I love studying faces. They are the introduction to what I might find beyond them when I begin talking to someone new, and they reveal quite a bit in a single glance. Faces never tell you an entire story, but they give clues–sometimes misleading ones–about the person standing before you.
I’m very excited to give you all an early peek at the “face” of my new novel a few days before it’s released on social media, and it’s such a lovely depiction of the story you’ll find behind it.
A Rumored Fortune is a novel about searching for hidden treasure–on an old vineyard estate and sometimes in people.
In Victorian England, Tressa’s stoic, closed-off father hid his vast fortune and never told anyone where he put it. When he dies suddenly, his wife and daughter suddenly become the poorest wealthy family in England. Tressa eagerly begins untangling her father’s vineyard notes to find the fortune, but debts pile up, unpaid workers strike, and family members plant themselves at the estate to “grieve” with the family, and Tressa finds herself with competition to find the fortune.
Ellen knelt in a poof of skirts between Mother and the sketch. “It looks as though the walls on this side of the house are far thicker than on any other.”
“That was merely to reinforce the castle. It’s a classic medieval building technique to prevent invaders.” I leaned close to Ellen. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work against the modern ones.”
Through it all runs a love story and guys, this one is dear to my heart. The relationship dynamic between the heroine and her hero, the starkly honest Donegan Vance, loosely resembles the dynamic of my own love story that nearly didn’t happen. Vance is a bit of a hidden treasure himself, buried beneath a blunt and rusticated exterior, and while Vance is enchanted by Tressa right away, it takes Tressa time to even allow a friendship to form.
After a moment of silent hesitation, she wilted into him. Donegan’s arms stiffened to keep from embracing her, for everything would unravel if he did. It seemed natural, almost necessary, to lift his arms and wrap them around her, but he couldn’t afford the indulgence. So there they stood, the weeping girl leaning against his chest, her enamored yet rejected suitor holding her up like an oak.
It was such a fun story to write, but it felt like wrestling words onto the page. Like my artist heroine who connects with God while painting, I was pushed more deeply into God, more firmly integrating art and intimacy with Him as I tried to figure out where He was taking me and what the story should be. The vineyard setting uncovered a spiritual dimension tied to Jesus’s teaching on vines and branches in Scripture that opened me up to a whole new understanding of those verses, and taught me a lot, too.
So here you are, readers–one part mystery, one part love story, all parts God and art. I’m pleased to show you the cover for my second book, A Rumored Fortune.
(This title will release in the summer of 2018 from Revell. You can add it on Goodreads now: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35841006-a-rumored-fortune)