A Matter of Character (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series #3)

( 13 )

Overview

The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series delivers exactly what readers have been waiting for—smart, confident women who are not afraid to defy convention, live their own dreams, and share their lives if the right man comes along.

In A Matter of Character, book three in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, it's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs. But Daphne has a ...

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A Matter of Character (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series #3)

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Overview

The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series delivers exactly what readers have been waiting for—smart, confident women who are not afraid to defy convention, live their own dreams, and share their lives if the right man comes along.

In A Matter of Character, book three in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, it's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories … except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Hatcher, Robin Lee (Author)
Jun 2010. 400 p. Zondervan, paperback, $14.99. (9780310258070).
Although her family is wealthy, Daphne McKinley has moved to the small town of Bethlehem Springs,
where she writes Wild West adventure dime novels under the pseudonym D. B. Morgan. Newspaper editor
Joshua Crawford has put his life on hold until he can expose the lies that this Morgan fellow has written about the beloved, saintly grandfather who raised him. Once Daphne meets Joshua, it takes a while for her to decide to acknowledge her secret identity. After all, no proper lady would dare pen dime novels in 1918.
But when Daphne discovers how serious Joshua is about clearing his grandfather’s name, and how important it is to him, she tells the truth about her alter ego and accompanies Joshua on a fact-finding mission. The popular Hatcher has written another inspirational romance, peppered with Bible verses,
which should be a big hit with her many readers.
Booklist
Hatcher, Robin Lee (Author)
Jun 2010. 400 p. Zondervan, paperback, $14.99. (9780310258070).
Although her family is wealthy, Daphne McKinley has moved to the small town of Bethlehem Springs,
where she writes Wild West adventure dime novels under the pseudonym D. B. Morgan. Newspaper editor Joshua Crawford has put his life on hold until he can expose the lies that this Morgan fellow has written about the beloved, saintly grandfather who raised him. Once Daphne meets Joshua, it takes a while for her to decide to acknowledge her secret identity. After all, no proper lady would dare pen dime novels in 1918.
But when Daphne discovers how serious Joshua is about clearing his grandfather's name, and how important it is to him, she tells the truth about her alter ego and accompanies Joshua on a fact-finding mission. The popular Hatcher has written another inspirational romance, peppered with Bible verses,
which should be a big hit with her many readers. -- Booklist
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robin Lee Hatcher is the bestselling author of 70 books. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin and her husband currently reside in Idaho. For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com.

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Read an Excerpt

A Matter of Character

The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs
By Robin Lee Hatcher

Zondervan

Copyright © 2010 RobinSong, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-25807-0


Chapter One

October 1918

Maybe it was time to kill Rawhide Rick. He'd served his purpose, the old rascal. He'd hunted buffalo and fought Indians and stolen gold from hardworking miners and sent men to the gallows. Now might be the time for him to meet his Maker. The trick was deciding how to kill him.

Daphne McKinley rose from her desk and walked into the parlor, where she pushed aside the curtains at the window.

A golden haze blanketed Bethlehem Springs. It had been a beautiful autumn. The prettiest one yet in her three years in this serene Idaho mountain town. The trees had been the brightest of golds, the most fiery of reds, the deepest of greens. Daphne had spent many a mild afternoon walking trails through the forest, enjoying the colors and the smells.

If Rawhide Rick-who by this point in the series of books had become the infamous Judge Richard Terrell-was dead, what would become of the dashing Bill McFarland, hero of The McFarland Chronicles? Without his arch enemy, his life might become rather dull. Or perhaps it was Daphne who would find life dull without Rawhide Rick. Wicked he was, but he certainly kept things interesting whenever he was around.

She rubbed her eyelids with the tips of her fingers, and when she pulled them away, she noticed ink stains on her right hand. Her fountain pen was leaking. Perhaps it was time to buy a typewriter. But would writing on a machine feel the same?

Daphne turned from the window, her gaze sweeping the parlor. She'd come to love this small house on Wallula Street. Since moving into it soon after Gwen-its previous owner-married Daphne's brother, she'd delighted in making it her home, decorating and furnishing it in ways that pleased her. Daphne's childhood homes had been large and filled with servants waiting to attend to her slightest wish. But she had often been forced to live by the timetables of others. Now she could do as she willed, when she willed. The freedom she enjoyed was intoxicating.

