Welcome to Readers! And Lily!
Lily, my latest heroine, stars in my soon-to-be-released novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series. (The working title, Where Healing Waters Flow, faded into the woodwork when The Mending of Lillian Cathleen showed up.) Watch for a fresh, new cover for The Calling of Ella McFarland, an equally lovely cover for The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, and news about the series in weeks to come. Here’s a smorgasbord of tidbits from this story that touched my heart.
1914: The Great War has just broken out in Europe.
Needham, Oklahoma—an imaginary town with real-life characteristics
Fort Worth, Texas—otherwise known as Cowtown (or Where the West Begins)—known for its stockyards and infamous Hell’s Half Acre with its illicit business transactions conducted in saloons and brothels.
Our heroine Lily appeared as an abused thirteen-year-old girl in The Calling of Ella McFarland. She grew up in a shanty on a horseshoe of land created by two hairpin curves in Rock Creek. Thickets and brambles obscured the property from the curious stares of Needham’s townsfolk. Lily’s father Walter conducted his unholy business and took out his drunken rage on his daughter and wife Ruby on the five-acre piece of sod. Rock Creek has come to be known as the dividing line between prosperity and poverty and our heroine, as “the girl from the other side of Rock Creek.”
Now twenty-two and setting out as a woman in her own right, Lily faces life-altering choices that force her to evaluate her values, faith, and aspirations. She’s swept into Fort Worth’s underworld of saloons and brothels where she confronts evil and uncovers mysteries about her past.
The men who love—and hate—Lily
Lily doesn’t understand why her father Walter has never loved her. She can’t remember a time when she wrapped her arms around his neck. Or crawled onto his lap. She never heard “Well done” or “I’m proud of you.” Certainly, never “I love you.”
Why? She can only guess. (However, answers are coming.)
But Cade McFarland—her friend Ella’s twin brother—has loved Lily since they were children. A prince in Lily’s eyes, Cade is big and brawny and voices his opinions in as big and burly a voice—with everyone but Lily. He handles her like a fragile lamb. He tends a flock of sheep and looks at Lily with such love and tenderness that she finds herself looking away—for reasons she keeps to herself.
The women who love and hate Lily
Ella McFarland Evans loves Lily and always has—since the first time she caught sight of her in a McFarland cotton patch. Lily drew Ella like a moth to a flame, and Ella’s wings scorched a few years ago. But their friendship endured, deepened, and strengthened. That friendship plays a part in our heroine’s journey of discovery and healing.
Adelaide Fitzgerald, a wealthy heiress whose grand property—Broadview—borders Rock Creek and McFarland property—dreams of an opera career in Italy. She postponed her dream nine years ago when Lily needed her, but she believes her time has come at last.
Maggie Gallagher, Addie’s former wet-nurse and lifelong housekeeper, serves as a mother figure to Addie and Lily both. She emigrated from Ireland and brought her Irish bromides with her. Maggie is a rock of faith and good sense in a household in need of both.
But Sabina Gallagher, Maggie’s daughter, despises Lily. Is there no limit to her spite? Perhaps … and perhaps not.
The characters’ motivations vary as surely as the characters themselves. The players and the forces that drive them develop over time and through unique experiences that sculpt the characters into who they are in 1914.
Watch for the release of The Mending of Lillian Cathleen in the next few months to learn more about Lillian Cathleen, her loved ones, and her fascinating discoveries that send her world spiraling.
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Dear Lord, I thank you for the power of words and story. Yours is the greatest story ever told, but You’ve given us stories, as well. I pray You’ll bless each word authors write for You and that You’ll multiply their power for good in the lives of readers everywhere.
~ For Jesus’ sake