Hi friends! I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia several times, so this time I shook things up from my normal format for interviews. First let me give you the traditional introduction:
Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational, bestselling author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the mid-1800’s prairie and Civil War era. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon bestseller, Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, a 2020 Selah Award winning novel.
Cynthia writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-seven years. They have two grown sons and a daughter-in-love. When she isn’t writing or researching, Cynthia can be found hiking, biking, gardening, reading, or riding sidesaddle with her husband in the combine or on their motorcycle. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com
Now for a little more personal introduction. I meet Cynthia four or five years ago at a book signing I attended with a friend, and have since had the enjoyment of reading all her releases. (I’ve got her newest one sitting on the corner of my desk waiting for me to finish a couple of other required reads first. So watch for that review in the next month or so.) Cynthia is a beautiful woman who has walked through some very difficult trials over the last two years– her husband’s cancer, the death of her beloved father, and her own continued battle with cancer. Through it all, she has been an amazing example of loving and trusting God even in the hard times. She has graciously agreed to share some of her experiences and how they have affected her and her writing.
CC: Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your story. While you were writing Beyond These War-Torn Lands, you faced multiple family and personal challenges, including fighting an aggressive cancer diagnosis. How have you seen God work during that process?
CR: The past year and a half have truly been challenging with both myself and my husband being diagnosed with cancer and the loss of my dad. But through it all, the Lord has given me the strength and determination to press on. Writing provided a welcome distraction from the dismal reality of cancer and chemo and helped me focus on something worthwhile that I enjoyed.
CC: Writing certainly has been a gift from God for me in troubled times. I am so glad He provided you the strength and determination to keep at it.
Did any of your experiences, emotions, or struggles with this time play into Beyond These War-Torn Lands? How so?
CR: I do feel the depth of emotions and spiritual content were enhanced by my experience. I’ve always had a deep sense of emotion, but during this health challenge, the Lord drew me in even closer to his unfailing love, and I pray that resonates with readers in this story.
CC: You have been such a light of faith, grace, and courage to your readers on social media as you go through this valley of struggles. What gives you the greatest encouragement on those hard days?
CR: Thank you, Crystal. Just knowing others are praying for me is such a comfort. I received more than a hundred cards and so many gracious comments on social media. We had people stop by to bring food and offer to help in any way. All of those expressions of Christ-like love truly inspired me to keep going. I feel so blessed!
CC: How can we be praying for you as you move forward in your treatment and in your writing?
CR: You are so thoughtful, Thank you! Specifically, I would appreciate prayers for renewed strength and healing, for my kidney function to return to normal (it has suffered from treatment), and for the Lord to be glorified through this experience and in my writing. Please pray what I write will honor Him and that I will be obedient in whatever He calls me to do. Thanks so much!
CC: Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into this season of life for you. I’m excited to introduce readers to your newest release, Beyond These War-Torn Lands.
The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?
While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.
After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin. (Purchase here.)
CC: What are you most proud of with this story?
CR: All the historical details I was able to weave into the storyline. It was such great fun inserting my characters into encounters with real historical events and people. Countless hours of research went into this novel, and it’s so rewarding to see that appreciated in reader reviews and comments.
CC: I can only imagine all the work that went into creating this novel. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
CR: The main themes are forgiveness and loving our enemies—two issues that are challenging to us all! The theme verse for Beyond These War-Torn Lands is Matthew 5:43-44:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
Throughout the novel, both Drew and Caroline face challenging people “enemies” that they must make the difficult choice to seek revenge against or show Christ-like love to. With all the hatred and bitterness going on today, I feel this is a message we can all benefit from hearing. Loving the unlovable is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do but, as Christians, we are called to love even when others are unkind toward us.
CC: Was there anything you found fascinating while researching for this story?
CR: Oh, wow! I could write another book on that. LOL! This was the first novel I’ve written that involved so much actual history and I became lost in the research numerous times. But, for the sake of time and space, I’ll share just a couple of fascinating tidbits that I ran across.
In the opening scene of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, my hero, Sergeant Andrew (Drew) Gallagher, is injured at the Battle of Monocacy Junction, a lesser-known battle that was a loss to the Union. The Union commander in the battle was General Lew Wallace. After doing a little digging, I discovered something intriguing. If you’ve read or seen the movie, Ben Hur, you might find it interesting that it was written by none other than the retired Union General Lew Wallace!!
I also found that renovations to the U.S. Capitol dome began in 1861, but were stopped briefly at the start of the Civil War. Work quickly resumed, however, and was on-going throughout the Civil War and completed in 1866! I find that amazing!
CC: I love the research that goes into a story. There are so many fascinating details. Who was your favorite character to create? Why?
CR: Oh, I loved Drew. He was such a good-natured guy, so fun to create. I dearly loved how he related to Caroline, his horse, his men, his superiors, and God!
CC: Who was your most challenging character? Why?
Definitely Caroline’s father, Eugene Dunbar. He was gruff, overbearing, and spiteful—all the traits in a person that make me want to curl up in a ball and hide!
