I Can't Wait for... The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #mustread #romancebooks #romcom #suspense @OfficiallyAlly @avonbooks

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Ally Carter has been a favorite author since the time I started blogging. Her Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series are still favorites to this day with the fabulous mix of humor, suspenseful action, romance and motley crews. Her upcoming release is her first adult novel and sounds like it will continue in the vein of her YA books. I've already pre-ordered and can't wait for it to arrive! It's my pick this week...

The Blonde Identity
By Ally Carter
Romantic Comedy, Suspense
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 304 Pages
August 8, 2023 by Avon


"A unique, delightful, hilarious, unputdownable romance… I’m wonderstruck by The Blonde Identity!" — Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis

The New York Times bestselling YA author of the beloved Gallagher Girls series bursts onto the adult scene with a fast-paced, hilarious road trip rom-com about a woman with amnesia who discovers she’s the identical twin sister of a rogue spy… and must team up with a rugged, grumpy operative to stay alive.

It’s the middle of the night in the middle of Paris and a woman just woke up with no memory.

She only knows three things for certain:

1. She has a splitting headache.

2. The hottest guy she has (probably) ever seen is standing over her, telling her to run.

And oh yeah…

3. People keep trying to kill her.

She doesn’t know who. Or why. But when she sees footage of herself fighting off a dozen men there’s only one explanation: obviously. . . she’s a spy!

Except, according to Mr. Hot Guy, she’s not. She’s a spy’s identical twin sister.

Too bad the only person who knows she’s not the woman they’re looking for is this very grouchy, very sexy, very secret agent who (reluctantly) agrees to help her disappear. Which is easier said than done when a criminal organization wants you dead and every intelligence service in the world wants you caught.

Luckily, no one is looking for a pair of lovesick newlyweds on their honeymoon. And soon they’re lying their way across Europe—dodging bullets and faking kisses as they race to unravel a deadly conspiracy and clear her sister’s name.

But with every secret they uncover, the truth shifts, until she no longer knows who to trust: the twin she can’t remember or the mysterious man she can’t let herself forget…

"Spies! Amnesia! And banter that’ll make you chant “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” No one writes an action rom-com quite like Ally Carter." – Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

An inspiring story of adventure and romance... Rocky Mountain Rendezvous by Misty M. Beller (Review) #booktwitter #newbooks #histfic #christfic #romancebooks #BHPFiction @justreadtours @bethany_house

Welcome! I shared about this book on Instagram, but
am posting a full review here today. Read it below...

Rocky Mountain Rendezvous
(Sisters of the Rockies #1)
By Misty M. Beller
Christion Historical Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & eBook, 313 Pages
June 6, 2023 by Bethany House Publishers


In 1837, Juniper Collins and her sisters are shocked by their father's deathbed request for them to return a special set of beads to a Piegan Blackfoot woman he credits with saving his life during his travels West. Together, the sisters set out for the trapper rendezvous to find the woman, but their mission turns more daunting when they come upon the mass of men and lodges spread out in the Green River Valley.

Riley Turner came West to find peace and quiet and live off the land, but when four unprotected women arrive at the rendezvous, he feels compelled to help them and is more fascinated by Juniper than any other woman he's known.

As their search brings only empty leads and dead ends, the sisters must decide whether to return East or stay in the mountains to continue looking--and that's if the mystery woman is even still alive. Is the risk to honor their father's last request worth the danger they find at every turn?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS is another adventure into the wild western states, taking place in what would become the Wyoming area. There are four sisters with their own unique personalities travelling to the area to fulfill their father's dying wish and a trapper who steps up to help them along the way. It's an inspiring story of adventure, romance and about how sometimes dreams can change.

I think this might be my favorite start to one of Beller's stories. There are four sisters all travelling for the first time out on their own in the west who are all a bit naïve as to the dangers they face and a man who gets himself roped into being their guide and protector. The dialogue, chemistry and humor are all fabulous! The inspirational element is weaved through lightly and naturally, so I felt it wasn't ever forced. The danger and suspense starts as an undertone and then slowly builds to a climatic ending.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This has all the trademarks of a Beller story: adventure, inspirational moments, romance, great characters and a rugged setting. Really, really enjoyed this one!

