The Blessing

The Blessing

by Jude Deveraux

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Overview

The Blessing by Jude Deveraux

"Another delightful and entertaining story with characters who walk off the pages into the reader's heart...truly a winner," said Rendezvous about Jude Deveraux's An Angel for Emily. "All sorts of clever turns and surprises. Definitely a keeper...wow!" raved the Philadelphia Inquirer. Now the beloved New York Times bestselling author concocts a charming, piquant tale about a take-charge businessman and a daffy but wise young widow, the special bonds of brotherhood, and the eternal love between mother and child, all set in a small Kentucky town during Christmas, the season of...
The Blessing
When wealthy, hard-driving corporate genius Jason Wilding reluctantly takes a break from his business and his husband-hunting girlfriends for a Christmas visit to his hometown in Abernathy, Kentucky, he has no idea what his physician brother, David, has in store for him. It seems that Amy Thompkins, a whimsical young widow with definite artistic talent, has captured David's heart, but courting her with a demanding baby in tow has been difficult. In order to pursue her, he persuades Jason to move into her home and take care of her spoiled but adorable son, Max, for a week.
For a fiercely efficient CEO, it's an impossible scene: a falling-down old house; buckets on the dining room floor to catch the rain; a widow living on next to nothing, with no marketable skills. But Amy's joy for life, her love for her son, and her sparkling humor are irresistible -- and tiny Max adores Jason beyond reason. Soon, Jason sees Amy and her future as a prime target for his strategic planning. Importing his private chef to prepare the little one's food and buying a baby store so that his mother can get real bargains are just the beginning. Because enigmatic Jason is thawing -- the tender feelings and longing he has buried for years are begging to be heard. And when he smiles, Amy is reminded of a Mount Rushmore monument finally cracking up -- in the best possible way.
The mutual attraction is glowing bright, but what to do about David? Once again, Jude Deveraux's deft hand and loving vision conjure up a novel full of surprises and delights, in a story that will warm all our hearts and make us believe in the power of miracles, large and small. It's a tale for all seasons, and a love story to remember always.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743417389
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 03/08/2001
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 206,255
File size: 337 KB

About the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of more than forty New York Times bestsellers, including Moonlight in the Morning, The Scent of Jasmine, Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, and Secrets. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.com.

Hometown:

Connecticut

Date of Birth:

September 20, 1947

Place of Birth:

Fairdale, Kentucky

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

"I ought to kill you, you know that? Just outright murder you," Jason Wilding said, looking at his brother from under straight black eyebrows that were topped with a lion's mane of steel gray hair.

"What else is new?" David asked, smiling at his older brother, giving that smile of such great charm that people trusted him with their lives. David Wilding, or Dr. David as he was known to the people of Abernathy, Kentucky, picked up his glass of beer and drank deeply, while Jason sipped at his single malt whiskey.

"So what do you want?" Jason asked, arching one brow. It was a look that had made many a businessman's knees quake.

"Now what makes you think I want anything?"

"Years of experience. The rest of this one-horse town may think you're ready for sainthood, but I know you. You're up to something and you want something from me."

"Maybe I just wanted to visit with my illustrious older brother and the only way I could get you to come home for Christmas is to tell you that Dad was about to die."

"Cheap trick," Jason said with tight lips. He began to look in his suit pocket for a cigarette, then remembered that he gave them up over two years ago. But there was something about being in a bar in the town where he grew up that brought out the good ol' boy in him.

"It was the only thing I could think of," David said in defense of what he had done. He'd cabled his rich, overworked brother in New York that their father had suffered a heart attack and probably had only days to live. Within hours Jason's private jet had landed in an airfield fifty miles from Abernathy, and an hour later Jason was standing in their living room. When Jason had seen his father drinking beer and playing poker with his buddies, for a few minutes, David had feared for his life. But, as he well knew, Jason's bark was worse than his bite.

"I'm not staying," Jason said, "so you can get that idea out of your head."

"And why not?" David asked, trying to sound innocent. It had always been a family joke that David could get away with anything while Jason got blamed for everything. It was their looks. David had blond hair and blue eyes and a pink-and-white complexion. Even at thirty-seven he looked like an angel. And when he had on his doctor's coat, a stethoscope about his neck, every person who saw him breathed a sigh of relief, for any man who looked as divine as he did had to be able to save lives.

