Imagine the romance between Dr. Charles Spurgeon and his wife. That’s just what nonfiction author, Cynthia Simmons did. The romance is true, while Cynthia imagined their thoughts to give us more insight. Every time you comment, your name goes in the drawing for Alison Stone’s e-book: Random Acts. Deadline: April 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Cynthia:
As she eyed the milling throng, Susannah eased into her chair. Fortunately, she didn’t have to navigate the masses alone. Mr. and Mrs. Olney invited her to come with them and other church members. Her gaze darted toward the platform and her heart sped up. Soon the queen and her family would enter and the opening festivities would begin.
In 1851, The Crystal Palace, where she sat, served as the site for the Great Exhibition in downtown London. Rather than discard the glass building, the exhibition committee chose to reopen it as a museum at Sydenham Hill. Everyone praised the addition to the community. The new museum sounded fascinating, and she looked forward to walking through the displays.
Conversation buzzed around her as folk scurried about searching for seating. To her surprise, Reverend C. H. Spurgeon appeared at her side. He wore a black coat that fell to his knees and held a dark hat in his hand. A lock of brown hair fell over his forehead. “Hello, Miss Thompson.”
Her mouth dried out, and she swallowed so she could speak. “Hello.”
He gestured toward the seat beside her. “Is this seat taken?”
A tremor ran up her back. The building must be filling up. “No.”
He beamed. “Excellent. May I sit down?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Thank you.” He settled himself and pulled a book from his coat pocket.
Susannah took a deep breath. Courtesy required a gracious comment, but she didn’t crave attention from a minister, particularly one who commanded such respect. Yet he singled her out on several occasions at the Olney’s home and asked about her faith. Each time she shared her questions and concerns with a trembling heart. “Sir, I haven’t had a chance to thank you personally for your gift. While I heard others speak of Pilgrim’s Progress, I’d never read it.”
“You’re quite welcome. Have you found it useful?”
“Oh, yes indeed. I’m almost finished.”
“That’s what I hoped for.” He flipped open his book.
She looked away so he wouldn’t feel the need to chat further. A glance at her watch showed the formalities crept nearer. The throng still milled about, but fewer seats remained.
“I would like your opinion of this passage.” He handed her the book.
She stared, but managed a smile as she accepted the volume. “Which one?”
He pointed to a section on the page. “From there to there.”
Her cheeks grew warm as she read the selection about marriage. Men in London didn’t solicit a lady’s opinion about such a subject. Was he trying to give her a message?
Leaning closer, he whispered. “Do you intercede for your future spouse?”
She became hotter still. Fog descended on her soul, and the room and people faded. A trumpet sounded as the royals entered, but Susannah couldn’t focus.
“Yes?” She looked into his genial face.
“We can circulate now.”
The stage was vacant. People chatted and gathered their things. She missed it all? “I see that.”
He stood and offered his arm. “May I have the pleasure of escorting you about the museum?”
She glanced about. The other church members drifted off in groups, leaving them alone. If she accepted, everyone would understand they were courting. Her heart thumped as she imagined herself married to a minister. Would he demand perfection? Yet as she gazed into his smiling face, she thought of his excellent character. She could trust him with her heart. So she tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “I’d like that, thank you.”
He smiled and placed his hand on hers as they strolled away.
Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over twenty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. In December 2009 the membership granted her Life Time Membership for her numerous contributions to writers. “Cindy” is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Devotions.us. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She also conducts monthly podcasts called CAG Spotlight in which she interviews authors and VIPs in the writing industry. At present she is completing a twelve week Bible study using the stories in Struggles and Triumphs.
About the book:
What’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is the book for you. Author Cynthia L. Simmons will guide you toward answers with her unique and enlightening approach. Her twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.
Come back April 9th for Laura V. Hilton.