The Love Note: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Guest Post

THE LOVE NOTE
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Genre: Christian / Historical Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
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Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1859 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings—mostly negative ones—about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

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GuestPost

Storytelling – for better or for worse

 Guest Post by Joanna Davidson Politano

When I was a kid, I wrote stories, and they got me in trouble. Storytelling has always been the way I’ve dealt with life, especially when I was the quiet kid in early grade-school years. I wrote kids in my class into the stories—specifically, the ones picked on by bullies—and made real superheroes out of them. They all had these amazing hidden talents (which often was true in real life too) and the bullies who made fun of them—well, their characters didn’t fare well. I made sure of it. I had a blast writing up these larger-than-life scenarios, and they were incredibly fun.

Until they were found. I’ll never forget the pure torture of knowing they were circulating around the classroom one day. No one had any idea who’d written them (I’d left them behind on the reading rug in the rush to get to lunch), and I was dying inside waiting for them to figure it out.

That’s the tension I brought to The Love Note as I began writing. What is this? Where did it come from? A potent love letter turns up in the midst of a turbulent family, and several people—from maids to newlywed mistresses—encounter the touching words and believe it’s for them. The heroine knows it’s an old letter found in a family desk, and she’s anxious to trace the story of lost lovers and reunite them with the letter that was never delivered—but it happens to be delivered to a few wrong people by accident before it reaches its final destination.

Just like my grade-school classroom, which encountered a subtle shift after the stories leaked, the letter impacts the house as a whole, a catalyst sweeping through all the broken, disastrous relationships and shaking them up. The letter does eventually find its way home, but not before shifting most relationships in the house—for better or worse.

I learned as a second grader that my words, when put together the right way, carried huge weight. Even though I was a quiet kid, my stories could carve their way into places that no lecture or argument could go and actually change someone’s mind. I loved bringing that shift to Crestwicke in my novel, too, and the many broken love stories there. Words have impacts we cannot imagine. Like a knife, they either perform surgery that leads to healing or cut a new wound.

The characters eventually do find out who wrote the letter—and who it was written for—but by then the story had grown so much larger that they almost couldn’t be mad at the trouble it had caused or the person behind it all. The kids in my class didn’t care who wrote the stories in the end, either. I don’t think most of them ever knew. They were mostly interested in how their character came out on the page, and if they were villain or hero. I still can’t believe my silly wide-ruled sheets of paper unsettled that classroom the way they did, but the words meant something, and, even as fiction, they communicated a great deal of truth about how things in that classroom were.

I think I was hooked on writing back then, and even more so when I grew older and found many books that impacted me. So now I still write, still harness words, and sometimes—when I make friends into characters—I still get myself into trouble.

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story.
She lives with her husband and their two kids in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan. You can find her at www.jdpstories.com.
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OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 6, 2020
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

10/27/20

Book Trailer

Hall
Ways Blog

10/27/20

Review

Jennifer Silverwood

10/28/20

Character Interview

Reading by Moonlight

10/29/20

Review

Rainy
Days with Amanda

10/30/20

Top Five

Story
Schmoozing Book Reviews

10/30/20

Review

Carpe
Diem Chronicles

10/31/20

Excerpt 1

All
the Ups and Downs

11/1/20

Excerpt 2

Book Bustle

11/2/20

Author Interview

The
Adventures of a Travelers Wife

11/2/20

Review

The Clueless Gent

11/3/20

Guest Post

Max Knight

11/4/20

Top Eight List

Chapter Break Book Blog

11/4/20

Review

Missus Gonzo

11/5/20

Review

Jennie Reads

11/5/20

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

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Out of the Embers: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Excerpt

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.


At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE, PART THREE FROM

OUT OF THE EMBERS

BY AMANDA CABOT

Click to read part one, previously featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Click to read part two, previously featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours

One Friday, December 21, 1855

As they rounded the final bend in the road, the cause of the smoke was all too clear. The light from the almost full moon revealed the ashes and rubble that were all that was left of the building that had been Evelyn’s home for the past ten years. She stared at the blackened foundation, trying to make sense of something that made no sense. Well aware of the danger fire posed to a frame structure, Mrs. Folger was vigilant about safety. Yet, despite her caution, something had happened. The orphanage was gone.

