The Widow of Saunders Creek: A Novel

The Widow of Saunders Creek: A Novel

by Tracey Bateman


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The Widow of Saunders Creek: A Novel by Tracey Bateman

A grief that knows no boundary.
A love without any limit.
A need that doesn’t end at death. 
Corrie Saunders grew up in a life of privilege. But she gave it all up for Jarrod, her Army husband, a man she knew was a hero when she vowed to spend her life with him. She just didn’t expect her hero to sacrifice his life taking on an Iraqi suicide bomber. 
Six months after Jarrod’s death, Corrie retreats to the family home her husband inherited deep in the Missouri Ozarks. She doesn’t know how to live without Jarrod—she doesn’t want to. By moving to Saunders Creek and living in a house beloved by him, she hopes that somehow her Jarrod will come back to her.
Something about the house suggests maybe he has. Corrie begins to wonder if she can feel Jarrod’s presence.
Jarrod’s cousin Eli is helping Corrie with the house’s restoration and he knows that his dead cousin is not what Corrie senses. Eli, as a believing man and at odds with his mystically-oriented family members, thinks friendly visits from beyond are hogwash.  But he takes spirits with dark intentions seriously. Can he convince Corrie that letting go of Jarrod will lead to finding her footing again— and to the One she can truly put her faith into?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307730442
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.46(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Tracey Bateman lives in the Missouri Ozarks with her husband and family. With more than thirty novels in print, including Thirsty and Tandem, Tracey spends all her time telling tales, creating characters, and dreaming of other worlds.

Read an Excerpt


An easy spring wind blew through my open Jeep, lifting my hair and ruffling the cloth seat covers as I turned off the interstate and traveled east toward Saunders Creek. It was the last leg of my nine-hour drive from Dallas to the tiny, unassuming Ozarks town that bore my husband’s family name.

Towering oaks, full maples, and evergreens hugged the narrow, winding road in a way that even a few months ago might have felt intrusive. But today the trees seemed to embrace me, welcoming me.

Déjà vu came over me, as though the scene before me came out of my own childhood memories instead of recollections of stories my husband told about growing up here.

I wanted him beside me, flashing his Top Gun Maverick grin. Jarrod had died the way he lived—reckless, but heroic. Saving at least fifty lives in a little Iraqi settlement on the east bank of the Tigris River. Leaving me to pine after him, sick with love for a man who would never hold me again. I couldn’t breathe. God, just take me too. But every day my eyes opened, air filled my lungs, and I forced myself to go on.

Six months ago, I buried him according to his wishes, in the Saunders family graveyard. After the funeral, my mother demanded that I return home to Dallas to grieve—as though I could just put the last seven years behind me and move on. Forget the consuming, crazy, once-in-a-lifetime love who had rescued me from her in the first place. Every night since then I had dreamed of my husband’s childhood home. A force compelled me to come here, and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Jarrod was gone, but as I drove my Jeep up the path that led to the two-story farmhouse, I finally understood why I had been so drawn to this place.

I had come here to find the man I loved.


The memory of my husband’s funeral returned with an uncomfortable clarity as I navigated the winding road to Saunders Creek.

I barely made it through the service with all my pieces intact. My skin crawled from the unfamiliar embraces. Everyone wanted to hold me. Fat, clammy arms threatened to suffocate me. Muscular arms would have gladly relinquished their strength for my weakness, because that’s the way Jarrod’s vast, extended family was. Motherly arms, fatherly arms, arms of women who could only imagine how they would feel if it had been their husbands and were thanking God it was mine instead. So many people clawing at me I wanted to tuck in my elbows, jerk my arms upward, and watch everyone scatter. Instead, I soldiered on—a good army widow.

But that had all happened what seemed a lifetime ago, and after spending the winter with my mother in Dallas, I hoped Saunders Creek would still want to embrace me. Still want to gather me in and allow me to live among them like one of their own.

I pulled up to my tumble-down house, relishing the solitude. I’d been smothered in Dallas, forced to mingle with Mother’s kind of people, when all I wanted was to stop and catch my breath, to remember how to breathe again.

I owned my pain. Hid it deep inside. I couldn’t let anyone see me fall apart. Mother taught me that. I hadn’t dared show weakness during those months in Dallas. I’d kept my tears close and silent. My grief was my own, every tear sacred.

Quiet surrounded me as I slid the Jeep into park and stared at my new home. An old white farmhouse built at an angle to the road. Windows everywhere. The waning sun shone on the front porch, and I pictured how well lit the east side of the house would be in the morning.

