Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Courteous Cad by Catherine Palmer

When I watched North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell this week, I was reminded of this story. Catherine goes into some the cotton industry and the dangers of it in England as well as the romance that develops between two unlikely people. The horrors of the industry were harsh and there is details in there, which the heroine endeavors to fight against in a variety of ways. This was a interesting story from that time period with hints of the mystery of Miss Pickworth and who she might be.
In the days where women were required to marry, Prudence rises above with higher aspirations and wants to reform the mill industry, much to the consternation of the mill owners. Undercover work as well as keeping up with societies demands is difficult, but keeps her on her toes, all the while dealing with the courteous cad of a man, who irritates and fascinates her at the same time.

I found it a easy, lighter read, with some great history of this time period. If you enjoy light reads of regency era, you will enjoy this one. – Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Courteous Cad

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)

***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Catherine Palmer lives in Atlanta with her husband, Tim, where they serve as missionaries in a refugee community. They have two grown sons. She is a graduate of Southwest Baptist University and holds a master’s degree in English from Baylor University. Her first book was published in 1988. Since then, she has published more than 50 novels, many of them national best sellers. Catherine has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Christy Award—the highest honor in Christian fiction—and the Romantic Times BookClub Career Achievement Award for inspirational fiction. Total sales of her novels number more than 2 million copies.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0842375554
ISBN-13: 978-0842375559

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Otley, Yorkshire

1817

“I shall never marry,” Prudence Watson declared to her sister as they crossed a busy Yorkshire street. “Men are cads, all of them. They toy with our hearts. Then they brush us aside as if we were no more than a crumb of cake at teatime. A passing fancy. A sweet morsel enjoyed for a moment and soon forgotten.”

“Enough, Prudence,” her sister pleaded. “You make me quite hungry, and you know we are late to tea.”

“Hungry?” A glance revealed the twitch of mirth on Mary’s lips. Prudence frowned. “You think me silly.”

“Dearest Pru, you are silly.” Mary raised her wool collar against the cold, misty drizzle. “One look at you announces it to all the world. You’re far too curly-haired, pink-cheeked, and blue-eyed to be taken seriously.”

“I cannot help my cheeks and curls, nor have they anything to do with my resolve to remain unmarried.”

“But they have everything to do with the throng of eligible men clamoring to fill your dance card at every ball. Your suitors send flowers and ask you to walk in the gardens. On the days you take callers, they stand elbow to elbow in the foyer. It is really too much. Surely one of them must be rewarded with your hand.”

“No,” Prudence vowed. “I shall not marry. I intend to follow the example of my friend Betsy.”

“Elizabeth Fry is long wed and the mother of too many children to count.”

“But she obeys a calling far higher than matrimony.”

“Rushing in and out of prisons with blankets and porridge? Is that your friend’s high calling?”

“Indeed it is, Mary. Betsy is a crusader. With God’s help, she intends to better the lives of the poor women in Newgate.”

“Better the lives of soiled doves, pickpockets, and tavern maids?” Mary scoffed. “I should like to see that.”

“And so you will, for I have no doubt of Betsy’s success. I shall succeed, too, when God reveals my mission. I mean to be an advocate for the downtrodden. I shall champion those less fortunate than I.”

“You are hardly fortunate yourself, Pru. You would do better to marry a rich man and redeem the world by bringing up moral, godly, well-behaved children.”

“Do not continue to press me on that issue, Mary, I beg you. My mind is set. I have loved and lost. I cannot bear another agony so great.”

“Do you refer to that man more than twice your age? the Tiverton blacksmith? Mr. . . . Mr. Walker?”

Prudence tried to ignore the disdain in Mary’s voice. They were nearing the inn at which they had taken lodging in the town of Otley. Their eldest sister, Sarah, had prescribed a tour of the north country, declaring Yorkshire’s wild beauty the perfect antidote to downtrodden spirits. Thus far, Prudence reflected, the journey had not achieved its aim.

Now, Mary had raised again the subject of great torment to Prudence. It was almost as though she enjoyed mocking her younger sister’s passion for a man she could never wed. Whatever anyone thought of him, Prudence decided, she would defend her love with valor and tenacity.

“Mr. Walker is a gentleman,” she insisted. “A gentleman of the first order.”

“Nonsense,” Mary retorted. “He has no title, no land, no home, no education, nothing. How can you call him a gentleman?”

“Of course he has no title–he is an American!” Annoyed, Prudence lifted her skirts as she approached a large puddle in the street. “Americans have no peerage. By law, they are all equal.”

“Equally common. Equally ordinary. Equally low.” Mary rolled her eyes. “Honestly, Pru, you can do far better than Mr. Walker. Sarah and I hold the opinion that her nephew, Henry Carlyle, Lord Delacroix, would suit you very well indeed. She writes that he is returned from India much improved from their last acquaintance. Delacroix owns a fine home in London and another in the country. He is wealthy, handsome, and titled. In short, the perfect catch. Leave everything to your sisters, Pru. We shall make it all come about.”

“You will do nothing of the sort! Delacroix is a foolish, reckless cad. I would not marry him if he were the last man in England.”

Annoyed, Prudence stepped onto a narrow plank, a makeshift bridge someone had laid across the puddle. Attempting to steady herself, she did not notice a ragged boy dart from an alleyway. He splashed into the muddy water, snatched the velvet reticule at her waist, and fled.

“Oh!” she cried out.

The plank tilted. Prudence tipped. Her balance shifted.

In a pouf of white petticoats, she tottered backward until she could do nothing but unceremoniously seat herself in the center of the dirty pool. Mud splattered across her blue cape and pink skirt as she sprawled out, legs askew and one slipper floating in the muck.

“Dear lady!” A man knelt beside her. “Are you injured? Please allow me to assist you.”

She looked into eyes the color of warm treacle. A tumble of dark curls fell over his brow. Angled cheekbones were echoed in the squared jut of his jaw. It was the face of an angel. Her guardian angel.

“My bag,” she sputtered. “The boy took it.”

“My man has gone after him. Have no fear on that account. But what of you? Can you stand? May I not help you?”

He held out a hand sheathed in a brown kid glove. Prudence reached for it, but Mary intervened.

“You are mud from head to toe, Pru!” She blocked the stranger’s hand. “You must try to get up on your own. We are near the inn, and we shall find you a clean gown at once.”

“Hang my gown!” Prudence retorted. “Give me your hand, sister, or allow this gentleman to aid me. My entire . . . undercarriage is wet.”

At this, the man’s lips curved into a grin. “Do accept my offer of assistance, dear lady, and I shall wrap my cloak about you . . . you and your damp undercarriage.”

The motley crowd gathered on the street were laughing and elbowing one another at the sight of a fine lady seated in a puddle. Prudence had endured quite enough derision and mockery for one day. She set her muddy hand in the gentleman’s palm. He slipped his free hand under her arm and helped her rise. Before she could bemoan her disheveled state, he swept the thick wool cloak from his shoulders and laid it across her own.

“My name is Sherbourne,” he said as he led her toward the inn. “William Sherbourne of Otley.”

“I am Prudence Watson. Of London.”

Utterly miserable, she realized a truth far worse than a muddy gown, a missing slipper, and a tender undercarriage. She was crying. Crying first because she had been assaulted. Second because her bag was stolen away. Third because she was covered in cold, sticky mud. Fourth and every other number because Mr. Walker had abandoned her.