Content: Some innuendo, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JustRead Publicity Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Have you read any of this author's other books? Have you ever been to Wyoming or seen the Rockies?

Take a trip to small-town Deep Haven... How Sweet It Is by Andrea Christenson (Review & #Giveaway) #booktwitter #newbooks #christfic #christianromance #romancebooks @justreadtours @SunrisePublish

Welcome to my tour stop, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
Read my review and enter the giveaway below...

How Sweet It Is
(Fox Bakery #1)
By Andrea Christenson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & eBook, 297 Pages
July 18, 2023 by Sunrise Publishing


Sometimes the sweetest moments in life are made from the most familiar and ordinary ingredients.

Robin Fox is living out her dreams working in a gourmet bakery in Paris. She thought she’d live there forever, but when her relationship with her boss sours, those dreams crumble. She finds herself back home in Deep Haven, Minnesota, caring for her grandparents’ rundown bakery while they’re away. But she vows that when they return in six weeks, she’ll trade this ordinary life for the one she left behind.

Sammy Johnson has never gotten traction in any area of his life. This hasn’t improved in the almost two years since the accident which nearly killed him. Although his heart is still beating, it contains little passion for the life he’s living in Deep Haven. But that begins to change when he offers to help his former high school friend, Robin.

Working together to keep Fox Bakery from going under, they find more than friendship is simmering between them. But when the six weeks are up, will Robin follow her old dreams back to the glamor of Paris or will she discover how sweet it is to be loved in Deep Haven?

Return to Deep Haven with the Fox Family, where Robin and Sammy find that small town life isn’t ordinary after all.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

HOW SWEET IT IS is about a woman who is chasing dreams of being a renowned baker and a man who is trying to recover from trauma and find what his dream is. It's set in Deep Haven, originally introduced in Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series, and full of small-town charm with a caring community. Fans of the previous series and subsequent spin-offs will enjoy various cameos from prior characters and getting to visit this beloved town. Both new readers and those who have read previous books will enjoy the delightful romance and baked goodies that make this a very sweet read.

I loved the original series that has inspired subsequent books and getting to revisit Deep Haven. The two main characters in this book, Robin and Sammy, are both likable characters who knew each other in high school, but haven't seen each other for years. In that time they've faced disappointment and are trying to figure out which direction their lives should go in. I loved all the bakery goodness weaved in this story that left me quite hungry for freshly baked goods. The religious element is fairly strong, but woven through well. The romance is foremost sweet with some tension and some decisions that push the relationship to a head.

I did have a few things I would have liked developed more or differently. One was the chemistry didn't jump out at me in this story. It was sweet and the romance worked but I think I was missing a spark. The religious element was a bit too strong mostly because it seemed to come from everyone all the time in a lot of conversations. Realistically not every single person you know has the exact same faith and shares poignant words of wisdom perfect for you each time you talk to them. There was a bit of a suspension of belief in places where I felt the story was forced and it didn't feel as genuine or realistic. However, all of that said, I still enjoyed this.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall sweet read! I plan on continuing to pick up additional stories set in this town as each is sure to be full of heart and sweet romance.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JustRead Publicity Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Andrea Christenson lives in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters. When she is not busy homeschooling her girls, she loves to read anything she can get her hands on, bake bread, eat cheese, and watch Netflix—though not usually all at the same time. Andrea’s prayer is to write stories revealing God’s love.

Connect with Andrea by visiting andreachristenson.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Schedule

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Tour-Wide Giveaway

(1) winner will win a paperback copy of How Sweet It Is and a $10 Gift Card to the Sunrise Shop!

Full tour schedule linked above. The giveaway begins at midnight July 17, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.


Are you a fan of Deep Haven or small-town romances? Will you be reading this one?

Perfect for Austen fans... Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom by Jane Austen (Review) #booktwitter #newbooks #janeaustenslittlebookofwisdom #janeausten #literaryquotes #giftbooks @Austenprose

Welcome to my tour stop with Austenprose! I'm a huge Austen
fan and was thrilled to get to review this. Read my review below...

Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom:
Words on Love, Life, Society, and Literature
By Jane Austen
Compiled by: Andrea Kirk Assaf
Literary Quotes, Self Help, Gift Books
Paperback & eBook, 400 Pages
March 1, 2023 by Hampton Roads Publishing


The ultimate companion for the Jane Austen fan filled with her penetrating insights and humor on life, love, and death.

