Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894

By Mary Dodge Allen


On the afternoon of Saturday, September 1, 1894, a massive firestorm destroyed the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, along with five smaller communities nearby. This devastating fire took the lives of well over 400 people, causing 100 more deaths than the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The Hinckley Enterprise Newspaper Headline (Public Domain)

Northern Minnesota was covered with dense forests of virgin pine and other hardwoods until the early 1870’s, when the lumber companies arrived. Over the next twenty-plus years, lumber camps and saw mills were built, along with the necessary railroad connections. Towns were established and grew quickly. In 1894, the town of Hinckley boasted a population of nearly 1,400 people and was known as the ‘hub’ of the lumbering industry in Minnesota. Two major railroads served Hinckley - the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad and the Eastern Minnesota Railroad. More than twenty trains traveled through town each day.


L-R: Oxen pulling lumber cart; Tree debris left after lumber harvesting. (Mnopedia.org)


Years of timber harvesting had left behind large areas of stumps and tree debris – acres of tinder for fires. The summer of 1894 had been extraordinarily hot, and barely two inches of rain had fallen between May and September. With so little rainfall that summer, the fire risk increased as these areas grew dryer and dryer. Lumber companies regularly set small fires in an attempt to clear the dry tree debris, and sparks from trains set fire to debris piled near the tracks. Throughout the summer, these numerous small fires filled the air with a smoky haze. On that fateful day of September 1, the heat level rose to the mid-90’s, and a temperature inversion covered the area, trapping the layer of hot, smoky air below the cooler air above.

Brennan Lumber Company site, Hinckley, MN (Mnopedia.org)


Hinckley’s largest employer, Brennan Lumber Company, covered a 36-acre area, filled with huge piles of sawdust and stacks of cut lumber. Shortly after noon, one of the stacks of lumber caught fire, ignited by wind-driven sparks from fires burning south of Hinckley. The wind briefly died down, and workmen were able to extinguish the small lumber fire. But employee J. W. Stockholm didn’t like the look of things. Smoke from the fires south of town seemed to be growing thicker. 


Hinckley Volunteer Fire Department (Mnopedia.org) 


At 2:00 p.m., John Craig, chief of Hinckley’s volunteer fire department rang the gong, summoning all the firemen to the fire house. The fires south of town were growing larger, and the wind had increased, igniting new fires at the lumber yard. As the volunteers began fighting the fires, Chief Craig ran to the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad Depot and asked Thomas Dunn, the telegrapher, to wire nearby Rush City for more fire hose. 

Edward Barry, Train Engineer (Hinckley Fire Museum)

Shortly before 3:00 p.m., engine No. 105 of the Eastern Minnesota Railroad, driven by Edward Barry arrived in Hinckley with a load of freight. The air was thick with smoke as Barry pulled onto a siding to wait for the southbound passenger train, driven by engineer William Best. Barry was relieved when Best’s train arrived on time, at 3:25 p.m. 

William Best, Train Engineer (Hinckley Fire Museum)


Burning embers swirled in the hot, smoky air as William Best pulled into Hinckley. He saw the southbound fire danger, and quickly realized he needed to back up his train to save his passengers. To harness more power, Best ordered Barry to hook his engine to the rear of the passenger train, (which would actually be in front, as it backed up).

The fierce wind continued feeding the fires south of Hinckley until they joined together, becoming a massive wall of flames. Chief Craig halted the futile firefighting efforts and rode through town on horseback, shouting, “We can’t save the town; it’s burning at the south end; run to the gravel pit; don’t lose a moment, but fly!” The gravel pit was a town eyesore that had been dug by the Eastern Minnesota Railroad. It held about an acre of shallow muddy water, and well over 100 Hinckley residents sought refuge in it.

As soon as Barry hooked his engine onto Best’s passenger train, the firestorm swept into Hinckley. Dense smoke obscured the sunlight. Buildings lit up in the darkness as they exploded into flames. Wind-driven smoke darkened the sky in Duluth, more than 70 miles away. The howling roar of swirling flames mixed with the shouts and cries of townspeople as they rushed toward the train. Crewmembers helped them climb aboard.

