Turn off the cell phones. Pop some corn, open the beverages of your choice, and snuggle for a movie. Time together is romantic.
A new book is always exciting for the author, but also fraught with worry. Will people like our baby? Will readers buy our offering? So many fears and hopes combine for each publication. Even though I’d had many requests for OPHELIA’s story, I couldn’t help wondering how readers would receive the book. So far, reviews are excellent.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, my current series is the Bride Brigade. In this group readers meet seven women who—for various reasons—need a fresh start. At the same time, lovely young widow Lydia Harrison wants young women in her town of Tarnation, Texas. (I confess I love the town’s fictional name.) The bachelors want wives. The townspeople would like to have young families with children populating the town.
To achieve this goal, Lydia goes to Richmond, Virginia where she grew up and places an advertisement in the newspaper inviting young women of good character to apply. (This is only eight years after the end of the Civil War and so many men died during the conflict and traveled West afterward, that there are far more marriage-age women than eligible men.) Traveling with Lydia to help chaperone is Sophie Gaston, mother of one of Tarnation’s lonely bachelors. Sophie had encouraged Lydia to do something to help the town’s bachelors so they wouldn’t move to more diverse locales.
That’s all covered in the first book of the series, JOSEPHINE (which was my grandmother’s name). Additional books are ANGELINE and CASSANDRA. The current release is OPHELIA, Bride Brigade book 4. The other young women whose story is to come in the future are RACHEL (coming at the end of August), LORRAINE (this fall), and PRUDENCE.
Here’s the blurb for OPHELIA:
A painful past…
Hope for the future…
Ophelia Shipp wants safety, a home, husband, and to raise a family. To achieve her goal, she travels halfway across the country to a tiny Texas town, Tarnation. What awaits her there must be better than what she left. She longs for a respectable man who will be a gentle and kind husband.
Elias Kendrick had a difficult childhood but he has overcome poverty to build his empire in Tarnation. Now that he owns a successful saloon and the opera house, he is ready to marry and start a family. He’s vowed his children’s life will be different from his—if only he can find the right woman.
Two opposites attract—or are they actually so different? Ophelia and Elias must learn to overlook their superficial differences to work out their chance at lasting love.
An excerpt from OPHELIA:
Mr. Kendrick strolled toward her holding a cup and a plate filled with samples of Mrs. Murphy’s delicacies. “You look as if you could use punch and a snack.”
She fought for something clever to say, but nothing came. At least she managed a smile. “Thank you. I am thirsty after introducing myself so many times.”
He sat in the chair separated from hers by a small table. “Nice shindig, isn’t it?”
She took a sip of punch before answering. “I love watching and listening. Everyone appears so happy and excited.”
“What about you? Are you happy or excited?”
She couldn’t prevent a grin. “Both. Being in Lydia’s home is so pleasant and the other women are very nice. This morning I woke up excited about this event.”
“Me, too.” He chuckled. “What brings you to Tarnation, Miss Shipp?”
“Same as the others I suppose. No point pretending otherwise, I want a husband and home and family. This appears to be a nice town even though it’s small. I notice there’s even an opera house.”
“That there is. I built the opera house only a year ago. The manager and I try for a variety of acts so that by the end of the season, everyone has enjoyed at least a couple of shows.”
She leaned forward, happy to know he was so fair-minded. “I’m sure I’ll enjoy them all. I’ve never been to a live performance.” Oops, she hadn’t intended to admit that.
He leaned back and his eyes widened. “Never? You mean except at school, of course.”
A blush’s heat seared her face. How embarrassing to admit she was a country bumpkin who had done nothing interesting in her life. “My father was very strict. I couldn’t appear in or attend school plays. Mr. Kozlov has invited me to the opera house performance in two weeks. I’m looking forward to the event.”
Was that disappointment she saw on his face? “You’ll enjoy Geraldine Chitwood. We were exceptionally fortunate to book her. Normally, she only plays larger towns more easily reached. Being without railway access places us at a disadvantage.”
“Oh, my bones haven’t forgotten that stage ride.” She leaned toward him. “Tell me about yourself, Mr. Kendrick. Besides owning the opera house, I mean.”
“I’m twenty-nine and never married. If you led such a quiet life that you weren’t allowed to attend plays, then you’ll no doubt look down on me because, as well as the opera house, I own the local saloon.”
She hoped she hid her surprise that Lydia included a saloon owner in this group of “acceptable” men. What should she say?
Trying for the truth, she said, “I try never to pass judgment, Mr. Kendrick. I don’t approve of drunkenness but I know most men enjoy meeting with others and sharing a drink or game of cards.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Very broad-minded of you. Do you play cards, Miss Shipp?”
She couldn’t help laughing. “I don’t play anything. All I’ve ever done is work.”
I hope you will read OPHELIA and enjoy the book. Buy links at Amazon:
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.
Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest. Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books.
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