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Heat up your summer reading with July new releases!

 

July 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:
 

How Sweet It Is by Robin Lee Hatcher — A businessman trying to reconnect with his brother returns to his hometown and rents the apartment where his great-great-grandparents lived during the late 1920s. He never suspects his attractive landlady, a struggling restaurant owner who works with women at a local shelter, is the one person who might help him reach his brother. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

 

Love’s Autumn Harvest by Patricia Lee — A widow, a divorcee, and a widower find themselves in a love triangle that gets complicated as each one finds themselves drawn into the tangled web they weave. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliffe — Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Truth About Fame by Toni Shiloh — When a superstar’s bodyguard pretends to be her fiancé to flush out her stalker, the woman starts falling for a happily ever after that’s just as fake as her tabloid life. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Falling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler — Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical Romance:

A Place to Call Home by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, and Erica Vetsch — Duck for cover in the Superstition Mountains as a woman flees her capture and a marshal pursues his prisoner while the couple is handcuffed together. Exit a stagecoach in an Idaho boom town, where a mail-order mix-up has everyone scrambling to right an embarrassing mistake—or was it really a blessing? Gallop into Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle wages between an eastern fashion artist and a US Cavalry surgeon for the custody of two orphans. Delight in the journey as faith and romance intersect in these three full-length novels. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch — A bluestocking and a newly minted duke join forces to unravel a mystery…but the greatest mystery might be the duke’s true identity. (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)


Mystery:
 

A Bitter Brew by Elizabeth Ludwig — The cousins are thrilled when Jan is invited to compete in a nationally televised baking contest. Things go awry, however, when the prize money disappears. Worse, Jan and Elaine find themselves as the prime suspects! Certain they are being framed, the cousins seek out clues that will lead them to the thief. Can they do it before the contest ends, or will they fall faster than Jan’s award-winning souffle? (Cozy Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

Murder at Madison Square Garden by Linda Shenton Matchett — A private investigator helps a scrappy, female photojournalist, who is accused of murder after an assassination attempt on Charles Lindberg at the America First rally leaves another man dead. (Historical Mystery from Shortwave Press)


Romantic Suspense:
 

Explosive Situation by Terri Reed — With his K-9 partner at his side, can he survive false accusations and a bomber? Detective Henry Roarke’s determined to prove his innocence to internal affairs officer Olivia Vance—but first he must survive the bomber targeting him and his bomb-sniffing K-9, Cody. With a coming baby to protect and an investigation to pursue, Olivia has her hands full…until she becomes a target, as well. Can they catch the bomber before they all lose their lives? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 

Rocky Mountain Revenge by Rhonda Starnes — To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past… Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Suspense:

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks — Forensic sketch artist Tucker Landry and American heiress Piper Boone form a bond after surviving a mass shooting on Curlew Island. Amid rumors of the Curlew Island Curse which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of Piper’s family, the pair must unravel the Boone family’s true history before Piper becomes the next victim. (Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Young Adult:
 

Heart of a Princess by Hannah Currie — Behind the smiles and designer clothes, Princess Alina has a secret. She’s barely holding it together. After a moment of panic almost ends in tragedy, Alina is sent to a refuge far from the palace to recuperate. Her family claim it’s for her own good but – faced with cows, knife-beaked ducks and far too many of her own insecurities – Alina is pretty sure it will kill her first. And Joha Samson, infuriating man that he is, will laugh as it does. Only there’s more to Joha than she realizes, and more to herself too. When the time comes to make a stand, will she find the courage? (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Before Summer’s End by Johnnie Alexander, Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Deb Elkink, Stacy Monson, and Marion Ueckermann, A collection of stories of faith, family, and forgiveness. (General Contemporary)

Honor Bound by Carol Ashby, Honor had forced him to act. Time would tell if he’d regret it. (Historical)

Ralley Point: Place Of Refuge by Daniel Bishop, The Baskins overcome the loss of their unborn child and come to a place of refuge, redemption, restoration. (General Contemporary)

Two Autumns, One Spring by Elizabeth Ann Boyles, A deceitful mother-in-law, Nagasaki’s vengeful official, conflicting beliefs—all work against a near-perfect marriage in 1861 Japan. (Historical)

The Sugar Baron’s Ring by Lorri Dudley, A ring is her only tie to a distant homeland, until a marooned Englishman anchors her heart. (Historical Romance)

Let Him Go by LuAnn K. Edwards, Keedryn and Blake acknowledge their love in this wholesome romance, only to find trouble brewing at the office and turmoil bursting in their hearts. (Contemporary Romance)

Afraid of the Light by Cynthia Ruchti, Clinical psychologist Camille Brooks vows she’ll never let another family suffer from the fallout of a hoarding disorder like her mom’s, but soon discovers that she has her own collection of hurts to confront. (General Contemporary)

Deadly Hideaway by Marissa Shrock, A relaxing getaway. A rocky romance. And a dead body. Will life ever be normal? (Cozy Mystery)

The Cowboy’s Missing Memory by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, He needs to remember and she’s his best hope to help him reclaim his past and build a future. (Contemporary Romance)

Episode #29: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands


As workers scrub graffiti off the Lincoln Memorial in the wake of racially-motivated protests, Jennifer looks back at another historic moment that took place at the Lincoln Memorial memory–the groundbreaking 1939 concert by Marian Anderson.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, scroll down for a transcript.

