When I was younger, I worked in D.C. and lived in Arlington, Virginia. Every day, I would take the subway into the city, do my work, go to class at night, and take the subway home again. While I was on the train, I would read. For the most part, the work was good (I had a clerical position in a private school) and the class was good (I was studying for a teaching certificate). But regardless of how much I enjoyed my working hours, at the end of the day it was always a huge relief to step on to on that subway train, reach into my bag, and slip between the covers of a book. That’s why this quote resonated so strongly with me:
“Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting for one at the end of the day makes the day.” — Kathleen Norris
This is a feeling that booklovers know very well. The hours between waking and the end of the work day are mostly dedicated to other people. (And for parents, that is doubly—or even triply—true!) But the time we spend reading is for us, and us alone.
The book into which I’ve been escaping lately is Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield. It’s a mystery in a historical setting, told in fairy-tale style, with interwoven stories blending as delicately as lace. I’ll write a full review when I’m finished with it. I don’t have a lot of time to read these days (sometimes I miss those long subway rides!), but when I do, wow do I enjoy it.
What book is sweeping you away these days? Please share! I have a very long TBR list, but I’m always willing to extend it!
Don’t you love seeing your old friends all dressed up and ready to party? 😊 Today I’m “officially” sharing Homesong and The House on the Hill, resplendent in the finery of their new covers!
Homesong, my first novel, was written in 2007. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I wrote it, I simply had a vision of two old friends who meet after a long separation and realize that they’ve been in love all their lives. These two characters later became Kate Doyle and Reed Fitzgerald, and everything that came after that was the result of asking “Why?” Why hadn’t they seen each other in two decades? Why were there so many hurt feelings between them? What on earth was going on in the little town that they came from, and why did the two of them have such a hard time resolving their differences?
Getting Kate and Reed from hurt, angry and secretive to healed, happy and in love—a journey which took them (and me) through the dark caverns of their family mysteries and histories, over the rocky hills of pain and prejudice, into the flowering valley of new love and promises fulfilled—was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. It was also the start of a new chapter in my own life, one in which I could finally call myself a writer. And I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing.
The publication of that first book gave me a chance to get to know my audience—you lovely people, who appreciate a good yarn with a happy ending, and who enjoy the escape that can only be provided by the right book.
The sequel to Homesong was not written until years later. The House on the Hill, published in 2021, gave us a chance to spend more time with Kate and Reed, and took us right into the heart of their hometown of Angel River, Virginia, showing us both the light and the dark sides of that little village.
There are more books coming for those who love Angel River (a storied place with an enchanted past, a haven for the lost and lonely). In preparation for those happy events I thought that Homesong and The House on the Hill might like a change of clothes, by which of course I mean new covers! As I said at the beginning, there’s nothing like seeing your old friends dressed up and ready to party. I hope you’re as dazzled by their new finery as I am.
You can read all about these books on Amazon. And you can also see a little bit right below. Thanks as ever for reading, supporting, and encouraging.
Homesong—For twenty years, Kate Doyle has been haunted by the night when she was forced to flee from her tiny Virginia hometown and abandon her childhood sweetheart, Reed Fitzgerald. So when Kate, now in her mid-30s, escapes her unhappy life and takes a much-needed vacation, the last thing she expects is to be reunited with Reed. Under the warm, clear Caribbean sun, amid ancient churches and pink flamingos, Kate and Reed seek to revive the love that they thought was gone forever. But will small-town secrets ruin their last chance for happiness?
The House on the Hill—Drawn by the irresistible lure of the past, Kate and Reed return to their hometown of Angel River, where the seemingly-idyllic landscape is dominated by the old house on the hill. When a shocking death leads back to a long-ago disappearance, everything that they know will be challenged. As answers to forgotten questions are brought into the light, walls will crumble and foundations will shift. And every soul who has loved and lived in the house on the hill will be changed forever.
Do you have a favorite book cover of all time? Mine is in the comments. I hope you’ll tell me yours!
On Main Street in my town there is a gallery run by the Valley Center for the Creative Arts (VECCA). Their mission is to bring the arts and the community together through educational programs. Pretty great, right?
This year they are hosting the Mistletoe Market, a month-long event that provides artists with a place to sell their work. Each week is dedicated to a different art form and this week is (ta-da!) local writers! I’m excited to join my fellow Shenandoah Valley writers at this bright and vibrant marketplace. Here is a video of our books, laid out and looking fine. Below that is some of the art that is currently on display (and for sale, if you’re interested!). If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by and join us this weekend. And if not, I hope you’ll check out the work of my fellow writers. To read all about us, check out this link.