Enduring Promises of the Heart - Spotlight Book Tour
Genre: Adult, New Adult, Historical, Romance Publisher: Cedar Fort Publication date: February 8, 2019
“What if I told you there is a way that we could all be happy? That if I were to propose to you, your father couldn’t deny us?” “What is it, John? Tell me!” Just then the basket hit the water and the sea began to stream in through the spaces between the reeds. This was the end. The year is 1887, and the small community of Pleasant View is abuzz over Penelope Pottifer’s serialized romances in the local paper. Since the release of the first volume, the thrilling story has captured the hearts and minds of the entire town— and several towns over! Each successive edition of the Pleasant View Gazette spins a breathtaking tale of kidnappers, pirates, and forbidden love. Between volumes, however, Pleasant View resident Mary Clarence, the story’s toughest critic, hears a rumor that Penelope Pottifer is not, in fact, the author’s real name. Determined to uncover the mystery, Mary drags her friend Elizabeth Black into a hunt for the elusive author’s true identity. But fiction and reality seem to entwine when along the way, Mary and Liz discover unexpected truths, exciting adventures, and dramatic romances of their own.
Valerie has a love for stories with happy endings and bright comedy. A native to the California high desert, she now considers Utah her home where she lives with her husband, three children and two chihuahuas. Growing up in a family of seven kids, Valerie learned to embrace her unique creativity and way of looking at the world and hopes it will enrich other’s lives. In 2015 she published two children’s books, Singing Not so Sweetly and Anabelle Loves Babies. She believes writing is the ultimate end-all for creative pursuits because there are no limits to what you can create. A picture may say a thousand words but a novel is usually around seventy-thousand.
“Good afternoon,” Liz said, startling Mrs. Vohn, who was deeply entrenched in her gazette.
“Oh, Eliza, you startled me! How are you? What can I do for you today? Are you needing to withdraw for your Pa again?” “Liz,” Mary corrected Mrs. Vohn.
“Where?” Mrs. Vohn searched the room with her eyes.
“Please call me Liz, Mrs. Vohn. I’ve never taken to Eliza,” Liz stated.
“I’m sorry, dear. I had no idea. I swear I heard your father call you Eliza.”
“My pa has about a hundred nicknames for me, and he uses them all, all over town. Just about everyone calls me something different. One time he called me Bathsheba, and I had no idea he was talking to me!” Liz sighed. “No matter. I’m not here for my pa. We are here investigating a mystery.” Liz smiled.
“Ooh. What mystery?” Gladys whispered.
“Well,” Mary interjected, “we want to find out who wrote that story you got your nose buried so deep in that we scared the sin out of you just before.”
“Oh, well, how could I help with that?” Mrs. Vohn looked perplexed.
Mary obliged. “Perhaps if you drank less coffee, you would be less prone to fright.”
“No, Mary, with the Gazette,” Liz said, pointing to the copy Mrs. Vohn was still clutching.
Mary nodded and continued. “Mitzy, from the Gazette, said that Mr. Dixon deposits money into an account here for Penelope Pottifer. We were wondering if you could look up her account and tell us where she lives.”
“Well, why don’t you just get the address from Mitzy?” Mrs. Vohn said as though she had solved the whole problem.
“Well, that’s the thing, the stories come to the Gazette in unmarked envelopes. They don’t have a return address!” Mary explained.
Mrs. Vohn was disappointed. “I see. I’m sorry, ladies. I’m not supposed to give out that kind of information, you know. It’s against bank policy. We’ve got to respect our customers’ privacy. Mr. Vohn would be very upset if I told you an address. But I’m dying to know! Oh! What to do . . .” Mrs. Vohn was clearly torn between knowing who Miss Pottifer was and obeying the bank rules. She walked away from the counter toward the back desk, flustered, and then returned back to the counter in a more composed manner. Mary gave Liz a look. Liz interpreted it as meaning that Mary found Mrs. Vohn behaving strange.
“I’ll tell you what,” Mrs. Vohn began. “I know those deposits come on the first of the month or the following day, if it’s a Sunday or bank holiday. Why don’t you come back on the first? Loiter in the lobby a little. Have some of our complimentary tea. I’ll wink at you if and when I’m helping the person that comes and withdraws from the account that Mr. Dixon deposits in. I never paid attention before, but now that I know that is Miss Pottifer’s account, I’m going to pay attention next time!”
“Thank you, Mrs. Vohn,” Mary chimed.