On either side of the house, vibrant lilacs bloomed. The wind carried the sweet rose-and-vanilla fragrance from their purple flowers through the open windows of the Jeep. I smiled. Jarrod knew how I loved the smell of lilacs. Perhaps he’d had them planted for me. I climbed the rickety wooden steps to my rickety wooden door and turned the wobbly knob. Apparently the contractor hadn’t bothered to lock it. I didn’t blame him. If anyone wanted in, they’d get in about as easy with a lock as without.

Fresh grief splashed over me like ice-cold water as I stepped inside. I looked around my new home, which had once belonged to Jarrod’s grandparents, and my stomach tightened until it hurt. Did I actually believe Jarrod would be here? No. I wasn’t crazy. But in coming back to this place he had loved so much, the home where he came on weekends and spent most of his summers, I hoped to feel something that my heart recognized.

But there was nothing, unless you counted dust motes and stale air. And a deep sense of disappointment.

My furniture had arrived and had been placed in some sort of order, rather than thrown into the house for me to deal with. Boxes stretched along the hallway, politely moved to the side. Jarrod’s cousin Eli had unlocked for the movers, and this was his way of welcoming me, I assumed. I appreciated the order more than I could say.

The scarred wooden floor groaned beneath my weight as I walked slowly into the kitchen and dropped my purse onto the kitchen table. My gaze fell on the trifolded flag the officer had handed me during Jarrod’s military funeral. I stopped short and stared. I hadn’t wanted it that day. I was so grief-stricken, so angry, that I left it on the chair at the cemetery. My mother and I had left directly after the funeral. We hadn’t come back to this house, and I couldn’t imagine how it had turned up on my kitchen table.

I stared at the red, white, and blue symbol of death and felt nothing but cold rage. What did I care about the American flag anymore? My pride at the sound of the national anthem or the president’s voice beseeching, “God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America” died six months ago with my husband. I would never again lay my palm reverently across my heart and recite the pledge. That day, I hated the “purple mountain majesties” and “sea to shining sea” as much as I had once loved my country. I would have crawled on top of Jarrod’s coffin and let the dirt tumble over me as willingly as he had tackled a twelve-year-old zealot and carried him to an abandoned building before they both exploded into a million pieces.

The images haunted me.

I yanked my thoughts back before they could spiral into a dark place I might not be able to escape. There were suitcases and a couple of boxes to bring in anyway. I went back to the Jeep and started unloading, glad that the furniture had all been sent ahead so I didn’t have to deal with getting it here.

If he had not died, he would have been home by now, out of the military, and ready to put down roots here.

Jarrod and I had lived in military housing, but we were planning to give up our quarters and move to this very house before word came that Jarrod wouldn’t be coming home. Our plan was to fix up this house, which his grandparents had left him, but our contractor had barely begun the massive renovations when Jarrod died. I didn’t have the heart or strength to continue with the plans alone until two months ago, when I decided I couldn’t stay in Dallas, dying inside a little more each day while I put on a happy face for my mother. Work resumed on the roof and structural issues. Inside, the plumbing had been fixed, but not much else, and I’d considered waiting a few more months to move. But night after night, dream after dream, Jarrod seemed to be drawing me here. How could I stay away?

Besides, mid-May seemed like a good time to move. Perhaps the beauty of nature’s rebirth would somehow speak to my soul and help me make sense of the pain I couldn’t escape.

After my last trip from the Jeep, I dropped, exhausted, into a kitchen chair and kicked off my flip-flops. The flag stared back at me, and I made a mental note to stuff it in a closet the next day. My phone trilled. I fished it from my purse and smiled at a text message from my sister, Lola. “Did you find your birthday present yet? Look in your pink duffel bag.”

My birthday wasn’t actually for a couple of weeks, but that wouldn’t stop me from taking an early present. Curiosity overcame fatigue, and I padded barefoot into the living room, where I’d dropped most of my things.

I didn’t have to dig around. A box sat on top of my clothes, along with a card. I unwrapped a huge bottle of brandy. I couldn’t resist a smile. My city-girl sister had been joking for a month that I’d have to be drunk to actually live in “the boonies.”

“Got it,” I texted back. “Thanks.”

“No problem. Try not to drink it all in one night. You’re going to be there a long time. You’ll need it.”

I wouldn’t, of course. I’d never been a drinker. The gift was an expensive joke. And it made me laugh the way only Lola could manage now that Jarrod was gone.

As the sun shifted, preparing its descent, the house began giving up light. The loneliness set in, and I blamed Jarrod for that. He should be here. My emotions ran the gamut these days, vacillating between grief, love, numbness, and finally, though not as often lately, anger. I didn’t want to be angry. I wanted to idealize him the way everyone else did, but he’d gone off to save the world and left me to die of grief.