Jennifer’s Books

SHOW NOTES:

Moondrop Miracle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re the Cream in My Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlanders

 

 

 

 

 

Songbird and Other Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript of Episode 29: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

In this episode I want to talk to you about a woman of the past whom I admire very much, a woman who was a fine example of grace and courage and of prodigious talent used for good. But first, a few updates.

We’re still practicing social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, but here in rural northern Idaho, restrictions are gradually loosening. We have now entered the third stage of a four-stage reopening process throughout the state. Restaurants and hair salons are back open while following certain safety guidelines. Even though I’m a natural homebody, it feels wonderful now to go out to places like church and the local history museum. I have a feeling I won’t be taking these kinds of opportunities for granted, as I did before.

I also want to share with you the happy news is that my new novel Moondrop Miracle is now published and available for purchase in e-book, paperback, and large-print editions. Set mostly in the 1930s, Moondrop Miracle is the story of a pampered socialite named Connie Shepherd who lives the kind of glossy life other women read about in the society pages. Engaged to a handsome financier, she spends her days and nights in a dizzying social round. When eccentric Aunt Pearl, an amateur chemist, offers her an unusual wedding present–the formula for a home-brewed skin tonic–Connie laughs it off. But when disaster flings her privileged world into chaos and throws her back on her own resources, will Aunt Pearl’s strange gift provide the key to survival? By turns heartbreaking and hope-filled, Moondrop Miracle tells the story of an extraordinary and unforgettable woman whose determination to succeed changes her life forever. I’ll put a link to the book in the show notes. And if you’d like to be notified of future books and other authorly news, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter at sparklingvintagelife.com. And now, on to today’s topic.

This week as I watch damage being inflicted on many American cities in the wake of the murder of African American George Floyd by a white police officer, I was particularly struck by the damage inflicted on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. It seemed ironic to me that damage was done in the name of racial inequality to a cherished memorial to the president responsible for bringing an end to the institution of slavery.

Now, compared to violent conflagrations happening in other places, the damage to the Lincoln Memorial was relatively mild, just some angry words sprayed in black paint on a portion of the memorial. But seeing it carried my mind back to another act of racial injustice that took place a little over eighty years ago. The difference was, at that time, the Lincoln Memorial was the site of a step forward in race relations, instead of a step backward. And at the center of that historical moment was a courageous African American woman named Marian Anderson.

Marian Anderson was born in 1902, into a poor but loving Christian family in Philadelphia. The local church was at the center of family life, and even as a very young child, Marian loved the music best of all. When she learned to read, she used to beg the choir director to let her take home sheet music so she could memorize the words. The director recognized her innate musical ability and encouraged her to sing with the choir. As she grew she developed a very rich contralto voice. Contralto is the deepest of the female voices, close to tenor in the way voices are classified. It’s a distinctive sort of voice that made Marian stand out from the crowd. So much so that her fellow choir members took up a collection to fund her early music lessons.

As a young woman, Marian entered a singing contest and won the prize out of 300 contestants. But it wasn’t just any prize; this one proved to be life-changing. The prize was to perform as a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. After that experience, a whole world opened up to Marian in the field of classical music. She went on to win other contests and fellowships that funded her continuing music studies. I find it noteworthy that even though she was born with natural talent, she still understood the need to study music, to continually refine and polish her abilities over many years. In order to achieve success, natural talent takes us only part of the way before hard work needs to take over.

In 1930 at age 28 Marian went to Europe to study and to sing in many of the world’s leading classical music venues. Several European opera companies offered her roles in opera, but she declined these offers, citing her lack of a theater background or acting training. She would, however, sing arias from the operas in her concerts. And she also continued to sing the beloved African American songs and spirituals from her youth. Her varied repertoire helped expose sophisticated international audiences not only to the rich heritage of African American music, but to the message of the gospel through the lyrics of the songs.

In 1935 the brilliant conductor Arturo Toscanini heard her sing and told her, “Yours is a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years.”

But when she returned to the United States shortly thereafter, this internationally renowned musical star was continually shut out of concert halls because of the color of her skin. Nonetheless she didn’t let prejudice stop her. She remained gracious in her demeanor and was described by one journalist as having a “warm, expansive spirit.”

And here’s where the Lincoln Memorial comes in. The most defining moment of Marian’s career happened in 1939, when she was at first invited, and then disinvited, from giving a concert at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. You see, the hall was owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Friends all over America protested this injustice, but the most notable of these was Eleanor Roosevelt, who at the time was first lady of the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and also arranged for Marian to sing at the Lincoln Memorial instead. It proved to be an unforgettable Easter Sunday concert, drawing seventy-five thousand supporters and millions more radio listeners.

After that extraordinary concert, Marian Anderson continued to open doors for many other young African American musicians and artists who came after her. In 1955 she became the first black person, American or otherwise, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. That was the only time in her career that she sang a role in an opera.

She worked for several years as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as a “goodwill ambassadress” for the U.S. Department of State, giving concerts all over the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s by singing at events, including the March on Washington. She received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Kennedy Center Honors, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She died in 1991 at the age of 89.

Through all the ups and downs of her life, Marian remained a humble woman of faith, giving God the credit for her musical ability and success. She lived her life by the words she sang in one of her most famous songs, “He’s God the Whole World in His Hands,” as she always believed that God directed her life and career.

So, here in the late spring of 2020 as I watch workers clean up the graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial, I can’t  help but wonder. Who will have the greater and more lasting impact on improving race relations in our hurting country? The violence and destruction of property perpetrated by angry mobs? Or the grace, dignity, and steadfast faith of a Marian Anderson?

