Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Suzanne's daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother's history.Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven't spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.
To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.
As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?
I GIVE THIS BOOK:
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a masterfully woven novel that drew me in from the first sentence, and didn't let me go until the conclusion. At first, I didn't think I was going to like Margaret at all. She seemed very self-centered, spoiled, and inconsiderate. However, my view of her changed very quickly and soon I absolutely loved her.
Margaret's father-in-law is such a horribly greedy man. He is willing and actually encourages his nephew, Marcus, to compromise Margaret in the hopes of making her marry Marcus. His plan backfires when she overhears him telling Marcus this and she flees the house that night!
I really like the scene when Margaret is cleaning the upstairs bedrooms, one is messy and the other one is nearly pristine. She immediately assumes that the neat one is Lewis's bedroom and is shocked when she discovers it is Nathaniel's. This is just the first thing she discovers she is wrong about Nathaniel.
I loved this book and think it is Julie's best work to date. I have read all of Julie's other books and this is now my favorite. I highly recommend The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. If you decide to read it, make sure that you start it when you have enough time to read it in one sitting; because if you find that you enjoy it as much as I did, you won't want to put it down. I foolishly started it late in the evening and wound up staying up very late to finish it.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***
If you found this review helpful will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.
One fortunate winner will receive:
A brand new Kindle Fire
A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse,
and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!
So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!
Click HERE for the complete blog tour schedule and click HERE for a chance to win a copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Ends 3/6!
As promised, since my blog reached over 250 GFC followers before the end of my 1st Blogoversary celebration, I am giving away a $5 Amazon.com gift card! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR FOLLOWING!!!
To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog via GFC, complete the mandatory entries and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends on March 31st at 11:59p.m. (e.s.t.).
HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY, MEGAN!!! I know you love ALL things Irish, so I thought it might be appropriate to give you and your readers a sneak peek at my upcoming book, A Love Surrendered, which is the final installment in the saga of the O'Connors, the most PASSIONATE Irish family you will find in Christian Romance! In this scene, the hero--twenty-five-year-old Steven O'Connor--reluctantly drives the heroine Annie Kennedy and her little sister Glory home, hoping to distance himself from this sweet seventeen-year-old who he feels is too “innocent” to get involved with the likes of him.
Signaling a turn, Steven eased onto her street, gliding the car up to the curb in front of Aunt Eleanor's house. He coasted into park before he slipped her a slow grin, allowing the engine to rumble along with the chuckle in his throat. “You make me sound like an ogre, Miss Kennedy.”
“Nope, just a hard-nosed arm of the law whom I'm scared to cross.”
“Good,” he said with a jut of his brow, “then my work here is done.” Fisting his door handle, he glanced down at the angel drooling on his leg and smiled. “Come on, you little piece of heaven,” he whispered. He slipped his hands beneath her fragile arms and draped her over his shoulder before easing out of the car. A smile nudged when her arms curled around his neck, and the scent of Ivory soap and bubble gum caused a sudden ache in his heart. He opened Annie's door and helped her out, and in the flash of a moment, longing invaded his chest. The touch of her hand, the weight of Glory on his shoulder, and he almost felt whole again, as if he deserved the happiness of a good woman, one who would give him children to love …
“Thank you,” Annie whispered, reaching to take Glory.
“No,” he said, unable to resist burying his head in her sweet mass of curls. “I don't mind.” Lump in his throat, he kissed her cheek and followed Annie up the steps.
“I can't thank you enough for bringing us home,” Annie said, slipping her key in the door. She pushed it ajar, then turned and held her arms out for Glory, her smile warm. “You're a very lucky man, Steven O'Connor, to have the kind of family you do.”
He paused, her statement taking him by surprise, as did the realization she was right, something he'd come to learn the hard way when his father almost died. He'd taken his family for granted before that … but never again.
Her smile tipped into a soft grin. “Or maybe 'blessed' would be a better word.”
It was his turn to smile. “That's certainly what my sisters would say, especially Faith. Come on, munchkin,” he whispered in Glory's ear, “time for bed." Gently dislodging Glory's fingers, he leaned forward to pass her to Annie.
“No …” she groaned, her sweet, little voice groggy with sleep as her arms inched back to his neck. “I don't want you to go …”
He paused, his head tucked against hers as emotion thickened his throat.
Annie tugged at her sister. “Glory, Steven has to go home and we have to go to bed ...”
“B-but will I see you a-again?” she said with a whimper.
He swallowed hard. “Sure, kiddo, anytime you want.” His gaze flicked to Annie and back, and suddenly his hopes for distance seemed to be fading.