He had declared he loved Prudence too much to make her his wife. He kissed her hand. He bade her farewell. And she had neither seen nor heard from him since.

“You will catch pneumonia,” Mary cried as she hastened ahead of them to open the inn’s door. “Oh, Pru, you will have a fever by sunset and we shall bleed you and care for you and you will die anyway, just like my dear Mr. Heathhill, who left me a widow.”

“Upon my word, madam,” William spoke up. “I would never lay out such a fate for a woman so young and lovely. Miss Watson is hardly bound for an early grave. Do refrain from such predictions, I beg you.”

“Oh, Mary, his rose was in my reticule,” Prudence moaned. “The rose Mr. Walker gave me. I pressed it and vowed to keep it forever. And now it is lost.”

“Your husband?” William asked. He helped her ascend the stairs and escorted her into the inn. “Give me his name, and I shall alert him to your distress.”

“She has no husband,” Mary informed him. “We are both unmarried, for I am recently a widow.”

“Do accept my sincere condolences.”

“Thank you, sir. But we have not been properly introduced. I am Mrs. John Heathhill of Cranleigh Crescent in London.”

“William Sherbourne of Otley, at your service.” He made a crisp bow. “You are Miss Watson’s sister?”

“Yes,” Prudence cut in, “and if she will stop chattering for once, I shall welcome her attention. Mary, come with me, for I am shivering.”

“Heavens! That is exactly how the influenza began with my dear late husband!” Mary took her sister’s arm and stepped toward the narrow staircase. “Thank you, Mr. Sherbourne. We are in your debt.”

“Think nothing of it,” he replied. “I wish you a speedy recovery and excellent health, Miss Watson. Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Such a gentleman!” Mary exclaimed as she accompanied her sister up the stairs and into their suite. “So very chivalrous. I wager he is married. Even so, I should be happy to see him again. You have his cloak still, and on that account we are compelled to call on him. What good fortune! He is well mannered indeed. And you must agree he is terribly handsome.”

Prudence was in no humor to discuss anyone’s merits. “Find my blue gown, Mary. The one with roses. And ask the maids to bring hot water. Hot, mind you. I cannot bear another drop of cold water. I am quite chilled to the bone.”

While Mary gave instructions to the inn’s staff, Prudence began removing her sodden gown. She shuddered at the memory of that boy snatching her reticule. Thank heaven for Mr. Sherbourne’s kindness. But Mr. Walker’s rose was gone now, just as the man himself had disappeared from her life.

“Did you like him?” Mary asked as she sorted through the gowns in her sister’s trunk. “I thought he had nice eyes. Very brown. His smile delighted me, too. He was uncommonly tall, yet his bearing could not have been more regal. If he is yet unmarried, I think him just the sort of man to make you a good husband.”

“A husband?” Prudence could hardly believe it. “You were matchmaking while I sat in the mud? Honestly, Mary, you should wed Mr. Sherbourne yourself.”

“Now you tease me. You know my mourning is not complete. Even if it were, I am certain I shall never find another man as good to me as my dear late Mr. Heathhill.”

“If you will not marry, why must you make such valiant efforts to force me into that state? I have declared my intention never to wed. You and Sarah must respect that decision.”

“Our duty to you supersedes all your ridiculous notions, Pru. You have no home and no money. Society accepts you only because of your excellent connections.”

“You refer to yourself, of course. And Sarah. With such superior sisters to guide me, I can never go wrong.”

When the maids entered the room with pitchers of steaming water, Prudence gladly escaped her hovering sister. She loved Mary well enough, but the death of Mr. Heathhill had cast the poor woman into a misery that nothing could erase. Mary’s baby daughter resided in the eager arms of doting grandparents while she was away, but she missed the child dreadfully. With both sisters mourning lost love, their holiday in the north had proven as melancholy as the misty moors, glassy lakes, and windswept dells of Yorkshire.

Not even a warm bath and clean, dry garments could stop Prudence from shivering. Mary had gone to the inn’s gathering room with the hope of ordering tea. The thought of a cup of tea and a crackling blaze on the hearth sent Prudence hurrying down after her sister.

Amid clusters of chatting guests, she spotted Mary at a table near the fire. Two maids were laying out a hearty tea–a spread of currant cake, warm scones, cold meats, jams, and marmalade. A round-bellied brown teapot sent up a curl of steam.

Prudence chose a chair while Mary gloomily cut the cake and served it. “Not enough currants,” she decreed. “And very crumbly.”

“I have been thinking about your observations on my situation in life,” Prudence said. “I see you cannot help but compare my lot to that of my siblings. Thanks to our late father, Sarah has more money than she wants. You inherited your husband’s estate and thus have no worry about the future. But I? I am to be pitied. You think me poor.”

“You are poor,” Mary corrected her. “Sarah is not only rich, but her place in society was secured forever by her marriage into the Delacroix family. She is terribly well connected. Surely you read Miss Pickworth’s column in last week’s issue of The Tattler. She reported that Sarah’s new husband is likely to be awarded a title.”

“Miss Pickworth, Miss Pickworth. Do you read The Tattler day and night, Mary? One might suppose Miss Pickworth to be your dearest friend–and not some anonymous gossip whose reports keep society in a flutter.”

“Miss Pickworth keeps society abreast of important news.” Mary poured two cups of tea. “I value her advice, and I welcome her information.”

“Unfounded rumors and hints of scandal,” Prudence retorted. “Nothing but tittle-tattle.”

“Oh, stir your tea, Pru.”

For a moment, both sisters tended to their cups. But Prudence at last broached a subject she had been considering for some time.

“I am ready to go home,” she told her sister. “I want to see Sarah. I miss my friends, Betsy most of all. Anne, you know, is dearer still to me, but she is rarely at home. I do not mind, really, for the thought of Anne only reminds me of Mr. Walker.”

“Please forgive my interruption.”

A man’s deep voice startled Prudence. She looked up to find William Sherbourne standing at their table. He was all she had remembered, and more. His shoulders were impossibly broad, his hair the exact color of strong tea, his hands so large they would circle a woman’s waist without difficulty. She had not noticed how fine he looked in his tall black riding boots and coat. But now she did, and she sat up straighter.

“May I trouble you ladies for a moment?” he asked.

“Mr. Sherbourne, how delightful to see you again.” Mary’s words dripped honey. “Do join us for tea, won’t you?”

“Thank you, but I fear I cannot. Duty calls.” He turned his deep brown eyes on Prudence. “Miss Watson, my man retrieved your bag. I trust nothing is amiss.”

He held out the velvet reticule she had been carrying. So delighted she could not speak, Prudence took it and loosened the silk drawstrings. After a moment’s search, she located her small leather-bound journal and opened it. From its pages, the dried blossom fluttered onto her lap.

“Sister, have you nothing to say to Mr. Sherbourne?” Mary asked. “Perhaps you would like to thank him for his kindness?”

“Yes, of course,” Prudence said, tucking the rose and notebook back into her reticule and rising from her chair. “I am grateful to you, Mr. Sherbourne. First you rescued me from the street, and now you have returned my bag. You are very gallant.”