Just something to think about.

This week, I’m praying for my country, and I urge you to do the same. I’m praying for peace, and for the restoration of justice, and for reconciliation among all people. But I’m not discouraged. I’m not losing heart. Because, like Marian Anderson, I too, believe that God does, indeed, have the whole world in his hands.

June is bustin’ out all over…and so is some great new fiction!

June 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

Forever Home by Amy Grochowski — A Canadian Amish farmer proposes a convenient marriage to a Lancaster Amish businesswoman so they can join a new community welcoming married couples only. They are both surprised when a Prince Edward Island foster child finds her way to them in need of a home. Yet what will happen when the English world and the Amish world collide? (Romance from Ambassador International)

Start With Me by Kara Isaac — A professional woman and her old flame, who doesn’t remember her, are forced to work together when the companies they work for merge. (Romance, Independently Published)

A Father’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus — Is he ready for fatherhood? He doesn’t think he deserves a family… But now he has a daughter. Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan—a woman he’s finally getting to know. But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever? (Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical:

Until June by Barbara M. Britton — When a young seamstress agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge, there’s enough friction to melt a glacier. (Historical from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler — As 1756 dawns, Isaac Lukens is torn between loyalty to his Lenape heritage and a childhood friend who needs to marry in order to raise her siblings after her father was killed by his people. (Historical from Avodah Books)

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus by David Harder — From the prison colony on Patmos, the Apostle John entrusts Nicodemus with manuscripts for the Christian fellowships increasing throughout the Roman Empire. While transcribing the manuscript, Nicodemus is prompted to recall his former life and his encounter with Yeshua – a man of mystery, a healer, a teacher, and a prophet. An encounter that changed everything. Under the cover of darkness, risking his reputation and endangering his life even further, it is here that Nicodemus realizes the world-changing power of the Good News . . . and what being a follower of Yeshua truly means. (Historical from Ambassador International)


Historical Romance:

Love’s Mountain Quest by Misty M. Beller — When a Rocky Mountain widow returns home from work to find her son and the woman watching him missing–and the sheriff dead–she enlists a man she prays has enough experience in this rugged country to help. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Damsel’s Intent by Mary Davis — Washington State 1893. Nicole Waterby has lived her whole life in the hills away from town due to her grandfather’s mistrust of people. But now he’s passed away, and Nicole is left to care for her two younger cousins. Feeling inadequate to handle the responsibility, she heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband. She doesn’t realize women don’t wear trousers, buckskins, or carry a gun. She has a lot to learn about being a lady if she’s going to catch a husband. And the quilting circle is just the group of women to help her. Rancher Shane Keegan has drifted from one location to another to find a place to belong. He longs to have a family of his own but feels doomed to live a life alone. When Nicole crosses his path, he wonders if he can have love, but he soon realizes she’s destined for someone better than a saddle tramp. Even though he knows there’s no future for him with the intriguing mountain girl, he still steps in to help her at every opportunity. Will love stand a chance while both Nicole and Shane try to be people they are not? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Line By Line by Jennifer Delamere — Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen success as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she has yet to regret her freedom and foregoing love and marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined. For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s also determined to marry into high society—a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past. He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light? (Historical Romance from Bethany [Baker])

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart — After the market crash of 1933, the last thing Piper Danson wants is to flaunt her family’s fortune while so many suffer. Although she reluctantly agrees to a debut party at her parents’ insistence, she still craves a meaningful life over the emptiness of an advantageous marriage. When an opportunity to volunteer with the Frontier Nursing Service arises, Piper jumps at the chance. But, her spontaneous jaunt turns into something unexpected when she falls in love with more than just the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Widow & The War Correspondent by Linda Shenton Matchett — Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war? Barely married before she was widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart? A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

An Impossible Price by Davalynn Spencer — With no husband of her own, midwife Sophie Price lives to keep others calm in their hour of need. But when a handsome horse handler steps off the train with a fiery stallion, he brings anything but calm as he looks her dead in the eye and clear through to her soul. Clay Ferguson returns to the place he once called home, hunting a fresh start and the one woman who could draw him back. If he can hide his battered heart and the brutality of his past, maybe she’ll take another look and give him a second chance. Both bear scars from their fathers. Both fight for life. Together, they may learn that love is worth its impossible price. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


Mystery:

Pride and Pettiness by Elizabeth Ludwig — A hairdresser fears she may lose her business when appointments go terribly wrong. (Mystery from Guidepost Publications)


Romantic Suspense:

Don’t Keep Silent by Elizabeth Goddard — Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin — Court reporter Teagan O’Rourke thinks her job taught her everything she needed to know about murder until a serial killer decides to teach her a new lesson–up and personal. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — One little girl. Two bodyguards. Only one chance to guard their hearts. Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety? Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc. When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team? (Romantic Mystery, Independently Published)

Imminent Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — The Protection Inc. team is growing, and so is their client list. Former cop and new team member, Peter King, seeks to solve the mystery surrounding threatening notes being sent to Jenna Walsh. Facing an uncertain future, Jenna is afraid for her life. Will the team at Protection Inc., specifically Peter, be able to stop the threats before things escalate, or will tragedy strike before Peter is willing to face his growing attraction to Jenna? The team must divide and conquer when two big cases present themselves at the same time. Carissa Jones and Marc Olsen work to protect a young college student who is staying in the home of a federal judge. All work and no play has put a strain on their relationship. Can they find balance or will their fragile bond be extinguished? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Plain Refuge by Dana R. Lynn — On the run from hired gunmen, can she find safety in Amish country? After overhearing an illegal weapons deal, Sophie Larson knows two things: her uncle’s a dangerous criminal…and he wants her dead. Now undercover cop Aiden Forster has no choice but to blow his cover and protect Sophie by hiding her and her deaf sister in Amish country. But with a mole in the police force, danger isn’t far behind. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Speculative:

