The Brushstroke Legacy

( 9 )


Forbidden. Hidden. Denied. Can art be powerful enough to endure?

Ragni Clauson’s work, relationships, and body all seem to be falling apart. And she isn’t convinced that spending her vacation fixing up her great-grandmother’s cabin and supervising her rebellious teenage niece, Erika, will offer any much-needed rejuvenation.

As Ragni and Erika clean, they begin to uncover the secret paintings and life of Nilda, Ragni’s ancestor who lived in the ...

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2010 Audio CD Library Binding 2009. A good ex-library audio book in an 11-CD set. Some CDs have light scuffs or smudges, but nothing that should interfere with listening. ... Library markings on hard plastic case, and small markings on each CD. Case has some very slight rubbing. Price stickers on front. Booksavers receives donated books and recycles them in a variety of ways. Proceeds benefit the work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in the U.S. and around the world. Read more Show Less

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Brushstroke Legacy

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Forbidden. Hidden. Denied. Can art be powerful enough to endure?

Ragni Clauson’s work, relationships, and body all seem to be falling apart. And she isn’t convinced that spending her vacation fixing up her great-grandmother’s cabin and supervising her rebellious teenage niece, Erika, will offer any much-needed rejuvenation.

As Ragni and Erika clean, they begin to uncover the secret paintings and life of Nilda, Ragni’s ancestor who lived in the cabin in the early 1900s. Ragni doesn’t know how much she has in common with her great-grandmother, but it becomes clear Nilda faced her own struggles. Taking care of home and menfolk, fighting off locusts, raising her daughter, and finding time to paint in the midst of it all were not easy tasks. Will Nilda’s passion for enduring art re-ignite Ragni’s artistic soul a century later?

Weaving together the stories of three generations of women, The Brushstroke Legacy stirs us to believe that no matter the circumstances, we are called to use our gifts– never knowing when they might bring a stranger to a new place of hope.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Snelling (Saturday Morning; The Healing Quilt), known for her inspirational romance novels, sets this story largely in North Dakota. Ragni, a single woman who is struggling with her job and her father's Alzheimer's disease, agrees against her will to fix up her great-grandmother's cabin. She's accompanied by her teenage niece, Erika, who has taken to wearing all black and rarely talks to Ragni anymore. Snelling takes this opportunity to weave together Ragni's story with the story of Nilda, her great-grandmother, who traveled out by train in the early 1900s to be a frontier housekeeper. Both women encounter hardships-like the plague of grasshoppers that strips the crops in Nilda's time or Ragni's more humorous attempts to get Erika to adjust to life without modern conveniences. Both of them paint; when Ragni and Erika discover some of Nilda's paintings, they begin to feel close to her and are inspired to continue their own artistic pursuits. And both Ragni and Nilda enjoy romance with interesting men. The story has its sweet moments, but is largely tedious: the dialogue plods, the characters have little emotional depth, the historical details are sparse and the conclusions are not believable. And while the main character is a modern-day 30-something, the book is written in a style that will appeal most to older readers. (Sept. 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Praise for The Brushstroke Legacy

The Brushstroke Legacy is Lauraine Snelling at her best. Snelling paints a rich tapestry of setting and characters that pull the reader into the story immediately. An engrossing story!”
–Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer

“With deft strokes, Lauraine Snelling pens a story of one woman’s discovery of self...and the ties that bind generations of women together. The characters of The Brushstroke Legacy will live on in your heart long after you reach the final page.”
–Carol Cox, author of Ticket to Tomorrow

“Lauraine Snelling has once again proven why she is the beloved author of so many wonderful works of fiction. She has woven the past with the present in a heartstirring fashion.”
–Eva Marie Everson, co-author of The Potluck Club Series

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440706578
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/13/2009

Meet the Author

Lauraine Snelling
Lauraine Snelling has published over fifty books, including The Healing Quilt, The Way of Women, and Saturday Morning. The recipient of the Silver Angel Award and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart, Lauraine teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and at her home in the California Tehachapi Mountains. She and husband, Wayne, have two grown sons and a Basset Hound named Chewy.
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Read an Excerpt

The Brushstroke Legacy

By Lauraine Snelling

Random House

Lauraine Snelling

All right reserved.

