Meet the faithful dreamers who helped build the foundation of the new American nation—from four brothers in Colonial Connecticut determined to make something of their lives, to a colony of Quakers in North Carolina resolute in their faith, to settlers in the northwest frontier staking their claim in hostile territory. Watch as nine romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed.
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About the Author
Kristy Dykes—wife to Rev. Milton Dykes, mother to two beautiful young women, grandmother, and native Floridian—was author of hundreds of articles, a weekly cooking column, short stories, and novels. She was also a public speaker whose favorite topic was on "How to Love Your Husband." Her goal in writing was to "make them laugh, make them cry, and make them wait" (a Charles Dickens’s quote). She passed away from this life in 2008.
Award-winning author LAURIE ALICE EAKES has always loved books. When she ran out of available stories to entertain and encourage her, she began creating her own tales of love and adventure. In 2006 she celebrated the publication of her first hardcover novel. Much to her astonishment and delight, it won the National Readers Choice Award. Besides writing, she teaches classes to other writers, mainly on research, something she enjoys nearly as much as creating characters and their exploits. A graduate of Asbury College and Seton Hill University, she lives in Texas with her husband and sundry animals.
New Englander Carla Olson Gade writes from her home amidst the rustic landscapes of Maine. With eight books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online at carlaolsongade.com.
Award-winning author, Jane Kirkpatrick is well known for her authentically portrayed historical fiction. She is also an acclaimed speaker and teacher with lively presentation style. She and her husband live in Oregon and, until recently, lived and worked on a remote homestead for over 25 years.
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love chapter; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
Lisa Karon Richardson is an award-winning author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Influenced by books like The Little Princess, Lisa’s early books were heavy on creepy boarding schools. Though she’s mostly all grown-up now, she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling new adventures—starting a daughter-work church and raising two precocious kids.
TIFFANY AMBER STOCKTON has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today she is an award-winning author, speaker, social media consultant, and a freelance website designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son and a vivacious Flat-coated retriever named Roxie. Her writing career began as a columnist for her high school and college newspapers. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Historical Romance Writers. Three of her novels have won annual reader's choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for the Heartsong Presents book club. You can read more about her at her website.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award-winning author of historical Christian fiction and a speaker on topics of faith, writing, and publishing. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, genealogy, and reading.
Read an Excerpt
The American Dream Romance Collection
Nine Historical Romances Grow Alongside a New Country
By DiAnn Mills, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kristy Dykes, Laurie Alice Eakes, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson, Ann E. Schrock, Amber Stockton, Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Carla Olson Gade
All rights reserved.
The Connecticut River July 1753
Constance Starling stood on the quay, the chain around her waist secured to a granite post. She cast her eyes toward the ship moored behind her — prison for the past six weeks. Or had it been seven? Mounted on the prow of the elaborately decorated merchant vessel, a figurehead of a mythological creature with the proud front of a horse, mane blowing wild, and the coiled tail of a seahorse, hugged the bowsprit. Bold and free, it mocked her. She had likely wearied the Almighty with her petitions for freedom, as she, too, was weary from uttering them. Yet she managed once more, "Lord, save me."
The heat of the sun beat down, moistening Constance's brow with perspiration, or perhaps it was fever. Her hat might have proffered some protection, but it had disappeared in the struggle that landed her in this frightful predicament. Then a cool breeze drifted off the river, providing a trickle of relief, and a subtle reminder that God was still with her.
Her stomach cramped from the meager portions of food on the long voyage from England, biscuits and water having been her only sustenance. Enough of neither. The slapping of the water against the hull of the docked merchant ship did nothing to squelch her queasiness. Her legs wobbled in rhythm and her knees buckled beneath her, throwing her into a filthy and rumpled heap on the rough, planked wharf.
Her captor yanked Constance up by the elbow, nearly pulling her arm from its socket. "Stand up, lass. You'll be good to no one, not even yerself, if ye can't even stay on yer feet. If I don't sell yer indenture, there'll be no hope for ye — you'll never survive another long journey."
The stench of liquor on Captain Smout's breath made Constance retch. Her eyes stung as she glared at him in defiance. She tried to swallow the lump forming in her throat, but it was far too parched to allow her to do so without pain.
