About the Book
The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides
Author: Kathy Rouser
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: November 1, 2018
Lighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.
Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.
The Last Memory
by Kathleen Rouser 1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.
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About the Author
Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises,
her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes.
She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers who realize their need for the touch God’s grace and hope in their everyday lives. A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/
, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.
When author Pegg Thomas approached me about writing a novella for The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides book proposal I couldn’t refuse the chance. After all, I am a lifelong resident of Michigan, which is the Great Lakes State! Plus, I had a favorite lighthouse in mind, though I briefly considered others.
For over 20 years we have ventured “up north” for a week-long summer vacation on Lake Michigan, most of them spent in the same cottage. Since the cottage is almost 20 miles west of Mackinaw City, I’ve made the annual pilgrimage to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse since they reopened with exhibits in 2004. Part of the first floor has since been restored to the middle-class furnishings of 1910 when George Marshall and his family resided there. Two generations of Marshalls manned the lighthouse and George Marshall’s brother, Charles, was at one time the assistant lighthouse keeper.
There is also an area of the lighthouse where they display maps, photographs and other information, chronicling the history of the lighthouse built on the Straits of Mackinac in 1892. Fresnel lenses, like those used in the tower, and interactive displays are also included. Did you know for several years, the fourth-order Fresnel lens flashed a red light? I’d always pictured a yellow light! A tour guide, dressed in period clothing, such as a U.S. Lighthouse Service uniform, will take you up the tall, winding metal staircase to enjoy the view.
My many visits, whether they’ve included the long climb to the tower or not, have intrigued me. I’d often thought that someday I would like to write a fictional story about this lighthouse. Built with Cream City brick, in a Norman architectural style, the building reminds me of a castle. Perhaps that’s why I chose to have the lighthouse keeper hero, Cal Waterson, rescue Natalie Brooks, a lone shipwreck survivor. She is the proverbial damsel in distress. Yet, despite her amnesia she finds a new strength in her faith to face an unknown future and in a sense rescues Cal and his daughter.
Returning to the lighthouse last year, I did climb to the tower to examine the view my characters might have had. Of course, I had to imagine what it would have been like without the Mackinac Bridge, which has joined our upper and lower peninsulas since 1957. It’s a spectacular view, where you can also see Mackinac Island, home of the famous Grand Hotel, which was already there in 1899, when my story takes place.
Not only do lighthouses spark so many ideas of history and romance, they are so symbolic— as guiding lights—and beacons of hope to lead through treacherous waters, much like our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the true Light who leads us to the Father. Indeed, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse played a strategic part in guiding ships through the dangers of the straits. I look forward to visiting this beautiful historic landmark again and hope my readers will be drawn into an intriguing visit to the lighthouse through my story, The Last Memory.
Lighthouses have always fascinated me. I love everything about them, from their lifesaving purpose to their solitude, which has a special appeal for an introvert’s heart. Symbolic of the Christian’s duty, they shine through the darkness and guide others toward the light, illuminating the way around obstacles. As such, “The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection” is very apropos in combining seven historical romances spanning the years 1883 to 1911 and set on various lighthouse stations throughout the area. Each features an inspiring missive of hope that speaks to the inner, secret longings of the heart and to the larger message of salvation.
Although some are as seemingly bereft as the islands that they inhabit, the heroines are the mainstay of this anthology. As romantic as the idea of living in a lighthouse sounds, the reality proves it to be a difficult life, especially for women. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, upkeep involved much more than simply lighting the lamp; maintaining the lighthouse and its environs required constant physical labor as well as tending to any shipwrecks that might occur. The women in these tales are duly stalwart in spirit, yet they are all the more endearing for their vulnerabilities. In one way or another, each young lady struggles with her identity. Some want to prove their merit as light keepers, while others seek to find their individual station in life, trials that continue today.
Throughout the seven tales related in this book, the Lord becomes the bastion to which the characters cling, and He is still the One we should seek. Fans of Hazel Gaynor’s “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter” will cherish this collection, as will any historical romance readers. In the featured story, Kathleen Rouser’s “The Last Memory”, an increasing sense of suspense pervades the tale as Natalie (“Mallory”) experiences amnesia and finds herself at the Mackinac Point Lighthouse with keeper Cal Waterson, trying to discover her past and not realizing how much it will affect them both. Two of my other favorite stories were Candice Sue Patterson’s “Beneath a Michigan Moon” and “The Disappearing Ship” by Lena Nelson Dooley. “Beneath a Michigan Moon” struck a chord with me because of Ava’s illness and her battle with physical limitations and isolation, along with her release of self-sufficiency. “The Disappearing Ship” recalled one of my favorite fictional characters, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, as Norma contended with her gender standing in the way of practicing medicine and also with a missing treasure. Each tale offers an uplifting narrative that speaks to our heart’s desire to love and to be loved, to find our true identity in Christ.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection, a sterling silver charm of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and a souvenir pictorial book of some of the Great Lakes lighthouse!!