Evocatus by Burke Speed — Jamie is a young veteran with a painful history. He’s done battling for others…until the whole “fight for your life in a mini-mart” thing. Without warning, Jamie is attacked by a sword-wielding man and warned to stay away. From what, he’s not sure. Unexpectedly, he is invited to join a covert band of brothers that fights to keep these evil beings, called Malum, at bay. To accept their invitation is to add death matches against evil to his resume. To decline is to live . . . at least for a while. Kate is a beautiful barista and an important member of this undercover organization. She just might have the key to victory over the Malum but is kidnapped before she can tell what she knows. Everything hinges on a timely rescue of Kate as Jamie’s past and present collide. Now an Evocatus, a veteran called again to duty, Jamie must decide how far he’s willing to go to fight-and love-again. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:


Three Steps Away
by Luana Ehrlich, Romantic Suspense
Perfect in His Eyes by Linda Goodnight, Contemporary Romance
Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff, Thriller/Suspense
That Place Called Home by D. L. Lane, Romance
Then There Was You by D. L. Lane, Romantic Suspense
The Same River Twice by Mark Medley, Adventure
Fade to White by Tara Ross, Young Adult
Doubly Dead by Lisa Wessel, Cozy Mystery

 

Happy book-birthday to Moondrop Miracle! (Plus a giveaway)

UPDATE: We have our winners! Congratulations to readers Rebekah Jones and “VBB”! Ladies, please send an email to jenny@jenniferlamontleo.com with your mailing address.

Big thanks to everyone who commented. There’ll be another giveaway coming up soon, so let’s stay in touch!

It’s the day every author anticipates with heart-pounding, icy-palmed anticipation. Say hello to MOONDROP MIRACLE!

During the Great Depression, a rich, spoiled socialite must suddenly find a way to support herself and her child. With few marketable skills and more cleverness than cash, she parlays a homemade recipe for skin tonic into a livelihood. In the process she find faith, friendships, and strength of character that run far more than skin deep.

MOONDROP MIRACLE is available in e-book and paperback, and there’s even a large-print edition in case you need a Mother’s Day gift for Grandma.

To celebrate, I’d like to give away 2 signed copies of MOONDROP MIRACLE to my favorite readers (that’d be you!) To enter, just pop on down below and leave a comment. I’ll draw two winners at random on Tuesday, May 5.

 

Stuck at home? Fill your mind with good stories!

May 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Children’s:

The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey — Begin with an ancient, mysterious, self-aware book. Add two heartbroken children, reeling from the loss of their mother. Mix in a cantankerous aunt, dreams that see the future, and a father trying to make his way home and you get “The Edge of Everywhen,” a captivating tale of loss, hope, revelation, and unexplained mystery. “The Edge of Everywhen” is a book-lover’s book, a story of intrigue in which two children embark upon a life-changing journey of faith. (Middle Grade from B & H Publishing)


Contemporary Romance:

A Mother’s Homecoming by Lisa Carter — Charmed by the two-year-old twins in her toddler tumbling class, Maggie Arledge is shocked to learn they’re the children she gave up for adoption. And when Bridger Hollingsworth—the uncle caring for the boys—needs an emergency nanny, she fits the bill. But with sparks flying between her and Bridger, can she let herself get attached…and risk exposing secrets from her past? (Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love is in the Air by Tanya Eavenson, Candee Fick, Kathleen Friesen, Laura V. Hilton, and Kathleen Rouser — This collection of five brand new Christian romances is sure to send your heart soaring. Journey from Canada to Georgia and Colorado to Paris by way of Michigan as these couples find love is in the air. All they had to do was look up. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh — I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated. W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. But when his sister’s threatened by a stalker, dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years. Or maybe it’s all too much trouble. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner — Hadley Beckett became the star of the Culinary Channel following hot-tempered celebrity chef Max Cavanagh’s public fall from grace. But when Max returns, career in shambles, his only chance for redemption is to work alongside the beloved host of “At Home with Hadley.” Will these two polar opposites burn down the kitchen—or fall in love? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Stay with Me by Becky Wade — When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of an historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


General:

Within Golden Bands by Norma Gail — Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child. But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn? (Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Society of Second Chances by Deborah Raney — The Society of Second Chances faces a real challenge, as they try to uncover a way to help Harmoni Branaham—a young woman just released from prison. (Women’s Fiction from Guideposts Publications)

Unveiling the Past by Kim Vogel Sawyer — Newlywed cold-case detectives Sean Eagle and Meghan DeFord struggle between past wounds and their desire for a family when one of them takes on a case involving parental abandonment. (Women’s Fiction from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])


Historical:

Moondrop Miracle by Jennifer Lamont Leo — Chicago, 1928. Pampered socialite Connie Shepherd lives the kind of glossy life other women read about in the society pages. Engaged to a handsome financier, she spends her days and nights in a dizzying social round. When eccentric Aunt Pearl, an amateur chemist, offers her an unusual wedding present—the formula for a home-brewed skin tonic—Connie laughs it off. But when the Great Depression flings her privileged world into chaos and rocks her marriage to the core, will Aunt Pearl’s strange gift provide the key to survival for Connie and her baby? (Historical from Mountain Majesty Media)

