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Self-image can be a touchy subject, especially if it’s an area in which we’re struggling. If you can relate to that (currently or in the past), I think you’ll find encouragement as we visit with Kelly Goshorn today. Her newly released novel, A Love Restored, touches on some of those very issues. Let’s take a peek at the back cover, and you can see for yourself.
Twenty-year old Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. She would rather read Jules Verne or teach Negro children to read and write than join the Women’s Benevolent Aid Society or practice her voice lessons. Her pert opinions and less than perfect figure keep many suitors away. When Ruth Ann accepts a position teaching at the new Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer she is likely to receive. Should she risk life as a lonely spinster or reinvent herself to accept a proposal from a man she does not love?
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. All he needs now is a woman to share his promising future. When Benjamin has a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, he is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, Benjamin must decide whether he will listen to his heart or put ambition first.
Hi Sarah, thank you for hosting me on Faith, Fiction & Fun today. I look forward to chatting with you and your wonderful readers!
We look forward to getting to know you. 🙂 First, congratulations on your debut release! What inspired you to write A Love Restored?
A Love Restored is based on my real-life love story with my husband, Mike—all of our ups and downs, including our emotionally devastating break up. When I first began writing, I tinkered with a story about Irish mail-order brides (the whole mail order bride thing just fascinates me). Hubby read it, told me it “wasn’t bad,” then suggested I write our story. Skeptical, I questioned him. “Are you sure. I mean you don’t look so good in that story for a long time.” He grinned and responded, “Yeah, but I think it turned out all right.” I’d have to agree. We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary in mid-June.
Congratulations again! In a culture where divorce is so common, it’s encouraging to hear stories like yours where people have chosen to stick together and work things out. Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
The reason I chose this particular setting is that I was born and raised in north-western Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. I can’t imagine living anywhere I’d enjoy as much nor find as beautiful. My fictionalized town of Catoctin Creek is loosely based on my hometown of Purcellville, Virginia. In 1874, the Washington & Ohio railroad opened their station in Purcellville, an event that I capture in A Love Restored. My hero, Benjamin Coulter, is an apprentice surveyor with a Land Mapping Agency responsible for the route the new rail line will take.
That area really is beautiful! Do you have personal experience with any of the events in your story, and if so, could you share about that?
Like my full-figured heroine, Ruth Ann, I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life. That struggle plays an important part in our story. I’ve had cruel things said about my appearance. Oftentimes by people who were supposed to love me. But their insensitive words failed in comparison to the ugly way I spoke to myself. I’d become so defined by the negative comments and opinions of those surrounding me, I no longer saw anything to esteem. I’d allowed my self-worth to be determined by a yardstick that measured my value according to the size of my waist or the flatness of my stomach, always coming up short. My own journey to self-acceptance, as well as what a loving God will do to grab a stubborn woman’s attention, are pivotal to the story line.
I imagine nearly every one of us could relate to that struggle in one way or another! What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
A Love Restored is not only a story of love, romance, heartache and restoration, but also a story about the power of words over our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us. As my husband and I discovered, it is only then that we are truly able to give and receive love, unconditionally.
My prayer for you and your lovely readers is that you will not allow the enemy to steal the joy that is rightfully yours as a child of God. Speak the truth of the gospel over yourself every day and ask God to give you His eyes to see yourself as He does.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
I love that, Kelly. So often we believe the lies we hear (or tell ourselves) when God’s Word says the exact opposite! If you could live during the time period of your novel, would you? Why or why not?
Yes, in a heartbeat. I always thought it would be fun to be on one of those reality shows that recreated life in the past. Although as a thoroughly spoiled modern woman I’m not sure how well I’d do, but I would love to give it a go.
Ah yes, giving up our modern conveniences would be a challenge. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
My current series, also set in Virginia, follows the Ashby family as they struggle to survive as the nation and their family are torn apart by America’s Civil War. Surrendered Hearts examines what happens when God calls us to surrender those things we hold most dear. Characters are called to sacrifice their dreams and ambitions, their pride, and ultimately their hearts as God recklessly pursues each of them. Hearts and wills are challenged, and lives transformed as characters experience restoration with one another and with God.
That sounds like another great story! Thanks for taking the time to share with us today, Kelly!
Your turn! Can you relate to the struggle of aligning our self-worth with God’s Word? If there is a particular verse that encourages you when you find yourself believing lies, please share it in the comments!
More about Kelly:
Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, releases June 29th from Pelican Book Group.
You can connect with Kelly on:
Her website: http://kellygoshorn.com/
A Love Restored Giveaway:
Kelly has generously offered to give away a $5 Amazon gift card and a book charm (see picture) containing a quote from A Love Restored. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.