating loss met by the promise of love. There’s despair conquered by hope. There’s laughter, especially the scenes where Ruby conquers her fear of automobiles by learning to drive a Model A.

The characters feel like friends. Barnett has not only clearly defined each player, but has crawled inside their minds, showing the reader exactly what that individual is feeling. When their pulse races, so will yours. In one poignant scene where Ruby flees, afraid of facing a new life and possibly a new love, she steps off a trolley car and pauses, “gazing up at the depot clock tower encased in scaffolding. If this city could put itself back together, so could she.” (pg. 134)

This is Karen Barnett’s third book in as many years. Her first, Mistaken, released in 2013 and she was awarded the “Writer of Promise” Award by Oregon Christian Writers. Out of the Ruins, the first novel in the Golden Gate Chronicles, released in 2014.

What I appreciate about Barnett’s writings is that each book in the series introduces new characters, so if you haven’t read the first novel, you can read the second one and not be lost or feel like you have to get “caught up” to the story. Former characters make cameo appearances, but they don’t interfere with the new storyline.

Beyond the Ashes is published by Abingdon Press and will officially release Tuesday, June 16. Those who pre-ordered, like me, already have their copies and I am sure are enjoying the read. Get yours before they’re gone.

How Firm is Your Foundation?

I remember our first building project together as a married couple as if it happened yesterday. We’d purchased a woodstove, a late seventies craze of the Pacific Northwest. My husband built a wall and chimney around it. We’d removed a glass patio door and hauled home the brick. The parting comment of the retailer—“Marriages and remodeling projects usually finish about the same time”—remained the only cloud hanging over our enthusiasm.

Our marriage survived and we enjoyed the fruits of our labors. But that first attempt sharing ideas showed us how differently we both thought. Future endeavors would have to be considered prayerfully. Or our marriage could wind up a statistic.

Now, with my husband retired, time on his hands, and many projects behind us, we felt confident enlarging our patio. He’d already built a beautiful wall and fountain in one corner, but with new neighbors moving in next door my husband thought a higher, longer fence would protect our privacy. Extending the barrier meant borrowing brick from the patio because this particular color was no longer manufactured. Which, of course, led to repaving the courtyard. Which required  choosing new pavers. We’d learned the importance of discussing each step and proceeding in agreement, keeping our relationship as firm in its foundation as the wall rising around us.

Building a relationship of faith with Jesus takes the same kind of communication. Jumping ahead without consulting him can result in overzealous ventures that don’t end well.

In Matthew 7: 24-27 Jesus says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Our marriage turns forty-years-old next month, and with God’s help has endured the stresses of time. Sound easy? Try it sometime. Each new activity will either strengthen your foundation or become a chink in your armor. That is for you to decide.