Tranquility Point by Pamela S. Meyers — Hannah’s life couldn’t be sweeter—a marriage proposal and law school. Then the Great War intrudes and everything sours. (Historical from Mantle Rock Publishing)


Historical Romance:

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy — A driven entomologist travels to India in an attempt to win a coveted scholarship and save her late father’s scientific journal. But in this enchanting land, she discovers that there are some things more important than success. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Rocky Mountain Redemption by Lisa J. Flickinger — Fleeing a broken engagement, Isabelle Franklin joins her aunt to feed a camp of lumberjacks in the Rocky Mountains. She doesn’t expect to fall for camp foreman Charles Bailey, nicknamed “Preach,” who is struggling between his hard past and his newfound faith. When the ghosts from her past return to haunt her, the choices she will make change the course of her life forever—and that of the man she’s come to love. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Pretending to Wed by Melissa Jagears — It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love! The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress. Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow. When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Sinner in Mississippi by D.L. Lane — The story of Mississippi Singletary, born to a fearful mother and an abusive father in a rundown shack outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Historical Romance from By Faith Publishing)

The Mechanic & The MD by Linda Shenton Matchett — Woman mechanic Doris Strealer has a hard time finding love until she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps and comes face to face with her past in the form of Van Toppel, an old classmate. On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Van’s plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again. Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson — In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life. (Historical Mystery from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers) by Patricia Bradley — The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it’s being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers. John’s daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father’s murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who’s going to keep him safe when he realizes he’s falling–hard–for the daughter of the man he failed to save? (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Untraceable Evidence by Sharee Stover — Someone’s after a deadly weapon…and only she can stop them. It’s undercover ATF agent Randee Jareau’s job to make sure the government’s 3-D printed “ghost gun” doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. So when someone goes after scientist Ace Steele, she must protect him…before she loses the undetectable weapon and its creator. But with a mole inside Ace’s company and everyone a suspect, this assignment could become Randee’s last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Medieval Fantasy:

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin — In this epic conclusion to The Weaver Trilogy, Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers must rescue the queen and rid Tir of the Master once and for all, but the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts, and the fate of the kingdom rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl. (Medieval Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Suspense:

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest by T. M. Brown — A teenage girl arrives in Shiloh seeking to reconnect with her estranged mother, the only remaining family member she has ever known, only to learn she too has died, but she learns of family she never knew about. All the while a limo with a dark past arrives in town along with unwanted interest by a stranger that puts lives at risk. (Thriller from Southern Fried Karma LLC/Hearthstone Press)


Young Adult:

You’re Brilliant by Julie Arduini — Amazing things happen when a group of high school students and women discover they are more than competent. (Young Adult from Surrendered Scribe Media)

 

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davidson, Romantic Suspense
Son of Mary by R.S. Ingermanson, Biblical
Then There Was You by D. L. Lane, Romantic Suspense
Love’s Silver Bullet by Julie Lessman, Historical Romance
Tug of War by Brenda C. Poulos, Thriller/Suspense
The Scholar’s Quest: The Way by Brad Rucker, Adventure
Illusions by Jennifer Sienes, General Contemporary
The Lost Lieutenant by Erica Vetsch, Historical Romance
A Beautiful Arrangement by Beth Wiseman, Amish Romance

Episode 28: 10 Top Tips for Working from Home

 


As the COVID-19 virus continues to rage and many listeners find themselves working from home for the first time, Jennifer offers her 10 top tips for working from home successfully. Not to depart completely from the topic of vintage living, she includes advice from that doyenne of mid-20th-century manners, Amy Vanderbilt.

SHOW NOTES:

The eb00k of Moondrop Miracle is now available for preorder on Amazon. If you’d prefer a print or large-print edition, those will be available starting May 1.

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE 28: COMING SOON

Stuck inside? Send your imagination on vacation with a good novel!

 

April 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Biblical:

Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton — When the tribal elders make marriage a requirement for claiming her land, Milcah bat Zelophehad must find a betrothed straightaway. The only problem in finding a husband is that all her suitors were slain while conquering the land of Canaan. Men avoid her in order to stay alive. After praying to God to send her a bold suitor, a man from her father’s clan plummets from a tree right on top of her. Is this God answering prayer, or a foolish antic by Eli, the war-scarred brother from one of her clan’s rival families. Will settling in Canaan sort out Milcah’s troubles, or have her woes just begun? (Biblical Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Contemporary Romance:

Ryan’s Father by June Foster — The rippling influence of Ryan Reid’s less than moral mother and absent father made a mark on his soul. Yet everything changed when the young school teacher accepted Christ—almost everything. An earthquake hurls the beautiful Sandy Arrington into his life, tossing his world upside down. When God calls him to build an annex for needy teens at his church, Ryan must face the carefully guarded secret he’s held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a struggle he always hoped he’d never have to face. Sandy’s wealthy cardiologist father and the battle Ryan is powerless to win are hurtles to their romance. Can he dig his way out to find Sandy’s love? (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)


Historical Romance:

