My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels: book spotlight + excerpt

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Hello, reader friends! Today’s featured book is on my tbr and y’all get a sneak peek plus some behind the scenes fun and two giveaways!

About the Book

Series: My Heart Belongs
Genre: Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: July 1

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett PagelsJourney now to Mackinac Island where… A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds.

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story. But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

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Chapter 1

Mackinac Island, Michigan – Monday, June 3, 1895

Maude Welling’s twelve-year-old brother, Jack, raced across the waxed wood floor of the soda shop, straight toward her, then skidded to a halt.

“Greyson’s back!” His loud pronouncement caused several people seated at nearby tables, to cease their conversation and look up.

Perched atop an oak stool at the counter, Maude choked, in surprise, on her cherry phosphate and struggled to maintain her balance. Finally, he was home—and she would see him face-to-face. She pushed the frosted glass away and grabbed the napkin from her lap and wiped her mouth, dread and excitement comingling in her gut. She looked down to inspect her white cotton pin-tucked bodice.

Finding a tiny spot above her waist, she frantically dabbed at the crimson dots. “I need some seltzer water, quick.”

Al spritzed some seltzer on a clean white cloth and passed it to her.

“Thanks.” Luckily the red stain began to blot up. “There. That’s better.”

Hands shaking, Maude slid her uncle’s reconciled account records across the marble counter to him. Soon Father would allow her to resume handling the Winds of Mackinac record keeping, once she was married to her childhood sweetheart.  “Your books are all in order now, Uncle Al.”

He winked at her. “You need to get to the dock.”

Beside her, Jack shifted from foot to foot, his jaw muscles twitching. She realized that he hadn’t said another word since coming into the shop.

Something was wrong.  Maude’s sweetheart had returned to Mackinac Island. Everyone should be smiling, happy for her. Even Maude’s own hands perspired, as they did when she was afraid, not when she was excited.

Jack drew closer and tugged at her mutton-leg sleeve. “Sis, he’s got someone with him—real pretty redhead.”

Maude stiffened from the top of her pinned-up hair, down to her tailbone. No word from Greyson in over a month. She glanced at her bare left hand.

Snapping her mossy-colored short capelet up from the coat rack, she draped it across her arm.

“What would you know, Jack? He was probably just being polite to someone.”

Jack scowled. “Yeah, right. Thought he was gonna marry you—not some old carrot top.” Her brother ran from her, out into the street, the bell ringing as the glass-paned door slammed shut.

Faithfully Bookish

About the Author

Carrie Fancett PagelsECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances.

Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination!

A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.”

Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

You can connect with her on her website.

website | facebook | twitter | pinterest
Overcoming with God | Colonial Quills


Behind the Scenes Facts about the Book

1. We stayed at the Grand Hotel for me to conduct some of my research.

2. We also stayed at the Windermere, which is the inspiration for my heroine’s inn.

Mackinac Island3. The owner of the Windermere is Margaret Doud, Mackinac Island’s mayor and I’d wager we could rightly call her Mackinac Island’s “First Lady.”

4. The Round Island Lighthouse was being built in 1895, as indicated in the story, but on my cover there are two lighthouses, which there weren’t then – but it’s still a gorgeous cover, isn’t it?

5. This is my “Problem Child” manuscript and I knew I wanted this story to matter so I called in the “big guns” to help me.
Julee Schwarzburg, a top editor in Christian fiction, came in and consulted on the overall proposal and theme and some of the editing.
Sue Brower, who had been at Zondervan for decades, helped edit the first three chapters for the Maggie Unpublished awards, which this story finaled in.
Julie Gwinn, a wonderful editor who had switched to agenting but took my story as a freelance job, came in and did a great job of directing me in which way I should go – but she didn’t mollycoddle me, and I needed for her to treat me like that – as if I could fix it, and I did, PTL!

6. Maude was originally a much more “neurotic” type of character in that she had some OCD stuff that her maternal grandmother had instilled in her. One of my consultants, not mentioned above, said she was too “crazy” and I should tone her down. So I did.

Rock Arch7. I went to Arch Rock a number of different ways and on different days, to get a feel for the special scene I have toward the end. On one of these, the transportation almost left without me!

8. Mackinac Islanders are considered Yoopers in that the island is counted as part of the Upper Peninsula. But they are really in a league of their own.

9. Would you be surprised to know that a number of owners of the fudge shops, even today, have the owner or the “heir” making the yummy fudge produced?