On the other hand, Jason was as dark as David was fair, and as his father had often said to him, "Even if you didn't do anything, you look like you did," for Jason was born with a scowl.

"Let me guess," David said, "you're booked for four weeks in Tahiti and you'll be bedding three women at once. "

Jason just took a sip of his whiskey and looked at his brother archly.

"No, no, don't tell me," David said. "I really can guess this one. Maybe it's Paris and you're having an affair with a runway model. One of those tall, cool creatures with plastic breasts."

Jason looked at his watch. "I have to go, Leon is waiting."

David knew that Leon was his brother's private pilot and, in cases like this trip, he doubled as his chauffeur. David also knew that Jason's staff served as his family, since he never bothered returning home and he'd always been much too busy to create a family of his own.

Jason gave his brother a look, then finished his whiskey and rose. "Look, you know how much I'd love to stay here and listen to you make fun of me, but I have -- "

"Let me say it," David said heavily. "You have work to do."

"Right, I do, and I would imagine that just because it's Christmas people don't stop getting sick, even in charming little Abernathy."

"No, and they don't stop needing help, even in Abernathy."

At that Jason sat back down. David asked for help only if he really needed it. "What is it? Cash?" Jason said. "Whatever you need, if I have it it's yours."

"I only wish that were true," David said, looking down at his beer.

Jason signaled the waiter to bring another single malt, and David looked up at him in speculation. Jason wasn't much of a drinker. He said it dulled his brain and he needed his wits about him if he was going to work. And, of course, work was Jason's be-all, end-all of life.

"I'm in love," David said softly; then when his brother was silent, he looked up and saw one of Jason's rare smiles.

"And what else?" Jason asked. "She from the wrong side of the tracks? Are the biddies of this town up in arms because their precious Dr. David is no longer available?"

"I wish you didn't hate this town so much. It's a great place, really."

"If you like small-minded bigots," Jason said cheerfully.

"Look, what happened to Mother -- No, I'm not going to get into that. I like this town and I plan to stay here. "

"With your new ladylove. So what's the problem with this girl that you think you need me? What do I know about being in love?"

"You know about dating. I see your name in all the society columns."

"Mmmm. I need to network at those charity functions...and it helps to have a woman on my arm," Jason said without much feeling.

"It's nice that the women you escort happen to be some of the most beautiful women in the world."

"And the most avaricious," Jason said, this time with feeling. "Do you have any idea how much jet fuel costs? If you did, you'd get on with whatever has happened to make you lie and connive your way into getting me here."

"I figure one trip costs less than an EKG machine."

Jason didn't miss the hint. "You got it, so stop begging and get on with it. Who are you in love with and what's the problem? You want me to pay for the wedding?"

"Believe it or not," David said angrily, "some people on this earth want something from you other than that money that seems to be your life."

Immediately, Jason backed down. "I apologize for the insinuation. Just tell me about this woman and how in the world I can be of help to you."

David took a deep breath. "She's a widow. She's..." He looked up at his brother. "She's Billy Thompkins's widow."

At that Jason gave a low whistle.

"She's not like that. I know Billy had problems, but -- "

"Yeah, the three d's: drugs, drink, and driving."

"You didn't know him in his last years. He settled down at the end. He went away on some job across the river, and he came back two years later with Amy, and she was four months pregnant. He seemed to have turned over a new leaf. He even bought the old Salma place."

Jason raised an eyebrow. "Is that heap still standing?"

"Barely. Anyway, he bought it with his mother's help. She co-signed the mortgage."

"But then who in Abernathy would lend Billy money?"

"Exactly. But it didn't matter, because he died four months later. Plowed into a tree doing about eighty."

"Drunk?"

"Yeah, drunk, and his wife was left alone except for Mildred. You remember her? Billy's mother?"

"I always liked her," Jason said. "She deserved better than Billy."

"Well, she got it in Amy. She's the sweetest person you ever met."