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep — What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common? Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Spies & Sweethearts by Linda Shenton Matchett — A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives. According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with one of the agency’s top spies, Gerard Lucas, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off. The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away-a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.
Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey and get home? And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Devyn’s Dilemma by Susan G Mathis — 1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart. Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Life Renewed by Olivia Rae — In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, “The Nine Days’ Queen” was executed for high treason. But what if, instead of feeling the blade on her neck she secretly survived? Escaping execution, Lady Jane hides as a peasant girl in a principality in Germany. She loves the simple life and never wants to return to England. But her benefactor, a power-hungry German prince, wants to march on London and place her on the English throne again, thereby increasing his dominance in Europe. If she doesn’t agree to his plan, her beloved childhood nurse will be put to death. Desperate for help, Jane must put her trust in the mysterious spy Asher Hayes. Asher Hayes is done rounding up Protestants for “Bloody Mary” and wants nothing more than to live a quiet life as a farmer and expunge the blood of many from his hands. Except Queen Mary isn’t done with him yet. She throws his father, mother, and sister into prison on false charges in order to force him to accept one last mission – find and kill Lady Jane Grey. But when Asher discovers Lady Jane isn’t a threat to the throne as he believed her to be, he faces a devastating decision – does he sacrifice his family for the woman who reigns in his heart? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press LLC)

The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Stubborn Hearts Clash on a Cattle Drive Eliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Mystery:

Cooking Up A Mystery by Gail Pallotta — In this romantic mystery Laney Eskridge battles insecurities, loss and a criminal who attempts to destroy her tea house and catering business. (Cozy Mystery from Inspired [Prism Book Group])


Romantic Suspense:

Flight Risk by Cara Putman — Savannah Daniels has worked hard to establish a small law practice, and her early career gambles have paid off with a life that she loves. Jett Mason Glover has almost reached the pinnacle of the journalism ladder in Washington, DC. He just needs one breakout story to seal his destiny. When a plane crashes into the 14th Street Bridge during take-off from Reagan National, everyone thinks it’s a freak accident—until the passenger list is released and the black box is compromised. Savannah does not expect to be connected to the crash until she learns her ex-husband was piloting the plane. She must manage his estate while his name is under a fog of accusations leveled by a journalist named Jett who now claims he wants to help Savannah find the truth. As the threads untangle, Savannah begins to question what she knows and whether she’ll survive the investigation. Maybe she’s as deceived as everyone else, but someone believes she’s closer to the truth than she is. And that belief may just kill her. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner — When drugs are smuggled across the border, it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost. Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Only a Glimpse by LuAnn K. Edwards, Contemporary Romance
Fugitive Trail by Elizabeth Goddard , Romantic Suspense
Critical Decision by Richard L. Mabry, MD, Medical Mystery
Glacier of Secrets by J Carol Nemeth, Romantic Suspense
A Perfect Fit by Christine Schimpf, Contemporary Romance
Riven by H.L. Wegley, Romantic Suspense (Historical)

Moondrop Miracle, coming May 1, 2020!

 

I’m excited to report that my latest novel, Moondrop Miracle, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

If you’ve been struggling these days with the events of our world (and who hasn’t?), Moondrop Miracle is the kind of story that will resonate with you. It follows a young woman’s transformation from a pampered life of ease to the widespread hardship of the Great Depression. The focus, though, is not the sudden and unexpected shift of fortune, but what she does with the few resources she has left.

Here’s the full description:

Chicago, 1928. Pampered socialite Connie Shepherd lives the kind of glossy life other women read about in the society pages. Engaged to a handsome financier, she spends her days and nights in a dizzying social round. When eccentric Aunt Pearl, an amateur chemist, offers her an unusual wedding present—the formula for a home-brewed skin tonic—Connie laughs it off. But when the Great Depression flings her privileged world into chaos and rocks her marriage to the core, will Aunt Pearl’s strange gift provide the key to survival for Connie and her baby?

By turns heartbreaking and hope-filled, Moondrop Miracle tells the story of an extraordinary and unforgettable woman whose determination to succeed changes her life forever.

You can pre-order your eBook copy today. As of May 1, it will also be available in paperback and large-print editions.

12 Sparkling Vintage Ways to Tackle Tough Times


Whether it’s the COVID-19 virus, a major storm or natural disaster, or some other unwelcome development, sometimes we find ourselves forced to grapple with a situation we didn’t expect. Join Jennifer as she discusses twelve “vintage” ways our grandparents and great-grandparents survived, and even thrived, during upsetting times in their lives.

If you prefer to read instead of listen, scroll down for a transcript.

I’ve since been told that the videos of Italians singing on their balconies are fake. I still think it’s a delightful idea.

Books by Jennifer Lamont Leo:

You’re the Cream in My Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlanders

 

 

 

 

 

Songbird and Other Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript of Episode #27: 12 Sparkling Vintage Ways to Tackle Tough Times

Hello, sparklers. Welcome to A Sparkling Vintage Life, where we talk about all things vintage and celebrate the grace and charm of an earlier era. I’m your host, Jennifer Leo, and this is episode number 27. Today I want to talk to you about weathering a storm, whether that’s a literal, physical storm causing blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, flood conditions, loss of power, or whether it’s a pandemic like the COVID-19 that’s keeping us isolated and indoors as I record this in the late winter/early spring of 2020. Or some it’s some kind of relational or emotional storm that’s wreaking havoc in your personal life: a job loss, a relational break-up, a serious illness or accident. Whatever the case, something has rocked your world and life is not proceeding as normal, at least temporarily.