So were its inhabitants. There should be close to two dozen children swarming around, yet Evelyn saw nothing more than a few men. Though her heart was pounding so violently that she feared it would break through her chest at the realization that she’d lost her home, she clung to the hope that Mrs. Folger and the children had escaped and had been taken in by some of the town’s residents. If not . . .

The possibility was too horrible to consider. Her mother had told her not to borrow trouble, and Evelyn wouldn’t. Instead, she’d ask the men what had happened. Surely everyone had been saved. But though she tried to convince herself that she would be reunited with the matron and the other orphans, in her heart she knew that was one prayer that would not be answered.

Evelyn bit the inside of her cheek, determined not to let Polly see her fears. But she failed, for the child began to tremble.

“What happened to the ’nage?” Though Polly’s diction was far better than one would have expected from the shabby clothing she’d worn when she was abandoned, whoever had taught her hadn’t included “orphanage” in her vocabulary.

Evelyn wrapped her arms around Polly and willed her voice to remain steady as she said, “It’s gone.” And, if what she feared was true, so were Mrs. Folger and the children who had been her family.

As she descended the small hill and approached the front drive, Evelyn saw that the men were wandering around the yard, their casual attitude belying the gravity of the situation.

“Ain’t no one left,” one called to the others, his voice carrying clearly through the still night air. “Smoke musta got ’em.”

No. Oh, dear God, no. It couldn’t be true, and yet it was. Once again, she had lost everyone she loved, everyone except the girl who clung to her, her own fear palpable. Once again, it was night. Once again, she was powerless to change anything, but at least this time it had been an accident.

Evelyn shuddered and said a silent prayer that Polly wouldn’t realize the extent of the tragedy. Somehow, she would protect her. Somehow, she would help her recover from all that they had lost in this terrible accident.

“Can’t figger it out,” another man chimed in. “Who woulda wanted to do ’em in? No mistakin’ them kerosene cans, though. Somebody set the fire.”

Evelyn gasped, feeling as though she’d been bludgeoned, and for a second everything turned black. The fire wasn’t an accident. Someone had deliberately destroyed the orphanage, planning to kill everyone inside. Including her.

Where is she?” The memory of the voice that still haunted Evelyn’s dreams echoed through her brain, shattering the fragile peace Mrs. Folger’s assurances had created. Tonight proved that she wasn’t safe, not even here. Someone wanted to kill the last of the Radcliffes.

Why? That was the question no one had been able to answer ten years ago, the question that had kept Evelyn from leaving the sanctuary the orphanage had promised. Now that promise was shattered.

She closed her eyes as fear and sorrow threatened to overwhelm her. The life she had built was gone, destroyed along with the building that had been her refuge and the people who had become her family. Oh, God, what should I do?

The response was immediate. Leave.

It was the only answer. She could do nothing for Mrs. Folger and the others, but she could—and she would—do everything in her power to give Polly a safe future. The question was where they should go. Evelyn stared at the stars for a second, then nodded. Gilmorton, the one place she would not consider, was east. Resolutely, she headed west.

“What happened?” Polly asked again, her voice far calmer than Evelyn would have expected. Either the child was too young to understand the magnitude of what had happened, or she’d experienced so much tragedy in her life that she was numb.

“We need a new home.” For the first time, Evelyn gave thanks that Polly had formed no strong attachments to anyone other than her. That would make her transition to a new life easier. While grief had wrapped its tendrils around Evelyn’s heart, squeezing so tightly that she had trouble breathing, Polly seemed to be recovering from her initial shock.

“Okay.” Though the child tightened her grip on Evelyn’s arm, her trembling had stopped. “Where are we going?”

“It’ll be a surprise.” At this point, Evelyn had no idea where she and Polly would find their next home. All she knew was that it had to be far from here, far from whoever had set the fire, far from the Watcher.

Polly was silent for a moment before she said, “It’s okay, Evelyn. You’ll be my mama, and you’ll find me a new daddy.”

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook
+$25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card 
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Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook 
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March 10-March 20, 2020
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

3/10/20
Notable Quotable
3/10/20
Review
3/11/20
Review
3/11/20
BONUS Post
3/12/20
Excerpt, Part 1
3/12/20
Author Interview
3/13/20
Character Spotlight
3/13/20
Review
3/14/20
Guest Post
3/15/20
Author Interview
3/16/20
Excerpt, Part 2
3/16/20
Review
3/17/20
Review
3/18/20
Excerpt, Part 3
3/19/20
Review
3/19/20
Review
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