Welcome to the Takeover Blitz for Fields of Bounty by Lauraine Snelling, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
About the BookTitle: Fields of Bounty
They must set aside their own plans and rely on their faith to bring their true destiny to light.Lilac Nielsen's dream has come true: handsome young Reverend Ethan Pritchard has finally noticed her. Yet she must balance this new courtship with the pursuit of another dream--the publication of her artwork in a New York paper. She has secretly been submitting a series of drawings under a pen name, and if anyone traces the drawings back to her and finds out where Lilac and her sisters settled, the entire Nielsen family could be in danger.
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This had been a terrible idea.
Rev. Ethan Pritchard tugged at his collar, sweat trickling down his neck as he vainly tried to corral the attention of a dozen distracted youngsters collected at the front of the schoolhouse. Here it was the actual performance, and he was having no better success than during rehearsals.
“Children, attention, please.” Did his voice sound as feeble to them as it did to him? Only a few from the untidy group even glanced his way. The others whispered and giggled, fiddled with their own hair ribbons or pulled each other’s, fidgeted their toes, and stared out at the assembled audience. One small boy poked his finger into his nose.
“Children!” Ethan used his handkerchief to mop his brow. The August heat would have been bad enough without him flying after this harebrained notion of organizing the schoolchildren into a makeshift band, supposedly providing entertainment for Salton’s celebration today honoring Nebraska’s statehood. That official event would be held later in nearby Lincoln, the new state capital, but he’d managed to get one of the dignitaries currently building up that city, Phineas P. Gordon, to come and speak at Salton’s celebration here today.
Mr. Gordon stood in one corner of the schoolhouse, stylish goatee quivering in distaste—or so Ethan inferred. Not to mention the disapproving murmur running through the assembled gathering of townsfolk. He distinctly saw Mrs. Jorgensen shake her head and whisper something to her husband.
Ethan set his jaw. He had seen Miss Delphinium Nielsen, now Mrs. RJ Easton, conduct a student choir twice this size at the school Thanksgiving program last fall, and do it with ease. Surely he could handle twelve kids. He rapped his stick sharply on his makeshift podium, and roughly half the children quieted and looked at him.
Well, that was an improvement. He glanced back at the congregation—or audience, he was too used to being in church— and put on what he hoped was a welcoming smile.
“We will now begin our program with ‘Yankee Doodle,’ per- formed by the children of Salton.”
He began to conduct his ensemble, putting as much energy as he could into the gestures. The children absently blew on their tin horns or combs, strummed their handmade banjos, and banged spoons and triangles with as little regard for timing and harmony as a gaggle of chickens. And even less for his direction. The sweat ran into his ears. Lord, help. How did I get myself into this mess?
The tuneful note of a fiddle paused his arm midgesture and halted those few children still gamely soldiering on. He glanced over to see Lilac Nielsen standing near, her dark curls swept up for the day, fiddle tucked neatly beneath her chin.
“So sorry to be late.” She inclined her head apologetically, her voice clear enough for the audience to hear, even if supposedly not meant for their ears. “How can we expect a band to play without someone to give the pitch?” With a gracious nod, she smiled at the children.
“Now then, children, are we ready?”
The children stood straighter, eyes bright and fixed on the slender young woman. They nodded and lifted their homemade instruments.
“Right then. Reverend?”
Ethan managed a nod and began conducting again. It didn’t matter that his muscles trembled with weak relief, for the children had eyes only for Miss Nielsen. The melody of her fiddle and the effortless guidance she gave by a tip of her head kept the motley ensemble in better time and tune than Ethan had thought possible.
At the conclusion of the piece, the group’s irregular bows met a surprisingly generous burst of applause.
Which, in Ethan’s opinion, should have been directed wholly at Lilac Nielsen, now shepherding the children efficiently back toward the seats.
Shooting her a glance in which he hoped she could read the gratitude, Ethan cleared his throat. “Thank you. We will now hear from our guest of honor for the day, Mr. Phineas Gordon, as he details the impact our new state capital promises for us here in Salton.”
Grateful to be out of the spotlight, Ethan sank into the chair he’d set to the side and wiped his brow once more as Mr. Gordon took the stage. That had been worse than a year’s worth of sermons.
Fields of Bounty• Lauraine Snelling
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group © 2022 used by permission
Nebraska, 1857, the Neilsen sisters continue to make a life in Salton. Two sisters already married, Lark & Lilac work the farm. Lilac is conflicted in her approaching marriage to Rev. Ethan. Ethan facing scandal leans on the Lord for guidance along with the aid of his father. Things are not going according to what Ethan figured his life would be like.
I enjoyed the journey with the sisters and the rest of the community of Salton. The characters go through lots of changes, some are joyful, and others left them facing disappointment and changes in their lives they didn't see coming.
The historical aspects of the 1800s fascinated me. I loved the small community life and how they supported each other. Even though I haven't read any of the other books in the series, I was able to sort out the characters. The writing style was easy to read and enjoyable. Highly recommended.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and willingly choose to review it.
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(1) winner will receive a paperback set of the first three books in Lauraine Snelling’s Leah's Garden series: The Seeds of Change, A Time to Bloom, and Fields of Bounty!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 29, 2023 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on April 5, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
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