The best part was when she wanted to be with family, she got into her motorcar-her very own, quite wonderful McLaughlin-Buick-and drove to her brother's home to play with her young nephew and infant niece. She was completely dotty over the two of them. She loved to crawl around on the floor with Andy-he would turn two at the end of November-the both of them squealing and giggling. And there was nothing like cuddling three-month-old Ellie. Daphne thought the baby girl smelled like sunshine.

A sigh escaped her. She hadn't time for daydreaming about Morgan's and Gwen's darling children. She must decide what to do. If she was going to kill the judge, she needed to notify Elwood Shriver at once. Wavering in indecisiveness served no good purpose.

She returned to her small office. The floor around her desk was littered with wadded sheets of paper. It was always thus when words frustrated her. "So wasteful," she scolded softly.

As she sat down, she took up the five-day-old newspaper. News of the war half a world away was splashed across the front page. More than a million American men-just boys, many of them-were now fighting in Europe alongside the Allied Powers. The end was near, some said. She prayed to God they were right. Too many had died already. Others, like Woody Statham, would wear the scars from their war wounds for the remainder of their lives-if not on their bodies then in their souls.

She flipped through several more pages of the newspaper, but nothing she read captured her imagination or sparked her creativity. Besides, she'd read every article before, some of them several times.

Maybe her problem wasn't with Rawhide Rick. Maybe the problem was Bill McFarland. Maybe she was tired of him. Maybe he should die.

"Maybe the whole lot of them should perish," she muttered as she laid the newspaper aside.

She spun her chair toward the bookcase beneath the office window. There, on the bottom row, were copies of The McFarland Chronicles by D. B. Morgan, all ten volumes. And if she didn't decide soon what to do about Rawhide Rick, ten volumes would be all there were.

There was no question that Daphne loved writing stories of adventure and danger in the West of forty and fifty years ago. And while she would concede that her books were not great literature, they were entertaining, for readers and for herself. But there were days like today when she was tempted to contact her editor in New York City and tell him that she (D. B. McKinley, whom Elwood Shriver thought to be a man) was retiring and thus so must D. B. Morgan (the pseudonym used on her books). However, she knew she would miss the storytelling were she to give it up. After all, it didn't take much effort to clean her small house or cook the occasional meal. Without her writing pursuits, what would she do with her time?

It would be nice if she could discuss her feelings with someone, but there wasn't another person, in Bethlehem Springs or elsewhere, who knew she was the author of dime novels. She wasn't sure her brother would believe her if she told him. The only soul who might suspect anything was Dedrik Finster, the Bethlehem Springs postmaster, because of the mail she sent and received, but his English wasn't the best and he probably had no idea that Shriver & Sons was a publishing company. Why would he?

Maybe what she needed more than anything was a drive out to the Arlington ranch and a long visit with Griff Arlington, Gwen and Cleo's father. That man had given her more story ideas in the last three years than she could ever hope to put on paper. It was Griff who had told her about the escapades of the real-life Richard Terrell, every bit as much a scoundrel as her fictional character, although perhaps in different ways. Yes, a visit with Griff was just what the doctor ordered.

Her mind made up, she rose and went in search of hat, gloves, and coat.

* * *

Joshua stepped from the passenger car onto the platform and looked about him. A large family-father, mother, and six children-were being escorted into the railroad station by a young man in a blue uniform. They were on their way to a hot springs resort located north of Bethlehem Springs. He knew this because they had spoken of little else during the journey, and Joshua couldn't have helped but overhear their conversation as they'd been a rather boisterous group.

He, on the other hand, was headed into the town that appeared to be about a quarter mile or so up a dirt road that passed between two low-slung hills. Switching his valise to the opposite hand, he set off in that direction.

The first building he saw upon entering Bethlehem Springs was a church. All Saints Presbyterian, according to the sign out front. Catty-corner from All Saints was the Daily Herald, his destination. He crossed the street and entered the newspaper office. Familiar smells-newsprint, ink, dust-filled his nostrils.

An attractive but pale-looking woman, dressed in black, came out of the back room, hesitated when she saw him, then moved forward, stopping on the opposite side of a raised counter. "May I help you, sir?"

"Yes." He set down his valise and removed his hat. "My name is Joshua Crawford. I'm here to see Nathan Patterson."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Crawford." Her voice broke, and it took her a moment to continue. "Mr. Patterson passed away." She drew a long breath and released it. "I'm his widow. Perhaps I can assist you."