He laughed. “Gallant, am I? I fear there are many who would disagree with you. But perhaps you would honor me with the favor of your company for a moment. There is someone I wish you to meet.”

Prudence glanced at her sister, who was pretending not to notice anything but the few currants in her tea cake.

“Do run along, Pru,” Mary said. “I am quite content to take my tea and await your return.”

William held out his arm, and Prudence slipped her hand around it. “I hope you do not think me forward in my request,” he remarked. “You know nothing of my character, yet you accompany me willingly.”

“I have called you gallant,” she replied. “Was I mistaken?”

“Greatly.” His brown eyes twinkled as he escorted her toward the door of the inn. “I am so far from gallant that you would do well never to speak to me again. But it is too late, for I have taken you captive. You are under my spell, and I may do with you as I wish.”

Uncertain, Prudence studied his face. “What is it you wish, sir?”

“Ah, but if I reveal my dark schemes, the spell will be broken. I would have you think me courteous. Noble. Kind.”

“You tease me now. Are you not a gentleman?”

“Quite the opposite. I am, in fact, a rogue. A rogue of the worst sort, and never to be trusted. I rescue ladies from puddles only on Tuesdays. The remainder of the week, I am contemptible. But look, here is my man with the scalawag who stole your bag. And with them stands a true gentleman, one who wishes to know you.”

Feeling slightly off-kilter, Prudence turned her attention to a liveried footman just inside the inn, near the door. In his right hand, he clasped the ragged collar of a young boy whose dirty face wore a sneer. Beside them stood a man so like William Sherbourne in appearance that she thought they must be twins.

“Randolph Sherbourne, eldest of three brothers,” William announced. “Randolph, may I introduce Miss Prudence Watson?”

“I am delighted to make your acquaintance, madam.” He made her a genteel bow.

She returned a somewhat wobbly curtsy. It was one thing to meet one man of stature, elegance, and wit, but quite another to find herself in the presence of two such men.

“Miss Watson, you are as lovely as my brother reported,” Randolph said. “His accounts are so often exaggerated that I give them little notice. But in your case, he perhaps did not do you justice.”

“I believe I called her an angel, Randolph. There can be no superlative more flattering. Yet I confess I did struggle to give an adequate account of Miss Watson’s charms.”

“Please, gentlemen,” Prudence spoke up at last. She had heard too much already. These brothers were men like all the rest, stumbling over themselves to impress and flatter. “My tea awaits, and I must hasten to thank your footman for retrieving my reticule.”

“But of course,” William agreed. “Harris, do relate to Miss Watson your adventures of the afternoon.”

The footman bowed. “I pursued this boy down an alley and over a fence, madam. In short order, I captured him and retrieved your bag.”

“Thank you, Harris.” Prudence favored him with a smile. “I am most grateful.”

“What shall we do with the vile offender?” William asked her. “I have considered the gallows, but his neck is too thin to serve that purpose. The rack might be useful, but he has already surrendered your reticule, and we need no further information from him. Gaol, do you think? Or should we feed him to wild hogs?”

Prudence pursed her lips to keep her expression stern. “I favor bears,” she declared. “They are larger than hogs and make quick work of their prey.”

The boy let out a strangled squawk. “Please, ma’am, I’m sorry for what I done. I’ll never do it again, I swear.”

She bent to study his face and noted freckles beneath the dirt. “What is your name, young man? And how old are you?”

“I’m ten,” he said. “My name is Tom Smith.”

“Tom Smith,” she repeated. “Does your father own a smithy?”

“No, ma’am. My father be dead these three years together.”

“I am sorry to hear it. Tell me, Tom, do you believe your father would be pleased that you have taken to stealing?”

“He would know why I done it, for he would see Davy’s sufferin’ and wish to ease it–same as all of us.”

“And who is Davy?” she asked.

“My brother. We’re piecers, ma’am. And all our sisters be scavengers. Davy was crippled in the mill.” Tom’s large gray eyes fastened on William Sherbourne as he pointed a thin finger. “His mill.”

“Impossible,” William said. “My family built our mill, in fact, with the express purpose of providing honest and humane labor for the villagers of Otley.”

“Take this, Tom.” Prudence pressed a coin into the boy’s grimy hand. “Please use it for your brother’s care.”

“A shillin’?” He gaped at her.

“Yes. But you must promise to turn from crime and always be a good boy.”

“I promise, ma’am. With all my heart.”

“Run along, then.” She smiled as he pushed the shilling deep into the pocket of his trousers.

“You are an angel,” Tom said. “Truly, you are.”

With a final look back at her, he slipped out of the footman’s grasp and flew through the doorway and down the street.

“Now that is an interesting approach to deterring misbehavior,” William addressed his brother. “Catch a thief, then pay him. What do you think, Randolph? Shall you recommend it to Parliament on your next appointment in the House of Lords? Perhaps it might be made a law.”

Prudence bristled. “I gave the shilling to aid Tom Smith’s injured brother. Perhaps you should recommend that to Parliament. I have heard much about the abhorrent treatment of children who work in the mills.”

Randolph Sherbourne spoke up. “My family’s worsted mill, Miss Watson, is nothing like those factories of ill repute.”

“I believe young Davy Smith might argue the point. His brother blames your mill for the injury.”

“Do you take the word of a pickpocket over that of a gentleman?” William asked her.

“I see you call yourself a gentleman when the situation requires one, Mr. Sherbourne. Only moments ago, you were a rogue.”

“I fear William’s first account of his character was accurate,” Randolph told her. “We have done our best to redeem him, but alas, our efforts always come to naught. He is bad through and through, a villain with a black heart and no soul whatever.”

“As wicked as that, is he?” Prudence suddenly found it difficult to fan her flame of moral outrage. “Then I am glad our acquaintance will be of short duration. My sister and I soon end our tour of the north country. Perhaps as early as tomorrow morning we shall set off for London.”

“But I have hardly begun to abuse William,” Randolph protested. “My brother deserves much worse, and you must know the whole truth about him. My wife and I should enjoy the honor of your company at dinner today. You and your sister are welcome at Thorne Lodge.”

“You will never persuade Miss Watson to linger in Yorkshire,” William assured his brother. “Her heart hastens her toward a gentleman who has been so fortunate as to win the love of an angel.”

“Ah, you are engaged, Miss Watson,” Randolph said. “I should very much like to congratulate the man who prevailed over all other suitors.”

“His name is Walker,” William informed him. “With a single red rose, he secured his triumph.”

“You assume too much, sir. I am not engaged.” Prudence looked away, afraid the men might see her distress and mock it. “Marriage is not the object of my heart’s desire.”

“Yet your pain upon losing Mr. Walker’s rose was great indeed,” William observed. “What can have parted you from him?”

“Upon my honor, Mr. Sherbourne,” Prudence snapped, “I think you very rude to intrude on my privacy with such a question.”

“Yes, but rudeness is the hallmark of my character. I give offense wherever I go.”

“Indeed,” Randolph agreed. “William is always impolite and discourteous. I should urge you to ignore him, Miss Watson. But in this case, I am as curious as he. How dare anyone object to a gentleman of whom you approve so heartily?”

“Mr. Walker is an American,” she told the brothers. “He is a blacksmith. And poor. With so many disadvantages, society decreed a match between us unconscionable. We were parted, and I do not know where he has gone.”

