3 Questions that More than Words can Say Made Me Ask
“Please marry me to save my business.” Ok, that’s not a word-for-word quote. But you get the idea. Usually, if you saw something like this in a story, you would think there were financial problems. But Abby’s problem isn’t money. Her business is going great. The only problem is, she inherited the family business in a little town with a strange law. Women aren’t allowed to own business property. Definitely a roadblock…especially for a woman with such fierce independence. I enjoyed More than Words Can Say for all the reasons I usually like historical fiction, but this story was about more than just a marriage of convenience. Here are three questions this story made me ask. (And don’t forget to read to the end to enter the giveaway!)
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Is Fierce Independence Really What You Want?
I identify a lot with Abby. We both like to be the boss of ourselves. I like to not have to lean on others. Like Abby, going against the grain is just part of who I am. Abby figures bringing on a male business partner will put her independence at risk. She chooses marriage instead because at least the profits will stay “in the family.” But from the minute she proposes to Zach, contract in hand, her concern is keeping that fierce independence.
The problem with fierce independence is that we weren’t meant to do life alone. And as Abby will later discover, God had picked out the perfect companion for her…if only she would let her guard down. As it turned out, giving up her independence wasn’t about letting someone walk all over her (like her father did to her mother). It was about letting someone walk beside her. It wasn’t about giving up her fighting spirit, but going into battle with a partner at her side.
This isn’t just about marriage, either. Like Abby, I’m a doer. I like to get things done, and sometimes I haven’t made time for friendships or family. Other times, I’ve found myself betrayed, or just found it hard to make the connection. But we’re not wired to do life solo. Even when we think we are. We’re better together. Alone, we’re vulnerable. At risk. Not as strong as we look – it’s a recipe for disaster.
A few of the characters made choices they would come to regret because they didn’t think God could fix their situation. They didn’t trust him with the outcome; they didn’t even seem to imagine him involved in the outcome. Instead, they made decisions with life-altering consequences. They even convinced themselves that there was “no other way” to provide for their families.
On the radio, Dave Ramsey will often ask his listeners “what’s option C?” They will have themselves painted into a corner where they only have two choices, and Dave’s point is that there is always another choice. If we feel like we have to do something a certain way, chances are that’s the wrong path. Think about Abraham and Sarah – and Hagar. The effects of not trusting God with the outcome can be devastating. Is there a situation in your life right now where you feel caught between two choices and neither seems right? Pray, ask God for wisdom, and look for option C. And trust God. If the only option makes your stomach turn – and not because of nerves, but rather that Holy Spirit warning – wait for the third choice.
What Secrets are Making You Sick?
When Abby and Zach get married, they agree that there should be no secrets between them. Secrets are a disaster for a marriage. And yet there are some heavy secrets in this house. Abby, Zach, and sister Rosie are all carrying the weight of past mistakes and present secrets. Secrets often go hand-in-hand with the fierce independence thing. Sometimes we convince ourselves we need to be independent because we can’t imagine telling anyone our secret. Other times, we tell ourselves that truly independent people don’t need to share. But as a character on NCIS awhile back said, “We are as sick as our secrets.” And in the words of a speaker that came to my church last year, “sharing takes away the shame.”
Secrets turn into more secrets. Sometimes lies to cover them up. Sometimes fear or anxiety. Walls in our relationships. But if you get them out in the open, they lose their power. What secrets are making you sick? What secrets are standing between you and your relationship with your spouse, your parents, your best friend, your God? It’s probably not wise to share it with the world – yet. (There are exceptions. My life completely turned around when I “went public” with my mountain of debt.)
It’s time to take away the power of those secrets. Take away the sickness and shame that comes with them. Find someone you can confide in. Maybe at first, it will be a therapist (it was for me). But eventually, you’ll lean on your close relationships and share your heart. Maybe you’ll even have to build some of those relationships first. (Again, that was the case for me). But the best day comes when your secret has no power to hurt you anymore…and your story has the power to encourage someone else.
Some Other Things I Liked About This Book
Truthfully, even though she needed to grow out of it, I loved Abby’s fierce independence. I love how this book exposed the way God works through circumstances that don’t make sense to us. I especially loved Zach’s orphan story and his instant protectiveness, first towards Abby and her sister, and later towards others in need. The author did great work in choosing a historical small town – and doing the research to make it real. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance with strong women characters. Just don’t read on an empty stomach…Abby owns a bakery, and she might make you hungry.
More Than Words Can Say is on Tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Book: More Than Words Can Say
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: May 7, 2019
After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.
Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.
Click here to purchase your copy.
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.
More from Karen
Settings – Real or Imagined?
One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility.
However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own.
This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Family series have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face.
Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war.
Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned.
Historical Sources in More Than Words Can Say
Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s website proved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square.
While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say.
In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid a brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.
To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway
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