Thursday, December 17, 2020

FEATURE: Catherine Ulrich Brakefield + Giveaway!



Soon Santa Claus will be stepping into his sleigh and trusty Rudolph will gallop across the skies, bringing boys and girls a very Merry Christmas!

’Tis the season to be merry. A time to shove our everyday clothes into the closet and don our Sunday best. A time to participate in the midnight services, and pay homage to our loving Savior, Christ Jesus. The little babe with the big mission who came bearing the gift of freedom from the bondage of Satan and sin.  

We fold the problems of the past year as neatly away as we store our presents in our hall or bedroom closets.

However, in December of 1929 many Americans had no closets to put their clothes in—let alone their gifts, because they lost their homes!

Desperate for shelter, tent cities, often named shantytowns, sprang up overnight. These camps later were known as Hoovervilles, after President Hoover who had the misfortunate opportunity to take office in March 1929.

Hooverville shanties were usually made of cardboard, tar paper, glass, lumber, tin, and whatever materials they could salvage. Some homes were only deep holes dug in the ground with makeshift roofs laid over to keep out rain and snow. Others found shelter using empty conduits and water mains!

Surviving the hard times and turning a famine into a feast is just one of the miracles our ancestors performed during the Great Depression years. I felt discouraged regarding the 2020 chain of events of a worldwide pandemic and turbulent election—until I thumbed through the pages of Destiny of Heart. Our pandemic and current events look like a cakewalk next to what our ancestors survived and thrived on.

Destiny of Heart delivers truth in a bright red bow of historical romance that will warm your heart and feed your soul—because nothing is impossible with God.  My characters opened their doors to family and friends who needed a bed, a place to have a warm meal, and spiritual fellowship.

Here is an excerpt;

A soft rap on the door, then William’s face appeared in the open doorway. “Mom says to come and eat.”

“Then we’d best not be late, or there won’t be anything left to eat.”

Ruby looked at the seventeen people crowded around the dining room table. Five loaves and two fishes came to mind. Jesus fed the multitude. And that’s what they needed right now, a miracle…

“Lord, we humbly thank You for Your blessings, for this food, the roof over our heads, and we ask you to bless and help others who are not so fortunate, amen.”

The way I choose to research for my novels is by reading through the pages of used and often discarded history books. I find these at flea markets or school fundraisers. I make it a point to interview people on location and record their true-life accounts. Many accounts in Destiny of Heart truly happened.

I create my characters to live up to these often-forgotten parts of our history. Throughout the endless hours of writing these stories, the question in the back of my head is: Will my fictitious characters deliver the goods? Or will they fall flat on their faces? Will my readers get my message, or will the months and hours of work I put into these stories be for nothing?

Destiny of Heart won the 2019 Maxwell Award, which I am extremely honored to win. But it is my reader reviews that give me the inoculation I need to fight the disease of discouragement. My readers far surpass even an award’s tribute!

I include a few excerpts here from the Christian Bookaholic review dated March 12, 2019, from Julia Wilson. Her quotations show excerpts from Destiny of Heart.

Julia titled this, “Surviving the Hard Times”

Destiny of Heart by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield is a marvelous historical Christian tale that takes the reader through 1920s America and into the Depression, up to the promise of better times under Roosevelt.

Life was hard following WWI. The people had a tough spirit to survive. Diseases took lives as faith was questioned “Why, Lord? Why didn’t You heal my husband? She never felt so alone.” In times of loss, we may have questions that seem to go unanswered. The enemy will whisper that due to our lack of faith, our loved one died. This is a lie; we need to defeat it by standing on the Word of Jesus and believing what God says.

It is an epic tale about love, loss, and redemption in Jesus. With the Depression, we see the church in action. The church is not a building, it is the people who ‘had shown the way to Jesus through their actions.’…

Destiny of Heart is packed full of godly wisdom and lessons for us to learn. There are strong female characters with huge hearts for God.

