Monday, December 6, 2021

Canal City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Have you been enjoying our virtual visits to the beautiful and historical canal cities of the world? If you missed last month’s trip to Gold Coast, Australia, click here ( Today, we’re going to fly over nine thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean to finish our tour of canal cities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 
Although designated Venice of America because of its more than 300 miles of inland waterways dotted with gorgeous homes, massive yachts, and pristine landscaping, the city’s history goes back more than 4,000 years with the arrival of the first natives and later with the Tequesta Indians who inhabited the area for more than a thousand years. 
Through a series of wars and treaties, the area changed control among Spain, England, the United States, and the Confederate States of America during the late 1700s and early 1800s. During the Seminole Wars, four different forts were built on the land and named for Major William Lauderdale. One of Andrew Jackson’s inner circle, Lauderdale played an integral role during the conflict before dying in 1837. 
The fort was abandoned in 1842 after the end of the war, and the area would see very little population
growth until fifty years later when savvy businessman Frank Stranahan set up a ferry service across the New River and managed the mail route for the region. The arrival of the railroad three years later brought organized development, and the city was incorporated in 1911. 
A land boom in the early 1920s brought a major influx of people, but the 1926 Miami Hurricane followed by the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane created extensive damage, instilling the perception that Florida was not the paradise promoted by developers. The Great Depression further decimated the area. 
As with the rest of the United States, Fort Lauderdale saw growth during WWII when the city became a major US Navy base and added a Coast Guard base in nearby Port Everglades. After the war ended, service members returned to the area, creating a population explosion that dwarfed the 1920s boom. 
The city went through a major make-over in 1988, when the local government built the signature beachfront promenade. Upscale restaurants, boutiques, and hotels mingle with museums and cultural events. Numerous luxurious waterfront homes line New River, earning the sobriquet Millionaire’s Row. In addition, many residents live aboard their yachts in one of more than one hundred marinas, a far cry from the rustic fort for which the city is named. 

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. Learn more about Linda and her books at

A Doctor in the House: They’re supposed to be allies, but mutual distrust puts this pair on opposite sides. Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Purchase link:

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Missing My Christmas Oranges This Year

by Anita Mae Draper

Bowl of tissue-wrapped Christmas oranges

I’m missing my Christmas oranges this year. That’s not to say that we don’t have any oranges, they’re just not the same ones I relate to Christmas. Oranges and other subtropical citrus fruit aren’t grown in Canada due to our cold weather and must be shipped in and/or railed in depending on where it is grown. Historically in Canada, there was a lack of oranges in the autumn, and then a burst of excitement as oranges miraculously appeared in time for Christmas.

Easy to peel skin of a mandarin orange

The green tissue paper helped develop my anticipation for the fragrant gift inside. I loved the excitement of breaking open that first Christmas orange—the only orange I could easily peel due to the skin slipping off the flesh without effort—yet I knew that first juicy bite would have a sour snap to energize my sleepy taste buds. It was only after eating several segments that I appreciated the tangy sweetness which left me craving for more. 

Even during the tough times of my childhood, the one thing I could be sure of was finding a green tissue-wrapped orange in the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning. A bowl of oranges always held a spot on our holiday table along with other treats, such as chips and nuts. 

Christmas morning 1967, Port Arthur, Ontario

The fact that the oranges came all the way across the Pacific from exotic Japan added to their seasonal appeal. But this year, I'm really craving them because I can't find any of the Japanese ones, and not many of the Chinese variety, either. Yes, we have the larger types of navel oranges and others, but it seems we've seen less of the original Japanese oranges, and even the Chinese mandarins each December. Now, the small tangerines and clementines compete for space throughout the year, yet some of them have so many seeds, and skin so thick I almost wreck my thumbnail breaking through the surface to peel it. 

So I started wondering what happened. I was hoping my research would give a definite reason, such as a Pacific typhoon, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami combination, or even a trading dispute. Instead, my search led me on a different quest—the history of what Canadians call the Christmas orange.

I knew that the Christmas orange was first brought to Canada about 1890 by Japanese workers who received them in parcels in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I was quite surprised then, to find that the first mention of them was not in a Canadian newspaper, but in a 1901 and 1916 American one.