  

Edward Barry gave the whistle signal to pull out. But William Best, who was inside his engine at the other end of the train, controlled the air brakes and held the train back for an additional few minutes, as people scrambled on board. Paint was melting off the train and the wooden ties were ablaze when Best finally released the brakes. As the train began backing up, Brennan Lumber Company employee J. W. Stockholm and his family jumped aboard.

The train backed up for miles, through dense smoke, flames and heat. The air cleared a bit as it entered the undamaged town of Sandstone. The crew urged people to come aboard, but nobody did, even though flames were visible outside town. Less than an hour later, Sandstone was gone.

Kettle River Railroad Bridge (Mnopedia.org)


Just beyond Sandstone, the railroad bridge that stood nearly 100 feet over the Kettle River was on fire from one bank to the other. Best was amazed when he saw the two bridge watchmen, Jesmer and Damuth had remained on duty. Jesmer shouted, “You can cross it now, and it will go down in five minutes!” The train crossed the bridge just before it collapsed into the river. After crossing several other burning bridges, the train made it safely into Superior, Wisconsin. Engineers Best and Barry were blinded from the smoke and heat. They didn’t regain their sight until the next day.

James Root, Train Engineer (Hinckley Fire Museum)


Another train engineer saved lives on that fateful day - James Root, an engineer with the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad - who drove the No. 4 Limited passenger train from Duluth to Hinckley. Root had a wealth of experience; he had been working as a train engineer since the Civil War. He had seen many forest fires in the area, but he thought it was strange when he saw the dense smoke as he left Duluth. He pushed his train forward for nearly forty miles through the surreal smoky darkness, until he saw the bright light of flames ahead and people screaming and running toward him. Root stopped the train. After the desperate people climbed on board, he began backing up.


John Blair, Train Porter (Hinckley Fire Museum)


The firestorm approached quickly. Roaring flames were visible through the windows as the glass began cracking and melting. The train’s porter, John Blair walked up and down the hot, smoky aisles, calmly reassuring passengers as he passed out wet towels. Inside the engine cab, a window had burst, showering Root with glass. He was dazed, bleeding and his hands were badly burned, but Root remained at the controls until his backing train reached Skunk Lake. 

Skunk Lake after the fire (Mnopedia.org)


Root knew he couldn’t outrun the fire, so he stopped on a bridge above the lake and ordered the crew to help the passengers into the water. Meanwhile, Root - a dedicated engineer - saved the train engine by unhooking it and moving it forward, away from the flaming coal car. Then he joined the rest of the people submerged in the muddy water, as flames swirled around them. Everyone stayed in Skunk Lake for hours, until the superheated ground finally cooled.

James Root's Engine (Mnopedia.org)


Thomas Dunn, Depot Telegrapher (Hinckley Fire Museum)


Thomas Dunn, the telegrapher at the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad Depot in Hinckley, had remained at his post while the fire approached. He knew the No. 4 Limited passenger train was due in from Duluth, and he was waiting for orders to leave. The last message he sent to the railroad agent in Barnum, Minnesota was, “I think I’ve stayed too long.” He perished in the fire.

Hinckley Main Street after the fire (Hinckley Fire Museum)


The Great Hinckley Fire burned an area of over 350 square miles. It took the lives of 418 people, although some believe the death count was much higher. The last fire victim was discovered nearly four years later, in May 1898. The Hinckley Fire Museum contains personal stories and displays about the tragedy.

Hinckley Fire Museum (Public Domain)


The Great Hinckley Fire State Monument (Hinckley Fire Museum)


______________


Mary Dodge Allen is the winner of the 2022 Christian Indie Award from the Christian Indie Publisher's Association, and two Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writer's Association. She and her husband live in Central Florida, where she has served as a volunteer with the local police department. Her childhood in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, sparked her lifelong love of the outdoors. She has worked as a Teacher, Counselor and Social Worker. Her quirky sense of humor is energized by a passion for coffee and chocolate. She is a member of the Florida Writer's Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers. 