Either Nathan Patterson had been much older than his wife or he had died tragically young, for Joshua guessed the woman to be no more than in her early thirties.

"I ... I'm sorry, ma'am. I didn't know. Mr. Patterson recently offered me a job as a reporter for the Daily Herald. I've just arrived in Bethlehem Springs."

"Yes. I'm sorry. I'd forgotten your name. Nathan told me to expect you."

Joshua had counted on this job. Without it, he couldn't afford to stay in Idaho. He would barely have enough money for train fare back to St. Louis, as long as he didn't spend a night in the hotel, and even then he wouldn't have much left over to buy food. He would be extremely hungry before he reached Missouri. Not to mention that he wouldn't have a job waiting for him when he got there-unless he was successful here first.

"I'm glad you've come, Mr. Crawford. My husband would be heartbroken to see this newspaper fail. I assume you can do more than report?"

"Ma'am?"

"You are qualified to manage the paper, I trust."

Manage it? That was more than he'd expected. But if it worked out ... "Yes, I am qualified," he answered-with more confidence than he felt.

"Good. Nathan's final instruction was for me to offer you the job as managing editor of the Daily Herald. If you're interested, that is."

He hadn't thought to be in Idaho more than a month or two. Surely he could discover the information he needed, take care of matters, and return to Missouri before Christmas. On the other hand, success as a managing editor would look good on his résumé, would give him many more opportunities than simply working as a reporter for a small paper.

"Are you interested, Mr. Crawford?"

He had few other options. None, actually. Not if he wanted to honor his grandfather's memory. Not if he wanted to restore his own good name and get back his old job. Taking the job as managing editor didn't mean he would be here forever. He could keep the newspaper running until Mrs. Patterson found his replacement. It was the least he could do for the man who had paid his train fare from Missouri to Idaho. "Yes, Mrs. Patterson. I'm interested."

"The pay will be ninety-five dollars a month to start. I know it isn't the sort of salary you must have received at a large newspaper, but you'll have a place to live for free." She pointed at the ceiling. "There's an apartment above the office with a kitchen and bath. It hasn't been used for several years, but with a bit of elbow grease, it should clean up well and prove adequate for a bachelor such as yourself."

Ninety-five a month. Not quite twelve hundred a year. Less than Langston Lee had paid him back in St. Louis, but more than the sum Nathan Patterson had offered when he'd applied for the job with the Daily Herald. With a place to live thrown in, the salary would allow him to put money aside for when he returned to Missouri.

"That sounds fine," he answered.

Mrs. Patterson gave him a fleeting smile. "Good. Now let me show you to your quarters. I'm sure you must be weary from your journey. We can begin work in the morning."

* * *

Daphne was invited by Griff Arlington to have supper with the family and to spend the night at the ranch as she occasionally did, but she declined. Griff's storytelling about his early days in Idaho had done just what she'd hoped. Ideas were rolling around in her head, and she was desperate to get them on paper before they disappeared like a puff of smoke in the wind.

As soon as she walked into her house, she tossed her coat over the nearest chair, dropped her hat on the table, and hurried into her office, where she lit the lamp and began scribbling as fast as she could. It seemed she barely drew a breath for the next hour. When she looked up at last, she saw that night had fallen over Bethlehem Springs. Her stomach growled, reminding her that she'd missed supper. Still, she had little desire to cook. This seemed like a good evening to pay a visit to one of the town's restaurants.

Daphne had three choices - the Gold Mountain, which served the most wonderful breakfasts; the restaurant inside the Washington Hotel where she liked to dine before an evening at the Opera House; and the South Fork, famous for their pies and home-style fare. She decided on the latter.

As she walked briskly along Wallula Street toward Main, her way was lit by street lamps, one of many improvements made during Mayor Gwen McKinley's term of office, which had ended almost ten months earlier. Daphne thought it unfortunate for the town that her sister-in-law had retired from public service. She hoped that, when her nephew and niece were older, Gwen would run for office again.

As Daphne neared the office of the Daily Herald, she noticed light spilling through the windows of the apartment above it, something she'd never seen before. Was the newly widowed Christina Patterson up there, perhaps sorting through memorabilia from her marriage? Should Daphne postpone her evening meal another hour and see if she could offer the woman any comfort or assistance?