In Canada, the oranges were shipped across the Pacific in 9 pound wooden crates and unloaded in Vancouver.

Christmas mandarin oranges being unloaded from the ship, S.S. American Mail. VPL Accession Number: 81110. Courtesy of Vancouver Public Library

I found a 1926 article in the Montreal Gazette reporting that 1,452,000 oranges filling eleven Canadian National rail cars were on their way from Vancouver, British Columbia on Canada's west coast. So approx 40 yrs after the first oranges came across, a special train was used to carry the shipment across the nation.

The Montreal Gazette - Dec 4, 1926

The Japanese orange trade was so successful that a 1931 Drummondville, Quebec newspaper, reporting on an article from the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba, said that over 2 million oranges crossed the citrus-starved Canadian landscape by Dec 7th of that year.

The Drummondville Spokesman - Dec 7, 1931

And then Canada joined WW 2 and Japan was our enemy. The trans-Pacific orange shipments stopped, and Canadian parents told their children that everything was fine. But Christmas wasn't the same. Even with the availability of tangerines shipped in from Florida, Canadians felt the loss of their beloved Christmas orange. 

When the war ended, countries worked to restore their economies and Canada renewed trade with Japan. But Canadians felt the loss of their fathers, uncles, brothers, and all those servicemen and women who'd given their lives for freedom... and resentment against the people of Japan was hard to put down. 

Japanese oranges were scarce during the 1947 Christmas season, but by 1948 they were back with a new name. In an attempt to take the onus off their origin, they were re-introduced simply as mandarin oranges.  

CP Rail Mandarin Orange Express train

The mandarin orange express trains had special markings, yet only one car carried this paint scheme in a shipment of almost 60 cars. We didn't care what they were called or where they were from, our special Christmas orange was back—more than 3 shiploads of them filling over 32 freight cars that year. And that was just the beginning of the resurgence of its popularity.

Which brings me back to my original question... what happened to our favourite Christmas orange since it's rare to see a crate of the boxes sitting in a grocery store these days.

Are oranges a traditional part of your Christmas? Did you receive one in your stocking?

This post was originally published on the Inkwell Inspirations blog on Dec 16, 2015.

As this is my final post for the wonderful Heroes, Heroines, and History Blog, I want to share my sincere appreciation for all the readers and contributors who made this such a great place to be a part of during the past seven years. 

Merry Christmas and may God bless you richly this holiday season and in the coming year.


Anita Mae Draper lives on the Canadian prairies where she uses her experience and love of history to enhance her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Chicago's Own Irish Castle

By Pamela S. Meyers 

Did you know that there is a castle in Chicago? I didn’t until recently, and I’ve lived in the greater Chicago area since 1977. 

I recently stumbled on an article about this unique building that has been a part of the Chicago landscape since 1887, when Robert C. Givins, an imaginative real estate developer, dreamed of building a castle in Chicago that was styled after the Irish castles he'd viewed on his visits to Ireland. It's been said that he was also inspired by the design of the famous Chicago Water Tower, the only structure that remained intact after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. 

Givins located the perfect spot for his dream castle in the Beverly neighborhood. Back then the land was very rural, unlike today, and it offered him a respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.

Note the rural land around the castle after it was first built. 

Givins and his wife lived there off and on until 1908 when they rented the building out to a girls’ finishing school for a year or so. After that, the property was occupied over the decades by a total of three other "castle keepers"  

After the women’s college left, Givins sold the castle to John B. Burdett, a manufacturer, and his wife Jessie. They lived there from 1909-1921. During that time, Mrs. Burdett got busy and arranged to have electricity installed and the heating system upgraded. She also added a porte-cochere on the north side of the building, a covered porch that allows for vehicles to drive through to drop off passengers. Something, I'm sure was appreciated during the cold winds and snow of Chicago winters. 

Note the portico through the trees that offered protection
during inclement weather. 

In 1921, the Burdetts sold the castle to Dr. Miroslaw Siemens, a prominent physician, and his wife Bonnie. Dr. Siemens founded the Ukrainian National Museum and was committee head of the group involved with the development of the Ukrainian Pavillion at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair. The Siemens family occupied the castle until 1942, when the Beverly Unitarian Fellowship purchased it and began holding church services there. Now called Beverly Unitarian Church, they remain its current owners. 