Website: www.marydodgeallen.com

Mary's recent novel: Hunt for a Hometown Killer won the 2022 Christian Indie Awards, First Place - Mystery/Suspense.
 

 

Click to buy Hunt for a Hometown Killer at Amazon.com:

Link to Mary's Podcast on Sarah Hamaker's show: "The Romantic Side of Suspense"



Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Unsolved Case that Sparked Major Changes in Consumer Packaging

 by Pamela S. Meyers


If you are younger than the age of 40, you’ve become accustomed to having to deal with super-sealed bottles of over-the-counter (OTC) pain killers and other similar medications. The scenario goes something like this:

After finally breaking the tight seal wrapped around the cap and neck of the bottle, you have to wrestle with the cap that must be pushed down and turned before it will allow you to take it off the container. And then there is the layer of material that is sealed to the edge of the bottle's opening (sometimes referred in the packaging industry as the “membrane.”). 

Such secure packaging wasn’t common for such products until September 29, 1982, when a 12 year-old-girl who lived in a Chicago suburb died after taking two capsules of Extra Strength Tylenol. Her death was followed by six more casualties scattered around the northwest Chicago suburbs. All victims had taken Extra Strength Tylenol capsules, and all were dead within minutes. The only thing they had in common were the capsules they’d taken. 

Johnson and Johnson, the company that manufactures Tylenol, immediately recalled all Tylenol products from store shelves, and authorities were tasked with breaking open capsules of Extra Strength Tylenol. Quick analysis found that some boxes containing the medication had been tampered with and potassium cyanide inserted into the capsules. 




The difference between the uncontaminated capsule on the 
left and a capsule containing poison is easily seen.


Because the 40th anniversary of the crime is approaching, The Arlington Heights Illinois Daily Herald recently featured an article about the crime that included this quote: "People never believed there was something wrong with a name-brand product that you took off a shelf in a drugstore," said Helen Jensen, the former Arlington Heights village nurse who was among the first in 1982 to make the connection that contaminated Tylenol pills were killing people. "There were no surveillance cameras at that time, or anybody keeping track of anything in any stores. You can't just walk in and pick up a bottle anymore. Somebody would see us. Now, we can't get into bottles." 


When Johnson and Johnson returned Tylenol products to store shelves, all were packaged in layers of protection, and, it wasn’t long before similar changes in the packaging of most all consumable products received the same treatment. 

James Lewis
Source: Criminal Minds Wiki
Sadly, after 40 years, there have been no arrests, and the Tylenol murders have become a “cold case,”  

Although he was never accused of being the killer, New York City resident James William Lewis was convicted of extortion for sending a letter to Johnson & Johnson where he took responsibility for the deaths and demanded $1 million to stop more murders from happening. But evidence connecting Lewis to the actual crime never emerged. He’s now a free man after being imprisoned for ten years. 



Nowadays, we have DNA and other sophisticated means of tracing evidence that weren’t available in the eighties. 

I, for one, am grateful that before I can access the contents of an over-the-counter pain reliever, I must go through layers of protection. 

If you want more information about this unsolved crime or Mr. Lewis, it can easily be found online. 

All information for this post was obtained from The Arlington Heights Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune

The photos, unless otherwise indicated, appeared in the Chicago Tribune Digital edition on 9/22/2022; authors: S. St. Clair and C. Gutowski.

Do unsolved crimes of the past interest you?

Monday, October 3, 2022

William the Conqueror's Birthplace

 by Rebecca May Davie



Welcome to the birthplace of William the Conqueror. This is the Calvados department of Normandy, France. The area is now known as the city of Caen.