“We'll see,” Annie said, voice and hold adamant as she tried to pull Glory away.
“Okie-dokie.” Glory loosened her grip, then patted a fat, little palm to his cheek. “You're itchy,” she said with a giggle, then deposited a sweet, tiny kiss on his mouth. “G'night, Steven.”
“G'night, Glory.” He tapped her nose before Annie managed to pry her away.
“Thanks again,” Annie said, inching through the door with Glory in her arms.
“Wait! Aren't you going to kiss her too?” Glory spun around, eyes wide with the innocence of a little girl who had no earthly idea what she was asking him to do.
He blinked, noting the expanse of Annie's eyes.
“Glory, no--” she whispered, turning ten kinds of pale.
“Please?” The little troublemaker stared at him with those wide eyes of an angel.
Heart thudding, he did the only thing he knew to do--he kissed Annie right on the tip of her nose. Clearing his throat, he stepped back. “Well, good-night, ladies.”
“No, silly,” Glory said, “like this …” She demonstrated with a sweet little peck on her sister's lips as if he were too stupid to understand, then tilted her head. “See? It's easy.”
Too easy, he thought with a trip of his pulse. Way, way too easy …
“Stop it, Glory, Steven doesn't want to--”
“Sure I do,” he whispered, his words shocking him as much as Annie. Gaze holding hers, he slowly leaned in, close enough to see the long sweep of her lashes, the pale gold in eyes so green, he felt like he was in Oz, about to be granted a wish. He heard the soft hitch of her breath when she stopped breathing because it coincided with the halt of air in his own lungs. Cupping her face in his hand, his eyelids sheathed closed at the touch of her lips--soft, supple and just a hint of peppermint from the candy she'd offered him in the car. It was meant to be no more than a peck like Glory had given him, but somehow his mouth wanted to linger and explore … He stepped in close, body grazing hers and Glory's till they were one. A little-girl giggle broke the trance, and Annie's lips curved beneath his.
“His whiskers are itchy, aren't they, Annie?” Glory asked, patting his face once again. “Kinda makes you wiggly all over, doesn't it?”
Annie's eyes glowed as she caressed her own cheek. “Very wiggly,” she whispered.
“Well,” Steven said quickly with a clear of his throat. He chucked Glory beneath her dimpled chin. “I suppose that's enough kisses for one night, wouldn't you say, kiddo?”
“No!” Glory giggled with a thrust of her chin.
He hiked a brow. “You know what? You are going to be trouble when you grow up, little girl.” Tapping a finger to her chin, he slid Annie a smile and winked. “Just like your sister.”
“I know.” She looped an arm around Annie with a pixie smile. “G'night, Steven.”
“G'night, Glory.” His eyes trailed to Annie and he nodded. “Annie.” Without another word, he loped to the car, his thoughts as warm as the summer night. He slipped into the front seat with a faint smile and turned the ignition before shifting into gear with a tentative sigh. His gaze lighted on the passenger seat where Annie had been and something warm and deep and full of hope expanded in his chest till he thought he couldn't breathe.
“You're a very lucky man, Steven O'Connor,” she had said.
Fingers clenched tight on the stick, he downshifted hard, all warmth dissipating the farther he rumbled away from her street. Exhaling slowly, his lips inched into a sad smile.
Don't I wish.
Thanks, Megan, for allowing me to be a part of your blogaversary celebration, and I wish you many more years of blogging fun! To celebrate, I will give away a signed copy of any of my books, including A Love Surrendered. Just leave a comment telling me WHICH is your favorite O'Connor book and why. And if you haven't read any, that's okay too--just let me know, and if you win, I will make sure you get the first book in the series. GOOD LUCK!!
I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/. My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there's always a contest featuring signed book giveaways. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/), which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.” Chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #5 Novel of the Year and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year.
Julie resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and new granddaughter, and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Her “Winds of Change” series features A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010 and is followed by her most recent release, A Heart Revealed. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com.
Julie has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of any of her books, including A Love Surrendered! To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way, complete the mandatory entry and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below.Giveaway is open internationally!
Kathleen, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Thank you SO much for being a part of my 1st Blogoversary Celebration! Would you tell us a little about yourself? I'm the author of over forty novels as well as several nonfiction titles. I've won multiple awards and have more than one million books in print.
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer? First my parents bought a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas then my paternal grandfather gifted me with a dictionary at the age of ten. That was just the beginning of my love of words. What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published? The first book I wrote was not published, though I used the research to much later write three other novels that were: Beloved Castaway, Beloved Captive, and Beloved Counterfeit.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual? Is anything really unusual about a writer? LOL! I like to have a candle burning when I write and there needs to be copious amounts of iced tea or Diet Dr Pepper around.
Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart? Sam from Major League Dad is a direct copy of my son Jacob, so I'd have to say that guy captured my heart most of all.
What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you? Is it corny to say salvation? It's a free gift from the Lord that I base everything else on.
What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet? The Bucket List grows almost daily, so there are a whole bunch of good answers to this question. If pressed to choose one, I'd have to say that I'm looking forward to the day when I can buy my husband a tractor and a pile of dirt. Don't ask.
What is your all-time favorite book? The Bible.
Other than yourself, who is your favorite author? I'd have to go with the One who wrote the Bible.
If a TV show was based on your life, what would the theme song be and why? Theme from the Brady Bunch? Cheaper by the Dozen?
What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read or put the top down on my red Mini Cooper and drive-or ride along while my husband does the driving.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Night owl, definitely.
What is your favorite TV show and/or movie? I'm loving a bunch of shows right now: Castle, Downton Abbey, Big Bang Theory. As for movies, the best one I've seen lately is the new version of True Grit.
If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why? I think I'd pick a random day sometime in early 1975. My husband knows why.
Thank you so much Kathleen for being on Hardcover Feedback!
Kathleen has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck! To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way, complete the mandatory entry and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below.Giveaway is open to US residents only!
Larry, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. I spent 15 years working in the building trades as a Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron Worker and left that business when I came down with MS. My wife, three kids and I moved to Flordia (doctors advice) 30 years ago. I began doing freelance newspaper commentary after graduating college in 1984. My first book (children's) was published in Jan, 2011. The Priest and The Peaches is my first full length novel and I have begun work on the sequel (no title yet). I live in Pinellas Park, FL. I have graduated to "senior citizen status" and writing has become my "permanent senior moment."
What are you currently working on?
As mentioned, I am currently working on the sequel to The Priest and The Peaches and I am also knee deep in a three month longonline book tour which has not only been a fun journey but has also taught me things about myself and my characters. How cool is that?
What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
The truth is, Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes was originally penned long ago. Then it sat. I pulled it out about 22 years ago and rewrote it, shortened it and sent it off to HBJ. Now it gets weird. I received a phone call from their schoolbook division in Orlando, FL and a nice lady said to me, "Congratulations and welcome to the HBJ family." That was a WOW! moment. Three weeks later I received a standard rejection letter from the San Diego office. Talk about a high and a low. I could go into more detail - but what's the point? That just was not the right time. Anyway, I pulled the book back out about five years ago, rewrote it again and changed the title, etc. and now it is out there. It's all "GOOD."
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer? I don't think anyone did. I just liked doing it. This is one of those questions that have made me think about things as I travel along the blog-tour highway.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual? Not really. I do write with pen and paper before I go to the keyboard and I am a morning person. That's it.
I have heard that many authors listen to music while they write. Do you? If so, what do you usually listen to? I don't nor could I. That's like trying to read while you watch TV. My brain is not that nimble.
Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart? I guess this means in general and not necessarily from my book - I love Santiago from Hemingway's Old Man & The Sea. He is old, worn out, alone on the sea, doing what he has to do, no fan fare, no audience, and is having the greatest battle of his fishing career. He wins the battle and the sharks strip him of his trophy yet, he has no regrets.
What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
Being THANKED by a perfect stranger for writing the book and letting you know how important it was to them.You know it came from their heart. That's the best.
What are three things (not people) that you wouldn't want to live without?
My faith, my eyes and an early morning before sunrise.
What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
Nothing really. I have not done much in my life but I'm content and at peace with most everything.
All the music in the world is being destroyed and you can only save one album, what would you save and why?
Too much beautiful music to choose from. So, give me Chopin's Major in E-flat.
What is your all-time favorite book? What is your favorite book you have read this year?
Hemingway's Old Man & The Sea. This year, Under The Same Sky by Cynthia DeFelice. About a 14-year-old who goes to work with migrant workers on his father's farm to earn some money and learns some life-changing lessons about being with folks who are "different."
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Early bird for sure.
If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would you invite?
Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, St. Joseph, and my parents (who have been dead a long time).
You are given a ticket that will bring you anywhere that you want to go, at anytime in history. Where would you go and why?
The battlefield at Gettysburg, Nov. 1863 to listen to Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.
Larry, thank you so much for being on Hardcover Feedback!
Your very welcome and thank you for having me.
To be entered to win an e-copy of The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson, complete the mandatory entries and then fill in all the applicable entries on the Rafflecopter form. There will be ONE winner. This giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!
