Shannon here: Myra Johnson shares insight into her characters’ romance from her latest Historical Romance, A Rose So Fair. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: April 8th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Myra:
Hi, Shannon! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to introduce Rose Linwood and Caleb Wieland from my historical romance A Rose So Fair. Set in 1930s Arkansas during the Great Depression, the novel is the third in my Flowers of Eden series and officially releases Tuesday, April 4.
- Who is most romantic, Caleb or Rose?
Caleb is definitely the most romantic! He has quite a bit to learn, though, because courting an independent, strong-willed farm girl like Rose will require imagination, determination, and lots of patience.
- Where is the most romantic place Caleb and Rose have ever been?
There aren’t many places you’d call “romantic” in the tiny farming community of Eden, Arkansas. Rose and Caleb attend church together, and they’ve worked side-by-side harvesting their cotton crops. Once Caleb figures out this romance thing (and once he convinces Rose to permit him to court her properly), the closest town where a couple might actually enjoy dinner out or anything else resembling a real date would be about 20 miles away in Brinkley.
- How soon after meeting Rose did Caleb know she was the one?
Caleb began falling for Rose while they were in grade school together. He loved tugging on her russet-red braids and still enjoys getting a rise out of her any chance he gets. Rose, on the other hand, resists his romantic attentions at every turn. Caleb has always been her very best friend, and she doesn’t want that to change. Besides, she’s got all she can handle trying to manage her farm single-handedly, so romance simply isn’t on the agenda.
- What’s the most romantic thing Caleb ever did for Rose?
After getting some romantic advice from Rose’s sister and her husband, Caleb decided to leave a single red rose on Rose’s doorstep every Sunday morning. Now imagine the reaction of a young woman who claims she has no interest in being courted! Caleb and Rose have a long, arduous journey ahead as they come to understand what real, lasting, sacrificial love is all about.
- Who said, “I love you” first, Rose or Caleb?
Caleb, of course! But he had to choose his timing carefully, because Rose has a habit of carrying her late grandfather’s trusty Winchester rifle with her around the farm, and Caleb didn’t want to end up like the unsuspecting possum Rose sent to its eternal reward.
And now, here’s a sneak peek at a scene from the first chapter of A Rose So Fair:
Nearly six months had passed since Grandpa went to meet his Maker, and three months to the day since Rose’s sister Larkspur wed her bookish beau, Anson Schafer, and then decided it was time to finish her college education. Not that Rose begrudged Lark this chance at both marital bliss and the fulfillment of a longstanding dream, but Rose hadn’t quite adjusted to being the last of her family left on the farm.
At least today would be a day to celebrate, and Rose had better get a move on if she hoped to make it over to Brinkley in time for her baby niece’s baptism. Her eldest sister, Bryony, had given birth a little over two weeks ago, and oh, that sweet little Iris Miranda Heath was a charmer!
With a quick swipe of sweaty palms across her overalls, Rose reached for the rifle. The old Winchester 1894 had been Grandpa’s favorite hunting rifle, good for deer, possum, and the occasional squirrel. He’d often told the story of how he’d traded a suckling pig for the gun back in 1916, the year after Grandma Rigby passed on, and how it was a good thing she never saw how attached he’d grown to a wood-and-metal contraption that could cleanly take down a full-grown buck at fifty yards.
Rose’s sisters never cared to learn how to shoot, but Rose used to beg Grandpa to take her out for target practice. She’d gotten to be darned near as a good a shot as he’d been, and she was right proud to bring home her share of game to help keep meat on the table.
She just hoped she’d never be called upon to pull the trigger on some trespasser up to no good.
Hermione bellowed from her stall, a plaintive reminder Rose hadn’t finished emptying the milk cow’s udder before the vegetable thief interrupted them. If the old coot had been a little quieter, Rose might never have taken notice, a thought that brought an involuntary shudder. Anybody could have snuck up on her and—
Dwell too long on the maybes and she’d have an even harder time sleeping each night in the deathly quiet house where every little creak and groan made her eyes snap open and her heart race. She was gladder than ever she’d finally forked over the money to have a telephone installed.
She let out a startled cry and grabbed the milk bucket before she kicked it over. “Caleb Wieland, I could strangle you!”
“You’d have to catch me first.” Chortling, Caleb leaned on the stall gate, looking entirely too spiffy with his blond hair slicked back and a striped tie knotted beneath the collar of a starched white shirt. “Thought by now you’d be done with chores and ready to go.”
No sense admitting a drifter had caught her unawares, and now Caleb had, too—which he’d never have done if she’d had her wits about her instead of ruminating over everything that had changed this past year. “I got busy, that’s all. Make yourself useful and let Daisy out to pasture while I put the milk in the icebox and clean up. Won’t take me five minutes.”
Caleb eyed her up and down, a doubtful look creasing his forehead. “I’ll see to the mule and the milk. I seriously doubt five minutes is gonna do it for you.”
“So help me, Caleb Wieland, if you weren’t wearing your Sunday best—”
“Watch it, Rosie.” He tapped his wristwatch and grinned. “Time’s a-wasting. Don’t want to keep little Iris Miranda waiting, do you?”
About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards and winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two pampered rescue doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” The Johnsons are also currently harboring their younger daughter and family (six in all plus a kitty!) as they transition toward their next missionary calling. With grandkids underfoot ranging in age from 14 down to 3, there’s never a dull moment!
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About the book – A Rose So Fair: Plucky Rose Linwood grew up on her grandfather’s Arkansas tenant farm, a life her two older sisters never cared much for. Working alongside her grandpa, though, Rose learned to love the land as much as he did. Now her sisters have married and moved on, Grandpa has gone to his eternal reward, and Rose is determined to make a go of the farm on her own. But crops have been slow to recover since the drought of 1930-31, and the whole country struggles in the grip of the Great Depression. Drifters looking for work or handouts roam the countryside, some of them up to no good, so Rose keeps her trusty Winchester rifle at the ready.
Caleb Wieland, Rose’s best friend, isn’t the farmer his late father was, and he’s about to lose his cotton crop to boll weevils. He’d let the farm go and search for work he’s more suited to, except he can’t desert his widowed mother. Besides, he’s been quietly falling in love with Rose since they were in grammar school, and the thought of leaving her behind is too much to bear. He’d give anything to win her heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named.
Question for readers: What says “love” to you? Are you someone who enjoys receiving thoughtful gifts, something chosen especially for you? Do you feel loved when someone does a chore you dislike or serves you in some way? What other ways of giving and receiving love do you find meaningful?
Come back April 4th for Shannon Taylor Vannatter!