“An American, did you say?” William asked. “Is he an older man? rather tall with a stocky build? black hair?”

“Mr. Walker’s ancestors were native to America,” Prudence said. “Of the Osage tribe. He is more than twice my age. Sir, do you know him?”

“I hired the man three months ago. He is the blacksmith at my mill.”

Prudence gasped. “Mr. Walker is here? in Otley?”

“Perhaps she will not be leaving Yorkshire quite so soon,” Randolph commented. “I believe Miss Watson has found a reason to stay.”

“She may find reason to go when she learns that Mr. Walker is soon to be married.” William’s brown eyes softened. “I am sorry to bear unhappy tidings. Dear lady, you look quite pale. May I bring you a chair?”

“No,” she said, holding up a hand. “I am unmoved by your news. It is right and proper that Mr. Walker has found a wife. I am very happy for him. And now if you will both excuse me, my sister has long been wishing for my company.”

After giving the briefest of curtsies, she turned away and made for the fire as swiftly as her feet would fly. She would not cry. She would not reveal the slightest emotion. No one must guess she felt anything but contentment and perfect ease.

“Whatever is the matter with you?” Mary asked as Prudence sank into her chair. “You look as if you might faint dead away!”

“Mr. Walker is here,” Prudence choked out. “In Yorkshire. In this very town. And he is engaged to be married.”

Mary offered her handkerchief. “Shocking,” she whispered. “Shocking and sad. But dry your eyes before you make a scene, Pru, for I have just had the most wonderful news from the lady at the next table. Do you not wish to hear it?”

Prudence could barely form words. “No, Mary. I am quite undone.”

“You must hear it anyway, for this news concerns you.” Mary leaned across the table and lowered her voice. “Mr. William Sherbourne, who rescued you from the puddle and has paid you such extraordinary attention, is a proper gentleman with excellent connections. His eldest brother is a baron and owns a great estate in Yorkshire. His second brother is a clergyman who lives in India. He himself is a most distinguished officer in the Royal Navy, and he has just returned from sea after many months fighting the Americans . . . or was it the French? I can never recall.”

“Nor can I,” Prudence murmured.

“Never mind, because he has quit the Navy and is now settled in Otley for good. He owns a large worsted mill and is worth five thousand pounds a year. Think of it–five thousand a year! And best of all–he is unmarried. Quite unattached. How wonderful for you!”

Prudence swallowed against the growing lump in her throat. “I do not care if he is worth ten thousand a year and owns five worsted mills, Mary. I do not want him. I do not want him at all.”

“Quick, dry your eyes, Pru, for here he comes. And his brother. You may win his heart yet, and what happiness awaits you then. Oh, heavens, why did I not wear my good bonnet?”

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Menu for the week

Wednesday: Chili over rice
Thursday: Borcht, ham and cheese sandwiches, salad
Friday: It was supposed to corn chowder, but I think it will be leftovers
Saturday: Pizza, salad
Sunday: Spaghetti, salad
Monday:  Stir fried vegetables and meat with pasta
Tuesday: Theme night- Chinese food…….<p>
We spent the day at my sister’s, we watched North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell again. It was fun! We sipped tea and she had sauce simmering on the stove. It was very relaxing! We used to do that every friday and it has been awhile. I am babysitting tomorrow afternoon so hopefully things go well. I have to go and get F. some new glasses ordered in the morning, so it will start out busy. <p> I have been rather lazy sort of lately, so I guess it is time to pick up pace! <p> I bought a new vacuum finally yesterday. Our upright has been broken for too long. It is just a cheap one, but got good reviews and since we do not have much carpet, hopefully we can make it last a year  for $40. The boys were thrilled and spent the evening cleaning so they could vacuum! <p> I also finally went to the store and bought some much needed essentials. I did discover as I was washing my hair this morning, that instead of the much needed conditioner  I should have bought, I bought more shampoo, which I did not need!
Silly me! <p> Alright, off to heat up something for boys to eat before bed and hopefully a quiet evening!!!

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New Glasses

Pretty happy about it!!! Either that or  he really likes Mac and cheese…..

He was not too sure about taking a picture of it…

This one was better!

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Another week?

Alright, this one seemed like it sped by on lightening wings!!! It is time to plan another week of menus already?
<p> I got a job on Tuesday as a doula, so I was gone all day and part of the night, but was blessed with getting paid for my work as well, which is really helpful right now!!! I am so glad! It was a interesting experience, but everything turned out well!  I am so tired and  have had to take alot of ibuprofen, but all in time, I will be without pain again!
<p>
Busy day today! The boys forgot their schoolbooks at  the piano teachers house so, we have to go get them and do school tonight! They had a mini recital there and they practiced hard for it, so they did pretty good actually. I think they work well under pressure! Then later we have a ENT appt. and the boys glasses are in, so off there for fittings. I will have to take pictures of them with glasses! I am also babysitting 2 extra boys! Life is never dull!
<p>
Menu for the Week:
Wednesday: Nothing really, the boys ate hummus and chips……
Thursday: Cheesy Broccoli soup, breadsticks…as we did not have it on Tuesday
Friday: Sausage potato soup, whole wheat bread
Saturday: Taco salad
Sunday: Chicken Fried Rice
Monday: Leftovers……
Tuesday: Potstickers, rice, broccoli

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Screen Play by Chris Coppernell

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book!!! I was pleasantly surprised as I have not often read such a well written book from the perspective of a woman, written by a male author. Chris did a great job with this book and I would look forward to reading any other books he writes in the future!

A young actor, Harper Grey is given a chance to act again. Everything has not gone right recently and maybe things are looking up! Sure, it is a chance in a million anyone will even see her on stage, but just in case……she is ready. When she arrives and finds there is conflict and even hatred towards her, she turns to God to help her through it, and visits a little church in the area and learns some valuable lessons. Also, as a side story, her friend convinces her to try internet dating…..with some surprising results for both of them!!

Altogether this was a really fun book, with quirky characters and a refreshing storyline. I heartily enjoyed reading this book! – Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Screen Play

David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Chris Coppernoll has authored six books including A Beautiful Fall and Providence. A national speaker to singles, Chris is also the founder of Soul2Soul, a syndicated radio program airing on 800 outlets in 20 countries. Chris holds a Masters degree from Rockbridge Seminary and resides outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Visit the author’s website.

Screen Play, by Chris Coppernoll from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764826
ISBN-13: 978-1434764829

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

I absolutely had to be in New York by 1:30 p.m. Did my life depend upon it? Yes, as a matter of fact, it did. Just the thought of calling Ben or Avril with bad news from O’Hare churned my stomach and made my face prickle with a dizzying fear. I joined a sea of travelers bundled in parkas, hoods, hats, and gloves; they stretched out in front of me, pressing in and wresting me through a queue of red velvet theater ropes.

All of Chicago wanted to flee the blizzard they’d awakened to. Sometime after midnight the sky exploded with snowflakes. Icy white parachutists fell from their celestial perch as innocently as doves. The year’s last snowstorm tucked the city in with a white blanket knitted through the long winter’s night.

When I reached the American Airlines check-in, I hoisted one of my two black canvas bags onto the scale for the ticket agent.

“Harper Gray?” she asked, confirming my reservation.

“Yes.”