Nathan Patterson's death had been a shock to the town. A man of thirty-seven years, he'd looked in the pink of health. To have him weaken and die so suddenly had taken everyone, especially his wife, by surprise. And even while they grieved the loss of a friend, many wondered about the future of the Daily Herald. It had been almost a week since the last edition. What would become of the newspaper without Nathan at its helm?

A shadow fell across the nearest window, and Daphne stopped on the sidewalk, still pondering what she should do. Would Christina welcome a visit from her or had she gone up there to escape intrusion? Daphne remembered all too well how difficult the death of a loved one could be. She'd been a girl of sixteen when her beloved father died, a young woman of twenty when she'd lost her mother. Even now, all these years later, she felt a painful sting in her chest, knowing she wouldn't see either of them again this side of heaven.

She also remembered that sometimes she'd wanted to be alone with her memories, alone to cry and mourn. And so she decided not to disturb the new widow and instead moved on, rounding the corner onto Main Street and entering the South Fork Restaurant a few moments later.

Delicious scents filled the dining room, making her stomach grumble once again. It was late enough that the dinner crowd had come and gone. There were customers at only two tables-Mabel and Roscoe Finch, who worked for her brother and sister-in-law, and Ashley Thurber, the elementary school teacher. Daphne greeted each one of them before sitting at a table in the corner, her back to the wall. Whenever she dined out, she preferred similar seating. It allowed her to study others without being too obvious. She loved to watch and listen to people. She'd learned a great deal from the habit, and much of what she'd learned had made it into her stories at one time or another.

Sara Henley - a shy, plain girl of eighteen - approached Daphne, a pad in her hand and a smile on her face. "Evening, Miss McKinley.

"Good evening, Sara." Daphne returned the girl's smile. "How are you?"

"Wonderful." Sara lowered her voice. "My dad's agreed I can study art. I won't leave for school until spring, and I have to save every cent I earn to help cover my expenses. But all winter I can look forward to going."

Daphne touched the back of Sara's hand with her fingertips. "I'm glad for you. You have a wonderful talent. You must promise that you'll write and tell me all about the school and its instructors once you're there."

"'Course I will. If it wasn't for your encouragement, I never would've had the nerve to ask my dad to let me go."

Daphne had done little besides tell Sara that she shouldn't give up on her dreams, no matter how long it took, that God could open doors in surprising ways if she would simply trust Him. But she was glad Sara had found her words to be helpful and even more glad that Sara's father had consented. "I believe art school will be the making of you. Wait and see if I'm not right."

Sara blushed bright red. "I'd better take your order, Miss McKinley." She glanced over her shoulder toward the kitchen. "Mr. Boyle will wonder what's keeping me."

"Is there any meatloaf left?"

"Sure is."

"Then that's what I'll have. With gravy on the potatoes, please."

"I'll bring it right out."

As Sara disappeared into the restaurant kitchen, the front door opened, letting in the cool night air along with a man Daphne had never seen before. He was tall, at least six feet, perhaps a little more. He had brown hair that was shaggy near his collar, and unless the poor light in the restaurant deceived her, there was the shadow of a beard under the skin of his jaw and upper lip.

Who was he? Not a cowboy nor a miner. That was clear by the clothes he wore. His suit appeared of good quality, but even from where she sat she could tell it had seen its share of wear. A man of trade perhaps or a salesman. Definitely not a guest of her brother's spa, for he looked neither wealthy nor in poor health.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher Copyright © 2010 by RobinSong, Inc.. 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 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Great Author

    Each book has been better than the last. Love it

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    Great trilogy about strong, intelligent, independent women

    A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher is the third in trilogy of Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series. Daphne McKinley born to privilege and loves her independent life in 1918 Idaho. She enjoys her life in small town yet secretly writes dime novels under pseudonym about the Old West about a villain called Rawhide Rick who she based on a real man she's heard stories about. Joshua Crawford has come to Bethlehem Springs seeking the author D.B. Morgan who has written series of stories about his grandfather Rawhide Rick aka Judge Terrrell to force the author to retract the stories and to prove that Richard was a honest man of God. Once Joshua discovers the secret, he along with Daphne depart on journey to discover the truth about his grandfather. Can their budding romance survive the turbulence of exposed secret on both sides?

