Who might enjoy this book?
Written for the General Audience, but especially women.
What should readers expect to take away from reading this book?
I hope and pray my readers will sense and know the heart of this story. As I wrote some of the scenes, I focused on the prodigal’s return, that overwhelming sensation of love and forgiveness. It’s unbelievable, sometimes, that we can be forgiven, even though we don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s the Grace of God, given freely to those who believe.
How might the readers identify with the characters in this book?
Amy Juliana Emerson’s desperate attempt to escape her father’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. His hope is that Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love will be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways and open her heart to the plight of others around her.
Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection. Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. Amy thinks Matt is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late.
When her old friend, Thad Greene, tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past to overcome a guilty conscience. His days in the limelight came to a screeching halt after an altercation with his father. Amy’s rejection adds to his inner pain, driving him to do something unthinkable.
“For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” [Ephesians 2:8 NIV]
April 5, 1947
“Are you crazy? My father’s going to kill me.” Amy Emerson stood near the edge of the dock. One hand shading her eyes, she searched the placid surface of the water from Hammond’s Inlet to Kettle Creek. “How could you let this happen?”
“Aw, quit your caterwauling. The skiff’s tied up over there.” Howie Thompson nodded toward a stand of willow trees near the lake shore. “We’ll be back way before your daddy gets home.”
Amy propped her hands on her hips and sucked in a breath. He’d lied about the boat drifting away? She wanted to give him a piece of her mind. Why did she put up with him, anyway?
He removed his cap and ran his fingers through his thick, dark hair. One stray lock fell over his dark brown eyes, giving him a rakish look. Kind of like a young Clark Gable. He sent her a sideways grin, replaced his cap and set off toward the water. “Can’t blame a guy for trying. Now, grab your stuff. Let’s roll.”
Amy stared at his back as he climbed into the boat. He was well aware of the effect his looks had on her. Not just her, but any female within sight of him. She returned to the bench where she’d left her jacket. After tying on a scarf to protect her hair, she draped the jacket over her shoulders, and followed him, brushing at tears behind his back. She refused to let him see her cry. He’d tell all her friends she was soft.
She wasn’t soft. But she was at the end of her father’s patience, and had no intention of garnering more punishment this close to graduation.
Howie slapped the water with an oar, sending a shower of droplets into the air. “Your taxi awaits, your majesty.” He didn’t even attempt to help her into the skiff.
She hopped in and settled onto the seat, barely grabbing hold in time to avoid a river plunge as he set off. She pierced him with an icy glare. Wretch.
He didn’t even look at her, just leaned into the oars and sped them across the smooth surface of the placid water.
Amy lifted her chin. Let him be that way. Had he really expected her to be easy? Warmth flooded her cheeks at the memory of his embrace. She’d been flattered by his attentions, honored by his singling her out. And all the time, he was just trying to get her alone so he could take advantage of her. Well, he hadn’t been successful. How could he believe she was that kind of girl? She wanted to sink into a heap and cry her eyes out. Instead, she kept her lips in a tight line, her chin jutted in defiance. If he thought she was ice before … he was in for a deep freeze now.
The more she thought about it—how could he even try something like that—knowing who she was? Who her father was?
She insisted Howie drop her off around the corner from the house. He seemed a little too happy to be rid of her. Well, she didn’t care. Not one little bit.
After passing through the hedge on the far end of their property, Amy stood still, taking in the scene. Her little brother, Bobby, sat on the back steps. He tossed a baseball into the air, then caught it neatly in his leather glove. There was no one else in sight.
He glanced up at her approach. “Somebody’s in trouble.” He sang the words, never missing a beat with the ball.
Dread raised the hair on her neck and arms. “You hush.” She closed her eyes and forced her nerves to calm. “Who’s home?”
He caught the ball and held it in front of his face, as though examining it for flaws. “Dad’s home already. He’s been asking for you.”
She trotted to the kitchen entrance. Bea would cover for her.
“Hiding in the kitchen won’t do any good. They already know you’re AWOL.” He chuckled then threw the ball high and caught it.
Amy ignored his teasing laughter and crept into the mudroom off the kitchen, where a wonderful aroma greeted her. Quietly, she hung her jacket and scarf on a hook before peeking through the door into the kitchen.
Bea, her back to Amy, sang as she kneaded dough.
Amy didn’t want to startle the woman, but she had to get past her to the back stairs. “Psst!”
Bea shot a wide-eyed glance over her shoulder. “Land sakes, Miss Amy, you gave me a start.” She wiped her fingers on a towel. “Where you been? You know your folks are all upset.”
“Which is why I’m laying low.” Amy slid past the table, headed to her room.
“Ain’t gonna do you any good. They are already on the lookout.”
Amy rounded on her. “I’m a grown woman.”
Bea chuckled, grabbed the dough and slammed it against the table top. “You’re almost grown. Still living under your daddy’s roof, Missie. He calls the shots. You may as well march on into his office and apologize straight up.” She grabbed a potholder, pulled the oven door open, and peered into the interior. After stabbing at something with a fork, she closed the door and laid the potholder and fork on the table, glowering at Amy. “You go on now. Go see your daddy and make things right.”
About the Author
Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.
Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.
When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.
Books in the Legacy series
Links to connect with Betty
Weekly blog, Hello, Thursday Morning:
Co-founder of multi-author blog at: https://inspiredprompt.com/