Susan, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Thank you SO much for being a part of my 1st Blogoversary Celebration! Would you tell us a little about yourself? I'm a SoCal native and the middle daughter of three girls. I've always loved to write. Even before I could write, I was making up poems out loud, or so says my mother. I was in community journalism for ten years, but I think I've found my wheelhouse in novel-writing. I am the leader/moderator of a local writer's group, a pastor’s wife and the mother of four young adults. When I'm not writing, I direct the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at The Church at Rancho Bernardo in San Diego. I love history, travel, snobby coffee, great books, and long walks on an uncrowded beach.
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer? My dad is a writer, my adult daughter is a writer and I'm a writer, so I'm inclined to believe the writing itch is a DNA thing. It shows up in my family without any of us pounding it into each other. My parents encouraged me to pursue my passions and gifting. If I had had the itch to be a ballet dancer, they would have encouraged me to give it my best shot. That is the best kind of influence a kid can have when they are dreaming of their adult career - the courage to go after those dreams.
What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published? The first book I wrote was when I was eight and it was called A Bout Patsy Miller. No joke. I wrote the title in crayon just like that. And it will never see the light of publishing day. I have it hidden. All joking aside, my first real novel was Why the Sky is Blue. I wrote it in 2002 and it was published in 2004.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual? I don't like there to be any music of any kind when I am writing, not even movie soundtrack music, which many of writer friends can't write without. I like to plot my books on a yellow-lined pad with a mechanical pencil. I suppose those quirks might be unusual to some. But they don't seem so unusual to me now that they are part of the fabric of my writing life.
Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart? My characters all have a special place in my heart, after the book is done and published and I've had some time away from them. When I first finish a book I can't wait to send them packing to Disneyland so they will leave me alone for awhile. They are like house guests who outstay their welcome. But I think Lauren in The Shape of Mercy is the character who comes to mind as the one most close to me. I am not like her, and yet I am. I am not a daughter of privilege and I don't have the same flaws and virtues she has, but I saw in her my own proclivity to judge people. We are all little judges when it comes to how we see people. Many times we make those judgments based on fear and what the crowd says. Fear is a poor tutor and the crowd is very often wrong.
What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you? If we are talking material gifts, I can't think of anything that is that precious to me; that is, precious to the exclusion of everything else. The best non-material gifts I ever received were and are my four kids - who are now all young adults. And God gave me those! With help from the hubby, of course.
What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet? Gulp. Finish my college degree. I really, really want to. There's always something else to fund. Right now, it's my kids' college educations. Some day, though... What is your all-time favorite book? So not a fair question. I love so many books. And as my perspective on life and aging changes, so do my all-time favorites. Let's just go with "Go, Dog, Go" by the amazing P. D. Eastman. Still a favorite after all these years.
Other than yourself, who is your favorite author? I am happy to say I am not my favorite author!! I love Kate Morton and Geraldine Brooks. They are divinely talented writers.
If a TV show was based on your life, what would the theme song be and why? How about that Charlie Brown theme song by Vince Guaraldi? Lots of happy piano notes, some syncopated beats, brushes on the snares. It's happy and chic and a little off and not too serious.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I hear spare time is cool stuff! Just kidding. Sort of. Life is very busy but I like to travel, taste new food and cultures, take in concerts and plays, and be with my family. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Yes. I am not even kidding. I like both. I can do both. Just not at the same time.
What is your favorite TV show and/or movie? Favorite movie is You've Got Mail. Favorite TV show at this moment is Smash. It just started. But I loved the premier.
If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why? Egypt at the turn of the 20th century. It was still safe to go to Egypt then and yet not so far back in time that we didn't have conveniences like steam engines and screens and aspirin. I've always wanted to see The Valley of the Kings and the pyramids.
You are given an unlimited budget to plan your ultimate party. Please describe it (i.e. Where would it take place? Who would be on the guest list? What would be on the menu? Would there be a theme? etc.). Let's say Santorini Island with Greek food of course and the theme is Greek!
What are you currently working on? I am working on a book called The Girl in The Glass which will release in the fall of 2012 year with WaterBrook. Part of it is set in Florence, Italy – one of my favorite places. I have a young travel book editor headed there for lots of compelling reasons, one of which is to meet a woman who claims she is the last of Medici and that the great paintings and statues talk to her.
Where can people connect with you online? www.susanmeissner.com is my web home. @SusanMeissner is my Twitter handle and my Facebook page is also just my name. I love hearing from readers. The email is on the contact page on my website.
Thank you so much Susan for being on Hardcover Feedback! Thanks for having me!
Susan has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book A Sound Among the Trees!To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way, complete the mandatory entry and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below.Open to US and Canada ONLY!