Here in rural North Idaho we’re forced to be pretty self-reliant year round. While some scoffers laugh and call us “preppers” in a sort of derogatory way, North Idahoans, for the most part, tend not to panic because we’ve already got a good supply of toilet paper, a pantry lined with canned goods, etc. This is not necessarily because we’re expecting the Apocalypse at any minute, but because we live in a remote mountain region. Storms can brew up at any time, roads can be washed out, and some of us live many miles from a town or even a highway.  This past weekend, on top of concerns about the spread of COVID-19, we experienced a major snow- and windstorm that knocked out power to thousands of local households, including ours. Falling trees damaged many houses and even injured several people as they sat in their homes. We were fortunate, as it could have been much worse, but that sort of thing is pretty typical of our neck of the woods. That said, it’s not as if we have a lock on how to do preparedness “right.” (Right in air quotes). It’s just that being prepared is more or less a normal way of life for us.

Information (and misinformation) abounds about how to prepare to hunker down during a crisis, so I’m not going to repeat all that here. It’s widely available from the CDC and other reliable sources for those who want it. What I want to share with you here are some are ways people of the past, our grandparents and great-grandparents, weathered the crises of their day. After all, they made it through the privations of two world wars, the Great Depression, and plenty of life’s ups and downs between then and now. And they didn’t have the communication or mobility access we have today. I thought they’d have a few words of wisdom to offer. Some Sparkling Vintage suggestions, if you will, for weathering any storm.

First, a disclaimer. I am not a doctor or medical professional of any sort. I’m not a theologian or a psychiatrist. I’m sharing with you some ideas from decades past that helped people conquer their fears and muddle through. So seek your own counsel, consult your own professionals, choose those ideas that work for you, and leave the rest.

12 Sparkling Vintage Ways to Tackle Tough Times

  1. People of the past leaned on their faith. If you’re a person of faith, remember that God is in control. This is not a religion podcast, and I don’t aim to make it one now. But I’ve also made no secret of the fact that I’m a Christian, and I firmly believe that, whatever the crisis, God is in control. He’s the one who created the universe and keeps it spinning. Not the governments. Not the leaders and law makers and experts, but ultimately God. That doesn’t mean that we don’t listen to the experts and the leaders. We do. But ultimately, we trust in God. Don’t be too proud to get down on your knees and ask Him for help, if you want to find peace in this topsy-turvy world. It’s what people have done for millenia to find true peace. For those of you who say you never have time to read your Bible, now’s your chance. You’ve been given a gift of time. Pick up a Bible or a Bible app on your phone. If you’re new to reading the Bible, don’t think you have to start on page one and read all the way through. You don’t. I suggest starting with the gospel of John and the book of Psalms. Just read it, and as you read, ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand who God is, and who you are, and who Christ is and what he did for us. Think about the words you’re reading and what they mean.

The fact is, if we never go through tough times, we will never grow stronger. I’m reminded of the often-told story of the moth struggling to break free of his chrysalis. If you see the moth struggling and you try to help him along by opening the shell for him, his wings won’t develop normally. Turns out the process of struggling is a necessary process for his wings to strengthen. Take away the struggle and you take away the strength. So it is with us. God gives us challenges so we’ll grow in strength, depend on his strength to get us through. He also designed us to live in community, to help our neighbor and to accept help when we need it. I’ll say more about that in a minute, but my #1 suggestion is to remember that God is in control. And remind yourself, always, that God is in charge.

  1. Speaking of strength, get some exercise. People of the past didn’t need to be told to do this. They got a lot of exercise in their daily lives, performing manual labor or households chores without the abundance of labor-saving devices we enjoy today. Studies show that physical exercise burns up stress-related chemicals, helps you think more clearly, bolsters your immune system, regulates your energy, and helps you sleep better. These are all things we need during times of trouble. I’m not normally one who gets excited about exercising. I’m about as unathletic as they come. But I do like the way exercise makes me feel, so I’ll go for a walk or bounce on my rebounder or dance to some tunes. just to get the blood flowing and to lift my mood. During this time of pervasive illness, you may want to steer clear of the gym or public pool, or you may have to skip it if these facilities shut down. But there are plenty of exercises you can do at home. Go for walks or runs, or use simple at-home equipment like a rebounder or hand weights. Your own bodyweight can be effective for strength-building exercises. Look on the internet for videos demonstrating exercises you can do at home. Or do what I do–put on some music and dance around your house!
  2. Another way to build muscular strength might be to do some of those chores around the house that you’ve been meaning to do. If you live in the northwestern united states as I do, you might well be shoveling snow. If you live in a warmer climate, do the yard work and prepare the garden for spring planting. Hang laundry on a line outside the way Grandma used to. That’ll give you both exercise and sunshine. Sunshine is a powerful mood-lifter and also a natural disinfectant.
  3. Speaking of sunshine, spend time outside in nature. Our ancestors got outside a lot more than we do. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise are all so good for you. In the cities, find a park to walk in. Feel the grass under your feet. Watch the clouds go by overhead. If it’s springtime where you live, watch for those first buds, for the shoots of early flowers as welcome signs of hope. if you’re headed into fall, enjoy the changing colors, the nip in the air that can be bracing and energizing. So suggestion #4 is to get outside as much as you can.
  4. Eat properly. Our bodies are designed to eat good, nourishing food, minimally processed. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, lots of water … you don’t need me to tell you what constitutes nutritious food. In times of stress it’s tempting to hunker down with your favorite snack foods and comfort foods to make yourself feel better in the short term, but doing so will make you feel lousy in the long run and won’t help you to keep up your strength or your immune system.
  5. While we’re on the topic of food, if it’s spring where you live, think about starting your garden. That’s #6: start a garden. Digging in dirt and watching things grow is incredibly beneficial for your health and your mood. If it’s fall where you live, put up a harvest of healthy food to get you through the winter. If the skills of gardening and preserving food are unfamiliar to you, maybe use some of this forced isolation time to study up on them, maybe order in some seeds or canning equipment. Above all, be thankful for your meals, even if they are by necessity very simple or not quite to your liking. Now is not the time to be super fussy, but to be grateful for whatever food you have. Earlier generations prayed before meals as a matter of course, but many of us today have fallen out of this habit, if we ever had it to begin with. Take time to thank God for the food and also thank whoever got it for you and prepared it. And if that person is you, be thankful that you have that ability.
  6. Be a good neighbor. God didn’t design humans to be loners. Think about what living in a community means now. In these times when we’re encouraged to keep physical distance from one another to avoid spreading germs, stay connected by phone, text, Facetime, Skype. Write old-fashioned letters to one another–what a thrill to get an honest-to-goodness letter in the post! Ask those who are elderly or caring for small children if there’s some way you can help them–maybe run errands or share some of your food or supplies with them. If they need help with some task and you can safely help them without putting yourself in too close proximity or other danger, do it. At the very least, make the call, send the card, or write the letter. Often it’s a great help just to know someone is thinking about us and cares enough to contact us, especially when we live alone.
  7. Get your rest. Sleep does all sorts of wonderful things for your body, including building up your immune system. If you search online you’ll find an abundance of tips for good sleep hygiene. Of course, our ancestors didn’t have to worry about too much blue light or screens from their phones, but sleep was still sometimes an issue. I’m now going to read you a passage I found in a 1925 edition of the Camp Fire Girls handbook. It says,