Tears blinded me as I pulled the bottle from the box. I’d always felt a little superior to people who used alcohol to numb their pain, but now I decided to join their ranks. What did it matter? There was no one to care what I did.

After rummaging through the boxes, I found my dishes and pulled out a glass. I rinsed it out and poured a drink for myself. I downed it without taking a breath. My throat burned, but I barely noticed as I poured another and downed it too. I wandered out to the porch and settled down on the rickety porch swing. I had no idea how long it would take the alcohol to affect my brain, but I was ready for it. I wanted to be numb and dizzy. Anything to stop the images of
Jarrod’s last few minutes on this earth. I turned sideways and stretched out on the porch swing, crossed my ankles along the wobbly armrest, and looked up at the rusted chains. I decided it was a good thing I wasn’t very big because from the looks of the chain, a good hard yank would pull the whole swing down.

I poured another glass, then set the bottle on the porch. Staring out across the tree-laden hills, I raised the tumbler to my lips. I sipped the contents, despising every sweet, fiery drop that landed on my tongue. But as the warmth spread from my throat and moved through my body, I began to relax.

I could smell the creek beyond the tree line, and I breathed in deeply. The brandy slid straight from my empty stomach into my bloodstream, and my head started to spin a little. I liked catching a buzz. It made the trees greener. The birds sang a little louder, and the tree frogs chirped in better rhythm. And the more I drank, the better the brandy tasted.

I had to laugh a little at my circumstances. I, a debutante raised in Highland Park—the Beverly Hills of Dallas—was living in a dilapidated one-hundred-fifty-year-old home. My greatest joy in the past six months had been the look on Mother’s face when she saw the house before the funeral. “Oh my dear Lord,” she’d said, over and over. Her dismay was like Mozart to my ears.

As much as Mom hated it, I loved my new home. The house had sat empty since Jarrod’s grandma passed on years earlier. Jarrod inherited fifty acres and the house two years ago when his father decided he’d like to go ahead and pass it on rather than wait until his death for Jarrod to move back home. Apparently, his grandmother had made it clear in her will that Jarrod should eventually end up with the home place—that’s wat the family called the part of the land with the house. From the moment I caught sight of the old two-story, I felt a kinship with the broken structure. It reminded me of The Waltons, and we had hoped to fix it up and fill the rooms with children. Mine and Jarrod’s. I started the renovations while he was overseas. He suggested I contact his cousin Eli to do the work but that I make my own choices about how to fix it up. I wanted to surprise Jarrod with the changes. I fantasized about picking him up at the airport and bringing him home to a beautiful, renovated house he would love.

What a cosmic joke.

But despite the insinuations I’d heard, I had no intentions of signing it back over to the family now that Jarrod was dead. The house sat empty, getting more and more run-down, for years before we started renovations, so I saw no reason to give it up if I had the means and desire to restore the place.

“Stupid Jarrod,” I said to the sky, hoping he was up there somewhere listening. “You should have run away when you saw the kid had a bomb strapped on him.” I raised the glass in the air, not as a salute, but so I could show him I was getting loaded for the first time in my life and it was his fault. “You think you’re such a hero, sitting up there”—I leaned over the side of the swing and looked down at the porch—“or down there while everyone cries over you and talks about that stupid baby fox you saved when you were ten.” My words were beginning to slur a bit, and the tears were stinging my nose. “Well, congratulations, my darling. You saved the world and left me alone. And don’t you dare tell me to stop throwing myself a pity party, because I have one coming!” I downed the rest of the glass. It was burning less now with each tumbler.

I tried to negotiate the bottle, but it slipped from my hands, spilling half its contents onto the porch. The liquid made a winding trail through the cracks on the wooden porch. “Now look what you mademe do,” I sobbed. I sat up, my head spinning and swaying, feeling as  crazy as I sounded. I lay back down and curled into the fetal position, using my arms as a pillow. I shut my eyes against the dizziness. The tears kept coming, bursting through my closed lids like water through cracks in Table Rock Dam.

I would never see him again. Jarrod, the hero of my heart, was gone, and he was never coming back.

“You jerk,” I whispered through tears. “They gave you a medal.” The chain groaned above me as the swing moved forward, then back, as though someone were pushing from behind. My eyes popped open, and I glanced, half-fearfully, around. There was no wind. Not even the slightest breeze. And drunk as I was, I knew I hadn’t moved the swing.

“Jarrod?” I whispered. Had he somehow found a way to come back to me? If he wanted to be with me as a whisper of wind, a shiver up my spine, I’d take him any way I could get him. I sat up, my heart racing with fear, anticipation, excitement. The remnants of twilight were gone, and nothing was left except the stars and moon. It was so dark I could barely see the white railing in front of the swing. I hadn’t even bothered to turn on a light earlier, so there was no glow through the windows. Only the sounds of the tree frogs and crickets broke up the quiet of the hill on which the farmhouse sat.