"So what's your problem? I can't imagine that Mildred is standing in your way. Don't tell me Dad -- "

"He loves Amy almost as much as I do," David said, looking down into his beer, which was already half empty.

"If you don't get on with it, I'm leaving," Jason threatened.

"It's her son. I told you that Amy was pregnant when she came back with Billy. Well, it was a boy."

"You deliver it?" Jason asked, one eyebrow arched.

"No, and don't start that again. It's different when you're a woman's doctor."

"Mmmmm. What about her son? Is he like his father?"

"Billy had a sense of humor. This kid is...You'd have to meet him to see what I mean. He's ruthless. Utterly without conscience. He is the most manipulative, conniving little monster I have ever met. Jealous doesn't begin to describe him. He completely controls Amy."

"And she has no idea what the kid's doing, right?" Jason said, his lips tight. He had been in David's position. Years before, he'd met a woman to whom he was more than just physically attracted. After one date he had begun to think that maybe there could be something between them. But then he'd met the woman's thirteen-year-old son. The kid was a criminal-in-the-making. He used to rifle through Jason's coat pockets and steal whatever he could find. Once he took Jason's car keys, which forced him to leave without his Jaguar that night. A week later the car was found at the bottom of the East River. Of course the kid's mother didn't believe that her son could do anything like that, so they had broken up. The last Jason had heard, the kid was now working on Wall Street and was a multimillionaire.

"You've had some experience in this area?" David asked.

"Some. You can't get any time with her unless the kid gives permission, right? And the mother dotes on him." There was bitterness in his voice.

"Like you've never seen in your life. She never goes anywhere without him. I've tried to persuade her to let me hire a baby-sitter, but she's too proud to accept my help, so the kid goes with us or we don't go. And it's impossible to stay at her house." David leaned halfway across the table. "The kid doesn't sleep. I mean it. Never. He's either a freak or a spawn of the devil. And of course Amy gives him one hundred percent of her attention all the time he's awake."

"Drop her," Jason said. "Trust me on this. Get away from her fast. If you did win her, you'd have to live with that kid. You'll wake up one morning with a cobra in your bed."

"He'd have to fight Max for space."

"The kid is still sleeping with his mother?" Jason said in disgust.

"When he wants to."

"Run."

"It's easy for you to say. You've never been in love. Look, I think I could handle the kid if I could just win over his mother. But the truth is, I have no time alone with her." At that, David looked up at Jason in a way he'd seen a thousand times before.

"Oh, no, you don't. You're not getting me into this. I have engagements."

"No, you don't. How many times have I heard you complain because your employees want to take time off at Christmas? So this year you can stay here and help me out and give that secretary of yours some time off. How is that gorgeous creature, by the way?"

"Fine," Jason said tightly. "So what is it you want? You want me to kidnap the kid? Or maybe we should be done with it and have him murdered."

"The kid needs a father," David said, his mouth in a grimace.

"You do have it bad, don't you?"

"Real bad. I've never felt this way about a woman, and I have competition. Every man in town is after her."

"What's that, a whopping ten men or so? Or did old man Johnson die?"

"Ian Newsome is after her."

"Oh?" Jason said, giving his brother a one-sided grin. "Is that the boy who was the captain of the football team and the swimming team and also single-handedly won the state debating championships? The boy the girls used to throw themselves at? Didn't he marry Angela, the captain of the cheerleader squad, the one with more hair than brains?"

"Divorced. And he's back in town and he took over the Cadillac dealership."

"Must be making a lot of money there," Jason said sarcastically. There wasn't much call for Cadillacs in Abernathy.

"As a sideline, he sells Mercedes to the Arabs."

"Ahhhh," Jason said. "You do have problems."

"All I need is some time alone with Amy. If I could get her alone, I know I could -- "

"Make her love you? That's not the way it works."

"Okay," David said, "but at least I'd like to get a chance."

"All Newsome has to do is send her over a red Mercedes convertible and she's his. Maybe you could give her free -- "

"She's not like that!" David almost shouted; then when half the people in the bar looked at him, he lowered his voice. "I wish you'd stop joking. I'm not sure I want to live without her," David said softly.