I loved this book. It was a great read… ~Julia Wilson

A love lost, a love gained, my novel explores the hardships of homesteading on the prairies of Colorado, the battle for Shushan in the Kentucky hills, and the nostalgic era of the Roaring Twenties in Detroit.

What most readers are drawn to is the truth Destiny of Heart discloses. Love will endure, sleeping in a hole in the ground—or being born in a stable. Surviving hard times will test our faith. Celebrating Christmas each year keeps hope in our hearts—when we recall the way of the cross.

Christmas is a time of giving. And it is only right that I give back to my readers who have made this journey of mine so rewarding throughout the years.

To the fortunate commenter, I will give a Kindle or a hard copy of Destiny of Heart; or a kindle of any of my historical romances you choose. Here is a small description of each book of the Destiny series. God Bless you and yours this Christmas season and throughout the new year.

Swept into Destiny:  
An Irish immigrant and a gutsy Southern belle find they are more alike than different. “…Brakefield writes a story with the same flourish as Margaret Mitchell and Louisa May Alcott… My husband purchased this book for me and I cannot wait to read the three other period books in this series. I would recommend this book to adults and teens who like to read a realistic story about history…” D. Lemond

Destiny’s Whirlwind: A death-bed promise, a dashing Rough Rider, the parable of the sower take on unimaginable consequences as Ben’s daughter Collina fights to keep her father’s legacy of Shushan alive. “… If you've ever loved, then you'll empathize with the feelings and events that unroll in this story!” Rick Barry author of The Methuselah Project

Destiny of Heart: Civil unrest, an incurable sickness, and a lost love plunge the McConnells into a battle for survival.  “…Brakefield carefully weaves in historical events from 1917-1932, through the lives of characters and families so beautifully detailed, you become emotionally immersed in every page, every struggle, every triumph. ‘God can’t wipe away a person’s past…But He can help us rewrite the ending.’” Amazon Reader 

Waltz with Destiny: A story-book romance swirls into a rendezvous with destiny as the McConnell legacy is threatened.  “Catherine Ulrich Brakefield’s Waltz with Destiny is the crown jewel of the Destiny series! Brakefield brings 1940s Detroit to life, along with the WWII battlefields of Italy.” Novel Pastimes Reviewer, Kathleen Rouser

Catherine is an award-winning author of the inspirational historical romance Wilted Dandelions, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz with Destiny. Her popular Destiny series includes: Swept into Destiny, Destiny's Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz with Destiny. 

Catherine lives with her husband of 47 years, has two adult children and four wonderful grandchildren. Her four Arabian horses, two dogs, four cats, chickens, and four Black Angus heifers keep her and her husband, Edward, very busy!

For more information about Catherine, see: 



  1. Wow! I never thought about people in the 1900's living in something that would be even less than a soddy on the plains! And I know about homelessness now, but I've never actually seen the places where they congregate. I appreciate all of the research you authors do to present an authentic story, but surely your heart must break a bit as you view the harsh realities. Thanks for the post! bcrug(at)twc(dot)com

    1. Connie R. YES, sometimes it is hard to research and know that this really did happen. What grit and determination it was to rise above their low status and not feel revenge, but instead compassion and faith.

  2. I terrible time in history but we did recover. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.
    Theresa Nprris
    weceno at yahoo dot com

    1. Exactly. They did recover and rebuild their lives from the ground up. That is the reason I wrote the Destiny Series.

  3. I must admit after reading this, the woes of 2020 don’t seem like much. I do know the feeling of being homeless, but at least we had a very small camping trailer to sleep in and, PTL, it was only for a months or so! Thanks for the opportunity to be gifted a copy of one of your books, Catherine. Wishing you and all the HHH bloggers a blessed Christmas season.
    bettimace AT gmail DOT com

  4. Thank you Betti, what surprises me is how our ancestors rebounded and didn't look back, but became determined to improve and see to that their children learned the value of a hard-days work. I learned a lot writing this Destiny series.

  5. Catherine, that medal is huge! Congrats on the win. (Do not include me in the drawing.)