Jane Austen is one of the most popular female writers in history, best known for her stories of love, loss, and hope, which are cleverly intertwined with her witty insights into the traits and expectations of English Georgian society. Here, in this stunning little book, you will be able to read hundreds of individual quotes from her famous works—from Pride and Prejudice and Emma to Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility—each prompting an emotional response, thoughtful musing, or even a little snigger at the wise and shrewd perceptions that Austen had of the world around her.

Utterly charming and very profound, fans of Jane Austen can revel in these much-loved quotes, while a new audience will be introduced to the joys that her books have provided since their publication many years ago. With each chapter focusing on a different theme—from Love & Longing to Female Strength—this gorgeous gift book is the perfect compilation of Austen’s funny, moving, and thought-provoking words. Content of themes:

- Love & Longing
- Friendship
- Society
- Female Strength
- Life & Death
- Faith
- Art & Literature

Praise for Jane Austen's Little Book of Wisdom

“A valuable resource for any Austen lover to use for quick reference or to read through.” —Library Journal

“It’s a lovely way to spend a little time each day revisiting and reflecting on Austen’s beloved works without embarking on a full reread—and also to test your ability to peg each isolated quote to specific events in its respective story. Feel free to invite your fellow Austenites over and turn it into a full-fledged trivia game.” —Mental Floss

“For Austen fans and lovers of wise words, Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom: Words on Love, Life, Society, and Literature compiled by Andrea Kirk Assaf, provides a genuine treasure trove. Assaf has curated a wonderful collection here, her other works encompassing popes and saints, precisely in line with the reverence Austen deserves.” —NewPages.com

“This lovely book will provide a daily diet of Austen sensibility every day of the year. My vote: 4 out of 4 teacups.” —JaneAustensWorld.com

(Affiliate links included.)
Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon | Bookshop | B&N | Target

My Review

JANE AUSTEN'S LITTLE BOOK OF WISDOM is all the little nuggets of wisdom from Jane Austen's classic novels. It's Austen's poignant words about love and life all wrapped up into a gift-sized book. A perfect addition to bookshelves or as a gift for Austen fans!

I am such a fan of Austen and have read her books and seen the movie adaptations multiple times. She so well captured societal norms and relationships while painting the lovely English countryside. I have found her stories and writing to be inspiring and poignant. This book takes her best moments and words and makes them stand out on their own. I've also found that when words are extracted like this that they can resonate more as you relate to them and think about what the author was trying to express. A truly delightful collection and one that will keep a prized place on my shelves and coffee table. It's aesthetically pleasing as well and a cute book. Highly recommended!

Source: I received a complimentary copy through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Look Inside

About the Authors

Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security.

Andrea Kirk Assaf is an editor, journalist, and translator who divides her time between Rome and Michigan.

Does this sound like a book you'd like to add to your shelves or gift to an Austen fan?

Check out this new YA fiction... I Am Not Alone by Francisco X. Stork (Guest Post & #Giveaway) #booktwitter #newbooks #yalit #yabooks @StorkFrancisco @Scholastic @ireadya @RockstarBkTours

Welcome to my tour stop with Rockstar Book Tours!
Read a note from the author and enter the giveaway below...

I Am Not Alone
By Francisco X. Stork
YA Fiction, Mental Health
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 242 Pages
July 18, 2023 by Scholastic Press


Award-winning author Francisco X. Stork revisits some of the themes and ideas that made Marcelo in the Real World such an unforgettable novel.

Alberto’s life isn't easy: He's an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who lives with his sister's abusive boyfriend―but he'd always accepted his place in the world. Until he starts hearing the voice of a man called Captain America, a voice that wants him to achieve more, no matter the cost.

Grace has it all: She has a supportive boyfriend, she’s on track to be valedictorian, and she’s sure to go to the college of her dreams. Still, nothing feels right to her any more after the divorce of her parents, and feels she needs something more.

When Alberto and Grace meet, they have an immediate and electric connection. But when Alberto is present at the scene of a terrible crime, he becomes a suspect. And with his developing schizophrenia, he’s not even sure he believes in his own innocence.

