Not every love story begins or ends with the passion of a bodice-ripper. Some develop slowly – an occasional look or a chance word the only spark they ever know. Some endure adversity – lies, infidelity, or opposition creating flames of distrust that thaw and warm a hesitant heart. And some are so unlikely, so unexpected – no one sees the connection coming, not even the lovers themselves.
“Mine to Tell,” a RomCon 2014 Reader’s Crown finalist in Historical Fiction, captures every type of scenario as it entwines and explores the lives of two women, generations apart, who discover what love truly is. Julianne Crouse was labeled an adulterous wife by her rigid and unforgiving husband, leaving a mantle of disgrace on the Crouse family women ever since. It is her great-granddaughter, Annabelle, who senses the story passed down about her great-grandmother isn’t the whole story at all. It is others’ story, not her great-grandmother’s, and until Annabelle can know the truth about what happened those days Julianne disappeared, she will be unable to love, really love as a whole woman is meant to. Desperate to see herself, her mother, and future Crouse women freed, Annabelle defies her family, breaks from the suffocating mold, sacrifices the one relationship she was expected to uphold, all so she can uncover the truth – the story that was Julianne’s, the one Julianne said was, “Mine to Tell.”
“Mine to tell,” Kyle said suddenly. It was a jolt. I was yanked from my mental tumble into a pit of unredemption. Alex looked up too, a quizzical expression on his face. “Julianne left a story behind,” Kyle continued. “Some of it speculation and rumors by people who don’t know, and the rest of it by her own hand. It was a love story. One that was countered with suffering.”
We were all quiet. I looked at him, my heart melting as I heard his masculine voice speak of love and suffering. I wanted to stretch across the table and hug him, but I was too afraid.
Alex leaned back in his char. “What my father went through didn’t feel like love when we were little.”
“But maybe it was,” Kyle persisted, his tone smooth and even. “Does love always turn out the way we want it to?” Then he looked at me. “Julianne Crouse was a fine woman. We haven’t finished her story, but she suffered, and she was fine indeed.”
Tears came to my eyes. “Thank you,” I squeaked. Kyle stood and walked around
the table to me. He helped me stand as he thanked them for their time. He retrieved Julianne’s picture, took my hand, and together we went to the door, Alex and his wife following us.
“I hope you’re right,” Alex said, running his hand through his thin, brittle hair as we stepped outside. “My father had some things to come to terms with, but he was a good man. A better man later in life, when he told us he was sorry. I never knew for what.”
“Mine to Tell” began as a NaNoWriMo novel. For those of you who don’t know what that is, once a year in November people from all over the world commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. Its official title is National Novel Writing Month, and it begins at 12:01AM, November first, and ends at midnight on November thirtieth. I took the challenge and signed up to write a novel a few years ago, but had no idea what I would write. During a restless night of worry over my lack of inspiration, the title came to me like an act of God. “Mine to Tell.” I had a title. Surely a book would follow. On October 31st, I still had no content for the book. No ideas, no inspiration. In faith, just before midnight that night, I sat up in bed, plugged in my laptop, positioned my fingertips over the keys, and when 12:01AM, November 1st struck, I began to type. By November 30th a book was born, an adventure that hasn’t stopped since!
Thank you for the opportunity to share on this blog. I know you will enjoy reading “Mine to Tell” as much as I enjoyed writing it…once I got started!
One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a signed paperback copy of “Mine to Tell.” Good luck!