Friday, March 17, 2017

Connie Cortright and Lead Me Home

Lead Me Home, Book 2 in Grace Alone
Connie Cortright

Milk Door Publications
February, 2017
eBook $4.99
Print: $13.99
Buy on Amazon

Historical romance

Maggie Ehlke, a younger sister of Emma from Guide Me Home, is sent from her home in Wisconsin to help care for Emma's and Neil's growing family. Since Neil is now a pastor at a church in Dubuque, Iowa, Maggie moves her belongings to this city on the shores of the Mississippi River. 

She struggles to understand why life seems so unfair. Her dream of attending college and making something of her life have fallen through because of the economy. Now the reality of being sent from home to her sister's house weighs on her mind. As the train takes her closer to Dubuque, she feels that her only comfort is the books packed in her weighty trunk. 

Cortright says, “Book Two of my series takes place nine years after my first book—1935. Of course, that means that my characters are living in the years of the Great Depression, where hunger, unemployment, and homelessness are common place in every town across the United States.”

Book 1 of Grace Alone: Guide Me Home is available on Amazon

A Interview with the Author:
Connie, tell us what you love about this book. 
I love how this book brings the history of the Great Depression to life. It shows what our grandparents/parents went through during those years especially living in the Midwest - lack of food, no money, dry years with bad crops, etc. It also shows how people back then had to make the best of things and still had happiness in their lives. Their faith in God’s saving grace brought peace into their lives no matter what the physical circumstances were just like faith in God fills our lives with peace today.

Introduce us to your hero. 
Super-shy Romy Iverson, who can hardly speak with any female, has to figure out how to live in the same house with Maggie Ehlke when she moves in with the family. How will he manage to tell Maggie how to light the fire in the wood stove or wash clothes with the wringer washer if he can’t speak to her? Her presence, after the death of Romy’s mother, is very much needed to help manage the household with Romy’s three sisters, but she complicates Romy’s life as much as she helps the situation. Romy has to deal with this new female in his life and learn how to come out of his shell.

Share two things that you learned while writing this story. 
I learned what an interesting city Dubuque, Iowa is. We traveled there several years ago and discovered the Fenelon Place Elevator which is a tram that takes people up a steep cliff. Of course, this tram shows up in my book when the heroine Maggie Ehlke moves to Dubuque. My husband and I rode on this short train taking us to the top of the bluff, so it was easy to describe the experience for my readers. We also found out about the Cassville Ferry that crosses the Mississippi River upstream from Dubuque. We found out that this ferry was working during the Great Depression and that young adults (who could afford it) would take a day trip from Dubuque north to the ferry and then drive back to Dubuque on the Wisconsin side of the river. Of course, that happens in my book also. As you can probably tell, learning about history is why I love to write historical fiction.

What are you reading now? 
I’m currently reading In Farleigh Fields: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen. This historical fiction story, set in England, gives the reader a hint of suspense. It has captured my attention as I read it on my Kindle. 

What’s next? 
That’s a complicated question for me at this point in my life. My husband and I are currently preparing to move to Prague, Czech Republic where he will be working as a missionary to tell people about Jesus. We hope to be moving over there sometime in May. I started writing book 3 in my series, but I have no idea how much I’ll be able to write until we actually relocate to Europe. Book 3 is about the youngest sister in the Ehlke family - Katie - and her adventures as a nurse in a POW camp for German soldiers located in New Ulm, Minnesota. I have about five chapters written already, but my writing life has been on hold for a time during this transition.

Lisa: My very best wishes for you and your husband. I hope you find time to write, as I look forward to the next story.

My review:
From our first meeting with the bashful and dreamy Romy, sent to pick up the pastor’s wife’s sister, and Maggie, on the train crossing the mighty Mississippi into Iowa, readers are pulled into their converging world.

Maggie feels like one mouth too many to feed in a large family during the harshness of what came to be known as the Great Depression. As she is thrown first into what came to be a short-lived reunion with family, and then into the harsh realities as caretaker of a motherless brood of virtual strangers, she feels abandoned not just by the people she loves, but also by God. Romy’s dedication to the family he adores wars with his adventurous side. All around him dreams are shriveling and dying during the harshness of the broken economy. His shyness has kept him from forming meaningful relationships with girls, but when he meets Maggie, her spirit and gumption in the light of her own disappointments points toward a new path for him to follow, even as tragedy strikes his family. A wealthy family takes up the ruined farm down the road and the dandified son takes up company with Maggie and Romy is forced to act in the best interests of everyone around him, even if the consequences lead him away from any chance at finding a home of his own.

Cortright’s story is beautifully detailed with all the nuances of love and faith and tragedy of that troublesome era of American and international history. Her characters are lovingly developed and the setting painstakingly recreated. Those who are familiar with Dubuque will feel right at home. Told in alternating points of view, readers can sympathize and rejoice and cry along with Maggie and Romy as life unfolds around them, and they respond by growing in faith and following their hearts.

About the Author

Raised on a farm in Wisconsin, Connie Cortright taught Lutheran elementary school before marrying a Lutheran pastor. She has traveled across the country and beyond, following his ministry. She enjoys writing Christian historical fiction where she sprinkles bits of her own experiences into her stories. Visit her website,

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