Who was William the Conqueror? He became the first Norman
King of England. He was born in 1027 to Duke Robert the Magnificent and a Falaise tanner’s daughter, Arlette. Duke Robert died when William was a mere eight years old. William then began adding on to Le Chateau de Falaise (his family’s castle) and in addition, ordered the construction of two churches. His early years were turbulent with the deaths of many of his teachers and aids. King Henry I of France helped him navigate and knighted William in his teens.
The King of England, Edward the Confessor, did not have children and promised William succession. He died and William expected to secede. Yet, Harold Godwin was placed on the throne even though he
himself swore fealty to William just two years before. After, they met at the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066. Harold was fatally wounded with an arrow. William was “The Conqueror.” Just ten weeks later, on Christmas day, William was crowned the King of England at Westminster Abbey.

Immediately following his coronation, he began to invade England. He built castles with fortifications, installed allies, and squelched revolts with bloody battles. Life for the English changed without delay. He overhauled their language, religion, and other facets of daily life. King William built over 700 motte and bailey castles including the notable Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The structures began in wood that was replaced with stone. He required a census of people and property that was compiled into the Domesday Book. He died at the age of 60.
 


There are many methods to learn about life of William the Conqueror. A visit to Bayeux and The Bayeux Tapestry on display at the museum give a glimpse into his timeline. This embroidered fabric is 70 meters long and shows William’s conquest. Susan Page Davis wrote a post  on Heroes, Heroines, and History, The Bayeux Tapestry
While in Caen, visitors can experience where William lived. Tour Le Chateau de Falaise. Tablets available at check in, point to emblems throughout the building. These enable scenes to appear as the rooms were in William’s time. Imagine walking into a large Bed Chamber (half the square footage of a basketball gym) with a similarly high ceiling. Surrounded by stone walls, a fireplace camps along the side. A solitary bed adorns one wall. Two chairs flank the bed. This is all that is visible to the naked eye. Yet with the tablet, there are tapestries, rugs, curtains, and chairs. This volume of fabric assisted in keeping the immense, stone rooms warm. Heat also radiated from fireplaces and small braziers set in the middle of the spaces.




Wander up and down tight, steep stone staircases to see other open rooms. The Great Hall, Chapel, and apartments all offer virtual tours via touch tablet. In most rooms there is a film featuring a member of the Anglo-Norman court describing their daily life. These snippets give visitors an opportunity to learn about trades, clothing, food, and other features of the 11th century. In some halls there are protected etchings and carvings from the knights of the time – medieval graffiti, so to speak. Outside the Keep walls, viewing machines enable visitors to envision village life.
 

See the church of William’s youth at the base of the castle. L'église de la Trinité à Falaise, visible in the photo at right, was constructed in 840. It suffered damage and was rebuilt in 1204 in the gothic style.
  
Whatever the source, it is possible to learn a small measure about living in the 11th century. After visiting, the life of William the Conqueror may seem rife with strife. Opinions do continue to vary on his rule. Until a visit is possible, YouTube offers videos about his years and peeks inside the castle. Take a look…


As a child, Rebecca loved to write. She nurtured this skill as an educator and later as an editor for an online magazine. Rebecca then joined the Cru Ministry - NBS2GO/Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO, at its inception. She serves as the YouVersion Content Creator, with over 75 Plans on the Bible.com app.

Rebecca lives in the mountains with her husband, the youngest of their two sons, and a rescued dog
named Ranger. If it were up to her, she would be traveling - right now. As a member of ACFW, FHLCW, Jerry’s Guild, and Hope*Writers, Rebecca learns the craft of fiction while networking with a host of generous writers. She is working on her first fiction novel. This story unfolds from the 1830s in Northern Georgia.



Connect with Rebecca:

Sunday, October 2, 2022

History of the Microwave Part 2 : Percy Spencer

Blogger: Amber Lemus

Percy Spencer
Last month we learned about the history of the microwave, however the man who is considered the inventor of the appliance deserves his own post, because his story is epic. So we're back today to learn about American inventor Percy Spencer.