The gruff man lifted a tarnished flask to her mouth and poured a bit of rum between her chapped lips. As it dribbled down her chin and neck, his ire rose. "For pity's sake. Drink up. You're worth little enough to me now, and you'll be no good to me dead." The liquid burned her throat and she spat it into his face, like water spraying from a whale's spout into the angry sea.
The captain hoisted his punishing hand in the air but another, far stronger, intercepted it.
"That is enough!" A brawny man twisted the captain's arm behind his back. "You will do as I say and leave her be." His stormy eyes sailed toward hers through the raging sea of his anger. For a fleeting moment the tempest abated, and she found safe harbor there.
"All right, mate. Easy now. I meant no harm." Smout tried to shake loose, but the man kept a firm hold. "Truce," Smout pleaded.
Her protector turned the captain around and relaxed his grip. He stepped back and took a protective stance near Constance. All she could see was the hale form of this gallant man in brown breeches and a long, tan waistcoat. A queue of dark hair tied with a leather cord hung down upon his broad shoulders. "Release this poor woman," he demanded.
Her gaze darted back to Captain Smout as he began to speak again, a sly grin appearing through his burly gray whiskers. "I'm willin' to consider it. Let's say we negotiate the terms of her indenture."
Constance tried to keep her wits about her, to see what fate would come — though murky voices and blurred images swirled around her like a raging whirlpool pulling her into a deep abyss.
* * *
Nathaniel turned at the sound of a faint whimper at his feet. He kneeled down and gently lifted the woman's head. A low groan escaped her lips and her eyes fluttered open, beckoning his help. He retrieved his engraved silver flask from his pocket and offered her a drink of water. She took several sips, and then her eyes closed once more.
Nathaniel gently laid her back down on the wooden boards, unsure of what else to do, and looked up at the churlish sea captain looming over them.
"I will take her off your hands, for a price." Nathaniel could hardly believe the words that spilt from his mouth.
"A price, aye?" The man chortled. "Ye think I don't have my wits about me? I'm the one who's selling her contract."
Nathaniel's mouth went dry. He thought to reach for his flask again, but it was nearly empty now. At last he mustered up a response. "She is worth nothing to you like this. I will take her as she is."
"She still cost me her passage. I'll get recouped for that at least. She's a comely lass, at least she was when she commenced the voyage. If 'n she recovers she'll be worth a good deal," the trader said.
"She will be worth nothing dead. Let me get her some help."
"Nathaniel." The ever-deepening voice of his adolescent brother, a younger, leaner version of himself, yet already as tall, caught his attention. The lad's eyes held a look of confusion.
"Alden, there you are. I need your assistance."
Alden stared at the unconscious woman. "I see that. Who is she?"
Nathaniel's glare demanded an answer from the captain.
"Her name is Constance. Starling, I believe. But it's my name you ought to be concerned about." The haughty man stood straighter and clamped his ring-laden fingers around his lapels. "Magnus Smout at your disposal, owner and captain of the good ship Fortuna. I'm the one you're going to compensate."
Alden looked more confused than ever.
"Never mind him," Nathaniel said as he tugged off his cravat. "Give this a soak so we can cool her face. And fetch some fresh water if you can." He handed Alden his flask and the lad fled.
Nathaniel smoothed his hair back and tugged on his queue as he tried to think of what he could do next. He had little coin on him, perhaps a few shillings, having spent what he had on supplies. He certainly wasn't equipped with the funds a ship's captain selling a contract of indenture would accept.
Perusing the merchant ship, Nathaniel noticed the figurehead of a seahorse attached to the bowsprit. It was quite damaged, one of its legs broken and the other altogether missing.
"This is your vessel?" Nathaniel asked.
The man issued a proud nod. "That she is."
"And a fine-looking vessel at that. But I see your figurehead has met with some misfortune. 'Tis a shame. She won't get far without her legs." Nathaniel cocked his head and grinned.
Captain Smout grumbled. "A shame is right, though she did come by her wounds honorably and survived a dandy storm."
It seemed he cared more for his figurehead than the young lady lying unconscious there on the quay.
"Then you have found good fortune, Captain Smout, befitting your ship's name. I happen to be a journeyman figurehead carver. I apprenticed under Phineas Cushing, one of the best master carvers in the commonwealth."
"Indeed?" Captain Smout rubbed his beard.