ISBN: 1578567890

Chapter One

Chicago, June 11, 2002
Her dream had been a lie. When Ragni woke, failure stung in the
morning light.
She fought to ignore the pull of the sheets tugging at her arm, dragging her back into the haze of twilight sleep where everything went away. The dream--what was the dream? Ah yes, she'd been painting with watercolors, a garden grown wild with bloom. She heard an alarm ring again, but this time it was the phone across the room, a sound that tore at her nerves like a car alarm stuck in perpetual squall. Bash it, drown it, drop it out of the second-story window. Ragni just wanted to turn off the phone and crawl back in bed, back to her dream.
Through the sleepy haze, however, she recognized that if everything went right she could still make it to work on time. That'd be a nice change. For ten years, she'd been known for never being late. Now she had a warning note in her file for tardiness. She glared at the still-ringing phone. Ignoring the urge to lie back down, she stomped across the room and stayed standing, thumb punishing the Talk button.
"My, my, a bit testy this morning, aren't we?" It was Alisha, her boss's assistant at Advantage Advertising, Inc.--or AAI, which could also be an acronym for a scream. Both fit.
"Are we really?" Ragni matched saccharine tone for saccharine tone. This was all she needed--a conversation with Alishabefore coffee. Alisha who saw herself more as savior than assistant.
"You will be on time this morning." The tone conveyed order rather than request.
"Yes." God willing and the el on time. "But not if I stand here visiting."
Ragni, you must regain the upper hand if you want to keep hold of your remaining sanity.
"I called you last night to remind you to bring the dog biscuit file, but you didn't answer and you didn't return my call."
The urge to slam the Off button gnawed at her fingers. Ragni never liked the feeling of being in trouble with the principal--and this woman was neither her principal nor her boss.
"I-I'm..." She cut off the urge to apologize and finished, "It is already in my briefcase."
Not that the file had ever been out of her briefcase. After arriving home close to nine the night before, she'd collapsed on the couch rather than reviewing the file and preparing for the morning meeting. When she woke enough to crawl into bed several hours later, she'd promised herself to get up early to go over the ad layouts.
"Look, Alisha, if I don't get off the phone, I won't make the el, and if I don't make the el..." She let the sentence run off deliberately. When Alisha started to speak again, Ragni interrupted. "Got another call, bye." She pressed the Off button and set the phone back in the stand.
I can do this. I can do this.
Ragni closed her eyes and pictured her dream vacation. In just three days she would walk through the door of the Golden Dreams Spa, greeted by soft music and a heavenly fragrance. A smiling woman would show her to her room and explain the program for the entire week. She'd be pampered with massages every day, pools of this, soaks of that, sea salt scrubs, manicure, pedicure, facial. No cooking, no work. Naps in the afternoon. Workouts every day to magically do away with the accumulated flab. And it was already paid for. If only she could afford an extra week, surely all her troubles would be over and she'd return refreshed, revitalized, restored, and every other re word she could think of. But then the spa brochure promised those same results could happen after only one week. Most likely they had ocean-front property for sale in Arizona too. Ragni opened her eyes and sighed. She would be content with one week at the spa and then two weeks at the cabin she'd rented on the Wisconsin shores of Lake Superior, the cabin their family had frequented many times through the years. Only this year she would go alone and finish mapping out the rest of her life. Or at least get it back on track.
Get yourself dressed and out that door--now! She used to order herself to do something, and she would do it. She shook her head. Get going! You don't want to be yelled at for being late--again. She headed to the shower and twenty-eight minutes later locked the apartment door behind her. Out on the street, she glanced heavenward--heavy clouds but still dry. Go back for my umbrella or take a chance? she wondered, and then glanced at her watch. A quick dash and she could still make the el--but only by risking the rain. Once she collapsed into a seat on the train bound for downtown Chicago, she watched the houses, businesses, and buildings blow by as the train picked up speed. Their windows were dead eyes facing the track.
Back on the street, Ragni was headed toward her office when the clouds opened and a biblical deluge soaked the masses before they could get their umbrellas up. Bad-mouthing her own umbrella, safe and dry in the stand by the door at home, Ragni used her morning newspaper to save her hair from turning into dripping strings. As the folded paper collapsed on her head, she picked up her pace. Just another good example of her recent bad choices. Thank You, God, that I have dry clothes at work. Since her workout clothes had not been used for months, they were indeed dry, albeit not the usual work attire.
"Bad morning, Miss Ragni?" The smiling face of the security guard did nothing to lift her spirits, even though the wide gash of white teeth in his dark face usually brightened her day.
"Yes." A sneeze caught her before she could cover it.
"You better be getting warm and dry right quick, before you catch your death."
"I will. Thanks, Norman." She flew across the marble-floored lobby and smacked her palm against the elevator door closing in her face. Couldn't those inside see that she was almost there? She punched the Up button with extra force, then punched it again. "That will surely hurry it along." The man's raincoat still dripped, but his umbrella had evidently been up in time: His hair, face, and shoulders were dry.
"Thanks for the encouragement." She knew her answer was nearly a snarl, but Mr. Perfect Bradley Dennison always managed to set her off, even when she wasn't soaking wet and making a puddle on the floor. He handed her a dry handkerchief. "Here, this could help your face at least."
"Thanks, but I'm fine." She sneezed again, and his eyebrows rose. When the elevator on her right pinged open, he motioned her to go first--which meant she would be in the back of the box even though her floor was only four flights up. She should have used the stairs. By the time she reached the fourth floor, the steam from the effort might have begun the drying process.
