What better way to start the new year than with a new, inspirational, entertaining book?
Jenny of the Lookout, a World War 1-era novel. Cherished Romances #10. Published 1-1-22
“Love Signals from the Mountaintops”
After four heartsick years away at school, Jennifer Ashley is going home to Three Rivers, Washington. No more noisy streets and trolley cars. Just family, friends, mountains, forests, and freedom.
The daring girl celebrates by entering a men’s-only horse race. She hires on as a logging camp flunky (helper) and later becomes a lookout fire-watcher high atop Flower Dome. Soon she is flashing mirror signals to Keith Burgess on Pinnacle Peak. They fall in love, but WW1 shatters their lives.
Keith enlists. He is missing in action. After the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, others come home, but not Keith. Will he and Jenny only be reunited in heaven?
Best-selling author Colleen L. Reece, 170+ “Books You Can Trust,” six million copies sold, “goes home again” to her small logging hometown in this based-on-truth story. Her brother served as a lookout fire-watcher.
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“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2 (KJV)
Growing up in the small western Washington logging town of Darrington, pioneered in part by my great-grandparents, and surrounded by mountains [White Horse is 6840 feet] and rushing rivers, instilled in me values to last a lifetime. I loved stories of the “olden days,” every time generations of families and friends gathered.
When I became an author, treasured memories of the way of life that is no more, flowed like the Sauk River in flood. More than 100 years of actual incidents sparked ideas and lent authenticity to my inspirational novels.
So it is with Jenny of the Lookout. Three Rivers reflects Darrington as lived in the early 1900s by Mom, Dad, and relatives who never tired of talking about days gone by. Of logging and the one-room school that served all eight grades. Of cougars [mountain lions] that screamed from the forests encircling the town.
Years later, my brother, Randy, spent a summer as a lookout-firewatcher in a tent on one of the lower mountains. He heard cries in the night, like a woman sobbing. The next morning, he discovered cougar prints outside his canvas door.
Although fiction, this novel contains events and characters based on those who did whatever it took to conquer an untamed land. Rugged, hard-working men, women, and children overcame incredible hardship, including the Spanish Flu Epidemic which claimed more lives worldwide than World War I, and valiantly soldiered on.
I thank God for my rich heritage. May I ever meet life the way my courageous, God-fearing ancestors did.
Chapter 1 excerpt
Western Washington, early summer 1913
Free. Free at last!
Heart thundering, eighteen-year-old Jennifer Ashley smoothed her lacy shirtwaist, gathered her school books, lifted her ankle-length skirt to the top of her buttoned shoes, and stepped into the aisle of the trolley car. If she never rode a trolley again, it would be too soon.
She took in a deep breath and slowly released it. For four long years, Jenny had studied hard to make her family proud, counting the days to high school graduation when she could shake the dust of the city off her shabby shoes and go home. Freedom from trolley cars, crowded streets, and city smells.
The trolley jolted to a stop. Jenny walked to the door and beamed at the friendly driver. “Good-bye, Sam.”
“See you on Monday,” he called when she stepped to the street. “Same time. Same place.”
Jenny shook her head so hard a rebellious black curl escaped from beneath her wide-brimmed hat and dangled over her forehead. “No more school for me,” she crowed. “I’m going home tomorrow!”
Kindle and print versions.