Can Grace find a way to prove Alberto’s innocence to himself and the world?

This is a page-turning thriller and a sensitive story about mental health, love, and community that will appeal to anyone who has struggled with their place in the world, from award-winning author Francisco X. Stork.

Praise for the Book

★ “An affecting, deeply emotional story. An important book.” -- Booklist, starred review

★ “Alberto’s suspected schizophrenia makes him heartbreakingly susceptible to both the best and worst of humanity. An illuminatingly powerful story about mental illness, young love, faith, and hope.” -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The narrative’s high-stakes conflicts are front and center, [but] it’s the sheer sweetness of Alberto and Grace’s love story that sets the tone of this hopeful read." -- Publishers Weekly

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post

When did you first decide to become a writer?

When I was seven years old, I asked Charlie Stork, my adoptive father, if I could have a typewriter for my birthday. I think I liked the attention I got from adults when I told them I wanted to be a writer. When I got the typewriter, I started typing a novel and, after one page, found out that writing was harder than I imagined. It wasn’t until high school, when I started keeping a daily journal, that I decided that learning how to write fiction was something I wanted to spend my life doing. I was very fortunate to know then, that the process would entail a lifetime of dedication.

About the Author

Francisco X. Stork is the author of Marcelo in the Real World, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens and the Once Upon a World Award; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Teens list and won the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; Irises; The Memory of Light, which received four starred reviews; and Disappeared, which also received four starred reviews and was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. He lives near Boston with his wife. You can find him on the web at franciscostork.com and @StorkFrancisco.

Tour Schedule

Week One:


YA Books Central

Interview/IG Post


A Dream Within A Dream

Guest Post


Character Madness and Musings

Guest Post


Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post/IG Post


Wishful Endings

Guest Postt/IG Post



IG Review


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post



IG Review/LFL Drop Pic



IG Review

Week Two:


Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post


Books With a Chance

Review/IG Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post



Review/IG Post


Two Points of Interest




IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review



IG Review



IG Post

Tour-Wide Giveaway

1 winner will receive a finished copy of I AM NOT ALONE, US Only.
Ends August 1st, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read a book like this before? What do you think about this one?

I Can't Wait for... Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #fantasy #fairytales #folklore #Thornhedge @UrsulaV @torbooks

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

In case you haven't noticed by now I do love fairy tales and retellings and fantasy as a whole. I read a book (A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking) by this author as a book club pick and loved it and so I was happy to find two new releases this year from her. Her next release is my pick this week...

By T. Kingfisher
Fantasy, Folklore, Fairy Tales
Special Hardcover Edition, Audiobook & eBook, 128 Pages
August 15, 2023 by Tor Books


From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is the tale of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

*A very special hardcover edition, featuring foil stamp on the casing and custom endpapers illustrated by the author.*

There's a princess trapped in a tower. This isn't her story.

Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?

But nothing with fairies is ever simple.

Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He's heard there's a curse here that needs breaking, but it's a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…

"The way Thornhedge turns all the fairy tales inside out is a sharp-edged delight."
―Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

I Can't Wait for... To Free the Stars by J'nell Ciesielski (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #histfic #espionage #historicalfiction #cleanreads @Crazy4Fiction @ThomasNelson @JnellCiesielski

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

I've loved two previous books by this author set during wartime (The Songbird and the Spy and Beauty Among Ruins). I have yet to read the book prior to this newest, but I plan on rectifying that soon and reading them pretty close together. Here's my pick this week...

To Free the Stars
(A Jack and Ivy Novel #2)
By J'nell Ciesielski
Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Espionage
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 400 Pages
August 8, 2023 by Thomas Nelson


This white-knuckled conclusion to The Brilliance of Stars takes readers on a breathless adventure from the speakeasies of America to the Horse Guards Parade in London, an ancient cemetery outside Paris, and back to the Eastern European strongholds where the Vales’ tragedy first began.

“Fate is fickle and the stars are silent, but I do know this: No matter how difficult the circumstances or how savagely the world tries to tear us apart, I am here with you.”