Busy people crushed into the elevator before it left the lobby, and sure enough, her floor was the first stop. Lord, could I have just one tiny break here? Like James comes in late or something? Anything?
Her stomach clenched, sending the taste of coffee burning back up her throat.
"Excuse me, pardon me." She shouldered her way out, and the door closed behind her. After the brief warmth of close bodies, the draft in the long hall made her shiver. She paused to push her dripping hair off her face before opening the door to the reception area of AAI. Muted silver-gray walls set off the framed display ads and their awards, all lit by silver picture lights. Bronze football mums stood tall in a silver vase on a table between two black leather love seats, with a matching single mum on the glass desk. Carmen, the receptionist behind the desk, shook her head in pretend commiseration. "You look like a drowned rat." With not a hair out of place, she obviously had come in before the downpour.
Ragni knew if she'd been early the way she always used to be, she'd be in the same condition. She felt like slithering along the floor and under the door into her office.
"Thanks a heap. If anyone asks, I'm in the bathroom changing clothes."
"I'll let them know."
Ragni dumped her briefcase by her desk, grabbed her duffel bag out of the closet, and continued on to the rest room. She went into the last stall and pulled a towel from her bag. She stripped down, then toweled off and pulled on a sports bra, T-shirt, and shorts that now fit like skin, showing every pound she'd gained in recent months. Some people weren't able to eat when depressed, but she was obviously not of that ilk. Be grateful for the small things, she reminded herself. At least they're dry.
She hung her work clothes up to drip and shoved her feet into her lace-up cross-training shoes. After toweling her hair dry, she took her brush and tried to force some style back into her sagging locks. The
mirror reminded her that she didn't need mascara trails to make her pale blue eyes look tired and sad, and the highlights didn't really bring her dark blond hair to life as her stylist had promised. Even her skin
looked tired. Carmen popped her head in the bathroom. "Ragni, you about ready? James is looking for you."
Ragni groaned. "Give me two minutes." Thanks for nothing,
Father. I just needed one little miracle.
What had her boss found wrong now? Once good friends, lately they'd been on opposite sides of nearly every issue. When had they passed from unanimity and team work to dissension? An old song floated through her mind, "Why is everybody always picking on me?"
Grow up, Ragni. You deserve all the recriminations you get. Lately your work stinks. She glommed her shoulder-length hair back into a scrunchy, applied lipstick after making sure her supposedly waterproof mascara no longer ran black tracks down her cheeks, and straight-armed the swinging door.
Three more days and she was outta here.
"You got caught in the rain, I hear." James Hendricks, head of AAI, glanced up from the advertisement layouts that she'd left on his desk the previous night. Back in the days when she'd been doing the artwork herself, things had never been late. But now that she'd been promoted to team coordinator, she'd yet to meet a deadline. There was always some excuse from her team, but no matter how valid or invalid, the responsibility rested with her. And made her look bad and feel worse. Another cause of the black cloud smothering her.
"Yes. Good thing we're not meeting with clients today." She stopped beside him and studied the layout. While the client had approved the tentative design, he'd not seen the finished copy yet. Something about it bothered her. The way James was studying it, something bothered him too. Excuses pleaded to be said, but Ragni knew sometimes keeping one's mouth shut was the better part of valor.
"We can't let it go out like this." James said.
She barely kept her groan inside. "What changes do you suggest?"
"Pump up the color, take out this..." He slashed through a shadow.
Why didn't I see that?
He turned to look at her. "I'm surprised you let that get by."
Me too. She glanced at him, then back down at the layout. Something was indeed wrong. "Wait a minute. I'll be right back." Heading for her office, she clamped her teeth in a burst of fury. Someone had changed the printout, she was sure of it. What in the world was going on? When the layout on her screen matched the one James had been studying, she leaned back in her chair and jerked the scrunchy from
her hair so she could stab her fingers through the damp strands. I am sure that's not the print I okayed last night. She punched James's extension. "Give me a few minutes. There is something seriously
wrong here."
"This was due two days ago."
"I know. But we have some wiggle room with the magazine. I just need to check this out." Thank You, God, that I am so manic about backups. After digging in her purse for her keys, she unlocked the lower drawer on her desk, the one where she kept not only important papers but backup CDs.
When she popped the final CD into her computer and brought up the ad, she studied it carefully. Sure enough, while the changes had been minute, the ads were different. This had never been her favorite ad, but it had to go in. She hit the Print button and smoothed her hair back again while she waited.
When she laid the new copy in front of James, he stared at the two layouts. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure." But you can bet I'm going to find out.
She spent the rest of the morning making sure the final copy was ready. After she sent it off, she called in her team. Helene, Donald, and Peter took their usual places, coffee cups in hand, and waited for her to start.
"Okay, you want to tell me what's going on here?" At their blank looks, she continued by holding up the two printouts. "Who made the changes?"
They looked at her, all shrugging, all appearing innocent. Ragni rubbed her forehead where a headache was past debating whether it should attack and pounded like the bass in a heavy metal band.
"Ragni, the one on the right is the one we finished last night," Donald, second-in-command, said softly.
"It's not the one James had for final approval this morning." She held up the one on the left. "This was. And this is the one now in the computer. Again I ask...any ideas?" I hate being a supervisor. The extra
money just isn't worth it.
She rubbed her forehead again. How am I going to find the culprit?

