Romance. Heartbreak. Scandal. Secrets. Second Chances.
In 1902, Sarah McCall is waiting to leave for the mission field when the man she once loved steps back into her life. Abandoned as a child by her mother and gambler father, she strives to overcome a tarnished history she didn’t create and a heartbreak she can’t forget.
Peter Caswell returns to his Wisconsin hometown a pastor, dedicated to his four-year-old daughter and new congregation. But no matter how hard he tries to move on with his life, he can’t forgive himself for his wife’s death.
When Sarah learns that Peter is returning to Riverton, the letter giving her departure date for Africa can’t come soon enough for her. They were best friends—she loved him and supported his dreams—but he married another and broke her heart. Although ten years have passed since he left Riverton, Peter hopes Sarah still cares enough to give him a second chance. But a charming newcomer pursues her affections—and Sarah’s childhood nemesis manipulates her way into Peter’s life. Will Sarah and Peter find their way to forgiveness and each other, or will past mistakes make a life together impossible?
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1. What does romance mean to you? (The feeling, not the literary genre.)
I relate to what Gary Chapman shares in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. People most often feel love in these basic ways: physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, or acts of service.
My two top love languages are physical touch and quality time. So, I feel romance in the air when my husband holds my hand, puts his arm around my shoulders, or simply rubs my back. When we share quality time that involves deep conversation over a lovely dinner, working on projects together, or serving in some capacity as a couple, those experiences provide a sense of intimacy that also helps create romance.
2. Mountains, beach, big city, small town, rural—Does one of those say “romance” to you?
I’m so fortunate! I live in the Seattle area, so I’m close to both the ocean and the mountains. Although I enjoy the water, if I had to choose one over the other, I’d choose the mountains. There’s just something about being alone with the man you love in the quiet beauty that mountains provide. There’s nothing better in the fall, when the air is cool, than to escape to a comfortable cabin with a great view and a crackling fire in a large fireplace.
3. What fictional hero—outside of your books—makes you swoon?
Right now, that hero is Captain Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner in the Masterpiece Theater series, Poldark. Ross is extremely handsome with his dark hair and eyes. Though he has flaws, he’s passionate, and he cares deeply about the people in his life.
4. Looking at the stories you’ve created, which book and chapter has the most romantic scene?
Chapter 26 of Sarah’s Smile contains one of the most romantic scenes I’ve written. During a wild thunderstorm, Sarah and Peter finally confess their feelings for each other and kiss.
5. Which movie romance is your favorite?
A favorite movie romance has been An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, released in 1957. It’s both tragic and beautiful.
The doors to the blacksmith shop up ahead were flung wide open. The bellows’ clicking and the forge’s gentle roaring alternated with a hammer’s ring on an anvil. The scent of hot iron wafted in the breeze. A tall, familiar figure emerged from the smoky darkness—a silhouette in the bright, early morning sunlight. Sarah McCall, scurrying to the Home Store, halted, as though she’d run into an invisible wall.
Her rapid heartbeat throbbed in her ears, and her breath caught, but neither related to running several blocks. He looked her way and cocked his head. Recognized. Trapped. Fleeing was not an option.
Dressed in a dark gray suit fitting for a man of the cloth, Peter Caswell stepped toward her, like someone dead to her brought back to life. Her own Lazarus. His shoulders had broadened since she’d last seen him, and his face had thinned, but his confident stride remained.
The physical distance between them these past ten years had been a blessing—a way to bury the heartache and give herself time to heal. But with his return, she had no choice but to see him. If Sarah didn’t know better, she’d think God was playing a cruel joke. The man she loved had finally returned . . . but not for her.
Dawn Kinzer’s work has been published in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, the Backyard Friends magazine, The One Year Life Verse Devotional, A Joyful Heart: Experiencing the Light of His Love, and featured on the radio ministry, The Heartbeat of the Home. Sarah’s Smile is the first novel in The Daughters of Riverton series, and Hope’s Design is the second.
A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, cinnamon, popcorn, strong coffee, good wine, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.
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