She returned my driver’s license, dropping her gaze to the workstation and tapping my information into the system. At the kiosk next to me, a large Texan with a silver rodeo buckle typed on his iPhone with his thumbs, mumbling something about checking the weather in Dallas.

Computers, I thought. What don’t we use them for?

It was obvious how many of my fellow travelers were heading somewhere for the New Year’s Eve festivities. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on a cluster of merry college students reveling in their Christmas

break. They joked and chattered, mentioning Times Square, unbothered by long lines or the imminent threat of weather delays. At thirty, almost thirty-one, I could no longer relate to their carefree lifestyle. Too much water under the bridge, most of it dark and all of it numbing.

“Here you are,” the ticket agent said, handing me a boarding pass still warm from the printer. I fumbled with my things, stuffing my photo ID into my wallet as a mother and her young son squeezed in next to me. The crowd current swept me away from the ticket counter, denying me a chance to ask the agent the one question I most wanted answered.

Is anyone flying out of here this morning?

I rolled my carry-on through the main concourse. I’d used the small black Samsonite for so many trips, I thought the airlines should paste labels on it like an old vaudevillian’s steamer trunk. A row of display monitors hung from a galvanized pipe, cobalt blue icicles glowing all the brighter in the dark and windowless hallway. I joined a beleaguered crowd of gawkers studying the departure screens. Their collective moans of frustration confirmed what I already knew. My flight—indeed, all flights out of O’Hare—was:

DELAYED

I pinched my eyes shut. This was not what I needed. Not today, not today of all days. I absolutely had to be in New York by 1:30 p.m. Did my life depend upon it? Yes, as a matter of fact, it did.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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Meal plan

I thought I should write down a meal plan for the rest of the week. One of my wonderful friends brought me the last meal on Friday, and I am back to cooking. I have to say I feel so tired….it is hard. I think we are going to stick to fairly simple meals though, maybe not the healthiest. <p>
Saturday:
Hot dogs, baked potatoes with sour cream and cheese, beets and peaches
Sunday:
Birthday party for dinner/snack and then we will have popcorn later
Monday:
Spaghetti/sauce, garlic bread- vegetable like frozen vegetables.
Tuesday:
Broccoli cheese soup, breadsticks
<p> I hope I can do this! I  am generally someone who moves quickly and speeds around and I feel like I am caught in a slow moving machine.

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So….

I ventured out of the house today. It feels weird to be out in the real world again!
Staying home for  a week does weird things to you! The boys were thrilled and after an appt., grocery shopping and stopping at another store, I am so sore, I want to curl up with a heating pad and not move for another week! That hurt so bad to just drive!!! Alright, enough of that!<p> Our local Borders Express is going out of business and Bath and Body Works had a 90% off sale going on. I got some fun stuff there and spent the rest of my "fun" money for the month. I spent $51 on groceries, but I also bought more Vit. D to take as I was running low and it was sort of costly. It should last me longer as it is 5000 I.U.  and there was 100 in there, so I only have to take 1 daily now.  I got some other good deals on cereal, otherwise nothing huge…….45 cent hot dogs though….that was fun! Considering that it has been over 2 weeks since I have shopped, I think we are doing good! Hopefully i did not miss anything big! <p>
It has warmed up here and the snow is melting, which makes me sad. I hope it get cold again and really dumps a bunch of snow on us. We really need it as otherwise this summer will be smoky.
<p> I took a picture outside as it has been beautiful, through the window as I have only been outside twice in the last week and half, but it is nice nevertheless. I will post it when I can move to get the camera.
<p>
I really need to get some more shopping done, but it will have to wait until I can drive without pain I guess!!!
Sorry for all the book reviews in a row, they seem to come in clumps! I had some great books I have read though!

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Becoming Lucy by Martha Rogers- Historical Fiction

My Review:
When Lucinda finds herself orphaned, she moves away from the life she has always known to place that was far from civilized in her opinion. But there was something there she found that was worth more than civilization…the love of family. Becoming Lucy is the sweet story of a young woman who discovers how important love can be, and not just romantic love, although there is some of that too! You will fall in love with the characters in this book, Lucy’s aunt and uncle who welcomed her into their home with open arms as well as other characters in the book like Jake. Her cousin is a cute little girl who they are trying to teach how to be a lady, while living on a ranch!!! She was adorable, with all her questions and love for the outdoors…..but still a girl enough to love a new dress.
There is a hint of mystery in the book as well, and a threat of danger creeping around the corner…but in the end you will find this book just a sweet historical fiction book! It is a beautiful story of God’s love as well, as you see how sometimes when we follow God, we still have to be willing to pay for the consequences of things done wrong in the past.- Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Becoming Lucy

Realms (January 5, 2010)

***Special thanks to LeAnn Hamby | Publicity Coordinator | Strang Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Martha Rogers is a former schoolteacher and English instructor. She served as a newsletter editor for the writer’s organization, Inspirational Writers Alive! for six years and is the state president. She is also the director for the annual Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her novel, Not on the Menu (May 2007), is a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Rogers has a Master’s Degree in Education, worked for twenty-eight years as a secondary teacher, and has worked as a supervisory teacher at University of Houston Clear Lake and as an instructor of English Composition at Houston Community College. Martha and her husband live in Houston, Texas and have worked with teenagers at First Baptist Church for twenty-four years.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 297 pages
Publisher: Realms (January 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159979912X
ISBN-13: 978-1599799124

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Oklahoma Territory 1896

Jake Starnes hunkered down in his jacket. He smelled
frost in the air, but the cold in his bones came from fear, not
the temperature. A gust of wind threatened to take his hat. He shoved it down tighter to secure it.

He peered ahead at the barren landscape and the outline of the town of Barton Creek. Naked trees stretched forth to the skies against a backdrop of prairie grass that spread as far as the eye could see toward distant mountains. It bore no resemblance to the beautiful hills of Texas where he grew up. He missed them, but he’d probably never get the chance to see them again. He sighed in resignation to the life that lay ahead. A life he hadn’t chosen. It had chosen him the day he chose to wear a gun.

Mrs. Haynes sat beside him and nudged his arm. “How much longer will we be? Dear little Lucinda. I pray she doesn’t have to wait too long for us. I thought Ben would be done with the stock, but since he wasn’t, I’m thankful you were available.”

“Happy to oblige, ma’am. Won’t be long now.” Mrs. Haynes had talked about her sister’s “poor orphan child” for the past two months. He could sympathize with the child because he lost both his parents just after he turned fifteen. She must be grieving terribly.

The pressure of Mrs. Haynes’s hand on his arm brought him to the present. “Jake Starnes, you’re not paying one bit of attention to me. If your mind is on the work you left at the ranch, don’t worry about it. Ben and the others can take care of your chores.”

“I know they will.” Gray clouds covered the late October sky. “It’s getting darker. Hope we get back home ‘fore night sets in. That wind’s coming straight down across the prairie with nothing to stop it.”

“Dear me, I do pray Lucinda is dressed warmly.” Mrs. Haynes pulled her shawl more tightly about her shoulders.

“You said she’s coming from Boston, so she knows about cold weather.” He peered at the horizon. The few buildings of Barton Creek drew closer. Another ten minutes and they’d be in town.