Too tired to function any longer, and no closer to solving the mystery of the switched ad, Ragni walked out of her office six hours later. Since she'd left work at the traditional rush hour rather than her usual seven or eight o'clock departure, she was forced to stand on the el. The phone blipped its last ring as she opened the door to her apartment. The answering machine light flashed red, demanding her attention like everything else in her life. She dumped her briefcase, damp clothes, and coat in a pile on the sofa, and went on to her bedroom to change into sweats.
It was no longer raining, but the wind made it feel more like March than June. Finally getting warm in her gray sweats, she put the teakettle on for herbal tea, although coffee sounded far more appealing.


Excerpted from The Brushstroke Legacy
by Lauraine Snelling Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Amazing book!

    I loved rhis book it was Awesome!!!! I loved how she went back and forth from 1906 and 2002! An amazing book i would recomend this to anyone!

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  • Posted April 9, 2012


    Having read many of Lauraine Snelling's series I chose this one because of the unique weaving of the generations and I was not disappointed. It is a quick read that is difficult to put down. The modern day character is very realistic and I was able to relate to her. I would heartily recommend this book. You will enjoy it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2008

    Great Book

    I have read most of Lauraine Snellings books and this is one of my favorites. I loved how she went back and forth from 2002 to 1906. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good christian fiction story.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Paintbrush Connection

    Ragni is fed up with her advertising job in Chicago. She's also frustrated that her dad has Alzheimer's making life for her mother extremely difficult. She also has to put up with her older sister complaining about her teenage niece going through a rebellious period. When her spa vacation is cut short due her mother wanting her to look at some old family property in North Dakota, Ragni and her niece Erika set out on a road trip. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start due their differences as they grew apart. When they get to the house, it's in shambles and they have to work together to try to fix out. Out of their normal elements, the two soon find remnants of their ancestor Nilda who left her artistic touch around the house and in both of them. The story flips between Ragni's story and Nilda's, who was a housekeeper who came with her daughter to work for a man out west. This was good compelling story. I love all of Lauraine Snelling books and this one disappoint. Ragni is your everday career woman who needs to take a break from work. Erika is the rebellious teenager who wants everyone to leave her alone. The two are forced to get along and it is interesting to see how their relationship changes throughout the story. I liked the going back and forth between Ragni's and Nilda's stories. Nilda's story reminded me Janette Oke's Love Come Softly. Very sweet and frontier-like. The only thing I wondered was it didn't seem like Ragni knew about Nilda's story. I didn't see her reading a diary or hearing old stories from her mother. So I dont' know if Ragni and Erika knew the whole story about why she lived in the house. The two though are reconnected with each other and their own selves after seeing their ancestor's paintings. It was cool to read about Ragni's inspirations and urges to want to paint. I really enjoyed this book. Who knew North Dakota could be such a scenic and adventurous place?

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    warm character study

    In Chicago, Ragni Clausen feels her life is a lie as she has failed at everything important. At her job at Advantage Advertising Inc, she feels like screaming AAI as someone modified her dog biscuit ad campaign. Her love life just ended unceremoniously. Her dad suffers form dementia. Now her mom has a note from a Paul Heidelberg claiming the family cabin on the Little Missouri is in need of repair after two harsh winters. Her sister Susan and their mom want Ragni to go the Badlands to fix the cabin while on vacation, but Susan demands she also take her niece Erika with her by calling in a sisterly favor. Not only is Erika irate over having to tag along, she detests the need for a baby sitter as she is a teen though her mom explained she will be busy much of the summer. In the Dakotas, the two females find the cabin devastated and consider persuading mom to sell to Heidelberg. However, they find several paintings by Ragni¿s great-grandmother Nilda that inspire the two women to make a go at restoring the family cabin and Paul as a surprisingly young neighbor willing to help. --- THE BRUSHSTROKE LEGACY is a warm character study that enables readers to compare life between 2002 and 1906 Badlands. The strong realistic evolving relationship between the aunt and her niece is delightfully portrayed though the same cannot be said of the seemingly rushed love between Paul and Ragni. Still the thrust of this fine moving story is the three generations of women finding their respective niche. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted June 9, 2011

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    Posted June 6, 2013

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