"Indeed." Nathaniel lifted his chin. "I will barter the woman's contract for a full repair. I'll even give your figurehead a fresh coat of paint."
"Where is your shop located?"
"About ten miles downriver. Glassenbury." Nathaniel dared hope. The man was taking his bait.
"How are you traveling?" the captain asked.
"Another brother delivered us by means of his own brig on his way up river this morning. I mean to hire a conveyance for our return trip."
"It might take you half the day to get back. Why bother when I can deliver you in an hour's time — for a price."
The thought of boarding a ship with this unsavory curmudgeon incensed Nathaniel, and he despised the thought of putting Miss Starling back on that vessel. But Nathaniel had little choice — he must get the girl some help. Soon. He might find a doctor here in Hartford, but that he could not afford. 'Twas the best solution. Another hour and they would be home.
He exhaled. "Agreed. But you have to go down to Glassenbury for the repair. What is it to you to have us aboard?"
"It is worth your silver flask, I say."
Nathaniel gritted his teeth. "I cannot do that. It was my father's."
The captain extended his arm toward the sickly woman and frowned. "What's worth more to you? A sentimental token, or this young woman's life?"
Could this man not have one iota of decency?
A short time later all the legalities had been resolved and all were aboard the Fortuna. Contemplating his decision, Nathaniel leaned against a keg of rum, one of many that Smout's men had loaded into the hold below. What should have been an uneventful trip to Hartford for supplies had turned into a situation that could change the course of his life. He glanced at Miss Starling, who, after briefly wakening was now sleeping again. A thick braid of light brown hair draped over her shoulder. Unkempt tendrils clung to her dampened alabaster face. He studied her delicate cheekbones, an elegantly shaped nose, and the graceful curve of her neck. How could someone so lovely be subjected to such a fate?
His thoughts turned to his younger brother, uncertain of the kind of example he was setting for him today but grateful for his unquestioning assistance.
"You did well, Alden. You will make a good apprentice someday — you've a cooperative disposition. I am sure Uncle Phin would be glad to take you on when you complete your studies. But perhaps I shall take you on as my own apprentice," he teased. "I know, your heart is set on Yale. Dr. Hale seems to think you have the aptitude and disposition to make a good physician someday." As the eldest brother of four, Nathaniel had always been most concerned for Alden, who had had the least time with their late father. Nathaniel hoped his remarks would please his youngest sibling.
Alden looked over at Miss Starling and turned back to him. "You did the right thing, Nathaniel."
"You think so? I hope Uncle Phin will understand."
Alden shrugged his shoulders. "You had no choice. He'll come 'round. What will become of her though?"
"Let us hope Mother can restore her to health. She is good with herbs. Then mayhap Miss Starling can be of help to her." All else remained a mystery.
Once aground at the shipyard, Nathaniel set to the task of getting his new charge to safety. "I will take her directly to the inn. You unload the supplies and bring them to the carving loft. At least I have a few days to prepare my explanation before Uncle returns."
Nathaniel lifted Constance in his arms. Barely awake, her limp form rested against his chest. He could feel the warmth of her feverish body through his garments. The sound of shallow breathing alarmed him all the more. She was getting worse. "Stay with us, miss. You will be in good hands soon."
Miss Starling's head drooped and her arm fell lifelessly, dangling at her side. Nathaniel's breath caught in his throat. "No, Lord."
Alden's eyes widened and locked with Nathaniel's. "Is she ...?"
Nathaniel gazed down at the unknown woman cradled in his arms and observed the rise and fall of her chest. "No ... not yet."
Alden stood tall, his countenance resolute. "I'll go for Dr. Hale. He will know what to do."
Nathaniel only hoped there was yet time enough. "Make haste, Alden. Make haste!"CHAPTER 2
Glassenbury, Connecticut, Connecticut River Valley July 1753
Her fever has broken." Constance made out the muffled sound of a man's voice and tried to pull herself out of her daze.
"There now. You're awake." The warm smile of a woman, about the age her own mother would have been, greeted Constance as she attempted to focus.
An authoritative-looking man wearing a gray wig and spectacles stood beside her bed, offering his own greeting. "Welcome to Glassenbury, Miss Starling."
"Where?" she rasped.
"You are at my home, the Red Griffin Inn, at Glassenbury in the Commonwealth of Connecticut ... in America," the woman said.