Restoration Begins

Several years ago, during an inspection of the antique structure, it was discovered that the castle was in dire need of repairs. As a temporary fix, the parts that were most weakened were shored up, but more extensive work was required, including the rebuilding of one of the towers. Dubbed the Castle Restoration Project, the owners began a capital campaign to cover the repair costs. which has been estimated at about a million dollars. Church members have donated to the project and grants have been obtained, but the goal has not yet been achieved. 

If you want to learn more about the castle you can find a myriad of articles through Google. Also, Chicago's Only Castle: The History of Givins' Irish Castle and Its Keepers is available for purchase through Amazon.

The castle is recognized by the Chicago Landmarks Commission as part of the Longwood Drive District and is also part of the Ridge Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places (National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. You can read more about this fascinating building by using Google or your favorite search engine, to search online. 

Did you know about this castle, or have you visited it? 

Resources and Sources of Photographs: 
Photo of the rural property: Digital Research Library of IL
Photo of the castle in winter with portico: Beverly Review.Net
Photo with scaffolding: Chicago's Only

Pam Meyers lives in northeastern Illinois with her two rescue cats. When she's not nosing around in her native Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area for new story ideas you can find her busy volunteering at her church.

After all the years of living in other states, she still considers herself a Wisconsin girl who happens to live in Illinois

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your reader friends who like historical romances set in picturesque places? Check out Pam's Newport of the West series. All are available at Amazon and at select shops in the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Coffee in Colonial America by Elaine Marie Cooper

As I sit at my desk sipping my morning coffee, it occurs to me how strange it is that the United States has transitioned into a country of java-drinkers. It was not always so—especially before the American Revolution erupted in 1775.

In fact, even by 1773, American colonists had become so angry with Britain’s Parliament for all the taxation on their beloved tea, they threw overboard three cargo ships of the leaves into Boston Harbor. The Tea Party was definitely a statement of outrage that became a sacrifice for the Bohea (Boo-yee) lovers of Chinese tea.

And so coffee came on the scene as the drink of the Patriots. The demand of the rebels to abstain from drinking taxable tea was so great that the brew was strictly forbidden in the Colony of Massachusetts in 1775. Neighborhood committemen were assigned to monitor private households to ensure that only coffee or herbal teas were served.

Anyone caught drinking the banned brew of tea taxed by England would be deemed a Tory.

Drinking coffee was akin to declaring independence for America. Coffee became the preferred drink of the patriotic cause although many still desired the black or green tea that they had been accustomed to. But preferences aside, the popularity of coffee in America soared after the Boston Tea Party.

In fact, the Party itself was planned and the details plotted out in a coffee house called The Green Dragon. But while coffee was suddenly in high demand, it had actually arrived in the colonies in the late 17th century, at the same time as tea.

Coffee originated in the Arab countries but live plants were transported to greenhouses in Holland in 1616. From there, the Dutch began to grow this popular bean in India and Java (now called Indonesia). Within a few years, the Dutch were the main suppliers of coffee to Europe.

The Holland connection brings up another interesting tidbit from my research. A mortar and pestle for “braying” coffee beans into powder was brought over on the Mayflower in 1620 by passengers William and Susanna White. The emigrants onboard the Mayflower had resided in Holland for a time before leaving for the New World. Thus, the first coffee may have arrived with the first colonists arriving at Plymouth, although there was no record of the beans actually carried as cargo onboard.

According to Dennis Picard, historian at Storrowton Village museum, “coffee was shipped and purchased green, and the homeowner had to roast each batch either in a spider (a frying pan with legs) or a metal drum shaped roaster.” It was then ground with a mortar and pestle.

Crank coffee grinders began to be used in homes in the early part of the 19th century.

The first literary reference to coffee consumption in North America is from 1668, when coffee houses were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities. Often these coffee houses also served other beverages, such as tea, ale and cider.