CC: I am with you on that type of book. Will there be others in this series?
CR: Yes. I’m currently working on Book 2 in my Wounded Heart Series which will be Drew’s younger brother Luke’s story. It begins in Richmond, VA in the final week of the Civil War and during the aftermath. The story is still in the developmental stages, but is slated to release in November, 2022.
CC: Ooooh. Already sticking it on my TBR list. 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed reading your stories. As always, I love to wrap up with a fun question. If you could choose to have lunch with any book character, who would you choose?
CR: Hmm. That’s an interesting question. The first that comes to mind is Anne of Green Gables. I love her down-to-earth nature and her tenacity! I’m certain we would be kindred spirits. =)
CC: Thank you so much for the interview, Cythnia. I truly appreciate it and will be praying for you. Readers, which book character YOU would choose to have lunch with? Tell me in the comments so we can create a virtual luncheon. 🙂
If you’d like to connect with Cynthia Roemer, you can find her at any of these places:
Author Newsletter Sign-up: https://mailchi.mp/2a0d03dfaa50/newslettersignup
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Roemer/e/B06Y1CJ588/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
A Life Once Dreamed
by Rachel Fordham
So I’m a day late and a dollar short, but here is the post that was supposed to go live yesterday. A Life Once Dreamed was the August choice for our Online Christian Historical Romance Book Club. I’ve always enjoyed the sweet, simple romances of Rachel Fordham’s books. This one was a little bit more of a stretch for me. I really enjoyed the sweet rekindling of the romance between James and Aggie, as well as all the small-town life put on full display. However, I did struggle with a single conversation being the needed resolution for the conflict between the two. If you are like me, you may get really frustrated with it and want to set the book down. Even so, I urge you to read the story to its full conclusion. Aggie’s reason for keeping her secret does become believable and reasonable, even if I disagreed with her choice to continue to hold on to that secret even after James sought her out after six years. True to Miss Fordham’s style, the story is a sweet romance of the day-to-day life and struggles in a small town on the prairie.
I definitely recommend it to lovers of sweet, historical romance.
Genre: Historical Romance, Dakota Territory, 1880
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people. When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves―but he is the one person who can never know.In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
What I loved: Without any spoilers, I really loved the weaving in of foster care and adoption.
Favorite Character and Why: The child who becomes adopted. 😉 Again trying not to give any spoilers, but who wouldn’t love a sweet baby left alone in the world. It made me just want to go out and find friends who have babies so I can cuddle them.
Who would like this? Any reader who enjoys sweet romances and second chance love.
Rating and Why: Three and a half. The story was sweet, but I had several frustrations with the story and characters. Once I got to the end, I was mostly satisfied, but it wasn’t my favorite read from her.
Amazon Baker Book House Barnes and Noble Books-A-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook
It is FINALLY time when I can share with you my cover for Counterfeit Love!! I am so stinking excited. I couldn’t have imagined a better cover for the story. The designer captured everything I desired. So, it is with great excitement I share with you my debut cover for Counterfeit Love.
I absolutely adore this cover. The designers at Kregel took what little I offered them and made it into something I could have never dreamed up on my own. I wish I had their individual names so I could give them a shout-out and just tell them how truly grateful I am for all the hard work they put into creating such a beautiful design.
I just love how Broderick is looking back at Theresa with suspicious regard. Has the woman he loved become one of the criminals he hunted? I can’t believe how well the designers captured Theresa’s independent and stubborn nature. They even included her briefcase. I don’t know if you can tell, but the background takes place at the edge of a cemetery where the first couple chapters of the book take place. I can’t believe how perfectly they captured the essence of this story, and I am forever grateful for their talent.
The Back Cover Blurb:
Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?
After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.
After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancée is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.
They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.
Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!
If you are interested in preordering a print copy, you can click one of the links below. As of this moment, the e-book is not yet available for preorder, but I will let you know as soon I discover it’s been added. To my knowledge, there won’t be an audiobook at this point, but I look forward to hopefully having that option in the future. My MIL is legally blind, so I know how desired that option can be.
Amazon Barnes & Noble Christianbook
*Christianbook has the best deal at the moment.
I hope you love the cover as much as I do. Feel free to share the cover far and wide. I prepared some images for my cover reveal team that you can use as well. Check those out here. Thank you so much for being a part of this writing journey. You’ll never know how much your excitement, support, and prayers mean. I am far from a perfect person or author, but may God always be glorified through it anyway.
Welcome to the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Progressive Era, and my choice of story was Heart onf the Line by Karent Witemeyer. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*
Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
I’ve long been a fan of Karen Witemeyer’s books. In fact, I think I own almost every book she’s written, even though I’ve far from read them all. It was a joy to pick up one of her books this month and read Heart on the Line. It was an adorable historical twist on “meeting online.” And Karen NEVER fails to deliver on the action and adventure. I didn’t pay attention to this being a book 2, but it stands alone without having read the first story. However, I am definitely going back and reading Emma and Malachi’s story now.