    R.L. Hatcher really does great job in portraying strong, independent, intelligent women & matching them with handsome, bright men, in intriguing stories that pull them together and apart. This trilogy about Gwen, Chleo, and Daphne is filled with wit, faith, romance, and humor which is delightful to read and pass time. Looking forward to her new book Bounty of Silver and her new historical trilogy.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Matter of Character

    A Matter of Character is the third book in The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, and can easily be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone book. The cover picture on this book is kind of quirky and it captured my interest, and I was not disappointed. Daphne McKinley is pictured on the cover behind the wheel of her bright red McLaughlin-Buick car, which she has affectionately dubbed Mack.

    Living a somewhat quiet life in the small western town of Bethlehem Springs, not even Daphne's family knows about the secret life that she leads. That is, until a newspaper editor, Joshua Crawford, comes to town looking for the author who wrote less-than-flattering stories about his grandfather. Joshua does not believe that his grandfather is the villain portrayed in the novels, and he vows to keep looking for D.B. Morgan until the truth is told.

    Living in a small town means that Daphne and Joshua can't help but see each other often, and neither of them is prepared for the way their lives will be changed. I thoroughly enjoyed this redeeming story of God's love and how lives can be dramatically changed.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Refreshing, Inspirational Historical!

    A MATTER OF CHARACTER by Robin Lee Hatcher is an Inspirational Historical set in St. Louis, Missouri and Bethlehem Springs, Missouri. It is a refreshing, historical with romance, understanding, faith, coming to terms with the truth of a loved one's life as a young man into adulthood. It is well written with depth and detail. It is the third and last in The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, but can be read as a stand alone. The hero has a temper, and is out to find the truth about his grandfather, who has been written into a dime novel, not in the best of light. He is a villain. He learns the truth is not always want you want it to be and what you believe to be true. He also falls in love along the way, with the writter no less. The heroine is a determined, strong willed young women who writes dime novels under a man's name. She will also find that all is not as it seems and of course falls in love. This is a tender story of faith, romance, and family. If would highly recommend this story. If you have not read the other two in this series, I would also recommend reading them ( Book #1 A Vote of Confidence, and Book #2 Fit To Be Tied). This is a fast paced, page turning must read. A keeper. This book was received for review and details can be found at My Book Addiction and More and Zondervan.

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  • Posted May 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best in the series

    A Matter of Character was a fabulous conclusion to an endearing series. In fact, it's my favorite book of the three. I really appreciate how all of Robin's books in this series were set in Idaho and that they all focused on women with unique situations. It was fun getting to know Daphne. Her personality was perfect for an author, and her discovery of true love was beautiful. I thought it was neat how she realized that while she wrote about falling in love, until she experienced it herself, she had no idea how powerful the emotion could be.

    It was hilarious how Daphne handled things at times, too, like when she added a character to her book to torment when she was mad at Joshua. That was a real hoot. I also found the hero, Joshua, to be an all-around great guy even with his flaws. He was a decent person and that was probably why he struggled with setting things straight. I loved that he didn't want to hurt anyone, though sometimes delaying the inevitable hurts people more.

    There were many tender moments in this story and some awesome kisses, too. The best part for me was how it became an enjoyable escape for a few days. It's the perfect CBA romance because it was fun, clean, and had just the right amount of romantic tension to draw you into the romance without it overpowering the rest of the story. Robin is a truly amazing storyteller. Did I mention that I thoroughly enjoyed this final book in the series? I love it when the characters become my friends.

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  • Posted May 30, 2010

    Final book in Sisters of Bethlehem trilogy is sweetly romantic

    A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher is the third and final book in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series. Daphne McKinley loves her life in 1918 Idaho. She lives independently while spending plenty of time with her brother and sister-in-law and their two adorable children, and she just happens to secretly write dime novels about the Old West, including a villain called Rawhide Rick who she based on a real man she's heard stories about. Joshua Crawford has come to Bethlehem Springs seeking the author D.B. Morgan who has written several stories about his grandfather Richard Terrrell, aka Rawhide Rick, to force the author to retract the stories and to prove that Richard was a wonderful man of God, but when he meets Daphne his plan gets a little off track as he falls in love with her jubilant spirit and intelligence. A desperate illness throws the two together in enforced intimacy, bringing their hidden feelings to the surface. Can their romance survive the revelation that Daphne is the author of the books about Rawhide Rick or will a secret from Joshua's past destroy their growing relationship? Hatcher's writing is always a joy to read with strong handsome men, beautiful, intelligent women, and intriguing stories that pull them together and apart. I did think that the cabin scene happened a little too early in the story, because everything after that felt a bit stretched. This trilogy about Gwen, Chloe, and Daphne comes to a natural end with this volume filled with romance, faith, and humor.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    Great Read!