A reference to coffee and tea is found in Shirley Glubock’s Home and Child Life in Colonial Days:

“In 1670, a Boston woman was licensed to sell coffee and chocolate, and soon coffee houses were established there. Some did not know how to cook coffee any more than tea, but boiled the whole coffee beans in water, ate them, and drank the liquid; and naturally this was not very good either to eat or drink."

At the time of the Stamp Act, when patriotic Americans threw the tea into Boston Harbor, Americans were just as great tea drinkers as the English. Coffee-drinking, first acquired in the Revolution, has also descended from generation to generation, and we now drink more coffee than tea. This is one of the differences in our daily life caused by the Revolution.”

Just one of the many differences, indeed.

My favorite excerpt about coffee and the American Revolution was an incident recorded by Abigail Adams in 1778, and quoted in Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin:

“An eminent, wealthy, stingy merchant (also a bachelor) had a hogshead of coffee in his store, which he refused to sell…under six shillings per pound. A number of females, some say a hundred, some say more, assembled with a cart and trunks, marched down to the Warehouse and demanded the keys which he refused to deliver. Upon which one of them seized him by his neck and tossed him into the cart. Upon his finding no quarter, he delivered the keys when they tipped up the cart and discharged him; then opened the Warehouse, hoisted out the coffee themselves, put it into the trunks and drove off…a large concourse of men stood amazed silent spectators.”

I suppose the moral of that tale is, never stand between a woman and her coffee—especially during a Revolution!

I want to thank all the readers of my blog posts at Heroes, Heroines and History. I have much writing to do for my contracted novels and must bid a fond farewell as a regular contributor. It has been a pleasure and I hope to see you at my own website blog posts!


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Famous Infants in History: Chang & Eng Bunker

Blogger: Amber (Schamel) Lemus

Happy December! Today our exploration of famous infants brings us to the Asian country of Siam, or Thailand to study the Siamese-American twins, Chang and Eng Bunker.
Chang and Eng Age 18.
Creative Commons
Wellcome Collection gallery (2018-03-27)

Chang and Eng were born around May 11, 1811 in Siam, which is now known as Thailand. Although they were born conjoined at the sternum, their mother said her labor with them was no different than her previous births of single children. The details of their early lives are vague, what is known is that their father was a fisherman of Chinese descent, who died when the twins were young. Their mother raised ducks to support her family. She treated the boys the same way as all her other children, not giving them any special treatment because of their conjoined status. The boys were lively and playful, interacting with other children in much the same way as ordinary boys would.

In 1824, a Scottish merchant by the name of Robert Hunter was on a fishing boat in Siam, when he noticed something out of the ordinary in the water. At first, he mistook the twins for a "strange animal", but when he met the boys, he saw a financial opportunity. He spent five years trying to get them out of Siam so he could bring them west. As Hunter would tell the story, the king of Siam had forbidden the boys to travel out of the country and had even condemned them to death. How true that is, we'll never know. At any rate, Hunter managed to sail them to the United States in 1829 with a contract between him, the ship captain, and the twins stating that Chang and Eng's tour would last five years. The twins were seventeen at the time.

Robert Hunter
Credited with discovering
the Siamese twins.
Public Domain

Their arrival in the United States, and the announcement that they would be displayed to the public, was met with enthusiasm in the newspapers, although with varying degrees of racial stereotypes and falsehoods. One of the falsehoods that upset the twins the most was the story that their mother had sold them into slavery, which of course, was completely untrue.

Chang and Eng were subjected to the inspection of many physicians, all of whom marveled over them, and most of whom judged them to be Chinese in ethnicity.

When touring in cities, Chang and Eng would stay in a hotel, and admission would be charged for people to view their "freak show." The cost of admission was twenty-five cents, the equivalent of about six dollars today. The twins would perform "physical feats" including running, somersaults, sometimes even swimming or playing checkers. Costumes placed an emphasis on their "exotic" origin.

Their tours were not without conflict, however. On multiple occasions, the twins were involved in violent altercations with attendees or gawkers, usually when they felt they were being harassed or violated in some way. One such incident was because they refused to allow a doctor attending one of their shows to closely inspect the ligature connecting them. Their refusal sent the doctor into a fury, and chaos resulted. However, it was Chang and Eng who were constrained to pay a fine.