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The Widow of Saunders Creek: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
The Widow of Saunders Creek Tracy has done a phenomenal job of taking a controversial subject and dealing with it realistically, and nonjudgemental in this heart warming novel of a woman who lost her husband to the war too soon. Are ghosts real? Do they talk to the living? Can we really communicate with our loved ones who have died? The story is told from two points of view, both in the first person, but it draws in the reader and you feel as if Corrie and Eli are in the room telling you what has happened in the last month. Only it becomes more intimate because you don't need to stop and say I said, she said, he said or did. And by giving the name at the beginning of section, the reader is not confused as to whose mind we are inside. The characters are all well developed, and we see the carpentergrowth in them, both Corrie and Eli to the secondary characters of Lola (Corrie's sister) and Joe (carpenter) as well as others in the community. From deep mourning and dispair in Corrie's case to reaching out to others, and in Eli's situation from envy to acceptance. I would recommend this to my friends. I received this ebook free from Waterbrook Press through their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one which I have done. The opinions stated are my own.
SkyyStarr More than 1 year ago
I am so excited to be able to provide this review. I fell in love with this book from page one and could not put it down. You can see how quickly I read it by looking at my previous postings about when I received the book. The book had me crying, laughing and scared. I was able to connect on every level with all of the characters and it's not that often I find a book that I just cannot pull myself away from. Ok, now to get to the fun stuff about it. The book starts off in a small town called Saunders Creek which is located just outside of the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I guess this attached me since I have property not far from there. The first character we are introduced to is Corrie Saunders. She is the widow. Her husband Jarrod of 7 years was in the Army and sacrificed himself over in Afghanistan to save a group of locals. I guess this is another reason I got into the book as well since I am a Navy wife. She is then of course left alone to deal with the grief and loneliness. In death her husband left her a house that has been in his family for several generations which happens to be in Saunders Creek. She feels that if she moves into that house she will be able to be closer to her dead husband and not have to deal with the loneliness or grief. Little does she know she will have to deal with both of those emotions and more. As she arrives in Saunders Creek she is confronted with hatred, jealousy, sympathy and spirituality. She gets reuinted with most of all of Jarrods family including his parents that she hasn't seen since his funeral. The next primary characters introduced are Jarrod's cousin Eli and Eli's mother Samantha. They take Corrie under their wings like family should and try to help her in every way they can to make it through  this tough time. As Eli becomes a handyman at Corrie's home that used to be called the "home place" several things are brought to light. She continues to meet many of Jarrod's family and friends including his Aunt Trudy. She is a proclaimed witch or healer.....someone that can speak to the dead supposedly. As you can tell from the name of the town the Saunders have been in that area for so long most of the homes are over 100 years old including Corrie's. That area is rich in spirituality both Godly and witchcraft. Corrie believes her husband is the one doing the strange things that have been happening to her in the house. Aunt Trudy is brought in against both Eli and Samantha's advice to help Corrie decipher if it is in fact him. Here is where Corrie gets an eye opening experience that shows her why things happen the way they do and how her life with still go on. The experiences she has and revelations she has are things that will make you not want to put the book down. This is a Christian book however the story line feels more mystery, paranormal to me with a hint of Christianity. The book is the BEST read I have had in a long time. I highly recommend reading it. I look forward to the next book Tracey Bateman writes. This book was provided free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books in exchange  for my review. This did not affect my review of this book at all.
whatever_is_lovely More than 1 year ago
I recently read The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman.  This book, while not my favorite, was an interesting, captivating and entertaining read to me. Corrie Saunders returns to her home that had been in her husband's family for generations. Corrie faces some coldness from family members who think she should have returned the home to the family and moved on with her life after her husband died a hero at war.  Corrie feels somewhat out of place in his hometown, yet it is also the place she feels closest to her late husband, Jarrod.  Corrie believes that the spirits she senses belong to her husband and that maybe he hasn't left her after all.  Jarrod's cousin, Eli, is helping with the renovations of the family home.  He is concerned for Corrie and her safety as she begins to open up about the odd occurrences.  Eli begins to witness the spirit occurrences as well.  Eli, a strong man of faith, is aware of the evil that has been allowed to roam the home for generations, invited to stay by his grandparents.  Eli is aware of many of Jarrod's failings and struggles to hide his somewhat ill feelings from Corrie to not dismantle her hero view of her late husband and her delicate emotions.  Eli and Corrie find themselves drawing closer together, yet being torn apart by differing opinions.  Eli encourages Corrie to grow in her faith and to rely on Jesus in those moments of concern.  However, Aunt Trudy, a old magic practicing medium encourages Corrie that Jarrod is not lost to her and that she can reconnect with him and his spirit.  Corrie must decide how she will choose to live the rest of her life. The book is full of deep characters, the struggle between good and evil and the growing romance that grief and healing allow.  It had a different plot than books I frequently choose, however, it drew me in quickly and kept my attention.  I would not hesitate to read another book by Tracey Bateman. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