Jake’s stomach began churning like those blue-black clouds rolling across the sky. Were it not for the little girl waiting for them, he’d have turned back home now. If the sheriff in Barton Creek recognized him or had questions about him being a stranger in these parts, he’d be in a heap of trouble.

He’d avoided going into the settlement ever since he came to Oklahoma six months ago. His wanderings ended at the Haynes’s spread, where he’d stopped to ask for work. His first intention to stay only a month or so then move on changed when the Haynes showed him a kindness and love he sorely missed. They had become the family he had lost years ago.

Now the thought of entering the town caused fear to rise like bile. What would happen if the lawman in town recognized him and Ben Haynes learned about Jake’s past, a past he wanted to forget?

•

Lucinda stared down at the dusty ground beneath the worn wooden bench of the Wells Fargo depot and twisted her black-gloved hands in her lap. She searched the area for a familiar face. Where were Aunt Amelia and Uncle Ben? Her escort had fallen ill in the last town, but Lucinda had been determined to come on alone despite protests, and now she sat here with no one to meet her. Doubt clouded her mind over the decisions of the past month.

With no one else to call family, she’d had no choice but to come west. Aunt Mellie and Uncle Ben could never replace Mama and Papa, but being a part of the Haynes family would help take away the loneliness haunting her days.

She swiped at something as it brushed her cheek. An insect of some kind flew away, and she shuddered. What other strange things would she see this day? Her gaze swept across the scene before her. Several buildings across from the depot included a general store. She stood and made her way across the uneven ruts crisscrossing the street, if the hard-packed ground could be considered a street. A sign advertising Anderson’s General Store squeaked on its chains. Welcome warmth greeted her when she pushed her way through the double doors.

A woman behind the counter peered at her. “May I help you, dear?”

The aroma of lamp oil and peppermint mingled in the air. “I stepped in to get out of the wind. I’m waiting for my Uncle Ben and Aunt Amelia to pick me up.”

The gray-haired woman wiped her hands on her white apron. “Are you talking about Amelia Haynes?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ve come to live with them.”

The lady beamed. “Welcome to Barton Creek. I’m Bea Anderson, and that’s my husband Carl over there.” A slightly bald man helping a customer grinned and nodded in her direction.

Mrs. Anderson pulled up a stool beside the wood stove. “Sit a spell and get warm. Ben and Amelia should be here soon.”

A young man by the shelf of canned goods turned and smiled. Lucinda offered a small one in return. Heat rose in her cheeks as he continued to stare.

She broke her gaze and pointed to glass jars filled with a rainbow of colors. “Thank you, but I must go back over to the depot. I’ll take a few of those peppermints if you don’t mind.”

Mrs. Anderson filled a small bag with the candy. “It’s a mite colder out now. Sure you don’t want to stay here until they arrive?”

Lucinda handed the woman a few coins and grasped the bag. “Thank you for your concern, but I don’t want them to have to hunt for me. Maybe I’ll see you again.”

“If you come to church on Sunday, you surely will.” The bell over the door jingled, and another customer entered. Mrs. Anderson turned her attention to the new patron. The young man smiled and nodded as Lucinda turned from the counter. She didn’t smile in return. Mrs. Anderson should have introduced him. Were proper manners of no importance here on the frontier?

Lucinda crossed back to the depot that was down from the town’s answer for a hotel. The only fully brick building in sight, it had grand windows, and cut glass adorned the wooden doors, but it couldn’t compare to the ones in Boston. Of course, nothing in these buildings resembled the beauty of the masonry of her hometown.

She returned to the bench and popped a peppermint into her mouth. The sharp sweetness teased her taste buds as she savored her favorite candy. It brought back memories of Papa bringing a bag of treats home to her every week.

She’d be eighteen in less than six months and old enough to take care of her own affairs. Until then, however, she had to comply with the lawyer’s recommendations. At least her aunt and uncle were family, and she longed to be a part of a family once again. She missed having someone concerned about her welfare. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had been kind, but they had their own affairs to tend to. Her only fear now lay in losing her own identity so far away from everything she knew and loved.

With no idea what lay ahead, one thing was sure: she would have to learn to do without the amenities enjoyed as the only child of a wealthy family. But if Aunt Amelia could come out here and live and be entirely happy, Lucinda had to at least give it a try.

A gust of wind whipped open her dark blue cloak and stirred a small whirlwind of dirt. She coughed from the dust and wrapped the thick wool tighter around her body to ward off the cold. If Aunt Amelia and Uncle Ben didn’t arrive soon, she’d have to go back inside to escape the weather.

•

Mellie Haynes shivered in the frigid air. In a few minutes she’d be with her young niece. Dear Lucinda. How would she fare in this country? Amelia missed her sister and the wonderful letters they exchanged, but that couldn’t begin to compare to the grief Lucinda must bear.

The Haynes ranch house may not be as elegant as Lucinda’s home in Boston, but it was warm, comfortable, and large enough to accommodate her own son and daughter as well as Lucinda.

She pictured her young niece and Becky together. Surely Lucinda’s upbringing would have a positive effect on her
daughter’s hoydenish behavior. Of course, Becky was only twelve, but the time had come for her to learn more ladylike ways.

Mellie considered the young man beside her. Jake couldn’t be much more than a few years older than Lucinda. Such a handsome face, but so full of sadness, it had drawn her to him like a moth to light when he arrived at the ranch all those months ago. He’d become more like a second son. She wanted to erase that haunted look in his eye and believed she’d succeeded until today.

When they reached the main street, her heart beat a little faster. Her precious niece huddled on the bench, staring at the ground. She would offer Lucinda plenty of comfort and love to help her adjust to all the changes in the days ahead.

•

Lucinda sat with head bowed against the wind as it blasted around the corner. She yanked on her bonnet to keep it from flying off into the street. She hadn’t felt this lonely since the day after the funeral.

Wagon wheels creaked and broke the silence. Her name echoed across the street, and she glanced up. Aunt Amelia waved and called to her again. Relief flooded Lucinda’s soul. She bolted from the bench and ran into her aunt’s welcoming arms.

Aunt Amelia hugged her tightly. “Oh, my dear, I’m so sorry we’re late. Your uncle Ben couldn’t leave the ranch, so I had Jake bring me.”

A young man in dusty boots and a brown hat stood waiting by the wagon. Hair the color of the wheat fields she’d passed in Kansas escaped from under his hat and brushed his shoulders. He tipped the brim back with a forefinger, and his eyebrows arched as though surprised to see her.

Aunt Amelia hugged her again before stepping back. “Oh, let me look at you. You’ve grown even more beautiful since we saw you at the funeral.” She turned to the cowboy. “Jake, come and meet Lucinda.”

The young man sauntered across the unpaved street and removed his hat. Steel blue eyes met Lucinda’s gaze and sliced through her with razor sharpness. She gulped. No one had ever looked at her like that.

Aunt Amelia introduced him as Jake Starnes. A muscle twitched in his well-tanned jaw, and a gust of wind blew a few strands of hair across his face. Still, he stared. Curiosity swelled from within, but she averted her eyes. The handsome young man in dirty boots and a blue jacket was like no other young man Lucinda had ever met.

She lifted her chin into the air and turned her gaze toward the station. “My bags are over there.”

He stepped behind Lucinda to survey two trunks and a mound of other pieces. He emitted a low whistle. “All that stuff yours?”

