A big welcome today to Beatrice Fishback, author of Bethal Manor, due to be released by Crooked Cat Publishing in Spring 2016. Here she tells us what inspired her to write it and shares an excerpt – take it away, Beatrice…
Why would an American (that would be me J) from upstate New York write an inspirational historic novel, titled Bethel Manor that takes place in England? Having had the privilege of living in the East Anglian area of Great Britain for a total of twenty years, I am a woman whose heart is divided by her love for both countries. And I’ve learned to appreciate—although not always understand—each culture’s viewpoint.
However, this novel is not a commentary on all things different between the U.S. and the U.K. (there are a plethora of books and YouTube videos if you’re interested). This is about Bethel Manor, and a young man named James Blackwell who was raised in an orphanage in Bristol, England by owners George and Margaret Owen.
Although the Victorian love story is about an orphan, James Blackwell, and his chance encounter with the wealthy Clare Shaw, the original idea for my story came from the life of a true gentleman named George Mueller. George was an evangelist and the Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol during the mid-19th century. During his lifetime, over 10,000 children were under his care and his desire was to train and educate each. He established 117 schools where 120,000 children were educated during his lifetime.
Bethel Manor begins with the idea of a couple—George and Margaret Owen—dedicating their lives for the benefit of unloved children during the challenging time of the Industrial Revolution in England. George Mueller and his wife were my inspiration.
Both Americans and Englishmen will read not only about the romantic love between two individuals in Bethel Manor, but the remarkable love of a couple for unwanted children. I, for one, have found these types of sacrificial people in both countries and am grateful that I have had the privilege to know them all.
Bethel Manor will be released Spring 2016 from Crooked Cat Publishing, UK.
Excerpt from Bethel Manor:
He bolted upright. “What? Who’s there?” His sweaty body trembled in the bitter dampness of the darkened room. Coals in the inglenook fireplace, whose meager heat had escaped long ago, formed a heap of cold ashes.
“It’s me. You cried out in your sleep.” Flickering candlelight played along the peppered beard on George Owen’s globe-shaped face as he cupped a candlestick in his calloused hand. Moonlight filtered through the small, latticed windows covered with frosty mist. “Are you all right?”
James leaned against the backboard and shivered. “It was the same dream as before.” Miniature clouds of breath floated upwards and vanished into the black canopy of the room.
George perched on the edge of the bed, and the rope foundation settled with a low, deep groan. The other twelve boys in the room twisted and turned in their cots.
George whispered, “Your dream about leaving?”
George placed the candlestick on the small bedside table. “Perhaps it’s time to began your quest. To find the answers you seek.” Resting his hand on James’ shoulder, he gently squeezed. “You’re old enough now to stretch your wings and fly. To begin the journey God ordained for you long ago.”
“I’m not so sure I believe…” James’s crossed arms not only held in his body’s warmth but his stubbornness toward God’s love. “How can I believe in a God who’d allow parents to leave their children for others to raise?”
About the author: Beatrice Fishback is a Yankee who has traveled the world as a military spouse and lived in Europe for a total of twenty-years. She is the author of Loving Your Military Man by FamilyLife Publishing and, with her husband Jim, is the co-author of Defending the Military Marriage and Defending the Military Family. She has been published in various compilations, magazines and online websites.
She and her husband have spoken to audiences in the U.S.A, Germany, England, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Korea, and Japan. They have also presented to international audiences in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Latvia.
Beatrice and Jim currently reside in North Carolina where scones are called biscuits and are topped with gravy, and tea is served over ice.