HeathersStitches More than 1 year ago
   ~This was a touching book to read and it saddened me as I could see my Mom in Corrie. My Mom lost my Dad in a freak accident and he was not in the Army. My Sister was until recently in the Army with her Husband and she did have fears about this type of situation happening to her and Thank Goodness it has not. I really liked the ending and am glad that Corrie moved on and....LOL..I wont spoil it for you...It's worth a cozy cup of tea and blanket!~ I received this ebook free from Waterbrook Press through their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one which I have done. The opinions stated are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Corrie Saunders grew up in a life of privilege. But she gave it all up for Jarrod, her Army husband, a man she knew was a hero when she vowed to spend her life with him. She just didn’t expect her hero to sacrifice his life taking on an Iraqi suicide bomber. Six months after Jarrod’s death, Corrie retreats to the family home her husband inherited deep in the Missouri Ozarks. She doesn’t know how to live without Jarrod—she doesn’t want to. By moving to Saunders Creek and living in a house beloved by him, she hopes that somehow her Jarrod will come back to her. Something about the house suggests maybe he has. Corrie begins to wonder if she can feel Jarrod’s presence. Jarrod’s cousin Eli is helping Corrie with the house’s restoration and he knows that his dead cousin is not what Corrie senses. Eli, as a believing man and at odds with his mystically-oriented family members, thinks friendly visits from beyond are hogwash. But he takes spirits with dark intentions seriously. Can he convince Corrie that letting go of Jarrod will lead to finding her footing again— and to the One she can truly put her faith into? “ This was a pleasant, satisfying read – sort of a suspenseful, romantic with a tad of religion tossed inside it also! I liked the main characters of the book, how they handled life and helped others in their small town along the way. Was relieved to NOT have dreadful death scenes throughout the book and I enjoyed the ghost and how they handled it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GodBlessAmericaJB More than 1 year ago
My review: The Widow of Saunders by Tracey Bateman is a heart touching book. I was a young widow also so I could really identify with Corrie and some of the things she was feeling. I liked how this book delved into the good and evil spirits and how the characters dealt with them. I could have easily fallen in love with Eli as his character was develop in the book. He was gentle and kind and stood strong in his faith and beliefs, but he gave Corrie the space she needed to heal. Tracey deserves high praise for The Widow of Saunders Creek, so I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. The story line was unique and well thought out and all the character made for a perfect read. I look forward to reading more from this author. I received this book from Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Multnomah for my honest review.
Lindz2012 More than 1 year ago
Corrie is so hurt and wounded over her husband death. She doe not know now why she loss her husband. She spend her time at the Saunders Creek and she doe find a love but with who.  Do she learn that their thing there but a demon that she need to get rid of.  Eli is there for some help on the house. Though he has feeling for Corrie. Doe he get his wish or not. You will need to read it to find out and make a decision for yourself.
mmbear More than 1 year ago
Corrie Sanders grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth and when she married Jarrod, she gave up her art career. But Jarrod was killed in Iraq. She decides to move back to Jarrod's old home, in Saunders Creek, the old homestead left to Jarrod. She feels him everywhere and since there is alot of withcraft and seances going on, she feels like she must find out the truth. Eli, Jarrod's cousin and Eli's mother, Sam, become close friends with Corrie. Actually, Eli falls in love with Corrie. He is also a minister and only wants the what is best for Corrie and himself. She finally realizes that maybe she has come into contact with an evil spirit in the barn and she knows she has to do somethng before it's too late. What do you think will happen? Things happen when we least expect them to and I myself have had that happen. When you let go and leave it be, things have a way of working out. All of your pushing and shoving people away only ends up hurting you in the long run. You will come to love this book as a positive reinforcement of what the power of prayer and the power of what God gives to the righteous ministers and preachers in this world to help guide us in the right direction. Happy Reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teelovesgio More than 1 year ago