For a moment Jason studied the top of his brother's head. David didn't ask for help often, and he never asked for help for himself. He had put himself through med school, refusing his brother's offer of a free education. "I won't appreciate it if it's handed to me on a platter," David had said. So now Jason was sure that David was still up to his neck in debt for that education, but he still wouldn't accept financial help.

But now David was asking his brother for something personal, something that didn't involve Jason's copious wealth. It had been a long, long time since anyone had asked Jason for anything that didn't have to do with money.

"I'll do what I can," Jason said softly.

David's head came up. "You mean it? No, no, what am I saying? You won't do what I have in mind."

Jason was by nature cautious, so now he said, "What exactly did you have in mind?"

"To live with her."

"What!?" Jason sputtered, again causing the patrons to look their way. He leaned toward his brother. "You want me to live with your girlfriend?"

"She's not my girlfriend. At least not yet, anyway. But I have to get someone in that house who can keep that kid away from her. And she has to trust him or she won't allow him to baby-sit."

"And then there's Newsome you have to deal with."

"Yeah, and all the other men who are after her."

All right. I'll call Parker and she can -- "

"No! It has to be you! Not your secretary. Not your chef or your pilot or your cleaning lady. You." When Jason looked at his brother in consternation at his vehemence, David calmed. "This kid needs a man's touch. You're good with brats. Look what you did with me."

Jason couldn't help being flattered, and it was true that he had been as much a father to his much younger sibling as he had been a brother. Their mother was gone and their father worked sixty hours a week, so they just had each other.

"Please," David said.

"All right," Jason answered reluctantly. In New York he was known to never give in on any deal, but then only David had the power to persuade him.

And, besides, there was part of Jason that wanted to replay one of the few battles in his life that he'd lost. A spoiled monster of a kid had kept him away from one of the few women Jason had ever thought he could love, and in the many years since then, he'd regretted not staying and fighting for her. Just last year he'd seen the woman again. She was happily married to a man Jason was doing business with and she looked great. They had a big house on Long Island, and they'd even had a couple of kids of their own. Now, at forty-five years old, Jason wondered what his life would have been like if he'd stayed and fought for the woman, if he hadn't let a thirteen-year-old con artist beat him.

"I'll do it," he said quietly. "I'll stay and see that the kid is occupied while you go out with your Amy."

"It won't be easy."

"I guess you think the rest of my life is easy."

"You haven't met this kid, and you haven't seen how attached Amy is to him."

"Don't worry about a thing. I can handle anything you throw at me. I'll take care of the brat for one week, and if you don't win this woman in that time, then you don't deserve her."

Instead of gushing with gratitude, as Jason thought he would, David looked down at his beer again.

"Now what is it?" Jason snapped. "A week isn't enough time?" His mind was racing. How many Little League games could a man attend without going insane? Thank God for cell phones so he could work while sitting on the bleachers. And if he got into a jam, he could always call Parker. She was capable of handling anything at any time, anywhere.

"I want your sacred promise."

At that, Jason's face grew red. "Do you think I go back on my word?"

"You'll turn the job over to someone else."

"Like hell I will!" Jason sputtered, but had to look down so his brother couldn't see his eyes. If the men he dealt with in New York knew him as well as his brother did, he'd never close a deal. "I'll take care of the kid for one week," he said more calmly. "I'll do all the things that kids like. I'll even give him the keys to my car."

"You flew; you don't have a car, remember?"

"Then I'll buy a car and give him the damn thing, all right?" David was making him feel decidedly incompetent. "Look, let's get this show on the road. The sooner I get this done with, the sooner I can get out of here. When do I meet this paragon of loveliness?"

"Sacred promise," David said, his eyes serious but his voice sounding as if he were once again four years old and demanding that his big brother promise that he wouldn't leave him.

Jason gave a great sigh. "Sacred promise," he murmured, then couldn't help looking around to see if anyone in the bar had heard him. In a mere thirty minutes he had gone from being a business tycoon to a dirty-faced little boy declaring blood oaths. "Did I ever tell you that I hate Christmas?"

"How can you hate something that you have never participated in?" David asked with a cocky grin. "Come on, let's go. Maybe we'll be lucky and the kid will be asleep."

"Might I point out to you that it is two o'clock in the morning? I don't think your little angel will appreciate our dropping in."