Ten years have passed since Jack and Ivy, elite operatives for the secret agency Talon, rescued their friend Philip and completed their fateful mission. The 1920s are in full swing as American speakeasies thrive amid Prohibition, and despite the team’s best efforts, the deadly cult, the Order of the Rising Moon, lives on in the shadows. Which is no surprise to Ivy; nothing has gone as she expected since that day after Poenari Castle.

When a wave of assassinations strikes world leaders, intel confirms the Order’s involvement. Ivy holds them responsible for the tragedy that changed her life, and she is determined to find and destroy the villains once and for all—but she must do so before their relentless assassin eliminates his next target. Her.

Except, there’s something oddly familiar about the way he moves, the way he anticipates each of her moves. It’s as if he knows her. But that’s not possible. Is it? Ivy will have to rely on every skill she’s learned if she hopes to survive—and save those she loves. No matter the cost.

Bestselling author J’nell Ciesielski wraps up the Jack and Ivy novels with yet another thrilling adventure filled with glamorous espionage and a boundless romance.

- A fast-paced historical adventure novel set during the roaring ’20s
- The second book in the Jack and Ivy duology
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

Check out an author Q&A... Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke (Interview) #newbooks #booktwitter #histfic #christfic #christianfiction #womensfiction #historicalfiction @Crazy4Fiction @TyndaleHouse

Welcome! I'm sharing an interview with the author from the publisher in honor of this book's release today. I'll be reviewing this book later this week and I can tell you that it is a wonderful read. It's a story that grabbed my interest from the first page. In the meantime, read the interview below...

Ladies of the Lake
By Cathy Gohlke
Christian Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 384 Pages
July 11, 2023 by Tyndale House Publishers


After two young women’s deep bond is torn apart, what will it take to bring them together again? In The Ladies of the Lake, the beloved author of Saving Amelie and Night Bird Calling returns with a transformative new historical novel about the wonder and complexities of friendship, love, and belonging.

When she is forced to leave her beloved Prince Edward Island to attend Lakeside Ladies Academy after the death of her parents, the last thing Adelaide Rose MacNeill expects to find is three kindred spirits. The “Ladies of the Lake,” as the four girls call themselves, quickly bond like sisters, vowing that wherever life takes them, they will always be there for each other. But that is before: Before love and jealousy come between Adelaide and Dorothy, the closest of the friends. Before the dawn of World War I upends their world and casts baseless suspicion onto the German American man they both love. Before a terrible explosion in Halifax Harbor rips the sisterhood irrevocably apart.

Seventeen years later, Rosaline Murray receives an unsuspecting telephone call from Dorothy, now headmistress of Lakeside, inviting her to attend the graduation of a new generation of girls, including Rosaline’s beloved daughter. With that call, Rosaline is drawn into a past she’d determined to put behind her. To memories of a man she once loved . . . of a sisterhood she abandoned . . . and of the day she stopped being Adelaide MacNeill.

- Written by a four-time Christy award–winning author!
- Ideal for book clubs—contains helpful discussion questions at the end!
- Perfect for fans of L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Lauren Willig’s Band of Sisters.

(Affiliate links included.)

Author Interview

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

When I first read of the Halifax Explosion (December 6, 1917) I was astonished that I’d never heard of it, considering that before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in WWII, this was the biggest manmade explosion that had ever occurred.

Reading of the devastation, of lives lost and those forever changed by burns, crippling, and blindness in the Halifax Explosion, I was reminded of all my mother endured as a small child after being badly burned, how she overcame that tragedy, and yet how those injuries affected her throughout her lifetime. It was fascinating to me that with so many disappearing in the explosion, some took the opportunity to reinvent themselves and change their identity. I asked, why would a person do that? What would make a person choose to leave everything and everyone behind and forge a new life?

The growing disregard for others and increased bullying that I witness through social media and in our society greatly concerns me. I wanted to show through story that such things—to which we may turn a blind eye—can go beyond rudeness and can have serious and lasting consequences that we may never intend or imagine. It is our responsibility to temper our words and actions and to stand against bullying for the sake of others. I was inspired by Joseph’s handling of those who wronged him in the Bible, how he reacted when faced with the opportunity either to retaliate or to forgive and embrace. I wanted to see how that could play out through fictional characters.