Connecticut. America. It began to come back to her. They had docked at Hartford. Captain Smout. Captain Smout ...
Her eyes darted around the unfamiliar room. There was no sight of him. Could she be safe at last? But who were these new caretakers?
The woman wore a ruffled cap, with dark hair and wisps of gray peeking out from it. "I am Mistress Ingersoll, and this is Dr. Hale," she offered.
The man took Constance's wrist, felt for her pulse, and counted in silence. "Still weak but improving." He laid her hand back down on the covers and eyed her with concern. "Mrs. Ingersoll has been keeping vigil for some four days now. If not for her constant care and her prayers ... well, let us just say you are in good hands, young lady."
Constance rubbed the soreness on her arm and noticed some circular-shaped bruises. She looked up in confusion at the doctor and then met Mrs. Ingersoll's kind but tired eyes, a familiar-looking blue-gray.
"Dr. Hale is much to be thanked. That is from the cupping."
"To restore the humors, dear," Dr. Hale said. "The marks will fade in time."
"I'll put another plaster on her arm, if you wish, Doctor," said Mrs. Ingersoll.
The man nodded.
"Take a sip, dear. 'Tis meadowsweet tea," said Mrs. Ingersoll. "I shall have our maid, Lucy, bring you a caudle from the hearth. What you mostly need now is nourishment."
Constance took a sip and moistened her lips. "How did I get here?" she managed.
"That would be my son Nathaniel's doing. If he had not the good sense to get you away from that lowly captain of the Fortuna, who knows into whose hands you might have fallen. You owe my son a debt of gratitude, but that should be settled as you serve out your contract."
"Of your indenture. He is your master now."
Though tears threatened, Constance protested. "I've only one Master, and that is my Lord and Savior."
A deep voice came from the doorway of the bedchamber. "I'm afraid He is not the only one, Miss Starling." A stalwart young man entered the room, a parchment document in hand.
"Constance, this is my son. Nathaniel Ingersoll."
* * *
Nathaniel stood in the doorway, shifting from one buckled shoe to the other. He should have waited. The poor girl was still recovering. "Good day, miss ... uh, I do beg your pardon, I will come back later." He retreated into the hallway.
"Stay," she croaked, albeit with an authoritative air.
He turned back and looked into the room, Dr. Hale peering up at him over his spectacles. "You heard the young lady. She requests your company."
Nathaniel arched a brow. Requests or requires?
"I will see to that broth now, if you would be so kind as to remain here until I return, Dr. Hale," Mrs. Ingersoll said.
"Certainly." Dr. Hale pulled a timepiece from his pocket. "Then I must examine her and be on my way."
Nathaniel assessed the peaked young woman propped up in the large bed in one of the unoccupied guest rooms. Her hair was now tucked beneath a cap, revealing the pleasant shape of her face. Her full lips formed a pout. Her large brown glistening eyes met his, beckoning for answers. He swallowed hard and shifted his attention to the doctor. "How is Miss Starling, Doctor?"
"I am pleased to find Miss Starling faring well, though she must not overexert. If you are asking to find if she is fit for work ..."
"I am asking out of concern, as her mast — as the one responsible for her. I do, however, wish to discuss the matter of this agreement." He rustled the paper in his hand. "I believe she deserves to know, if she is up for it."
Constance dried her eyes and took in a deep breath, triggering a raspy cough. "Has it not occurred to you gentlemen that you may speak to me directly?" She sat more erect and pulled the bedcover up under her chin.
"In fact, Mr. Ingersoll, I would like to thank you for seeing to my rescue from the clutches of Captain Smout. But I fear he was successful in his goal of selling my indenture ... unrightfully so. I was taken against my will and demand to be released."
Nathaniel felt as though an anchor dropped into his gut. What trouble had he wrought upon his family?
* * *
Constance realized she was in no condition to be making such requests, but she must get these people to understand her plight.
Mr. Ingersoll shook his head. He looked up, dragging his hand over his hair as he spoke. "I assure you, miss. You are no prisoner here."
The intense expression that crossed his chiseled face and his sincere declaration almost convinced her of its truth. Perhaps he was, indeed, unaware that she had been spirited away from England and was not a redemptioner.