Heart on the Line is one of those reads that stick with you long after you finish reading. I’m still chuckling over the quirky characters and thinking through the spiritual lessons they grew through. Amos is one of those heroes who doesn’t quite fit the mold, yet has all the qualities you would want in a hero. I loved his own acknowledgment of not being the kind of man a woman takes a second glance at. While insecure, he managed to have an underlying confidence that made you root for him even in those moments of doubt. Grace was intelligent, brave, and wise while still having room to grow as a person.
I recommend this novel for fans of friends to more, somewhat awkward heroes, and stories laced with humor, danger, and spiritual truths that don’t Bible thump you.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas 1894
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.
What I loved: I absolutely adored the relationship between Amos and Grace, but even more so the relationship between Helen and Lee. Both had their own tugs and pulls, and both sets were willing to risk their lives not only for each other but for the community at large.
Favorite Character and Why: It’s a tie between Helen and Amos. Helen’s growth as a character was so fun to watch. My heart ached and cheered for her as she moved beyond the hurts of the past toward a stronger relationship with Christ and others. Amos was just an adorable hero who had such an underlying strength that he won my heart right off the bat.
Who would like this? I recommend this novel for fans of friends to more, somewhat awkward heroes, and stories laced with humor, danger, and spiritual truths that don’t Bible thump you.
Rating and Why: Five. The story while somewhat predictable was satisfying and lifted my spirits. I loved the action involved, and the romance was just the right amount to swoon without gagging. (Yes, this romance author can’t take too much romance without gagging. LOL)
Amazon Baker Bookhouse Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook.com
Reading Challenge Giveaway
Comment with what you read for this month’s challenge to be entered to win a print copy of Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer. This giveaway is open to U.S. and International Residents who are legally able to enter. If an international winner is picked and Book Depository cannot ship, they will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Comment or use Rafflecopter for extra entries by 11:59 pm (EST) on August 7th to be eligible to win. Happy reading!
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Welcome to the third month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Westward Expansion Period, and my choice of story was Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*
Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist
Y’all, this book. I chose it because it covers a topic not often written about in fiction, nor is it often talked about in history more than a brief mention. While my family didn’t participate in the first Trail of Tears, they did the second during the latter half of the 19th century. It’s part of the reason why I don’t do the genealogy stuff. I could do parts of my family, but my mom’s family can only go so far back before much of our history becomes shrouded like some dark secret. Reading this book was like reclaiming a piece of my history that no one is willing to talk about. This book should seriously be required reading for every history class in America.
I am not an emotional reader. It takes A LOT for me to cry over a storyline. If an author can squeeze a few silent tears out of me, that is amazing. Y’all, I literally sobbed through the last quarter of this book. Trail of Fears did not shirk away from the hard truths of the Indian Removal Act. Through the story you walk through this pivotal point of history through the eyes of many crucial players: a senator and his aide, the captain of the group leading the Cherokees, the chief, the missionary’s parents, and of course the Cherokee heroine and white missionary hero. I have never seen such an even-hand, realistic portrayal of the struggles of all those involved and even the naivety of the real plight of all the Native Americans by the country at large. It was truly a book that brought a little talked about piece of history to life. This is one of those rare books that I want to shove into people’s hands and force them to read.
The romance story itself is not the usual story either. There are sweet moments, but it is definitely a love grown and tried through circumstances no one would wish to face. You know when you close the book, Thomas and Adsila will be able to survive anything because they survived the Trail of Fears together. I said it once, but I am saying it again, EVERYONE needs to read this book.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1850’s, Georgia
He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?
Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart. Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith. Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path? Trail of Fears is a stirring historical romance that captures the heartbreaking reality of the Trail of Tears. If you like spirited characters, personal journeys of faith, and enduring love stories, then you’ll adore Sara R. Turnquist’s gripping tale of survival and salvation.
What I loved: The honest, raw experience of reading this book. I feel like history has come alive in a way it never has before and I have a better understanding of a piece of history often rushed through in history classes. It was an emotional read that shook me and made me really think.
Favorite Character and Why: It is so hard to pick. The cast of characters in this book all worked together to make an experience I won’t forget.
Who would like this? Those who want an honest, hard look at a piece of history swept under the rug. Those who are concerned about the plight of others, their rights, and mistreatment. Those who want to read a story of love and faith developed and tried through adversity. And in my personal opinion, every single person in America.
Rating and Why: Six stars. I don’t give these out willy nilly guys. Very few EVER get that distinction. This story is unforgettable, raw, and exactly what every American needs to read to better understand our history, and how the plays forward into the present.
Amazon Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org. Indiebound.org
To be entered to win a print copy of Trail of Fear by Sara R. Turnquist, comment with what book you read to meet this month’s reading challenge by midnight (EST) on April 7th. The winner will be emailed on the 8th and publically announced on the April 13th post. This giveaway is open to all legal participants locally and internationally. If the winner lives internationally, they will receive a copy through Book Depository where available. If not available, the winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card. For extra entries, participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
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Comment: What did you read for this month’s reading challenge?