    Robin Lee Hatcher's latest release, A Matter of Character, provides readers with a fully engaging and well written piece. Daphne and Joshua, the two main characters, will have you laughing, crying and fighting mad throughout the book. True tenderness and respect are woven throughout many of the characters--characteristics that are hard to come by today. This book made me long for the days of old, but also reignited a passion to make decisions on a daily basis that shows true godly character to those I encounter.


    This book is excellent and you will close the book feeling refreshed. This was the first book I've read in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, so now I've got to go back and read the others. And I can't wait!

    I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    Thank you to CFBA and Zondervan for my copy of this enjoyable Christian fiction novel. Set in a small town in Idaho's 20th century, a romance with a bit of a mystery is skillfully plotted incorporating wonderfully complex characters. The author writes in third-person narrative so that the reader can "get into the head" of each character.

    The plot is interspersed with journal entries written by Joshua's deceased grandfather, Rawhide Rick, a true villain of the Old West. At first, this interruption felt a bit clumsy to me, but I soon adapted and ended up pleased with the overall effect. Although the reader can guess how the story will end, the plot is so well done that it's fun getting there.

    This is the third in a series, but is a stand-alone novel. I loved it!

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Matter of Character

    The book opens introducing Joshua Crawford as he lambasted a fellow reporter for misreporting the facts about his grandfather. After punching him and getting fired, he decides to show them that his grandfather is not the same man as portrayed in a series of dime store novels called The McFarland Chronicles. The author is D.B. Morgan from Bethlehem Springs, Idaho.

    Daphne Mckinley, an heiress who lives in Bethlehem Springs, cleverly hides behind the pseudonym, D.B. Morgan. Her villain in her dime store novel series is Rawhide Rick. She gets her information from a local named Griff. Not one soul in Bethlehem Springs knows that D.B. Morgan writes among them. The year is 1918 and though it was not unusual for women to write dime store novels, it is unusual for them to stray from romantic fiction. Daphne writes westerns. Joshua and Daphne will meet in the newspaper office of little Bethlehem Springs and eventually, Joshua does find out through logical deduction that Daphne is D.B. Morgan.

    Joshua is convinced that Daphne did his grandfather a great injustice by defaming him in her novels with untruths. He accompanies her to her sources and learns about his grandfather-the man he was before Joshua was born. It is a journey of learning for the two of them as neither of them are wrong. Robin Lee Hatcher cleverly intersperses Rawhide Rick or Richard Terrell's personal journal in between the chapters. When you are reading this book, you are actually reading two stories-Rawhide Rick's and Joshua and Daphne. At first, it confused me.

    I wondered if the chapters in italics was one of the McFarland Chronicles I was reading. Then, I realized it was both. I spent a couple of chapters confused before I understood and then I was still wrong when I got to the end of the book. As I closed the last chapter, I was glad I signed up to read it. It made me want to read all the books in The Sisters Of Bethlehem Springs series.

    The book brought to our attention the power of words. Daphne was historically correct in her information on Rawhide Rick and I don't think she was wrong to use a real character in her fictional dime store novel series. Joshua should not have lost his temper. He would have still had a job, but never would have met Daphne. Joshua had every right to get angry at how his grandfather was portrayed, but what both of them did not realize is the power of Rawhide Rick's complete story. He wasn't just a villain in the black and white sense, but lost in the grays were the stories of his life as Joshua knew him-an upright and honorable man who turned his life around.

    Nikole Hahn
    www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Matter of Character - another great book by Robin Lee Hatcher.

    Although it could be a stand-alone book, A Matter of Character, continues on the great saga of Bethlehem Springs with the same heartwarming characters from her last two books and fun spirit of the early 20th Century adventures in Old West Idaho. Daphne McKinley, sister to the first Bethlehem Springs hero, Morgan McKinley, is a female author in a dominant male authored world who finds herself in quite a writer's predicament. The romance, humor, and anticipation in seeing how God will help Daphne through this dilemma are quite entertaining. Robin never ceases to amaze me with her tapestry of lives and events she weaves together for our entertainment while she helps us grow joyfully in our walk with Jesus along the way as we relate to her characters.

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