The girls walked out of the bank together, and Liz caught the eye of Peter Latter, the dashingly handsome bank teller with sea green eyes and floppy dark brown hair. She smiled nervously as she passed. He smiled nervously back. Mrs. Vohn put her nose back in page three of the Gazette.
The balloon sank closer and closer to the choppy surface of the inky black ocean. John gently pulled the cord over and over to keep the balloon flying above the water until the flame would no longer light above them. It was inevitable that the balloon would sink and be consumed by the dark, cold hands of the sea. Lavender had no more tears to shed. She held on to John tightly and shivered. John had already offered her his coat, which she took, but it could not keep out the chill of knowing she was about to drown in the depths of the sea.
“John, I’m sorry. I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. I want that exciting life you spoke of, but I also can’t leave my poor father. He would die a thousand deaths if I left him to operate the store alone. You know my mother died, and it broke his heart into a million pieces. I am the glue that holds those pieces together.”
John put a rough hand on Lavender’s petal-soft cheek, “I understand, Lavy. I don’t want you to hurt your father. I want you and him to be happy.”
“It wouldn’t make him happy if I married a mountain man and left town.” Lavender paused, knowing the statement would cut him like a knife. Lavender didn’t much care that John was a mountain man, but she had been through this with her father. He hated the idea. He wanted someone like himself for his precious daughter. Someone who could take care of her, specifically by taking over the store.
“What if I told you there is a way that we could all be happy? That if I were to propose to you, your father couldn’t deny us.”
“What is it, John? Tell me!”
Just then the basket hit the water and the sea began to stream in through the spaces between the reeds. This was the end.
“I cannot read anymore! I can’t!” Sarah Clarence threw the Gazette on the tea table next to the settee, where Mary was arranging flowers on a hat. “Read it! Tell me everything turns out all right!” Sarah shouted at Mary with tears streaming down her face. She shoved the Gazette at her and ran from the room sobbing.
“Oh, good heavens, Sarah!” Mary called after her little sister. “It’s just a bit of fiction!” Mary eyed the paper for a few moments. I wonder what could make Sarah so desperately distraught?
“Fine. I will finish it, for Sarah.” Mary convinced herself knowing full well she was dying to know what could make Sarah so agitated.
She read up to the point Sarah had stopped and could go on no further. A little tear had welled in her eye. How ridiculous she must look, crying over the Gazette featurette. It wasn’t even by a real author!
“Dagum story!” Mary clutched the paper, crumpling it slightly in her tightened fists, wrenching it the same way the literature wrenched her heart.
“Mary! Language!” her mother chastised from in the kitchen.
“Sorry, Ma!” Mary apologized and took a deep breath. Then she wiped the errant tears from her cheeks.
John held on to Lavender in the icy cold water of the ocean. He helped her stay afloat and rest when she could swim no longer. His powerful arms took them miles and miles while she rested on his back as he tried to get her back to shore. But the shore was not even visible anymore.
“How do you know where the shore is? We could be swimming away from it by now or end up in the north country . . .or the south! We could end up on some savage island!”
“I’m following the stars.”
“You surprise me, John! A mountain man that knows how to navigate by the stars also?”
“That is how I got to this country, Lavy. I sailed.”
“John! You’re not from America? I never knew. What else do I not know about you?”
“Much . . .” He was struggling to speak with the exertion of swimming.
“Don’t talk, John. Save your strength.” But Lavender knew he had little strength left, and soon, they would sink together into the cold sea.
A watery grave.
Before all hope was lost, Lavender saw a light bobbing in the distance. John stopped stroking the waves and was doing his best to float and rest.
“John! Look! It’s a ship! A ship, John!” It was coming straight for them. They would be saved. Lavender held John up, renewed with energy at the prospect of being saved and longing to know what it was that John could do so that she and her father could both be happy with her marrying him.
“No. No, Lavy.” John was weak and could barely speak.
“I don’t understand, John. They can save us. HELP! HELP OVER HERE!” The ship had surely spotted them as she heard men calling, “Man overboard!” But there was something strange about their speech. Then a colder shiver shot through her. Colder than the ocean waves in winter. Pirates.
“Oh. Oh, heavens. Sarah! You won’t believe it. I promise they don’t die!” Mary was beside herself. “We are silly to get so worked up over a story. It’s not proper! Good heavens.” She threw the Gazette on the settee and went upstairs to her room for bed.