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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
Publication date: July 1
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?
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.
About the Author
ECPA-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.
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.
3. 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.
7. 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.
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.
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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).
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Let’s chat about the book!
What did y’all think of the excerpt?
Do you have a favorite behind the scenes fact?