By the time their tour was drawing to an end, Chang and Eng were anxious to be done with their contract, but they began to fear that they would be forever in limbo since the ship captain they originally made the deal with had returned to Asia, leaving his wife in charge of their business. Chang and Eng disliked her very much and felt she was greedy and deceitful. She pressured them to perform, even when they were ill, and she consistently subjected them to treatment and accommodations of servants rather than equals. In the end, they escaped from her and came up missing. When her husband returned and tracked them down, they came to an agreement on the termination of the contract.
Flyer from a later tour
Public Domain

After that tour, the twins settled in North Carolina where they were able to become naturalized citizens, despite a federal law forbidding citizenship to anyone other than "free white persons." Using the money they earned during their tour, they were able to buy land, build a house, and have a very nice living for themselves. They eventually married a set of sisters, and enjoyed their new-found existence in the country.

Chang and Eng became well known throughout the Western World. In fact, it is Chang and Eng who coined the term "Siamese twins" as a reference to twins who are conjoined. Later in life, they would go on tour again and gain even more notoriety.

Back in Siam, a group of Christian missionaries connected with Chang and Eng's mother in 1845, just four years before she passed away. She had believed her sons were dead, since they had not returned from their five year tour. She was happy to learn before her death that they were prospering and well in the United States.


Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".

She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Saving Jack: A Kindertransport Story

by Cindy K. Stewart

In 1938 and 1939, the British provided homes for nearly ten thousand children and teens from the Nazi occupied countries of Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, saving them from sure death in the ghettos, concentration camps, and gas chambers of WWII Europe. To read how this amazing endeavor began, clink on the link to my November 1st post: The Kindertransports: Nearly 10,000 Children Rescued from Nazi Territory.

Kindertransport Passengers - Courtesy of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Max Stern

Who were these rescued children and what are their stories?

Jack Hellman lived in the little village of Tann, Germany, population fifteen hundred and eight percent Jewish. His parents owned a general store where they sold feathers and down, piece goods, and ready-to-wear items. Jack’s family observed Jewish holidays, ate strictly kosher meals, and attended the local synagogue faithfully.

Anti-Semitism was evident in the late 1920’s, and it increased with the rise of unemployment in the district where Jack lived. Shortly before Hitler came to power, the SS entered Jack’s home and beat his father unconscious. The Nazis held torchlight parades in Jack’s village. He lay in bed haunted by the shadows flickering across the walls of his room and the marchers’ songs of violence against the Jews.

The local schoolmaster unmercifully beat the Jewish children with a cane, including Jack who managed to receive said discipline at least every other day. Most of Jack’s friends had been non-Jewish, but now they would no longer talk to him or his parents. When he was nine-years-old, a group of boys attacked him, throwing him through a plate-glass window, leaving him with severe cuts. In 1935, after Jack’s sister was also attacked, their parents sent her to live in a large Jewish community in Hamburg, and they sent Jack to live in a children’s home and attend the Philanthropin School in Frankfurt. Ironically, Jack’s Jewish headmaster was just as sadistic as the schoolmaster in Tann.

Boernestrasse Synagogue in Frankfurt on Kristallnacht
Courtesy of USHMM
One November morning while riding his bicycle to school in Frankfurt, Jack observed two big synagogues on fire. Every Jewish business he passed had broken windows, had been looted, or merchandise had been deposited in the streets. School was cancelled and he was sent home. A message from Jack’s uncle awaited him—he was to tell his parents who were visiting him not to return home. Their store back in Tann was ruined, their car had been pushed down the hill, and their apartment had been looted and their furniture thrown in the street. Jack quickly rode his bike to the train station and warned his parents, but they refused to stay in Frankfurt. After arriving home in Tann, Jack’s father was immediately arrested and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He wasn't released until early January.

That evening the Nazis broke the windows of the children’s home and took away the house father and everyone sixteen to sixty-five years of age. Jack was twelve years old and knew he and his family needed to leave Germany as soon as possible. His sister had already emigrated to the United States earlier that year (1938). The rest of the family had received quota numbers and had secured an American who guaranteed they wouldn’t become a burden to the U.S. government, but the number allowed into the country from Germany was so small that they had a five to six-year wait before they could leave.