At Lucinda’s nod, he shook his head, then hefted the smaller trunk onto his shoulder. With his free hand he grasped the handle of her largest bag. “I reckon it’ll fit, but we’ll all three have to ride on the bench.” He strode across the way to a wagon hitched to a pair of horses.

Lucinda scurried to keep up. Dismay swelled in her chest as she surveyed the wooden contraption. No carriage? How far would she have to ride up on that narrow seat? “How far is it?” she asked.

“It’s about an hour’s drive out to the ranch. Mrs. Haynes, maybe we should have brought the bigger buckboard.”

Aunt Amelia covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry. I should have thought of that, but this will have to do for today.”

Jake pushed his load into the back of the wagon. He turned to Aunt Amelia and offered his assistance to lift her onto the wooden plank bench. After she settled herself, he nodded toward a step on the side and reached for Lucinda’s elbow.

Lucinda tensed at his touch but accepted his help. She perched next to her aunt. Not even a cushion on the boards to soften the impact, but the thickness of her petticoats and coat would ease the bumps a bit.

As soon as she was situated, Jake turned back to the station. “I’ll get the rest of your things.”

Jake’s dark jacket strained across his broad shoulders as he lifted the final two boxes and almost staggered under their weight.

Aunt Amelia leaned against her arm. “Jake’s a strong young man and a big help on the ranch.”

Lucinda’s cheeks again filled with heat. Ashamed to think her aunt caught her observing the cowboy, she let her gaze wander back to the street and the buildings. How different from what she expected, but then she had no way of knowing what awaited her in Barton Creek.

Before she could take time for further inspection, Jake returned to heave the last small trunk onto the wagon.

Jake frowned up at her. “‘Tain’t Boston, but it’s growing.”

His words echoed her thoughts and unnerved her even more. She clasped her hands to keep them from shaking.

He unhitched the horses and climbed up beside her aunt, then reached behind him for a heavy wool coat. Jake pushed his long arms into the sleeves and buttoned it around his chest. A flick of the reins and the team moved forward.

Wide-open range and grasslands spread across the scene with distant hills giving character to an otherwise dull landscape with its brown and pale greens. Leafless trees sent crooked fingers into the overcast sky. The land looked as though God had created it and then forgotten it. Lucinda shivered as the wind sent chilling gusts through her cloak.

Aunt Amelia grasped Lucinda’s hand. “Our house isn’t a big one by any means, but we have plenty of room for you, and Becky is excited to have another girl around the ranch. You’ll share a room with her.”

Share a room? Lucinda hadn’t counted on that either. What other surprises lay waiting for her? The view of bleak land sowed more seeds of doubt in her mind. She should have insisted on staying in Boston. How would she ever fit into life on a ranch in such a lonely place?

If only Mama and Papa hadn’t been so protective, she might not be as ill at ease as she was now. The sound of her name broke into her reverie. “What was that, Aunt Amelia?”

“I said Lucinda is rather a formal name for the west. How about Lucy? It’s short and easy to say.”

Change her name? What next? She rolled the name on her tongue but didn’t care for the feel of it. If she changed her name, then she’d be giving up one more part of herself. Manners restrained her tongue from a sharp answer. “I’ll have to think about the name for a while if you don’t mind, Aunt Amelia.”

Her aunt pursed her lips. “Of course, dear, but you can call me Aunt Mellie. Everyone at the ranch and in town does except for this young’un here.” She nudged Jake in the arm. “Don’t you think she looks like a Lucy?”

Jake shot her a quick look. “Sounds fine to me, ma’am,” he said politely.

“Yes, Lucy is a good name.” Mrs. Haynes grinned at Jake but spoke to Lucinda. “His name is Jacob, but we all call him Jake. Even your cousins have shortened names.”

Love emanated from her aunt, but Lucinda would wait awhile before agreeing to change her name. She leaned forward a bit to observe Jake just as he cut his gaze to hers. A strange feeling of excitement engulfed her, but the unknown sent an icicle of fear through her heart.

•

Jake matched Lucinda’s stare until she turned her head. Was that fear he saw in her eyes? What had he said or done to frighten her?

He observed Lucinda’s ramrod straight back, her hands clutching a dark blue cloak around her. Raven black hair peeked from beneath a bonnet. He didn’t know her age, but she had to still be in her teen years. What had led him to think Lucinda was a child? Of course Mrs. Haynes always referred to her as a little girl. Nothing prepared him for the young lady seated on the other end of the wagon bench.

Mrs. Haynes eyed Lucinda’s traveling clothes. “We’ll have to get you some more comfortable things for life on the ranch.”

Jake swallowed a chuckle as Lucinda protested. “No need for that. Mr. Sutton thought I needed a proper traveling gown, but most of the things his wife helped me with are much more practical.” More practical? Jake doubted it. A refined lady from Boston like her wouldn’t know the first thing about what to wear at a ranch. A twinge of sympathy ran through him. She looked as out of place as a pig at a cattle auction.

“Here we are,” said Mrs. Haynes. “Welcome to your new home, dear.”

Before them the Rocking H ranch spread out across the horizon. The roof outlines of the house, bunkhouse, and barns drew near. Jake urged the horses forward, eager to deliver his unusual charge and return to his work. Lucinda’s troubles were none of his business. Besides, he had enough troubles of his own to carry.

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The chic shall inherit the earth by Shelley Adina

My Review:
This series ties up loose ends with finishing up with the school’s graduations. The rumors are flying about the high and mighty in the school, when it all comes to a crashing halt as they realize they are not just rumors. Lissa has a chance to show what Christ’s love is a new way, and a way that many do not understand. This book is filled with the drama of modern teenage girl life in a preppy school….along with boyfriend troubles and discussion of teen pregnancy. This book would be a great book to give to a friend whom you likes to read, yet is not into most Christian books. It is not really the type most conservative Christians are looking for, as some of the issues do not apply.
A well written teen book for modern teens- Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth (All About Us #6)

FaithWords; 1 edition (January 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Miriam Parker of the Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

CONTEST! For a chance to win one of two prizes: a Tiffany’s Bracelet OR an All About Us T-shirt, go to Camy Tang’s Blog and leave a comment on her FIRST Wild Card Tour for The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth, and you will be placed into a drawing for a bracelet or T-shirt that look similar to the pictures below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shelley Adina is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends, and she’s inviting today’s teenage girls to join her in these refreshingly honest books about real life as a Christian teen–with a little extra glitz thrown in for fun! In between books, Adina loves traveling, listening to and making music, and watching all kinds of movies.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: FaithWords; 1 edition (January 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446179647
ISBN-13: 978-0446179645

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

THE CHIC SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH

© 2010 by Shelley Adina

Chapter 1

LET ME PUT it right out there: I’m no sports fan—unless you count surfing, which is more of an attitude to life than a sport. I used to think that there were some things you just knew. But if God were a major league pitcher, He’d be the kind of guy who threw curveballs just to keep you on your toes. To catch you off guard. To prove you wrong about everything you thought.

Which is essentially what happened to us all during the last term of our senior year at Spencer Academy.

My name is Lissa Evelyn Mansfield—yes, I’m back again. Did you miss me? Because, seriously, this last term of high school before my friends and I graduated was so crazed, so unpredictable, that I had to write it all down to try and make sense of it.