Percy was born on July 19, 1894 in Howland, Maine, but his life would not be an easy one. Both of his parents died by the time he was eighteen months old, and he went to live with his aunt and uncle. When he was seven, his uncle also died, leaving Percy and his aunt on their own. Circumstances were so hard, that by age twelve, Percy dropped out of school to get a job so that he could help support his aunt. He got a job as a spindle boy at a weaving mill.

Even in these rough, early years, Percy was intelligent and ambitious. He took an interest in electricity when he heard that a local paper mill would soon start using it, and started learning all he could about the concepts. He hadn't received any formal training in electrical engineering, but he applied to the paper mill anyway and was one of the three persons hired to install electricity in the mill.

When he turned eighteen, Percy saw the Navy as an opportunity to further his education, so he joined as a radio operator. His interest in radio communications had been ignited when the news of the Titanic's sinking reached the shores of Maine. He was fascinated by the thought of the wireless communications that had been sent from a dying ship to plead for help. While he was in the Navy, Percy taught himself a number of scientific subjects. In his own words, "I just got hold of a lot of textbooks and taught myself while I was standing watch at night." In this way, he learned not only radio technology, but also calculus, physics, trigonometry and more.

Percy Spencer with early Microwave equipment
Public Domain - Newspaper Photo

Distinguished Public
Service Award
Public Domain


After the First World War, Percy joined a company known then as the American Appliance Company in Cambridge, Maine. This company would later be known as the Raytheon Company. During the Second World War, the British contracted with Raytheon to mass produce combat radar equipment. This was one of their most recent inventions. Spencer played a key role in the development of this technology by developing a system of mass production of the magnetron. He increased the production to 2,600 per day. In this way, Raytheon had a "marked effect on every major sea engagement of the war" according to Navy officials. Although he was no longer enlisted in the military, Percy was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award from the U.S. Navy because of his work on this project. That award is the highest honor the Navy can bestow to a civilian.


As we discussed last month, it was during this time that Percy was working with the magnetron, that he also invented the microwave oven. This is what he is most well-known for, but it is hardly the greatest of his accomplishments. Vannevar Bush, a friend and colleague, said of Percy, "(He) earned the respect of every physicist in the country, not only for his ingenuity, but for what he has learned about physics by absorbing it through his skin."

While Percy was only given a $2.00 gratuity from Raytheon for the patent on the microwave, as an employee of the company, he did not receive any royalties on his inventions. However, he did become the Vice President and senior board member of the company, so I don't think he completely lost out on his career choice.

Percy Spencer's list of accomplishments is long. He received over 300 patents during his career. One of the Raytheon labs was named after him, and when that closed, another building was named in his honor. He was a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he was granted an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, despite the fact that he had no formal education. He was also a husband, father of three children, friend to many.

Percy died on September 8, 1970 at the age of 76. Here's a link to a NYT article at the time of his death.



*****
Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Lemus inspires hearts through enthralling tales 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 near the Ozarks in her "casita" with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a boy 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 http://www.amberlemus.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!


Saturday, October 1, 2022

The World War II Comet Escape Line

by Cindy Kay Stewart

Today's post continues the story of the Comet Escape Line, the network  established during World War II to escort downed Allied Airmen safely out of Europe and back into the fight. If you missed the earlier posts and would like to read them, just click on these links: MarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugust, September.


Views along the Comet Escape Line in the Pyrenees. Courtesy of Pyrenean Experience.

September's post introduced Michou Dumont, codename "Lily," a leader in the Comet Escape Line in Brussels. After fleeing Belgium when the Gestapo was closing in on her, Lily went to Bayonne in the far south of France and met with Jean-Francois, the leader of the Comet Line. She warned him of serious problems with the network in Brussels. Jean-Francois, codename "Franco," travelled to Brussels to check out the situation and upon his return to Paris walked into a trap set by the Gestapo. Meanwhile, Lily awaited word from Franco at Auntie Go's house in Anglet, near Bayonne.