"Tell you what, we'll go by her house and if all the lights are out, we'll go past. But if the lights are on, then we'll know she's up and we'll stop in for a visit. Agreed?"

Jason nodded as he drained the last of his whiskey, but he didn't like what he was thinking. What kind of woman would marry a man like Billy Thompkins? And what kind of woman stayed up all night? A fellow drunk seemed to be the only answer.

As they left the bar and headed toward the sedan where Jason's driver waited, Jason began to make up his own mind about this woman who had enticed his brother into wanting to marry her. The facts against her were accumulating fast: a drunken husband, an incorrigible child, a nocturnal lifestyle.

Inside the car, Jason looked across at his younger brother and vowed to protect him from this hussy, and as they rode toward the outskirts of town, he began to form a picture of her. He could see her bleached hair, a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. Was she older than David? He was so young, so innocent. He'd rarely left Abernathy in his life and knew nothing of the world. It would be easy for some sharp-witted huckster to take advantage of him.

Turning, he looked at his brother solemnly. "Sacred promise," he said softly, and David grinned at him. Jason turned away. For all that his brother was often a pain in the neck, he had the power to make Jason feel as if he was worth what his accountant said he was.

Copyright © 1998 by Deveraux, Inc.

Interviews

On Friday, July 9th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Jude Deveraux to discuss THE BLESSING.


Moderator: Welcome, Jude Deveraux! Your fans are thrilled that you could join us this afternoon online. Congratulations on the paperback publication of your New York Times bestseller THE BLESSING. How are you today?

Jude Deveraux: I am fine, thank you.


Linda from Georgetown: Was there a particular inspiration for THE BLESSING? I love the story line.

Jude Deveraux: My baby son.


Jessica from Portland, ME: Good afternoon, Ms. Deveraux. I love your books! I was wondering what steps you go through when you write your stories. They are so detailed. How long does it usually take you to write one? Is the research time-consuming? When will the next one be out? Thanks.

Jude Deveraux: Something will give me an idea: It can be a place or a time period or an event in time. It can be a character I see on TV or a person I have met whose personality strikes me. I will start with that. It's like planting a seed. A tiny thing. In the book I am writing now, for example, I wanted to write about a six-foot woman named Fiona, and it started from there. In regards to your second question, it depends on how long the story is. If it is contemporary it takes a lot less time to write a story. But it really depends on the book. Some fly and they seem to write themselves, and some take forever. The research is very time-consuming, the plotting takes months of time, even on a contemporary. I think the next one will be out next November -- if I finish it!


Annie from New Hampshire: A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR is my all-time favorite book. Are you planning any future time-travel books?

Jude Deveraux: I don't have one now, but I agree that A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR is my favorite book, too.


Wendy from Chicago: Reading your books has spurred me to write in the romance genre as well. Even though my work is written in present-day settings, what reference materials are your favorite for medieval periods? I have an outline for a story, but it needs to be in a different time period. Keep writing -- I love your stories!

Jude Deveraux: I like very specific reference books. I don't like general books, so if I am writing a story in the time period of Edward I then I will read three biographies on Edward I. I like a lot of costume reference books. Over 400 of them, and I have over 6,000 reference books.


Jenn from Maine: Hi, Jude! Your novel THE HEIRESS was the first romance genre I had ever read three years ago. Needless to say, I was hooked and bought the rest of your books! I have read a little about your home in England. Could you tell us about it? How did you find it?

Jude Deveraux: That is very funny! I had always toyed with the idea of moving to England. I thought if I moved to England I would go to Cambridge, near the university. I was traveling with my secretary once, and she threw a mini temper tantrum because she didn't want to see one more museum. So I said, "Why don't we go to a real estate office and get a realtor to show us some old houses that don't have ropes in them like museums." And they gave us a brochure for a house that was 50 years older than George Washington's house. When I saw it I couldn't believe it was for sale, so I bought it.


Jane from Cincinnati: What was the most fun aspect of writing THE BLESSING? Is writing generally effortless for you or something that you sweat over? You make it seem so easy!

