Shelby Lassiter Kincaid, the widowed heroine of Where She Belongs, dreams of raising her daughters in the golden place of her own childhood.
Misty Willow, a farm nestled in the gentle slopes and valleys southwest of Columbus, Ohio, was first hewn out of the countryside by a Revolutionary War veteran in the 1790s. The Virginia Military District land grant set aside a huge swath of acreage to veterans who were willing to trade their muskets for hoes.
Isaac Payton, Shelby’s direct ancestor, volunteered.
According to family lore, Isaac’s wife Constance named the homestead. While Isaac built their cabin, the young couple camped near a willow tree overhanging the banks of Glade Creek. In the early mornings, as Constance greeted the sunrise, a haunting mist blanketed the land. Constance thought it mysterious though oddly comforting. Her heart always skipped a beat whenever her handsome husband emerged through the fog to join her. They sat on the bank, enveloped in the mist, and made plans for their future in this new country.
During the Civil War, the willow standing sentinel over Glade Creek witnessed another important event in the family’s long history. Eliza Payton found an injured Rebel soldier near the creek and secretly nursed him back to health in the abandoned cabin. When Jeb Lassiter recovered, he asked Eliza to marry him and carved their initials on the willow’s trunk.
Throughout the years that followed, engaged couples added their initials so that the willow became a living family tree.
Shortly after Shelby and her girls settle into the brick home, built by Eliza’s father quite a distance from the creek, she takes them on a picnic to the “engagement tree.” Shelby points out her parents’ and grandparents’ initials but decides the girls have learned enough family history for the day when six-year-old Elizabeth asks about the SL + JO carving. Turns out, Shelby’s teenaged boyfriend was a bit premature with his marital plans. For reasons given in the story, Shelby’s husband never visited Misty Willow.
But perhaps Shelby will be given another chance to have her initials joined on the tree with those of the man she loves.
Misty Willow is a fictional farm inspired by a huge brick house where my family lived when I was a teen. Built in the mid-1800s, it was first known as Maple Lane and later as Twin Oaks. We still call it The Brick.
A beloved house. Possible Underground Railroad activity. A secret room. These elements and more are woven into a story that explores how much our present is affected by the past.
Where She Belongs
Misty Willow Series #1
Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family’s ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she’ll have her work cut out for her.
AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He’s glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn’t possible when he can’t get the young widow Shelby off his mind.
Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. You can purchase Where She Belongs at:
Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell) is her first contemporary novel. Her first novella, The Healing Promise (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), releases in 2016.
She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest). She volunteers as marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.
A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons. Find Johnnie at:
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Johnnie has generously offered a giveaway of her book, choice of print or ebook to any U.S. resident or an ebook to an international commenter. To enter, leave your email address in the following spam-free format so we can contact you: email AT address DOT com.
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