Lastly, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of young people growing up in boarding schools, so I looked for a girls’ boarding school in New England, knowing that I wanted to set the main part of the story in the US. That’s when I discovered Miss Porter’s School and its long and interesting history. I could well imagine four girls growing up as close friends in such a setting and together facing numerous challenges—many, like challenges we face today.

Ladies of the Lake focuses on four friends. Were any of them inspired by real relationships in your own life?

I am blessed with a precious natural sister who was my very first friend and has been my lifelong confidante, as well as dear, longtime, women friends, each a true sister of my heart. Those relationships have taught me the importance of sharing faith, truth from our hearts, trust and integrity; of championing one another’s successes; of comforting through trials and sorrow; and of refusing to allow jealousy, envy, or competition to worm their way between us. Close relationships can be challenged when years, courses and stages of life, or miles come between. Love is not fragile, but it does require nurturing.

Staying connected through letters or emails, cards, phone calls, and visits requires diligence and commitment. The value, the joy, and the strengthening of those relationships for ourselves and as an example to the next generation are worth every investment.

Which of the four young women in this novel was your favorite to write?

Addie. I understood her shyness, her desire to fit in with the other girls, her feelings of shame and vulnerability as a young person, and her eagerness to grow into her desired gifts of teaching and writing. I understood her desire for friendship, her sacrificial loyalty to those she embraced as family, as well as her desire to disappear when returning to the world she’d known became conflicted and too hard, and when duty called her in a new direction. I appreciated Addie’s/Rosaline’s sacrifice, her determination to raise her niece as her daughter, and her great love and desire to protect her. I was inspired by her courage in overcoming her fear to return to the school years later for her daughter’s sake, even though she knew it would cost her everything to confess her secrets, to remember and confront all those she’d left behind, especially the man she’d always loved. I loved writing Addie’s character arc, her growth into the woman she was meant to become.

Your novel centers on the Halifax Explosion. Why did you choose this historical event to anchor your novel?

When I first read of the Halifax Explosion (December 6, 1917) I was astonished that I’d never heard of it, considering that before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in WWII, this was the biggest manmade explosion that had ever occurred. I realized that if that was true for me, it must be true for others. Reading of the devastation, of lives lost and those forever changed by burns, crippling, and blindness in the Halifax Explosion, I was reminded of all my mother endured as a small child after being badly burned, how she overcame that tragedy, and yet how those injuries affected her throughout her lifetime. I’ve long wanted to explore, through a fictional character, some of the fortitude I witnessed in my mother’s long life. This was the perfect opportunity to do so.

It was also fascinating to me that with so many disappearing in the explosion, some took the opportunity to reinvent themselves and change their identity. I asked, why would a person do that? What would make a person choose to leave everything and everyone behind and forge a new life?

This book explores themes of friendship, love, and resilience. Which theme was the most fun to write?

Friendship. I loved exploring the wonder and complexities of growing up with close friends from diverse backgrounds. The joy of knowing there was always someone there to comfort or champion, even when others might bully or misunderstand, juxtaposed with the inevitable rivalry and sometimes misunderstandings among friends, was fascinating to write.

A group of close friends was something I longed for as a young person but, with too frequent moving, never experienced for long. As an adult I’ve learned to value greatly the healthy friendship of other women. Busy lives and geography can make staying in touch difficult—unlike girls who see each other daily in a boarding school. I’m keenly aware that nurture must be intentional and not neglected.

Why are female friendships so important?

Women need the friendship, mentoring, companionship, and sisterhood of other women. Such bonds are precious and can prove life-sustaining through hard times. Who, besides your sister or best friend—your sister of the heart—will tell you the unvarnished truth, even when it hurts, will rejoice with you over the smallest victory, will stand with you through embarrassing or hard times when all others desert, and is ready to take your phone call even in the dead of night?

Women are unique in countless ways and understand one another’s hearts through similar life experiences. Being able to share life journeys, without explaining every detail— knowing the other woman understands—is a great gift.

How did research play a role in your writing process?