Jude Deveraux: It depends on the book. Some books are easy and some books are very, very difficult. The most fun aspect of writing THE BLESSING was remembering things that my son got into at that age.


Laura Stewart from Rockledge, FL: I really enjoy your books and look forward to each new one! Most of your leading men tend to be very wealthy. Is there any particular reason for this? Is it just part of the fantasy that we all love to bury ourselves in? I am curious how you see this. Is it just a practical plot device (i.e., a funds-restricted prince can't exactly take you away on your dream trip to Europe)? They are all wonderful male characters.... I just wonder how you feel about the subject.

Jude Deveraux: It is easier to work with someone who has a lot of money as a character than a person who is working nine to five, five days a week. It's hard to write a fantasy or romantic thing when you are constantly worried about paying the electric bills. You need an escape, something to take you away. Worrying about paying the mortgage doesn't take you away, because it is real life.


Amy from Seattle: Good afternoon. Are you planning to write any more books about the Montgomery family?

Jude Deveraux: Yes, I have got one about two-thirds finished right now!


Mary from Springfield, MO: Jude -- love your books! You're one of my favorite romance authors--in fact you're number one in my book. My question is will you write a full-length book about the Taggerts/Montgomerys anymore? There are several Montgomery and Taggert cousins I would love to know more about! Oh, are you living in the U.S. now? Thanks.

Jude Deveraux: Yes, right now I am finishing a book with a Montgomery hero, and I have just come up with a plot using descendants of the Chandler twins in TWIN OF ICE/TWIN OF FIRE. Yes, I do live in the U.S. I just bought a house here in Connecticut.


Cheryl Jones from North Carolina: Love your sense of humor in your stories. Is your new book serious or funny? And how long have you been writing?

Jude Deveraux: I have been writing for 22 years. Oh, geez! The new one I am doing is a murder mystery and it is pretty funny. THE BLESSING has quite a bit of funny stuff in it. I like humor.


MIssy from Austin, TX: What do you like to do in your spare time, when you aren't writing? Any special summer vacation plans?

Jude Deveraux: I don't have any spare time. I used to but now I have a two-year-old. I barely get to take a shower.


Shontell King from Constantine, MI: Hi, Jude! I am a really big fan. All of your books are wonderful. I really loved REMEMBRANCE and A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. I would like to know where you came up with the idea to go back into time in both books?

Jude Deveraux: From books I read as a child, like Anya Seton's GREEN DARKNESS.


Marlys from Minneapolis: Ms. Deveraux, didn't you just write a new book about sweetbriar?

Jude Deveraux: Yes, it is called SWEETBRIAR.


Marisa Yanes from Mexico City: Just wanting to say that I love your books. You are my favorite author. I'm waiting that THE BLESSING come to Mexico to buy it. You have made me have great times reading and transporting me to other places and times. Thanks a lot.

Jude Deveraux: Thank you.


Claire from Topeka, KS: I always rush to the bookstore to buy your latest book. Jude, do you have a favorite among your books? Any particular character you are closest to?

Jude Deveraux: A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR is by far my favorite book. One story I had, I don't remember the name, had a character Kale. She was the closest to me of any written.


Olga from Israel: Do you have a web site?

Jude Deveraux: No, I can't even get my computer to log on to AOL.


Elke from barnesandnoble.com: What is the worst job you ever had, and why was it so bad?

Jude Deveraux: I went through seven years of university to become a reading teacher, and when I got the job I absolutely hated it. It was so depressing because I had prepared for it for so many years. I think I started writing to get myself out of that job.


Cindy from Maryland: Hello, Ms. Deveraux. I have all your books and enjoy them very much. Which one was the hardest for you to write, and which was the easiest? Thank you.

Jude Deveraux: I had a whole lot of trouble with the book THE DUCHESS. It was so difficult. I couldn't get the characters right. The easiest book was A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR.


Beth from Sarasota, FL: How would you describe the plot of THE BLESSING?

Jude Deveraux: I think what I wanted to do was have a single mother find true love. There are so many single families in America, and I wanted something wonderful to happen to a single mother.


Alicia from Virginia Beach, VA: Will you be writing more about the Taggerts and Montgomerys? I hope so! Have you published a complete family tree anywhere? I tried to draw one up but it's missing a few branches. Thanks for your wonderful novels!