10 Believe it or not, at this time, there were resorts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that were considered more prestigious than the Grand Hotel and attracted a wealthy clientele.


Tour Schedule

July 10 Novel-ties*
July 11 By The Book
July 12 Katie’s Clean Book Collection
July 14 A Baker’s Perspective*
July 15 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen 
July 17 Faithfully Bookish
July 18 Cafinated Reads
July 19 Baker Kella*
July 20 Reading Is My SuperPower*
July 21 Paulette’s Papers
July 22 Singing Librarian Books

*indicates review posts



SLB Tours Grand Prize:
Kindle Fire + Mackinac Gift Pack Set includes postcards from Mackinac Island, bookmarks, hand-made earrings, winner’s choice of a signed paperback of this novel (or an upcoming release or another book if you already have read My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island), and a Mackinac Island mug.

Enter via Rafflecopter 

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Faithfully Bookish exclusive prize:
If 10 or more unique commenters post on this blog, one commenter will be selected to receive a print copy of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (US only).

Enter by leaving a comment below


SLB Book Tours blogger


Let’s chat about the book!
What did y’all think of the excerpt?
Do you have a favorite behind the scenes fact?

37 thoughts on “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels: book spotlight + excerpt”

  1. Loved reading about My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island! It definitely sounds like a book I’d love to read. Entered for the Grand Prize Giveaway and would be super thrilled if fortunate enough to be selected. However, I would also love to be the lucky one selected to receive a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands. Thanks for the chance on both counts. ❤


  2. Good morning Carrie and Beth!
    Congratulations on your amazing book Carrie! The book cover is gorgeous.

    …I am not entering, just stopping in to support Carrie…


  3. Behind the scenes fact #10 – places more prestigious than the Grand Hotel! Hard to imagine. What a beautiful and secluded place for a retreat.


  4. Mackinac Island is one of my favorite vacation spots. I loved hiking to Arch Rock, renting a carriage and actually driving a horse around the island, renting bikes to tour the island, and touring the fort. The views are breath-taking and the ferry ride so much fun. We enjoyed ourselves last time so much we caught the final ferry back to Mackinaw City.


  5. I’m looking forward to reading this book. I’m a bit behind on my reading schedule but will be starting this one after I finish the book I’m reading now. I can’t wait to read about Mackinac Island. Carrie has talked so much about it! Thanks, Beth and Carrie, for the fun spotlight.


  6. DANIELLE, stay overnight next time if you can! Mackinac at night is magical! With you being there until 10 PM for the last ferry, though, you got a nice feel for that! It’s a super fun place to stay! And you can revisit it by reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island!


  7. Two books I still want to read are My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island and Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands. Both look fun, and I love that one is by Carrie and the other features Carrie along with other authors writing sweet sounding novellas (sometimes novellas are great so you don’t have to think about the characters at night when you should be sleeping, because you can read a quick novella in one day)!


  8. I love the UP! It’s one of my mosf favorite places in the world. There’s such a mellow pace of life there, even with all of the tourists there, myself included! Someday I hope to vacation on the island. I’ve only ever done day trips so far.


    1. Hi Karen, if you come back be sure to leave your email in case you win! I’m glad you like the U.P.! I sure enjoy going home. Praying you get your vacation on Mackinac Island and get to stay! Blessings!


  9. I’m enjoying the “tour” of Mackinac Island and getting to know Carrie through all the blogs! I love the fact that the heirs make the fudge 🙂

    I have a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands and thought this was a giveaway for the My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island,oops! So I’ll just follow along and read all the posts & leave my comment. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes facts!


      1. Oh Carrie, that’s so good to know!! Because I really want a chance to win this so I can meet Maude 🙂 Add me back please, thanks!!!


  10. Would love to revisit Mackinac Island. I guess I did when I read this book. So much fun. I have this book and 7 Brides. And. Couple of the Lumberjack ones. Great writing Carrie!


  11. Ohh…..I loved the excerpt. What a “bang” to start out the story. I loved that the author stayed in the inns for research.


    1. Hi MH! If you come back beside to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win. Believe it or not, I had one advisor tell me to not begin like this. Then later, one of the editors said to fix it back like I had it!


  12. I am always looking for new authors to read. You write the kinds of books I enjoy reading.
    This one is on my TBR list.


  13. I enjoyed reading all these great Behind the Scenes events. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to have to get this closer to the top of my list to purchase.


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