Shortly before the pandemic, my husband, Dan, and I embarked on an anniversary trip to Nova Scotia, originally planned to fulfill my longtime desire to see Prince Edward Island and all things Lucy Maud Montgomery and to fulfill his desire see the Maritimes. Before going, I read The Great Halifax Explosion, by John U. Bacon, and knew immediately the event described was the background for my story—that, and Prince Edward Island, beloved birthplace and favorite girlhood haunt of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

We spent our first day in Halifax exploring the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where I saw graphic images and testimonies of the explosion and its aftermath. The gift shop featured several excellent research books, which I gladly purchased. I spent another day at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, gaining a better understanding of travel, especially for women of the period traveling alone. The Halifax Public Gardens were breathtaking, and I smiled when I saw just where the proposal could take place. So many sites in Halifax, from the famous Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower that stopped at the moment of explosion, to Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where unidentified victims of the explosion—as well as those drawn from the water after Titanic sank—are buried, breathed more of the story into my brain.

We spent time on Prince Edward Island, especially the Anne of Green Gables Museum, Montgomery’s beloved Silver Bush at Park Corner. At trip to Charlottetown and attending the Anne of Green Gables musical was a treat. A trip to Farmington, Connecticut, to snap photographs of Miss Porter’s School and the surrounding area rounded out my tours.

Beyond those wonderful explorations I read numerous research books and memoirs, as well as the published journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery and a history of Miss Porter’s School, and interviewed people for some unique family histories from the period. It was only difficult to stop the research and write the book!

What will fans of Little Women and Anne of Green Gables especially enjoy about this story?

Fans of Little Women will enjoy the strong and diverse personalities of four girls growing up together, of their united force in facing the trials others present them, as well as the differences that come between them. They’ll recognize and appreciate the girls’ fierce bonds, the hard lessons each one learns, yet how those life experiences ultimately mature them, drawing them closer

Fans of Anne of Green Gables will love the references to Prince Edward Island and the life and work of Lucy Maud Montgomery. They’ll love the anticipation and reaction of the release of each Anne or Pat of Silverbush book, as well as the correspondence and that beloved author’s mentoring of Addie, the main character, who claims a kinship with Montgomery and dreams of becoming a writer.

Fans of both books will appreciate the precarious and sometimes humorous escapades and scrapes in which the girls find themselves—sometimes as victims and sometimes as perpetrators. Readers will enjoy watching the girls grow into women, using their individual gifts for the good of all.
How does faith play a role in this story?

There are similarities between the life and choices Joseph and his brothers in the Bible are faced with and the life and growing realizations of Addie and Dorothy in Ladies of the Lake. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Ultimately, despite horrific experiences not of his own making, he forged a new life with a new name in a new country. Addie, through sudden tragedy, chose to make herself over by claiming a new name and forging a new life in a new country. Like Joseph, when the time came that she was faced with confronting or receiving those she’d never expected to see again—she learned to forgive, and ultimately to reconcile, reclaim, and provide for those she believed had hurt her.

Surrendering personal hurt and pride to the Lord, as well as seeking, accepting, and offering His forgiveness to others and to ourselves, are all major faith themes in Ladies of the Lake.

What do you hope readers will take away from Ladies of the Lake?

Sometimes our closest family is found in our dearest friends. I hope readers will embrace the great worth of their friendships among women, how we need one another, how, as the Bible says, “iron sharpens iron” and “two are better than one.” I hope readers will recognize the beauty, the strength, and also the potential fragility of those relationships if they are not nurtured and maintained.

The story speaks of the importance of trust, kindness, compassion, and the transformation of repentance when we are wrong and ask forgiveness, and the joy and freedom when we offer forgiveness. I hope that if readers find themselves in fractured relationships this story will inspire a path toward that first step in seeking and accepting or offering forgiveness that will ultimately bring reconciliation and restoration.

The story addresses bullying and its consequences, the cruelty of gossip and prejudice, and how easy it is to misunderstand and/or misrepresent what we hear or imagine. It shows that sometimes doing nothing is the same as doing wrong. I hope it alerts us to recognize and stand against bullying, for ourselves and for those who need a voice but have none.

I hope it reminds us all that politics and war should never be allowed to override relationships, especially among those who, whether blood relations or not, are family in Christ.

About the Author

Bestselling, Christy Hall of Fame, and Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks; on Bookbub (@CathyGohlke); and on YouTube, where you can subscribe to Book Gems with Cathy Gohlke for short videos of book recommendations. Cathy welcomes invitations to virtual book blub meetings through the Contact page of her website.

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