“When preparing for sleep, remove all your clothing, as it has been absorbing the impurities from the skin all day, especially the clothes worn next to your skin. Hang up your day clothes or place them on a  chair where plenty of fresh air can get at them. Wear night clothes that do not bind or press against the body at any point. Tight bands and strings may impede circulation or cause disturbed sleep. We hardly need to add that you should not go to bed before you have opened one or more windows in your room. You need fresh cold air. If you are fortunate enough to have a sleeping porch, use it by all means. Be sure the bed clothing is warm and of lightweight material. Heavy weight clothing weighs the body down and does not invite refreshing sleep.” That was advice given to the Camp Fire Girls in 1925 that still holds true today. So suggestion #8 is get your rest.

  1. If you’re stuck at home, think of some creative, old-fashioned ways to amuse yourselves. Take a page from the generations before you who didn’t have TV and video games. Read books, play board games, try out some new card games. Talk to one another. Practice the art of conversation. Do puzzles. Make up stories. Go for hikes. Do crafts. Make cards for people who are housebound. If you need inspiration for things to do, read some stories or novels that are set in earlier times. What do the characters in the stories do for fun? In the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, what do the Ingalls family do for fun? What do the Waltons do for fun, if you’re familiar with that series? Maybe take a cue from them.

10: Sing! Singing is good for the heart, the soul, the mind, and even strengthens the lungs. Sing along to music videos or MP3s. Teach your kids some old favorite songs you remember from your youth. Writing in 1942 in the depths of World War II, Margery Wilson wrote, “Singing is the soul’s expression. it cleans out the corners of the heart and doesn’t let stale emotions pile up. If you can’t sing for fear of disturbing someone or being conspicuous, then sing in your mind, thinking the actual words and tune. Sing new songs, old songs, hymns, national anthems, football songs, arias, swing, anything, but sing! A singing nation has heart.” Those are some wise words from Margery Wilson. Recently we’ve seen the power of singing in action in the tremendous videos of people confined to their homes in virus-ravaged Italy, singing to and with each other from their balconies. If you haven’t seen those inspiring and heart-lifting video clips, they’re worth searching for on the Internet.

  1. If you’re stuck at home, learn and practice some useful skills, especially old-fashioned ones. I’ve already mentioned gardening and food preservation like canning, but there are so many others. Learn to cook from scratch using raw ingredients. If you’re already an accomplished cook, you can still experiment with new recipes. During the pandemic we’re not eating out as much or at all, so avoid food fatigue by learning new recipes. Learn how to make yogurt or sourdough bread or cheese. Learn to sew or do woodworking or carpentry. Study a foreign language or some other topic that interests you or that will be useful to you in your work or your life. Do those things you always say you never have time to do. If you’re isolated at home during the pandemic or for any other reason, you’ve been given a gift of time: use it wisely.
  2. Clean something. This one always works for me, when I remember to do it. If your mind is out of sorts, if you’re having trouble concentrating on anything, step away from the news media and go clean or organize something. One drawer. One cabinet. One tabletop that tends to attract clutter. There’s something about putting things to rights, making them neat and clean in a tangible way, seeing them come to order right before our eyes, that untangles our thoughts as well. You don’t have to tackle a whole closet at once, or heaven forbid, a whole basement or garage. Just take it one sock drawer and one tool kit at a time. Listen to music while you work, or to an audio book or a podcast–something cheerful and uplifting. Avoid the doom and gloom. As your hands put things in order, your spirit will rise. Isn’t that what traditional spring cleaning is all about?

That’s it for today. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay warm. If you have questions, if you have some other suggestions for how to survive and even thrive through tough times, or shoot me an email at jenny@sparklingvintage life.com. I’d love to hear from you. You are not alone.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a rating and review at Google Podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you subscribe to podcasts. And I’ll be back soon to discuss another aspect of A Sparkling Vintage Life.

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Jennifer Lamont Leo