Good morning, Sophia Bidershem. Welcome to Character Café!
[Sophia looks around the café fearfully, and then her shoulders relax.] Oh goodness. I was afraid someone may have overheard you. I’m known as Sophie Biddle here in Stone Creek, Michigan. And I confess, I’ve had to pass off my baby as my little sister.
I’m so sorry. It’s such a shame that people have been so cruel to you. Judging you and your darling Caira over something that was done to you. Your own family turning their backs on you. Where is your little one this morning? Did you leave her at the boardinghouse with Mrs. Fairgrave?
Something happened a couple of weeks ago while Mrs. Fairview was watching Caira. I’m sure you heard – the whole town was involved. Well, since then I’ve been reluctant to leave her at the boardinghouse.
I can imagine you would be. Who is watching her?
The Reverend and his Sister…
Maggie, Reverend McCormick’s sister. Both have been so kind to me. I met the reverend right after I arrived in Stone Creek. We were at the general store and Caira toppled into him and began to cry. He comforted her. And gave us a ride to Mrs. Fairview’s so we wouldn’t have to walk in the inclement weather. He has tried his best to help us. And Caira listens to him much better than she listens to me. [Sophia’s neck and cheeks are now pink.]
Most two-year-olds give their mothers a run for their money. Mine did. How has the reverend tried to help you? And do I detect some romantic interest there? I’m sorry if I’m being too nosy.
[Sophie’s giggle sounds nervous.] Ian McCormick is not interested in me that way. Most of the time, he doesn’t even look at me. Besides, he deserves someone who is pure. Someone who isn’t living a lie. He will make someone a wonderful husband someday.
It hurts me to hear you say that. You are worthy of being loved.
Thank you for being so kind. Reverend McCormick tried to give me work as the church pianist. I even played one Sunday, and it seemed certain I would get the position. But when the board went to vote on whether I should be hired, Gertrude Wringer made certain her niece got the job instead of me. Nora is a lovely girl. I feel sorry for her really. However…
You needn’t say more. I know how Gertrude Wringer is. A mean-spirited gossip. And I feel sorry for Nora too. I am sure her aunt is just as brutal with her words to Nora as she is to everyone else in town. But Nora’s piano skills don’t compare to yours. What a shame.
I’m just afraid I will have to run away again. Gertrude has been spreading gossip about me. She has guessed that Caira is my daughter. And do you know how guilty I feel? That the reverend and his sister keep defending me? While I am living a lie. [A tear trickles down Sophia’s cheek.]
Oh, you are breaking my heart. I will pray that you will find a way to tell the truth and that the true Christians in Stone Creek will show you a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father loves you even more. But now I better have you place your order. Other customers are coming in. I don’t want anyone to overhear us talking.
Thank you. I see you have fried apple pie. I wonder if that’s similar to Mrs. Fairview’s dried apple pie. It has become a favorite of mine. Reverend McCormick seems to love it…
It may be similar, though it’s a hand pie. It’s made with dehydrated apples. In 2023, we have plenty of fresh apples all year round since we can get them imported from other parts of our country == and the world. But our baker likes to try recipes from long ago. And the process of rehydrating the apples by boiling them in cider and the different spices he uses, give it such a great flavor. These hand pies have become a hit at Character Café. Here’s the recipe: https://www.dinnerin321.com/mamaws-fried-apple-pies/
That sounds lovely. And I’ll just have a cup of regular tea with that. We don’t have fancy drinks here in Stone Creek. Just cocoa on occasion.
Believe it or not, we have tea from Michigan here at the Café! Fraser Tea. If you feel adventurous, we have their Hot Spice Cinnamon or Apple Spice Gingerbread. Or their English Breakfast is lovely. https://frasertea.com/collections/organic-black-tea
English Breakfast with cream will go well with the apple pie. Thank you, Amy.
And thank you for joining me at Character Café. Sophia… I mean Sophie.
Readers, Rumors and Promises is a beautiful story told so well by Kathleen Rouser. I fell in love with little Caira from the first chapter. Rouser knows how to make a toddler behave like a toddler. And what a good mother Sophia is. She is so young, yet so determined that her daughter will be safe and accepted. That no one will discover the dark secret behind her birth.
Rouser does such a great job of writing the scenes involving the hero of the story, Reverend McCormick. He has his own heartache and secrets. A swoon-worthy hero, for certain.
Here’s more about the novel:
She’s an heiress hiding a tumultuous past. He’s a reverend desperate to atone for his failures.
Abandoned by her family, Sophie Biddle has been on the run with a child in tow. At last, she’s found a safe life in Stone Creek, Michigan, teaching piano. But when a kind, yet meddling and handsome, minister walks into her life seeking to help, Sophie is caught off guard and wary. When her secrets threaten to be exposed, will she be able to trust the reverend, and more importantly, God?
After failing his former flock, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, and he’s been working harder than ever to forget his mistakes and prove himself to his new congregation—and to God. But when he meets a young woman seeking acceptance and respect, despite the rumors swirling about her sordid past, Ian finds himself pulled in two directions. If he shows concern for Sophie’s plight, he could risk everything—including his position as pastor of Stone Creek Community Church.
Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together or drive them apart forever?
Where to find this novel:
Here is the purchase link for Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rumors-Promises-Stone-Creek-Brides-ebook/dp/B0CCJZ27BZ/
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen Rouser is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
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Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 26
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 27
Artistic Nobody, October 28 (Author Interview)
Mornings at Character cafe, October 28
For Him and My Family, October 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 30
Guild Master, October 31 (Author Interview)
Exploring the Written Word, October 31
Holly’s Book Corner, November 1
Pause for Tales, November 2
Cover Lover Book Review, November 3
Connie’s History Classroom, November 4
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 5 (Author Interview)