"Heavens, no," Mrs. Ingersoll said cheerfully as she reentered the room carrying some linen. "She is our guest. At least until we sort it all out." A maid followed her, carrying a tray of steaming broth. The young woman set it down with a reassuring smile and then took her leave.
Constance's captor — or rescuer — folded his arms across his broad chest. Cocking his head to one side, he addressed his mother. "You heard?"
Mrs. Ingersoll stepped toward Constance and took her hand. "That she has been brought to this country and indentured against her wishes and is now in our custody?" His mother's compassionate look fell upon Constance. "Have you any way that we can verify this, dear?"
"You have my word," Constance said.
Excerpted from The American Dream Romance Collection by DiAnn Mills, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kristy Dykes, Laurie Alice Eakes, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson, Ann E. Schrock, Amber Stockton, Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Copyright © 2012 Carla Olson Gade. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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.
Table of Contents
ContentsCarving a Future,
Over a Barrel,
Impressed by Love,
When the Shadows Fall,
New Garden's Hope,
New Garden's Crossroads,
A Mother's Cry,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The American Dream Romance Collection: Nine Historical Romances Grow Alongside A New Country (Love & Romance Collections) A delightful historical collection filled with heartwarming stories of early America spanning the years 1753-1843. I like that the first four novellas are interconnected and tell the stories of four brothers, the Ingersoll family. These four novellas include recipes from a historical cookbook pertaining to each story. I would have liked that there was some family connection carried over in the rest of the novellas, but there wasn’t. I found the stories with the Quakers interesting, especially the fact that one was involved with the Federalist movement and politics and one was involved with slaves and the underground railroad. Not what you would normally connect Quakers with but well done. One of my favorites in this collection is the novella on Michilimackinac Island and the young woman in the story. Another favorite novella is the last one with the two midwives. As a retired RN, I am especially fond of stories involving nurses and the medical field during the 1800’s. This story was a delight to read. I like that there is a brief historical note included in the eighth novella explaining a bit of the dialect in the story-line. I appreciate the spiritual elements and faith woven within the story-lines. A fun, heartwarming collection. 1-Carving a Future by Carla Olson Gade July 1753, the Connecticut, River 2-Trading Hearts by Amber Stockton October 1754, Connecticut River Valley 3-Over a Barrel by Laurie Alice Eakes October 1758, Glassenbury, Connecticut Colony 4-Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson October 1762, HMS Aries, off the coast of New England 5-When the Shadow Falls by DiAnn Mills June 1763, Michilimackinac Island 6-New Garden’s Hope by Jennifer Hudson Taylor 1808 7-New Garden’s Crossroads by Ann E. Schrock 1841 8-Free Indeed by Kristy Dykes 1856, Charleston, South Carolina 9-A Mother’s Cry by Jane Kirkpatrick 1843, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory
Great collection of authors and stories Love the collections books, some favorite authors and some new authors! Some of the stories go together and some are stand alone stories which makes it more fun. I was touched by one of the stories that deals with Hemophilia, as my grandson has Severe Hemophilia A, before they knew much about the 'bleeding' disorder. Yes, he informed me that it is NOT a disease but a disorder! I can recommend this as a good read.
A wonderful collection of novellas set across early America, from Colonial times up to the Civil War! I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of settings and the interesting history behind each story, especially the first set which revolved around four brothers: a ship's carver, captain, baker and doctor. The following tale, set on Mackinac Island during the French Indian War was one of my favorites, with an English soldier torn between his duties and heritage, falling in love with a French fur trapper's daughter. The next few stories were connected by a Quaker family, who later helped runaway slaves. Found myself falling for the prodigal blacksmith in the second one, who finds his way back to faith and hope for a future. The next tale was unusual, told from the first person of a freed slave, and worked well with the previous stories. The last novella about the midwife was my favorite of the collection, with a widow finding a new love and learning to face her fears. The insertion of faith, hope, redemption, love, and trust in God made this an inspiring set of historical tales. I savored each one, taking my time to read through them; this is a lengthy read, but quite enjoyable. Found a few new authors to read, plus some delicious sounding recipes to try out from a Colonial era cookbook too. Recommend this well-written collection of tales from early America, especially for historical Christian romance fans. 4.5 stars (Note: The first four novellas were previously published as Colonial Courtships, and the last one appears in The Midwife's Legacy. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the book provided in exchange for my honest, original review.)