Do you like to e-read? Well, maybe you’re like me and enjoy the physical feel of the book in your hands better, but then sometimes an attractive price will convince me to read on my iPad. Especially if it’s a book I’ve heard about or an author I want to give a try. That’s what the publishers are hoping when they put those books out there at low prices or sometimes free the way my book Scent of Lilacs is until the end of the month. Not that many more days to grab it free. Plus the follow-up Heart of Hollyhill books are at reduced prices too.
Then today, the publishers put one of my Shaker books, The Gifted on e-book sale for a few days. Not long so if you’ve thought about reading one of my Shaker books, here’s your chance. The Gifted was one of those books I wasn’t really planning to write. I’d already done four Shaker books (all stand-alone stories, if you’re wondering) and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill. But then Jessamine came alive in my mind and Sister Sophrena and a story followed along with them.
I enjoy using letters and diary entries in my stories when I can and since the Shakers had many journalists, I decided that’s who Sister Sophrena would be. A gentle Shaker sister who wrote more detail in her journal than the Shaker leaders recommended. In fact, when she makes a re-appearance in my Shaker Christmas novel, Christmas at Harmony Hill, the leaders have taken away her journaling privileges much to her distress. So there aren’t any journal entries in that book, but there are plenty in The Gifted. Since that’s the book on e-book sale for $1.99 at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, even less at Christianbook.com, or at your favorite e-book site, I’m going to share Sister Sophrena’s first journal entry at the beginning of The Gifted.
Harmony Hill Village
Entered on this 11th day of June in the year 1849 by Sister Sophrena Prescott
The Gathering Family Sisters picked the last of the strawberries in the patch behind the barn. Only got a paltry 8 gallons and Sister Wilma said some of those were so small they were nigh on impossible to cap. But the late picking jam will be sweet in any case. The Sisters have cooked a plenitude of jam. The brethren will be well supplied for their trading trips. If those people at White Oak Springs don’t buy it all. They eat well there, I am told. Matters not to us who eats our excess jam. We have been blessed with a bountiful harvest of berries and it appears the wild raspberries are bearing an abundant crop.
Two of the young sisters have gone out into the woods with buckets to gather the raspberries. The thought of raspberry pie for dinner is a pleasant one. But I worry I shouldn’t have given Sister Jessamine permission to go. She will find the berry vines. I have no doubt of that, but will she be entangled by the briars and end with her dress and apron ripped and ruined? Will she remember to bring any berries home in her bucket? Ah, Sister Jessamine, a sweeter little sister one could not have. Yet, she is often the subject of discussion among the elders and eldresses. What will we do with Sister Jessamine?
Eldress Frieda may take me to task for giving the sister permission to go into the woods, but she has diligently kept to her duties for days without mishap. Plus I did send Sister Annie with her. At eighteen, Sister Annie may be younger than Sister Jessamine by a year, but is as sensible as Sister Jessamine is not. Even so, I worry like an old hen that has lost sight of her little chicks and fears the shadow of a hawk passing over. I haven’t seen the shadow, but I know our Sister Jessamine only too well. I will be peering out the window all the afternoon and not properly paying mind to my task of penning the labels for the jam jars.
So what do you think? Did that let you know something about what to expect from Jessamine as the story continued? Do you like it when authors use journals or letters to advance the story?
As always, thanks for reading. On Sunday, I hope to start a new giveaway. Maybe a caption contest. That might be fun. I need to give away some books!!