I was at a conference this week. One of the speakers displayed a quote on the screen and attributed it to “a great American thinker” or some other great complimentary description. He then proceeded to tell us that the man he quoted was his father and spent the next five or ten minutes lauding the man who raised him and showing pictures from his dad’s life.
It was such a touching time, especially when he told us that his father is no longer living.
I am blessed with an earthly father who is pretty terrific, even if the quote I attribute to him the most is his “there are two kinds of people in the world. . .”
Even better than my fantastic daddy is my heavenly Father. His love and patience towards me are unending. He continually shares His words to live by with me through the Scriptures. And He gave His Holy Spirit to instruct me and help me to live the way that I should.
When You Are Near
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date March 5, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Western, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Montana Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s
Main Character Ages: 25-34, 18-24
Written for: Adults
After her father's death, Lizzy Brookstone, the star trick rider of the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, loses interest in performing. What she longs for is a life with the Brookstone ranch foreman, Wesley DeShazer, the man who once broke her heart. Meanwhile, Jason Adler, son of the show's new financial partner, comes to help with the show, and Lizzy soon finds him vying for her affection.
Ella Fleming is fleeing a forced engagement when she stows away on the Brookstone train. Lizzy finds her and gives her a job in the costume department, but Ella has a dangerous secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.
When Mary Reichert, a former sharpshooter for the show, learns that her brother, August, has been killed at the Fleming farm, she refuses to believe it was an accident. She returns to the show to find the truth, but is she seeking justice or vengeance?
As the three women work together to discover how August died, Lizzy strives to hold the show together. Can she keep the Brookstone Extravaganza alive without losing the desire of her heart?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
I enjoyed the way wisdom from Lizzie’s father was remembered and shared by her and others in the troupe fairly regularly, showing how much of an impact he had on their lives. He would have been the kind of man that I would enjoy knowing. The spiritual inheritance he left behind was a legacy that was given to his family, friends, and all who had come to know him.
Lizzie loved poetry. Her horses were named after her favorite poets, Longfellow and Thoreau. While this might not have been unusual for a woman at the turn of the twentieth century, the fact that she was a trick rider certainly was. I really enjoyed the way that she was not afraid to assume a role like that, and yet didn’t come across as one trying to be like a man or challenge men to accept her as an equal. It was simply something she had learned as a child and loved to do.
Lizzie had a strong knowledge of God and yet, like many of us, struggled to make that relationship a reality in her life. In her grief and attempt at not being hurt by the loss of others she loved, she attempted to keep others at arm’s length, including God. She had to travel through her grief to learn that God was always with her and would never leave her alone.
My favorite parts of the book were the rich spiritual truths shared and the obvious heart of the author for sharing her love of the Lord with others. While the story had some mystery and elements of suspense related to Ella’s story, these were secondary to the faith journey Lizzie traveled.
I found the emphasis on Lizzie’s determination to never marry and her reasons were reiterated a few times more than necessary and she seemed to think and behave in a manner that wasn’t consistent with her age of twenty-seven.
While there was a clear “happy ending”, some unresolved issues remained and Ella and Mary were prominent enough in this story that it is clear that the rest of their stories will be told in future books of this series. I’m looking forward to seeing how those play out.
Guest Post from Tracie
Introducing…When You Are Near!
I’m excited about the new Brookstone Brides series and had so much fun researching for the various characters and locations. This is a story about a fictional Wild West show with all female performers. Prior to the rodeos we see today, the Wild West shows traveled throughout America and Europe to entertain people and give city dwellers a taste of what the American frontier was like. At least their version.
Buffalo Bill Cody was famous for his shows, which brought Native Americans and their culture into the world of people who might otherwise never have even seen an “Indian.” Pawnee Bill was another entertainer who sought to keep these shows alive.
For the fictional show in my novels, I wanted to focus on three female characters who became a part of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza for varying reasons. Lizzy Brookstone is the heroine in book one, When You Are Near, and as the daughter of one of the show’s owners, she has enjoyed a starring role as a trick rider.
For research I went to Pueblo, Colorado to the ranch of Karen Vold, a famous trick rider and rodeo star. Linda Scholtz, a famed trick rider, was teaching a clinic there along with Karen at the Red Top Ranch Trickriding School.
These are two remarkable Christian trick riders who have long worked to keep the sport alive. I spent three days getting to know them and what they do and learned so much. And just to prove that we weren’t all work and no play, I thought I’d share my attempt at trick riding. What I won’t do for research!
The series will have three books, as usual, and each book will focus on a different lady and her skills. Mary is a trick shooter like Annie Oakley, and Ella is a Roman rider who stands on the backs of two horses for her part in the act. It was so interesting learning about each of these types of performers, and I hope you’ll get a chance to read all three and enjoy the stories of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza.
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For Him and My Family, April 3
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To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away:
Grand prize (one winner)
- When You Are Near
- $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card
- The Heart of Alaska series (Out of the Ashes, In the Shadow of Denali, Under the Midnight Sun)
Three other winners
- When You Are Near!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcdd/when-you-are-near-celebration-tour-giveaway