Border between Spain and France

Several weeks later, Michael Creswell, the British attaché in Spain who took charge of the rescued airmen after they crossed the border, called Auntie Go, Lily, and Max, another operative, down to Madrid for a planning session. Lily was assigned to work with Max in Paris and also to work the line from Dax (north of Bayonne) to the Spanish border. Max would continue bringing airmen by train from Paris to Dax.

After crossing the Pyrenees for additional meetings with Creswell in February, Lily returned to Paris. She was to coordinate escapes in Paris along with Martine Noel, a dentist. Lily stored her belongings in Martine's apartment. Lily wanted to speed up the escape procedures, so Martine set up a strategy session at a local restaurant for the new team of helpers

Michou Dumont, "Lily"

The fellow who sat directly in front of Lily seemed vaguely familiar. "He was short and sandy-haired, with close-set eyes, strange and intense. He wore a garish purple coat along with a polka-dot tie. Abbé Beauvais, a priest who gave sanctuary to pilots when they came to Paris," introduced the young Belgian as Pierre Boulain. Lily didn't recognize the name, but she didn't like the man. His polka-dot tie bothered her - it could be a signal.

The next day Lily left Paris with two British agents in danger of capture. They crossed the Pyrenees safely, and Lily returned to Auntie Go's in Anglet. Because of the increased Allied bombings, main rail lines were damaged, and Lily arrived in Paris many days later than expected. When she called Martine's apartment, a strange woman answered the phone and called Lily by her real name, Micheline, which Lily had not used in almost a year. No one in Paris knew her real name, or so she thought. The woman encouraged her to come by Martine's apartment, but Lily knew better.

Lily headed to Martine's dental office in the suburbs, but the concierge stopped her at the door. After informing her that Martine had been arrested, the concierge sent Lily to one of Martine's friends. She learned that everyone at the restaurant had been arrested and sent to Fresnes Prison just outside the city of Paris. Fearing her own capture, Lily caught a train for Bayonne. She considered her options and decided to find out who was betraying the Comet Line to the enemy. 

Lily returned to Paris and went straight to Fresnes Prison. At the prison gate, she asked to visit Martine and was promptly arrested. Although she was confined to a room by herself, Lily figured out the communication system used by the prisoners. They communicated at the sides of the walls and around corners using taps, echoes, and shouts. The jail was built in a classic hub-and-spoke design," so the inmates tracked down Martine and brought her close to Lily's room. Martine revealed that the traitor was Pierre Boulain. Lily finally remembered where she had seen the man before - in Brussels when he went by the name of Jean Masson.

Masson had obtained false identification papers for airmen traveling from Brussels to Paris and specialized in border crossings. He had attended a meeting at a safe house in Brussels two days before the Comet leader Monsieur de Jongh was arrested in Paris. "Up to now, Masson had protected his identity because all those who knew him were always arrested. Lily was the only one capable of breaking his cover."

After spending two nights at the Fresnes prison, Lily was led to the prison warden. The birthdate on her French identification card indicated she was only seventeen, and he couldn't accept the imprisonment of someone so young. The warden ordered Lily out of the prison immediately and told her the Gestapo was on the way. Lily left through the front gate. Shortly after, a German staff car passed her on the road, but the Gestapo officers inside didn't even notice her.

Return on November 1st for the final installment of the Comet Escape Line adventures. Learn what happened to Lily, Jean Masson, and the imprisoned leaders of the Comet Line.

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Resource: The Freedom Line by Peter Eisner. HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.


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Would you like a free e-book of true WWII stories of escape? Join my newsletter, and I'll send the download link. Be the first to know when my novels launch.
 
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*********


Cindy Kay Stewart, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, writes stories of hope, steeped in faith and love. Her manuscripts have finaled in Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers Touched by Love Award, Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence and Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Awards, semi-finaled in American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest and the Sandra Robbins Inspirational Writing Award. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of forty-one years. Her daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing two fiction series set in WWII Europe.

 

Friday, September 30, 2022

September 2022 Book Day

Relax With One of These

Great Fall Reads!