Jack Hellman's Teddy
Bear He Carried on the
Courtesy of USHMM
The daughter of Jack’s house parents wrote to Baron James de Rothschild in England, requesting his assistance. Rothschild sent an emissary to Germany who arranged for the house parents, their children, and twenty-six of the boys in their care to move to England under Rothschild's sponsorship. They left with the Kindertransport on March 16. Some parents refused to let their boys leave the country without them, but none of the boys who stayed behind survived.

The boys and their house parents lived on the 6000-acre Rothschild estate at Waddesdon. The manor house reminded Jack of a castle he’d seen in pictures. His group lived comfortably in the eight-bedroom servant’s house called the Cedars. The boys played soccer on the lawn the first day they arrived, and the village boys came out to join them. When the villagers left for dinner, they told the newcomers they would see them the next day. Jack was so excited he ran in and told his house mother, ”’Somebody who’s not Jewish wants to see us tomorrow.’”

Waddesdon Manor - Courtesy of

Jack commenced a campaign to convince his first cousin in London to get his parents out of Germany. The cousin agreed to get visas for Jack’s parents if Jack’s father had a work permit. Jack went to the manor house and personally asked to see Baron Rothschild. Rothschild asked if Jack’s father would be willing to work on the chicken farm, and Jack told him his father would do anything. The Baron went to the local notary, wrote out the work permit, and Jack’s parents soon received permission to enter England. 

When they tried to leave Germany on August 30, 1939, only Jack’s mother was allowed across the border because his father didn’t have a “J” for Jew on his passport. Jack’s mother refused to leave without her husband, and together they went to a local bureaucrat. After Jack’s father emptied his pockets, the official corrected the passport. Jack’s parents arrived in Harwich, England, on September 1st, 1939, the day World War II began. Jack was one of the few children from the Kindertransports to ever see his parents again.

Jack found a place for his parents to live—a little six-foot by eight-foot flat with an open stairway. They were more happy and content living in that little flat than Jack remembers them being at any other time in their lives. Jack’s father also enjoyed his job at the chicken farm.

After two years in England, the Hellman's emigrated to the United States where they were reunited with Jack’s sister and his mother’s brother. Their quota numbers came up much sooner since they moved from England to the U.S. rather than from Germany. Jack went on to become a building contractor in New York City.


Sources: Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport by Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer.
"15 Who Fled Nazis As Boys Hold A Reunion" by Jon Nordheimer. Special to the New York Times. Published July 28, 1983.


Cindy Stewart
, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, writes stories of hope and love. Her first manuscript was a 2020 finalist for the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence, placed second in the North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, semi-finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest in the historical category. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of forty years. Their married daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing two fiction series set in WWII Europe.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

HHH November BOOK DAY!



(Heroines of WWII series)

By Mary Davis

A WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) embarks on an unsanctioned mission to rescue three US soldiers held captive in Cuba.

Margaret “Peggy” Witherspoon is a thirty-four-year-old widow, mother of two, flying for the WASP. When her new supervisor, Army Air Corp Major Howie Berg, gives her an order she can’t follow, sparks fly. In the course of her duties, Peggy learns of US soldiers being held captive in Cuba. She undertakes a daring rescue mission. She will need all her WASP skills to succeed and come out of this alive while trying not to ignite an international incident.

 Releases February 1, 2022




By Suzanne Norquist, et al

4 Love Stories Are Quilted Into Broken Lives


“Mending Sarah’s Heart” By Suzanne Norquist, et al.

Rockledge, Colorado, 1884

Sarah doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. With four brothers to mentor her boys and income as a seamstress, she seeks a quiet life. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?


“Bygones” by Mary Davis

Texas, 1884

Drawn to the new orphan boy in town, Tilly Rockford soon became the unfortunate victim of a lot of Orion Dunbar’s mischievous deeds in school. Can Tilly figure out how to truly forgive the one who made her childhood unbearable? Now she doesn’t even know she holds his heart. Can this deviant orphan-train boy turned man make up for the misdeeds of his youth and win Tilly’s heart before another man steals her away?



By Kathleen E. Kovach, et al.