The Widow of Sunders Creek is an EXCELLENT book. It is so full of love, hurt, pain, and healing. The War in Iraq took so many of our men from us. Fathers, brothers, husbands, best friends, wives and so on that it is a war no one will forget. When you lose someone so special to you and the way they died in Iraq it can haunt you and the persons family for a long time. This story is about a women who loses her husband in Iraq and has to comes to terms with his death. Easier said then done and what happens to her as she comes to terms with his death is nothing short of a miracle. Corrie Saunders loves her husband Jarrod. She misses him and can't wait for him to come home from Iraq. But one day she gets the visit every Military family dreads. She is told that Jarrod was killed in Iraq. She is left feeling numb because she has no one and all she wants is for her husband Jarrod to come home. When he came home this time they were going to move back to his home town of Saunders Creek where they were going to live in his childhood home. As Corrie comes to terms with losing Jarrod she moves to his hometown to be closer to him. She knows once the house is renovated she will be able to feel him and love him even though he is dead. So Corrie keeps up the facade of being happy and having Jarrod's cousin Eli help her with the renovations. As Eli and Corrie get close Eli helps Corrie comes to terms with the lose of Jarrod. But Corrie tells Eli she can feel Jarrod in the house and Eli tells her she is not feeling Jarrod because he is in a better place. As time goes on Eli convinces Corrie that the spirits haunting her are bad. Corrie has to let go of Jarrod in order to move on and get rid of those bad spirits.It's hard for Corrie but with Eli by her side she can do anything. What will Corrie chose in the end? Will she and Eli be able to over come the loss of Jarrod? Will the bad spirits leave and never come back? This is such a heart warming story. It is a story of strength and courage to face the pain and the hurt and move on.
JamieLittle More than 1 year ago
After her husband is tragically killed in an explosion on a tour of duty, Corrie Saunders moves back to a house that has been in his family for over a hundred years. As if adjusting to small town life isn’t hard enough for this well off city girl, strange things start to happen in her house. Some in this small Ozarks community tell Corrie that the mysteriously slamming doors, broken objects and strange sensations are just her dead husband coming back to be with her and comfort her, others suspect it is something else, sometime much darker and demonic. Will Corrie continue to believe her dead husband is making his presence known or will she come to see these events for what they really are? This book was not anything like I suspected. I have never read a work of women’s fiction that deals with the subject of evil spirits and demons. Though others have found this book a bit uncomfortable because of that subject matter, I had no problem reading it and thought it was a very interesting story. Of course, this could have something to do with the fact that I enjoy books by authors like Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I actually really liked that Tracey Bateman was able to create a novel that included romance, suspense and supernatural events. Because of the intriguing story line and the fact that the book is relatively short, I was able to read it very quickly. I’d suggest this to anyone looking for an interesting story. Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
Corrie and Jerrod were two young people full of life and love until the day Jerrod jumped on someone loaded down with explosives. The life they had planned was not to be and Corrie was alone. But, she needed to feel connected to Jerrod. She couldn't go on without him, so she moved back to his home town, to the home that they would have shared together. Could this move help Corrie move on with her life or would it bring more pain? Jerrod's death dealt a blow to Corrie that she couldn't snap out of. She turned from the God she loved believing that He had left her. Now, back in the town Jerrod loved, Corrie notices odd things happening - doors slamming, the swing feeling pushed, feeling she wasn't alone in the house. Eli, Jerrod's cousin, is helping renovate the house while trying to help Corrie see that God still loves her. But, Corrie also discovers that some members of the family practice witchcraft. Will Corrie delve into that world? What is causing the strange happenings in the house? Will Jerrod be able to help Corrie discover her happiness again? In this well-written novel, you will find the answers to these questions and many more. I really enjoyed this novel. Tracey Bateman has turned out another hit, and this one seems to come from events around us today. The characters and situations are realistic, and the story draws you in completely. I recommend it to readers who love a mysterious love story, and think that book groups will enjoy discussing it.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
The Ozark mountain setting for The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman caught my attention and I was ready for an all-American down home story. What I got was a romance with way too much emphasis on the "spirit" presence for my tastes. Young widow Corrie has inherited her deceased husband's grandparents' house near Saunders Creek. Still devastated by his death in Iraq, she decides to remodel the house partly because she believes moving there will bring her closer to Jarod. She begins to believe that the unusual occurrences such as doors slamming and the sounds of footsteps when no one is present are indications that her husband has not left her. When she learns some of Jarod's extended family believe in the healing arts and others actually practice witchcraft, she feels torn. Her Christian upbringing, despite her adult laxity, never addressed spirits. And Eli, Jarod's cousin, who you will quickly target as the love interest, warns Corrie spirits can and do represent evil. In fact, he is certain what Corrie is feeling is the presence of a demon. I would like to give this book a high recommendation for a couple reasons. Basically, I want to like a book with a setting just miles from Branson. Also Eli is a strong character with a good heart. His lifelong competition with cousin Jarod who we only know as deceased is an interesting twist. There is an interesting side story of Corrie rediscovering her passion for art which she had given up for Jarod. Unfortunately, I just felt uncomfortable with this book. I know that the young adult market is filled with fantasy titles and contemporary plots "peopled" with characters who are werewolves, vampires, or such. While this title is not in those camps, I see it as a Christian title book that is trying to pull in some of those readers. Its journey into the occult-Christian battle is not as strong as say,The Exorcist, but there is a present battle, certainly generations old. It certainly was not "my cup of tea" even if it was brewed with fresh herbs for Eli's mother's natural foods shop. I received a review copy of this title from WaterBrook Press. I am not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