 

 

THE LADY’S MISSION

The Quilting Circle (Book 5) Releases 10/5/22

A Sweet Historical Romance Series

By Mary Davis

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia wants to escape the social norms for her society station. Unless she can maneuver her father into relinquishing her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is presented as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

 

BRIDE BY BLACKMAIL

By Debbie Lynne Costello

A broken heart, controlling father, and intrusive Scot leave Charlotte reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With her and her sister’s futures at stake, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness. Eager to find the traitor who caused the death of his brother, Duncan comes to America attempting to fit into Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan acquires a second mission—winning the lass's hand. After several spurnings, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.


 

THE SERGEANT’S SWEETHEART

By Vickie McDonough

Scott Jantzen only had eyes for one girl in high school, but he never had the nerve to ask her out. Now an Army sergeant stationed in Kuwait, he gets Haley Tannehill’s email from her brother and reaches out. Will she respond? Haley almost deletes Scott’s email, but then she sees his comment about knowing her brother. She doesn’t remember him from high school, but she emails him back. She enjoys getting to know the interesting soldier—until the day he says he’s returning home and wants to meet her face to face. Has she just made the worse decision she’s ever made?

 

 

TITANIC: LEGACY OF BETRAYAL

A Time-Slip Novel

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.”

 

 

OUT OF MY MIND: A Decade of Faith and Humour

By Terrie Todd

Since 2010, Terrie Todd has been writing a popular "Faith and Humour" column for The Graphic Leader in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. This book celebrates a decade of wit and wisdom found in Terrie's hand-picked favori. tes. Arranged by category and excellent for use in public readings on various topics or simply for your own enjoyment, this book could be called a weirdly out-of-order memoir of a life in which faith and humour dwell hand in hand. Categories include: Marriage & Family, Health & Fitness, Faith, Writing Life, Christmas, Easter, Mothers & Fathers Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day.

 

 

COUNT THE NIGHTS BY STARS

By Michelle Shocklee

1961. After a longtime resident at Nashville’s Maxwell House Hotel suffers a stroke, Audrey is tasked with cleaning out the reclusive woman’s room. 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.

 

 

THIMBLES AND THREAD

By Suzanne Norquist, et al

4 Love Stories Are Quilted Into Broken Lives

 

“Mending Sarah’s Heart” By Suzanne Norquist

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?

 

 

THE CRYPTOGRAPHER’S DILEMMA

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?

 

 

ESTELLE’S ENDEAVOR

By Linda Shenton Matchett

Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love? Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need? Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?

 

 

HUNT FOR A HOMETOWN KILLER

By Mary Dodge Allen

2022 Christian Indie Award Winner, First Place – Mystery Suspense

While Roxy Silva is working her hometown mail route, a sinkhole opens up and drains a retention pond, uncovering the car used in her husband’s murder. Determined to solve the cold case, Roxy turns amateur sleuth, using her amazing photographic memory. Her relationship with handsome detective Kyle grows closer as they uncover shocking secrets. When the killer takes Roxy captive, she must use her wits to survive. “Suspense, humor, rapier wit, and a heaping helping of warmth and unexpected plot twists. We loved it!”   Pages & Paws – 5-Star Book Review

 

 

THE VOYAGEURS DUOLOGY:

Mist O'er the Voyageur and Song for the Hunter

By Naomi Musch

Mist: Brigitte Marchal would rather flee Montreal than marry her cruel suitor, but her disguise as a voyageur doesn’t hide her long. Crossing the Great Lakes at the questionable mercy of swarthy protector René Dufour, Brigitte struggles with faith, mysticism, and who to trust in the rugged, unfamiliar country. Song: When Métis hunter Bemidii Marchal kills a merchant’s son in self-defense, he flees to an island fort on Lake Superior. There he encounters Camilla Bonnet, a French-Canadian beauty. Feelings grow between them, until Bemidii’s secret is exposed. Now the truth threatens to steal Camilla’s love—and demand Bemidii’s life.