Jude Deveraux: No, I haven't published one. I may print some more, or pieces of it, in my next book. All my records have been in storage for seven years and I haven't had access to them, so it has been impossible for me to print out a family tree.


Laura from Rockledge, FL: In THE BLESSING, I really liked Max's "Shadow Monkeys." Was there a real-life artist or experience that inspired your description?

Jude Deveraux: Yes, there is a little girl. She is Chinese. I don't know her name but she has published some books of her drawings that she did when she was even two or three years old, and they are a lot like that.


Kathy Gibbons from Ocean Grove, NJ: I have every one of your books as part of my collection. My favorites are the TWIN OF ICE/TWIN OF FIRE and A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. But my questions are what inspired you to write the Twin books, and do you have a particular time in history and a particular location that you would use as your setting?

Jude Deveraux: That was 1892 in Chandler, Colorado. I wanted to tell the same story from two points of view. It was like an algebra problem to tell who was where when. If I have a favorite time in history, it would be Edwardian or Elizabethan, and I am kind of liking contemporary a lot.


Amy from Seattle: Ms. Deveraux, I recently found CASA GRANDE in a used bookstore. Do you have any other titles from the earlier years that are harder to find?

Jude Deveraux: No, just that one. I don't like it so I let it go out of print.


Elke from barnesandnoble.com: If you weren't a writer, what could you see yourself doing for a living?

Jude Deveraux: At one time in my life I wanted to be a professional chef, and I have taught school. Something with kids.


Jan from Hanover, NH: How would you describe your Mr. Right? Love your books, Jude.

Jude Deveraux: He's a very different man from the man I wanted before my son was born. I like a grown-up man. A man who is willing to take backseat to a child. Someone very stable, not flamboyant or flashy in any way. That is the kind I used to like before I had a kid.


Kate from New York: It is hard being a single mother, just like your character Amy knows! Forget having a dating life! What advice can you give to us single moms in terms of finding the perfect man?

Jude Deveraux: I don't know, but if you have any advice I would like to hear it. I am a single mom, too!


Melissa from Southampton, NY: Caring for Amy's child, Jason experiences a true personal rejuvenation and decides to make significant changes in his life. What effect do you think having children has on caretakers in terms of reuniting new or lost love?

Jude Deveraux: Wow, good question. It's completely changed me about what kind of man I would like to live with. I think it would depend on the man. As for my son's father, my ex-husband, it drove us apart. He wanted to be the center of attention. If you are married to a grown-up man he won't need to be the center of attention, and it will bring you closer together.


Jenny from San Francisco: What authors in the romance genre do you most respect? Who are your favorite writers of all time, Jude?

Jude Deveraux: I don't read romances. I read murder mysteries. I like Diane Mott Davidson, Dorothy Cannell, and the woman who writes about Mitford -- Jan Karon -- I love her books. Also the writer who writes the Aunt Dimity series.


Aileen from Houston, TX: THE BLESSING is the first book of yours I have ever read, and I loved it. What do you recommend of yours that I should read next? Anything else you wrote that's along that story line? I loved THE BLESSING! Read it in a day; couldn't put it down!

Jude Deveraux: I like A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. I also like LEGEND, which was about a little boy.


Melinda Carey from Hatfield, PA: I recently returned home from living in the U.K. and loved it. Your books have been such fun, following all the families and how each of them blends together the people from other stories. Thanks for all the history along the way. I can't say that I never wanted to travel, however. After I began reading romance novels that brought in historical fact in England and other countries, I have traveled most of the continents in the last five years. Anxiously awaiting your next book.

Jude Deveraux: Thank you.


Mary from Springfield, MO: What is the best address to write to you? Sorry you have problems getting on AOL.

Jude Deveraux: You can write me in care of Pocket Books in New York (part of Simon & Schuster).


Nancy from New York: How will you celebrate New Year's Eve, 1999?

Jude Deveraux: I have been invited to a party in England, but I don't think my son and I will go because it isn't such a fun trip with a two-year-old. His birthday is September 3rd, and I will have a big bash for that.