Grief can make you do crazy, unexplainable things. This story tells us about Corrie Saunders after the death of her husband. We see her journey to acceptance of Jarrod's forever absence, and back to the One who loves her no matter what. I found the "ghosts" to be a little creepy, but completely realistic. Tracey Bateman handled a touchy subject with a lot of grace and well-written words. I highly recommend The Widow of Saunders Creek if you like suspense with a touch of romance. ***I received this book free for review. The above is my honest opinion.***
lisaluvs2read More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Tracy Bateman does a fantastic job balancing a contentious storyline with the Lords words. By providing the story line in each of the character's perspective, it allowed for the reader to follow the thoughts and experiences with ease. I have never read a book that kept me in suspense and longing for the remedy that only God can provide. With the detailed action filled moments, we were able to experience each moment as they did. By providing the passages of the Bible that allowed them to get through the moments and fight the battle; it gave us a glimpse of how powerful His words truly are. Tracy takes Corrie through all the real emotions a widow can experience. She also provides life altering healing and a lesson that can apply to all areas of our lives.
CaraPutman More than 1 year ago
Tracey Bateman is back with a story that hits on many emotional levels: are ghosts real? Can a loved one come back from the other side of death? And how can we move forward after the death of our soulmate? Corrie Saunders has returned to her husband's home after his death in Iraq. In the midst of renovations, she begins to sense a presence. Could it be her husband? At the same time her husband's cousin tries to tell her it can't be. The story weaves through deep emotion and the growing realization that something more than friendship may be developing with Eli. But their spiritual differences form a formidable barrier. This was a story that kept tugging me back to its pages. I loved the setting in the Ozarks of Missouri. And the characters that surround Corrie and Eli make the story engaging. The spiritual questions raised by this book turn this into a romance with a supernatural twist. A great choice for those who love a romance with more to it.
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman is basically a romance novel- with the typical formulaic plot- but with a new twist- a supernatural element. Basically the plot of the story is about a beautiful widowed woman who eventually finds a new love. A 30 year old woman recently widowed after her husband dies a heroic death in Iraq, believes the quaint nostalgic country home she returns to is haunted by the ghost of her deceased husband. She feels drawn to the property by the spiritual presence she attributes to as her husband. She has an inner conflict, in which she strongly misses his presence but also feels angry that he sacrificed his life for strangers leaving her a window. Nevertheless, she is fortunate ebough to capture the attention of a handsome, single young man, who coincidenlty is also attracted to her. Basically, Eli becomes a buffer of sorts- in that she is never left alone to grieve- something that many widows really arent fortunate enough to have. Eli becomes her personal caretaker, handyman, taxi driver, friend, pastor, and counselor all rolled into one. Anything Corrie needs- Eli is at her service. This young widow, whose life revolved completely around her husband, feels duty bound to honor her commitment even after his death. Her strong sense of marital bonds and her delusion that her husband is truly inhabiting the house, in spirit, is the driving force behind her thoughts and actions as she struggles to cope with a possible new realtionship with his close cousin, Eli. Personally, I feel that Corrie, the 30 year old beautiful woman is self centered and condescending. She is fortunate enough to be wealthy and therefore does not need to work to support herself. Her ideal circumstances most likely do not represent the reality of most young widows who must struggle for neccesities. Her interactions with Eli as well as the other characters in the story hint at her superiority complex- her pride at being physically fit, thin and beautiful at age 30, and condescending in the way interacts and as she percieves others who are economically or socially or physically less fortunate. Personally, I really canot imagine any reader being able to relate to this self centered woman who basically takes every fortunate aspect of her life for granted while wallowing in self pity. Religion, and more specifically, Christianity- is viewed passively as nostalgic. It is hard to believe how Eli, a devoted pastor, can so easily fall in love with a woman who basically is agnotic and has no personal faith in God. The story just seems so superficial and in fact, is a bit dissapointing that a pastor can be so deluded by physical beauty and fall in love with a woman who basically has no faith in God. A strong part of this novel is the fact that the author rightly attributes the spirits and ghosts as demonic rather