Tuesday, August 19, 2014




TITLE:                          THE LADY FUGITIVE

BYLINE:                                 Ada Brownell

COPY LINE:                                    A novel--Completed

CONTENT:                             A 17-year-old stage performer (elocutionist and singer) runs away from her physically abusive uncle, but she is caught in a perilous web. Could the peddler who constantly appears be a venomous spider in her life, or the one to help her untangle her problems?

AUDIENCE:                            Anyone who loves historical romance from a Christian viewpoint with elements of suspense, mystery and historical details.

CATEGORY:                           Inspirational historical romance.

TONE:                                     The tone of the book reflects the emotions of a young woman on the run. If she does not get away, she will be abused by the razor strap. Because he is a judge, he will find her. But on the first page Jenny meets William, a young peddler, and there’s a hint of romance as they run to each other while she runs trying to avoid capture, and he sells household goods, shows a Passion of the Christ moving picture, and searches for his brother. Humor trickles in early in the book and splashes here and there throughout the novel. William’s romantic notions are interrupted when his father is murdered and he goes after the killer. Jenny finds strength to quit running and face whatever happens, only to discover the man she loves is going to collect the reward for her capture.

SPIRITUAL PAYLOAD:         Although Jenny doubts God cares about her since she lost her parents, her home, and her twin brother had to run away to avoid the judge’s whip, in the end she learns God will go through anything with her--the brambles of grief, the thorn bushes of despair, and He will even reach over unbelief’s precipice to hold her in his arms as a shepherd does his sheep. “The Ninety and Nine,” a new song in that era, is William’s favorite hymn and she often hears him singing.

LENGTH                                 101,569 Words

ADDITIONAL TITLES FOR THIS WORK:                        

·         The Peddler and Peachville’s Belle
·         Love Comes over the Mountain
·         Yucca Blossom Bride
·         Love finds her in Yucca Blossom



  • The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ moving picture is a remarkable relic from the dawn of cinema. First released in 1902 by France’s Pathé film company, it was expanded and tinkered with for the next three years, reaching its complete form in 1905. The author’s grandfather traveled about the country showing a similar, or perhaps, the same picture.

  • How an orphaned young woman has to run away from the judge (now her caretaker) who attempts to spank her with a razor strap and barely misses hitting her with his fist. Her brother already left because the uncle tried to take a horse whip to him. An underlying message is she doesn't like the way the judge stares at her body. Girls need to fight against abuse, and leave that environment, if necessary.

  • The popularity of elocutionists in that era. Jenny, an elocutionist, had performed on stage in Peachville before she had to run. She draws on this experience in a later part of this book. The author’s grandmother was an elocutionist who performed on stage at an opera house in the late 1800s.

  • The intense advice William receives from a traveling minister about anger management and how William finds strength to keep from killing his father’s murderer.


Portions of this book have been read by critique group members of American Christian Fiction Writers, judges for the ACFW genesis contest, Kim Moore of Harvest House. The book was edited by Deirdre Lockhart.


NOTE: I have reviewed more than 40 books in the last couple of years for publishers and authors who are members of American Christian Fiction Writers.

  • THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER by Melanie Dickerson
 I didn’t expect to be so impressed by a book set in 1352 in Glynval, England. I like historicals, but the 1300s?
       What I discovered behind the intriguing cover of The Merchant’s Daughter was perhaps the most uplifting novel I’ve read in years. Annabel may be one of the most lovable characters created by a writer. Her prosperous family slid into poverty after Father died and now the Glynval lord demands her family work in the fields.
       Annabel’s mother, her siblings, pampered by servants all their lives, refuse to work like the impoverished, but Annabel gladly prepares meals, cleans and goes to market.
       A new lord is coming and a court decides the penalty for her family’s neglect to do their duties in the harvest. Annabel’s brother thinks the only solution is for Annabel, age 17 and the youngest in the family, to marry someone with money who will pay their fines. Bailoff Tom, as round as a pregnant cow and Father’s age, has asked for Annabel’s hand. He will pay the family’s fines so they don’t need to work—if she will agree to marry him.
       Her brother informs her she has no choice—but she refuses, accepting servitude to the new lord instead of marriage, which will save her family. Annabel’s greatest desire is to be a nun so perhaps she’ll have access to the Bible and be able to read about God.
       Her trouble is just beginning. When she leaves home, she sticks a kitchen knife in her pocket for protection. She barely escaped from Bailiff Tom’s advances earlier.
The new lord is younger than expected, his arm mangled by a wolf when he rescued a child. He’s full of bitterness, is demanding, and yet he has a Bible and requests Annabel to read the scriptures to him at night.
One of the most touching moments is when she goes through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth with the lord. She is thrilled at the wonder of the virgin birth, showing nothing is impossible with God. She is astounded that Mary’s spirit “rejoiced,” at the child to be born by the Holy Spirit and that God announced the birth of the Messiah to lowly shepherds instead of rich folks and kings.
While she works faithfully in servitude and reads to him each night, the lord’s anger tames and they become friends. But then crises erupt which could destroy them both.
As in life, they must discover for themselves if nothing is impossible with God.
·         FAITH’S REWARD, by Tammy Barley, Whitaker House, 2011. Jessica and Jake Bennett struggle to protect each other and their unborn child, but severe weather, men who murdered her parents, and those who stole her inheritance threaten their financial survival and their lives. Jessica is a fighter, though, and frequently disobeys others’ advice and goes out on her own to solve problems. Sometimes it gets her into trouble, like the dangerous visit to an Indian village to ask for pneumonia remedies. The author knows how to paint a scene, set you down in it, then makes you wonder how Jessica could put herself into so many dangerous situations. But then you know the answer. Jessica needs these criminals to be unmasked and possibly hang. But how can a pregnant woman bring them to justice?

·         HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, by Karen Witemeyer, Bethany House, 2010. Adelaide Proctor expects a marriage proposal from Henry Belcher in 1883, but finds he doesn’t expect to see her again because the traveling salesman will no long travel to Cisco, Texas, to see her. She quits her teaching job, follows him and discovers he’s married. Led by a cloud like the Children of Israel, in Fort Worth she notices an advertisement for a governess for a ranch owner’s daughter. Adelaide needs employment, so she answers the ad, and lands the job despite stiff competition. The rancher’s mute daughter creates a challenge, but Adelaide fashions a learning atmosphere, adding fun and laughter. Then she discovers evidence of two murders and the murderer is stalking more victims. Karen Witemeyer artfully wraps romance so tightly with suspense it’s difficult to put the book down. I loved living with her characters a few days, and breathed a sigh of relief when she brought them to a satisfying ending.

The proposal continues with a two-page summary, vitae, and sample chapters.