Annie from NH: Do you have a writing routine? How many hours a day do you write? How do you handle writer's block?

Jude Deveraux: Never had writer's block. I write whenever I can get time away. Unfortunately I haven't had a real writing schedule for the last few years. But now that I am back from England, I just bought a big new house and I will start writing in the morning. Just like going off to work!


Cheryl from North Carolina: Any chance your books will be on film or TV? Right now I'm reading WISHES, and I love it. You certainly have won our hearts!

Jude Deveraux: Yes. I have two women right now schlepping A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR around L.A., and there is a lot of interest in it. I have turned down a lot of movie offers on that book, but I am waiting for the right one.


Nick Robinson from Atlanta: How did you first get published? What advice would you give to aspiring authors when they contact editors or agents?

Jude Deveraux: I just mailed my book in and it got accepted right away. I didn't have an agent and don't have one now. I have written some pretty fierce articles against agents.


Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us to talk to all your readers this afternoon, Jude Deveraux. You have been a delightful guest. Before you go, do you have any closing comments for the online audience?

Jude Deveraux: I hope you like the books I have coming, and thanks for reading the ones out! It has been fun. I love writing.


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The Blessing 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read almost every book Jude Deveraux has written and I've never failed to enjoy her work. 'The Blessing' truly is a blessing and a book that is hard to put down. I heartily recommend this book to anyone about 14. Enjoy!
barbsreads More than 1 year ago
It was a little far fetched at first, but it somehow came through as a light hearted easy read. She has written so many great stories, I guess I can't expect to relate to all. But as usual it ends with the warm hearted feeling I like in a novel.
Lynda Duncan More than 1 year ago
great story....you will experience all emotions...some parts are a little far fetched but can easily be forgiven.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book about 4 years ago, I average about a book per month and have for the last 10 years , after awhile romance novels seem to blur together but not this one, I gave it to a friend to read, now I'm going to repurchase 2 one to read again and one to give to a friend for her birthday. This is one of those Books you never forget, and I laughed out loud in about every chapter, now that's the sign of a good book, and just when you think the story is wrapping up there's more!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a ranch women in northern New Mexico, I can't always get out of the house. I read alot, and this is one of the most fun books I have read in awhile. It is light and a good fantasy.Just a good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Once I started reading it could not put it down until I finished. One of her best books!
songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
The overall theme and message was a good one. I enjoyed the characters interactions for the most part but, the lies and manipulation was a bit difficult to take. It had potential but never really did anything for me. I had a hard time with a 2 ½ year old doing what he was supposed to have done. Maybe a 4 or 5 year old could have stretched my imagination, but not that young.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.
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Annie97 More than 1 year ago
wonderful, delightful story
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Babette-dYveine More than 1 year ago
I've read most of Ms. Deveraux's books and generally enjoyed them. Two in particular -- Knight in Shining Armor and The Summerhouse -- were excellent, in my opinion. This was not. It is beyond credulity to think that "all the men in town" would be chasing a penniless widow with a six month old baby. Most men run when they see kids, and this one is such a brat, I can't imagine any guy sticking around. And to say that a two and a half year old could paint a fantastic mural all by himself is absurd. Fiction is suppossed to be fantasy, but this one is totally off the wall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this story was almost as strange as the mulberry tree. What started out as a good storyline became a convoluted mess. Dr. David sort of faded away as the man who wanted amy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was surprised. I love all Jude's books,and think she's brilliant with her characters. The idea for this book was so different from her others that you wondered. It was exellent the way she even brought character to the baby. I admire her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though this book was a little un-believeable, I still thought it was good and read it through in one day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was the first book that I read by Jude Deveraux. I can't wait to read more books by her. I read it in two days.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is certainly not her best work. I am a fan of Jude Deveraux but I can't recommend this novel. I found it insulting that her heroine was so incompetent and helpless. It was simply unbelievable that after setting her up as an imbecile she would have her run away with the child with no means of support and no prospects. The romance was equally disappointing. The main characters barely had a romance. Making us believe that they pined for each other is one thing, but once they were reunited at least one of them should have been eloquent enough to convey their feelings to the other. It just seemed like everything came out of left field. Deverauxs' historical romances are much better.