Last month I was able to read author Kelly Goshorn’s debut novel. It touched me on a very deep and personal level. Life can throw us painful situations that are able to rock us to our core. Reading a fictional story by someone who has experienced the non-fictional heartache adds a depth and genuineness that wouldn’t have been able to be achieved otherwise. You can check out my full review HERE.
About the Book:
She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.
When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
About the Author:
Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.
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Excerpt From A Love Restored:
Loudoun County, Virginia
Benjamin Coulter cringed as the shrill tune hung in the air. That woman sure knew how to ruin a Sunday afternoon. Sounded like something was dying and needed to be put out of its misery.
He shook his head. All he wanted to do was rest a while longer. His decision to go around his headstrong superior and talk to Mr. Farrell directly about his boss’s inaccurate measurements had made for a nerve wracking week. That decision could have cost him his job. Thankfully, his discovery had been received well, saving the struggling railroad both time and money.
Benjamin leaned against the sycamore tree and tossed his line into the creek. A slight hint of remorse nicked his conscience. He now sat poised to guide the construction of the Washington & Ohio Railroad through the town of Catoctin Creek and over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Winchester, but he hadn’t intended to get his boss fired. If only the man hadn’t refused to admit he’d made a mistake.
Yep, it was all coming together. Just the way he’d hoped it would when he agreed to leave Texas and take this apprenticeship in Virginia. All he had to do was pass that examination next spring and…
He shuddered. The woman’s screeching escalated to a bone-grating pitch. She’d frighten the fish away for sure. Like most folks, Sunday was his day off, and he didn’t intend to spend it listening to her sing off-key.
Wedging his pole in the mud of the creek bank, he set off to investigate. Her ear-piercing slaughter of The Merry, Merry Month of May led the way. He spied his first glimpse of the lyrical assassin through the thin limbs of a dogwood tree. Perched on a large, flat rock at the edge of the creek, she swirled her bare feet in the water. Behind the rock sat a pair of woman’s boots—fancy ones. Too bad she hadn’t spent some of her shoe allowance on singing lessons. Her voice cracked. “The skies were bright, our hearts were light, in the merry, merry month of May…”
Benjamin winced. That was the fourth time in a row she’d sung that part. For the love of Pete, didn’t Miss Fancy Boots even know the words? He needed to put a stop to this so he could continue fishing—and napping. He stepped forward then stopped. The woman reached up and removed a pin from her hair, then another. Mounds of long chestnut brown ringlets spilled over her shoulders into the middle of her back.
Curls. He groaned. Why’d she have to have curls?
“The skies were bright. Our eyes were light…”
Never mind. Curls or not, the woman’s voice could haunt the dead.
Hi Kelly, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions about yourself and your debut novel!
Hi Becca, thank you for hosting me on your blog. I’m looking forward to chatting with you and your readers today.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Bath, England. I’m a HUGE Jane Austen fan and Bath is the quintessential destination for all Austenites (I may have just made that word up)! Each year, Bath hosts a huge Jane Austen festival that lasts about 10 days. Many attendees dress in Regency era garb as well. Attending the festival in Bath is definitely on my bucket list.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Oh boy, what a tough question! So many movies come to mind that I want to break the question down into sub categories like rom-coms, Golden Age of Hollywood, musicals, period dramas, etc. I guess if I had to pick my absolute favorite I’d have to go with The Sound of Music. It’s the total package—humor, romance, song & dance, Julie Andrews (need I say more) and a great story. In 2007, my hubby and I visited Salzburg and had the pleasure of seeing many of the locations in the city where the movie was filmed. Just wonderful!
What’s an interesting quirk about yourself that people might not know?
Me, quirky? What writer is quirky? Hmmm…the first thing that comes to mind is that I don’t like to walk on grates. Thankfully I live in a small town and the only place you really find them are in parking lots at the shopping centers, so they are easy to avoid. But when we go into Washington, D.C. I won’t walk on them. That can be awkward on city streets full of people. My husband will jump up and down on them to prove to me that they are safe, and I still won’t try it!
Okay, and now for the good stuff:
Why historical fiction?
I guess I’m just a big old-fashioned, nerdy, history-lovin’ kinda girl at heart! As a child, I tuned in every week to share the joys and struggles of the Ingalls family on Little House on the Prairie. I slept in a night cap, had a slate and chalk to play school, and even toted a tin lunch pail around the basement. When mom wasn’t looking, I sat on the back of the couch pretending it was the seat of our Conestoga wagon as we crossed the prairie through the Dakota Territory (hence the nerdy, history lovin’ girl I mentioned above).
Then one September night in 1979, Laura Ingalls peered lovingly into Almanzo Wilder’s eyes and called him “Manly” and I’d discovered something new—historical romance. However, it wasn’t until my sister introduced me to Love Comes Softly, nearly twenty-five years later, that I knew Christian historical romance existed as a genre. As the tug on my heart to write grew into God’s calling, there was no doubt in my mind that I would write historical romance.
What was your inspiration for writing A Love Restored?
A Love Restored is based on my true-life love story with my husband, Mike—all of our ups and downs, including our emotionally devastating break up. When I first began writing, I tinkered with a story about Irish mail-order brides (the whole mail order bride thing just fascinates me). Hubby read it, told me it “wasn’t bad,” then suggested I write our story. Skeptical, I questioned him. “Are you sure. I mean you don’t look so good in that story for a long time.” He grinned and responded, “Yeah, but I think it turned out all right.” I’d have to agree. We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary last June.
