Unwrapping a Novella

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! A couple words about the weather: Hot. Dry.

I’m not complaining, but rejoicing that our A/C unit is working. I do love Fall, so it will be missed. 🙂

It’s hard for me to admit, but I’m kind of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I love some things about the season itself, but honestly, I like Christmas to occur in December. What makes it such a special season (to me) becomes not so special when it goes on for months, or even all year.

But, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sandra Ardoin’s Christmas novella, Unwrapping Hope. It was not over-the-top Christmas-y, but I definitely absorbed the feel of the season as I read. Ardoin’s historical fiction is authentic, drawing the reader into the era, as well as the season.

The main character, Phoebe Crain, lives under a dark cloud of pain and mystery. Even the reader doesn’t know her past until it surfaces near the end. Phoebe is flawed, but I came to appreciate her strength as she casts her pride to the wind in order to make Christmas special for her daughter.

I like flawed characters. I enjoy reading a story that brings their deepest flaws to the surface, but doesn’t heal the flaws or even make them go away. A well-told story shows its readers how love can accept and encompass those differences. That’s so much more realistic and for me, oh, so satisfying.

My only complaint about Unwrapping Hope? It’s short! It is a novella, after all. So, I was pleased to discover that this story will open a series called “Widow’s Might.” I like the name and the implications behind the name. That’s another part of the story I enjoyed—this character didn’t wallow in her misfortunes—she joined together with other widows to help bring relief where needed.

Click-to-Tweet: Unwrapping Hope by @SandraArdoin is not your typical cookie-cutter Christmas tale, and it earns an easy five stars from me. #BookReview #NewRelease


A Bit About the Book – Unwrapping Hope

Phoebe Crain, an accomplished pianist, lives in near poverty to protect her five-year-old daughter from scandal. When Phoebe receives a handcrafted cigar box by mistake, her desperation to give the child something special for Christmas drives her to suggest a trade with Spence Newland, a man she views as no more principled than her daughter’s late father. But the more time she spends with the department store heir, the more Phoebe struggles to keep up her guard against him.

Spence believes the cigar box will help him gain a reclusive investor’s financial support for his proposed five-and-ten-cent stores, demonstrating his ability to manage the family fortunes. Yet he hesitates to bargain with a widow who mistrusts him for no apparent reason…until he meets a charming little girl at the train station who awaits the arrival of a prince.

Will a betrayal in Phoebe’s past and Spence’s unraveling plans derail their hope for happiness and keep a child’s fairy tale from coming true? [Release Date: Oct. 15]

Click to Preorder

About the Author – Sandra Ardoin

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her on her website. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub. Become a member of the Love and Faith in Fiction community and discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

Launching a Book

Yes, I know it’s not Thursday (tomorrow is), but it is release day for Annabelle’s Joy. It’s one of those times that authors celebrate with great trepidation—did you know you can be trepidatious? (Silly side note). Apprehension may be a better word for the way I feel.

All I know is, I’m eagerly awaiting the outcome of this one.

If you’re a regular here, you already know what the book is about. If you’re not a regular, thanks so much for stopping in. You’ll find more information at the end of this post. What I really want to do right now is introduce a few folks who helped me get to this point.

Marji Clubine is the owner of Write Integrity Press, the publisher of most of my books. Those of you who self-publish have an idea of what goes into the publishing process. Marji gives of her time and talent and I appreciate it more than I can say.

My editor this time was Lillianne Kohler. I’ve not worked with her before. She has a good eye for detail. She did an excellent job, finding my mistakes and smoothing out the rough spots. I’m the first to admit, I need all the help I can get. Which reminds me of three others, Nike Chillemi, Gail Johnson, and Kristi Robinson Horine, the members of my ACFW critique group. All my chapters have passed through them at least once. They make a great team and are some of my best cheerleaders.

I can’t keep going day after day without the encouragement and prayers of my family, my church, and my closest friends. Not only do they show up when I have a booksigning, but they urge me on during the downtimes. “When will the next book be coming out? I can’t wait to read it!”

I am so humbled and honored to be loved by a man who gives me the freedom and the time to spend staring at my computer, making up stuff. He’s been more like a coach than a cheerleader, and he inspires me to keep pressing on by showing me how. He keeps going, keeps believing in me, even when things don’t look promising.

Annabelle’s Joy is dedicated to a couple of friends I’ve known since they were in high school. Patti and her sister, Linda, lost their husbands within months of each other. In the following days, months, and years, I watched prayerfully as the two made their separate journeys through this deep sorrow and loss. Sadly, these were not the only losses they’d endure over the next few years. I was inspired by their strength (though they didn’t feel strong). But isn’t that how it usually is?

When we are weak, He is strong. God shows up in the dark times, giving us strength to continue on. Though I couldn’t begin to know what it was really like, their experience helped me flesh out Annabelle’s struggle to overcome her losses.


If you’re on Facebook, come visit the event page for the book launch! I’m giving away several prizes, and also giving opportunities for you to help with my release. There’s no purchase necessary, you just need to check in by clicking “Going” at the top. That will get you entered in the drawing. Then, feel free to read the posts and take part in any discussion.

Now, here’s how you can help: There will be a post titled: Reviews from Readers. If you’ve read one or both of the Kinsman Redeemer books, please leave a short review on the event page (I loved it! is a great review).

Here’s the link to the event page:

Facebook Event Page for the Book Launch: Annabelle’s Joy

If you’re not on Facebook, you can still enter to win prizes by leaving a comment on this post, or via my Contact Me tab on this website. Just say, “Count me in” in the message (or something similar).

Another 3 Questions! I’m also on the Inspired Prompt blog today, answering their 3 Questions. Here’s a link to the interview: 3QW at Inspired Prompt.


A 1950s Clean & Wholesome Romance

She’s waited too long. When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.

Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE’S RUTH.

Annabelle’s Joy – Kinsman Redeemer, Book 3

Genre: historical romance

Author: Betty Thomason Owens

Release Date: August 7, 2019

Amazon Buy-Link: https://www.amzn.com/B07TXQRKG3/