But, hey, let’s take a moment here. The words last term of senior year need some respect, not to mention celebration. They need to be paused over and savored. Excuse me.

Okay, I’m back.

The term began in April, and by the time our first set of midterms (or thirdterms, as my roommate Gillian Chang calls them, since we get three sets of exams every term) rolled around at the beginning of May, it was just beginning to sink in that there were only seven weeks of high school left. Seven weeks until freedom. Adulthood. Summer vacation. Adulthood. Home.

Adulthood.

Eek.

“Sarah Lawrence is stalking me,” Gillian moaned from where she sat on her bed in our dorm room. “Here’s another letter.” She fished an envelope out of the pile of mail in her lap and waved it.

I looked up from my MacBook Air, where I was checking e-mail. “Don’t let Emily Overton hear you. She got turned down and her roommate has had to keep her away from open windows for the last month.”

“But I already told them no twice. What’s it going to take?”

“You could fail some exams.” I’m always willing to offer a helpful suggestion. “They can’t help it if they covet your fearsome brain.”

“So does Harvard. And Princeton. Not to mention Stanford and Columbia and Juilliard.” She threw her hands in the air so that the letter flew over her shoulder and bounced off the headboard. “How am I supposed to pick just one? Can I spend a year at each school? I could be a career transfer student.”

“I’m glad I don’t have your decisions to make,” I told her with absolute honesty. “If all those schools were after me, I’d run away and hide.”

“I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing with my life.” She glanced at me. “Or maybe I should say, what God wants me to do with my life.”

“There’s the kicker.” I nodded sagely. “I understand about waiting on the Lord, but . . . He knows about registration deadlines, doesn’t He?”

“Oh, yeah. He knows. I keep asking Him, and He keeps thinking about it. Maybe He wants me to figure out what I want, first. But that’s the impossible part.”

Poor Gillian. She has the kind of brain schools fight over for their research programs. But she’s also a music prodigy—hence the acceptance from Juilliard. Then, to complicate things even more, she also has quite the talent for drawing, and ever since she met my friend Kaz Griffin, her dream has been to create a graphic novel starring a kick-butt Asian girl with a secret identity. Kaz, in case you haven’t met him, is my best friend from my old high school in Santa Barbara. He’s been trying to get his graphic novel published for, like, years, with no success. But I have to hand it to him. He never gives up.

Anyway. Gillian.

“You could always do pre-med at Harvard and minor in art or music,” I suggested. “You know you’re going to need a release valve from all that scientific pressure. It would be good to have the right-brain kind of classes to turn to.”

Gillian pushed the stack of mail off her lap and leaned back against the mound of colorful silk pillows. The letter from Sarah Lawrence crumpled somewhere underneath. “But then how will I know if I’m any good?”

“Um, your grades? Not to mention, if you got an acceptance from Juilliard, you’re good. Full stop, as Mac would say.”

Lady Lindsay MacPhail, aka Mac, was a student here at Spencer for two terms, and she’s one of our little group of friends. She’s gone back to live in London until the end of term, when she’ll return to her family’s castle in Scotland, and she has none of these questions about her life. She knows exactly what degree she’s going to get, when she’ll get it, and what she’ll be doing after that: making the Strathcairn Hotel and Corporate Retreat Center the go-to place for world-class events in the UK.

I envy people who have their future in a laser sight. I’m still trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow.

“What do teachers know?” Gillian asked. I don’t think she was looking for the answer to that one. “If I’m going to find out whether I’m really any good, I have to try to get into an art program and give it everything I’ve got. Try to get an exhibition. Or a publisher. Live in a garret and try to make it as an artist.”

“That sounds scary.”

“I know.” She sighed. “Medical school is the easy path, grasshopper.”

Only Gillian Chang would say something like that.

I turned back to my notebook and saw that while we’d been talking, a message from Kaz had popped up in my inbox.

*

To: lmansfield@spenceracad.edu

From: kazg@hotmail.com

Date: May 4, 2010

Re: Ow

I am so regretting pushing off physics until senior year. My brain hurts. What was I thinking? Instead of grabbing my board and heading for the beach, I’m stuck down here in my room writing equations I don’t know the answers to.

Does the Jumping Loon tutor over the phone? Can you ask her? I’ll give her anything she wants, including full use of my studly body, if she’ll just say the magic words that will unveil the meaning of x and y, not to mention z.

Life, I’ve got a handle on. X is a mystery.

Kaz

I looked over my shoulder. “Kaz wants to know if you do physics tutoring over the phone. He says you can do what you want with his body if you help him.” I paused when she didn’t look up from a Neiman Marcus catalog. “I didn’t know you were interested in his body. Does Jeremy know about this?”

“That sounds like a jealous remark.” She flipped a page. “Ooh, nice dress. Chloé does summer so well. Which reminds me, if we’re going on a Senior Cotillion dress safari, we’d better start soon.”

I was not to be sidetracked, no matter how tempting the bait. “Is something going on with you and Kaz?”

She put the catalog down and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “Yes. Yes, there is.”

I sat there as stunned as if someone had upended a bucket of seawater over me.

Kaz and Gillian? What? How is that possible? When did—

What is the matter with you? Kaz is your friend. You aren’t . . . like that. If he’s interested in Gillian, it’s none of your business.

Poor Jeremy.

“Lissa. Lissa, come back to me.” I blinked at her. My face felt frozen. “For crying out loud, get a grip.” She was trying not to laugh and not succeeding very well. “He’s teasing you. He’s helping me with a plaster mold of his hand for my art project, okay? That’s all.”

“A mold. Of his hand. And you don’t have guys’ hands any closer than Santa Barbara?”

“He has interesting hands, which you’d know if you ever paid any attention.”

Of course he did. And of course I did. Pay attention to him, I mean. He was my best friend. We e-mailed each other, like, twenty times a week.

“And Jeremy’s hands aren’t interesting?”

She picked up the catalog and flipped another page. “Write him back and tell him of course I’ll tutor him. We can start tonight if he’s desperate.”

Hm. Poor Jeremy, indeed. What was going on here? “He wants to know the meaning of x.”

“Don’t we all. Some of us wait for the universe to reveal it to us. And some of us wouldn’t know it if the universe dropped it on our heads.”

“What’s your point?”

But my friend, who usually has all the answers, didn’t reply.

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The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Colleen Coble

The Lightkeeper’s Daughter
By Colleen Coble

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
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A horrible storm and a distraught father, searching for his wife and baby. His agony in not being able to find them alive, reaches into your soul. Fast forward several years and you find a young woman raised as the lightkeepers daughter. Mystery and intrigue surrounds her though as you discover that all is not as it seems and she is the missing baby or is she?<p>
As with many of Colleen’s books this one is not simply historical fiction or fiction, but a great suspense book, keeping you on your toes, trying to figure out who is the villain. You will read amazing descriptions of the beautiful lighthouse and how they worked at this time as well as a touch of romance.
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I have enjoyed Colleen’s suspense books in the past and this was a new era  of her writing for me! I enjoyed it and find her an excellent suspense writer. This book will keep you up reading……If you enjoy historical fiction and would like a bit of a different twist and solving murders and suspense added….look this one up. <p> This book is printed by Thomas Nelson and was supplied by Thomas Nelson for review. 

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