A secret. A key. Much was buried on the Titanic, but now it's time for resurrection. Follow two intertwining stories a century apart. 1912 - Matriarch Olive Stanford protects a secret after boarding the Titanic that must go to her grave. 2012 - Portland real estate agent Ember Keaton-Jones receives the key that will unlock the mystery of her past... and her distrusting heart. Review: “I told my wife to move this book to the top of her reading list... This titanic story is more interesting than the one told in the Titanic movie... She will absolutely love it.”




By Susan G Mathis

1914 Colleen Sullivan has secrets as she works in the Comfort Island laundry and awaits her betrothed. But when he dies, her orphan dreams of belonging and becoming a wife and an artist is lost. Jack Weiss is smitten by the lovely Irish lass. Colleen dismisses him, but when Jack introduces her to the famous impressionist, Alson Skinner Clark, she seems to find hope. But rumors of war prod Jack to choose between joining the Austrian army and making a life with Colleen. Will she finally embrace his love for her, or will Jack lose the battle and join the war?




By Vickie McDonough

Pastor Clay Parsons waited a year to bring his fiancée, Karen Briggs, to his new church post. They plan a Christmas wedding, but in the meantime, Karen helps the church ladies with various projects, including a bake sale. But revealing her fruitcake recipe could spell disaster for her future with Clay and his congregation.



By Denise Weimer

On the verge of starting her own company, Atlanta film makeup artist Ashlyn Jennings is willed a mysterious key from her grandmother’s estate. Mamie Lou, a former Hollywood B-lister, always demonstrated a flair for the dramatic. But Mamie Lou expected her to clean out a mountain cabin no one even knew about? And right at Christmas? When Ashlyn arrives at White Falls Lodge, little is she prepared to be stranded by a snow storm, irritated by the handsome resort owner, and redirected by a God Ashlyn wants to forget, through Mamie Lou’s real gift … her grandmother’s secret past.



By Naomi Musch

Métis hunter Bemidii Marchal has never played his flute to court a maiden but considers the possibility at Fort William's Great Rendezvous. However, when rescuing his sister causes an influential man’s death, the hunter becomes the hunted. Bemidii flees to Lake Superior's Madeline Island. Carrying a secret, Camilla Bonnet travels into the wilderness with her husband where tragedy awaits. Left alone, she fears Bemidii but is forced to trust him. Friendship grows and turns to deeper feelings. Then Bemidii discovers more about the man he killed. Now the secret he hides might turn Camilla’s heart away—and demand his life.

 Pre-order for January 4th, 2022 release



By Johnnie Alexander

A Cryptographer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?


By Linda Shenton Matchett

Three historical Christian mail-order bride novellas set in the Old West by best-selling author Linda Shenton Matchett.

Dinah, Rayne, and Daria are each running from a desperate situation, and becoming a mail-order bride seems to be the only solution. But life is never that easy, and the past threatens to overcome the possibility for a future. Dinah's Dilemma: Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life? Rayne's Redemption: Will she have to lose her identity to find true love? Daria's Duke: Will a stolen inheritance and false accusations thwart the chance for happily-ever-after?



By Terrie Todd

Ray Matthews’ dream is shattered when his father’s death during the Great Depression forces him to drop out of art school and support his mother and sister by selling his paintings to a jigsaw puzzle maker. Ray vows never to sell one personal masterpiece: a portrait of his sweetheart, Sarah. When compelled to break his oath, Ray speaks a prophecy over the puzzle— that no one will be able to finish it before he and Sarah are reunited. Over 80 years, the puzzle passes through four different households, profoundly affecting each until one decision unleashes a peculiar chain of events.





By Michelle Shocklee

After a longtime resident at Nashville’s historic Maxwell House Hotel suffers a debilitating stroke, Audrey Whitfield is tasked with cleaning out the reclusive woman’s room. There, she discovers an elaborate scrapbook filled with memorabilia from the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Love notes on the backs of unmailed postcards inside capture Audrey’s imagination with hints of a forbidden romance . . . and troubling revelations about the disappearance of young women at the exposition. Audrey enlists the help of a handsome hotel guest as she tracks down clues and information about the mysterious “Peaches” and her regrets over one fateful day, nearly sixty-five years earlier.

Releases March 8, 2022