than that of her departed husband. Eli, the pastor, is the voice of reason, and Eli's words of wisdom are in allighnment with scripture when he warns Corrie of the dangers of the supernatural. In a culture where so many believe in ghosts and mediums and palm readers, this book is a welcomed and important voice of reason. I believe the author should have spent more time focusing on this point. The ending is too perfect in the way all the pieces come to gether- much like a fairy tale in which the beautiful princess and hero gets married. It almost seems that the message of this book focuses on the neccesity of marriage to feel complete in contrast to faith and dependance on God. This is a very good story about characters with strong morals with unexpected twists- but the ending is just too perfect in stark contrast to real life. As a blogger I recieved this book from Walter Brook Publishers for the purpose of writing this review.
jadijohnson More than 1 year ago
The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman The novel begins with Corrie Saunders returning to her late husband's family home in the Ozarks. She carries the grief of a widow still in love with her husband, who had died six months earlier as an Army hero. Her one true friend is Eli, her late husband's cousin. While trying to fix up her old house, he also tries to fix her broken heart. But Corrie isn't ready to let go of Jarrod, especially when it seems his spirit arrived at the house before she did. Eli's relatives are split down the middle in their beliefs. The Christians stand toe-to-toe with the believers in ghosts. It's up to Corrie to decide which side she will stand on. But to side with Eli, she'll have to let go of Jarrod. My heart broke for Corrie. I could feel her pain. She was so sad and lonely. I felt very close to her. I also liked Eli. I was glad he would be working on Corrie's house, so she wouldn't be alone. The strange occurrences hit too close to home for me. I grew up in a house where things happened that couldn't be explained. I can still remember the fear they evoked. So I could relate to Corrie and what she was feeling. It was a good book with equal amounts of suspense and romance. I kept wondering where both storylines would end up. It kept my interest till the very end. I received this free book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.
amoore1981 More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with heartache, romance, and mystery. I think that this booked opened up a new chapter for me in the kinds of books I usually read. I loved the aspect of how the story unfolded, but took a while to get to the mystery part of it. I think this book is exceptional and would recommend it to anyone who likes these kinds of books.
Kellie4 More than 1 year ago
I was quite torn reading this book. On one had I absolutely loved the storyline and the way it was written, and on the other hand I was having a hard time relating to the storyline. The Widow of Saunders Creek, by Tracey Bateman, was an intriguing read. It is written about a woman, Corrie, who is recently widowed by her late husband who was killed on a mission. He left her his grandparent’s house in the town where he grew up. They were planning to live there together one day. She moved in and hired Eli, Jarrod’s (her husband’s) cousin, to do the renovations on the house. While Corrie is there, strange things happen throughout the house, doors slamming, things breaking, etc. She thinks it is Jarrod’s spirit wanting to speak to her and know that he is still around for her. This is the part of the story that I am not sure if I like. I understand that there are people out there who believe in spirits and ghosts haunting a person or a place. However, I don’t. I was having a difficult time imagining how these things were just happening in the story. However, Bateman, wrote about the power of God in a way that can send shivers down your spine. All in all, I really enjoyed the way this book was written. It would bounce back from Corrie to Eli, so you always knew whose thoughts you were reading, which I really liked. The setting for the story was quite unique and fun. However, I would have picked something a little different for the title as I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book based solely on the title. What a great read! Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books Program.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Corrie Saunders loses her beloved husband Jarrod in Iraq as he pulls a suicide bomber away from a crowd of people. Jarrod and the suicide bomber are blown to bits. Now it has been six months since Corrie buried what was left of Jarrod's body in the family plot in Saunders Creek in the Missouri Ozarks. She moves into the old Saunders family homestead that Jarrod left to her. Corrie's mother wants her to come home to Dallas to live, but Corrie feels drawn to Jarrod's family home for she senses that it is here where she can connect with her dead husband. Jarrod's cousin Eli, an ordained minister, helps Corrie with the many needed repairs on the old homestead. Many Saunders family members are into tarot card readings and seances with the dead, but Eli senses that what Corrie believes, Jarrod's spirit reaching out to her, is actually something else. "The Widow of Saunders Creek" is a highly well-written story of a young widow's dealing with her husband's death and how she slowly comes to love once again. The story is organized into parts that begin with a section from Psalm 23 but even the non-believing reader will love this story of love lost and then regained. Corrie, Eli, and all the other characters are well-created and totally believable. There is a bad guy who is a total mental case but even his character fits into the story. The plot flows smoothly to the story's conclusion as Corrie's heart and her old inherited house both are slowly but surely healed. "The Widow of Saunders Creek" must find a place in reading lists everywhere.