What was the most difficult part for you in writing the story?
I found it challenging to write our characters, Ruth Ann and Benjamin, who both struggle to come to terms with Ruth Ann’s fuller-figure, without making her look weak and pathetic nor him seem shallow. I hope readers find them to be strong, good-hearted characters struggling with very human flaws who look to God and scripture for guidance and healing.
If you could share advice for anyone who is able to resonate with Ruth Ann’s story, what would you say?
I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life and I know that the struggle is real, and the pain is deep. Many, many unkind things have been said to me about my appearance and each one nicked my heart. Words have the power to lift us up or tear us down, and the most dangerous ones are the ones we repeat in our own mind every day. I spent way too many years repeating words of death to myself—that I was fat, ugly, unlovable and unworthy of the very God I believed sacrificed His son on my behalf.
In a world that often equates our worth to the size of our paycheck, our appearance or the diploma hanging from our wall, it can be very tough to see our own value. We are ignorant if we don’t agree with the current PC opinion. We are ugly if we don’t look like the air-brushed images on the covers of fashion magazines in the check-out lines. We are a failure if we don’t earn a six-figure income and have the latest devices at our fingertips.
The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Here are just a few things the Bible has to say about you:
1 Thes.1: 4 You are chosen and dearly loved of God.
Ps. 139:14 You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Zech. 2:8 You are the apple of God’s eyes. (I just love that one!)
2 Cor. 5:17 You are a new creation in Christ.
John 1:12 You are a child of God.
Col. 1:14 You have been forgiven.
Rom. 8:1 You are free forever from condemnation.
Eph. 2:6 You are his masterpiece. (Can you just imagine?)
I would encourage anyone struggling with self-image to meditate on those verses.
For anyone who has been a Benjamin, what would you say?
I decided to call in the “real Benjamin” for this one, my husband Mike.
“Like Benjamin, I’d also struggled with my pride and let vows I’d made about what type of woman I’d marry dictate my choices. I’d let everything get turned inside out. Instead of seeking God’s will for my life, I resisted because the wrapping on the gift He’d given me wasn’t to my liking. Those images we see in the media constantly telling us what beauty and success look like don’t just affect women, but men too. I had this wonderful woman I loved but somehow had come to believe that she wasn’t enough or that I deserved better. I’m ashamed to confess that, but that is the truth. I had to come to terms with my own prejudice and when I was finally able to admit that to myself and to God, He gave me new eyes for her and I no longer saw anything, but the beautiful, Godly woman He’d given me.
My specific advice to anyone struggling with judging someone based on their appearance whether it be their weight, a birthmark, or some other physical disability is to remember that while attraction is always part of the equation, lifelong relationships have their foundation in a solid friendship. And above all else, seek God’s direction for your life. You will never be disappointed when you walk in the path He has chosen for you. I have no regrets and I’m confident you won’t either.”
What is the biggest takeaway that you would like readers to glean from the story?
A Love Restored is not only a story of love, romance, heartache and restoration, but also a story about the power of words over our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us. As my husband and I discovered, it is only then that we are truly able to give and receive love, unconditionally.
My prayer for you and your lovely readers is that you will not allow the enemy to steal the joy that is rightfully yours as a child of God. Speak the truth of the gospel over yourself every day and ask God to give you His eyes to see yourself as He does.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
Thank you so much for sharing all that you have today! I appreciate your willingness to share your own personal story along with the truth in Christ that has given you the inspiration to create Ruth Ann and Benjamin’s story!
Thank you so much for having me today, Becca. It’s always a joy to spend time with other Christians, especially those who love books as much as I do.
Kelly Goshorn has graciously offered to provide one lucky reader an e-book version of her book A Love Restored! Enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win 🙂 Winner will be drawn Sunday, November 11, 2018.
This is the BEST interview ever!!! I loved it so much. Totally spoke to my heart!!!
Awww, thanks so much! It blesses me that you took the time to read and comment on it. Learning to change the way we think about ourselves and learning to see ourself as Christ sees us (as something precious enough to die for) is hard but very worth the effort! <3
I know right?! Kelly is amazing!!! She sure knows how to speak right to the heart!!!
What a fun author interview! I would also love to go to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. I didn’t realize it lasted for 10 days!
Oo that sounds fun!
If I manage to pull off getting hubby to Bath at all I’ll be happy let alone for 10 days! LOL! He actually likes P&P a great deal so he might go, but not for 10 days!
Fun to read this, Kelly. Love the memory of you as a little girl pretending to be on the prairie. So sweet!
Hahahaha! I was such a nerdy little kid, wasn’t I? I had a night cap, too, and when I went up the stairs at night to bed I pretended I was climbing into the loft Laura and Mary shared! thanks for commenting today!
You’re not alone Kelly… I did very simliar imaginative play… even though I never had a nightcap lol
Kelly, this is so deep and I’m going to be thinking about it all week. May God bless your efforts for Him. Your Pelican friend, Kathy Bailey
Hi Kathy, Thank you for visiting the blog today. I think the words we speak carry real weight. Sometimes we nick those we love without even realizing it. And the way we speak to ourselves…I’d never look at another person and say the ugly things I’ve told myself. We are valuable enough for Christ to die on the cross for us, it is time we treated ourselves as worthy of that sacrifice. Wouldn’t you agree? Oh dear, sorry. Looks like I got on my soapbox a little.