Rumors and Promises by Kathleen Rouser
We are so excited that one of our PASTimes contributors has a new book out, her first full-length novel! Congrats, Kathy!!!!
Sophie Biddle, an heiress on the run with a child in tow, considers herself abandoned by her family and God. Wary, self-reliant Sophie is caught off guard when meeting a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile.
In 1900, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a most pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.
While Sophie seeks acceptance for the child and a measure of respect for herself, the rumors swirl about her sordid past. Should Ian show concern for Sophie plight, he could risk everything - including his position as pastor of Stone Creek.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now the pair must choose to trust God and forgive those who slander and gossip, or run. Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together forever, or drive both deeper into despair?
Reviewed by Donn Taylor, author of Lightning on a Quiet Night, Rhapsody in Red, etc.
Sophia Bidershem, a teen-aged heiress in late nineteeth century Detroit, was taken advantage of by a predatory older man and bore a daughter outside of marriage. To avoid a forced marriage, she runs away with the Daughter, Caira, always fearing her predator might find them. Taking the name Sophie Biddle and pretending that the now-two-year-old Caira is her sister, she arrives destitute in Stone Creek, Michigan, to take a job in a boarding house and start a new life. Her pleasant personality, competence, and obvious love for Caira quickly win her friends, but she feels guilty for lying about her status, and she lives in fear of being found by the girl’s ruthless father.
The young minister Ian McCormick provides Sophie charitable help and is instantly attracted to her. But Ian has hidden secrets of his own, secrets that leave him as guilt-ridden as Sophie. He tries unsuccessfully to assuage his guilt feelings through good works. Sophie’s presence and their growing attraction to each other only complicate his situation.
Kathleen Rouser threads this story skillfully from that point, surrounding her protagonists with a colorful group of well-drawn secondary characters, introducing new conflicts, and building to a thrilling climax and satisfying denouement, all the while weaving in the spiritual dimensions of her characters. The result is an always-interesting, well-written historical romance that will keep readers turning the pages.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.