Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas at Holly Hill by Martha Rogers

Back Cover Blurb:

It is October 1898, and Clayton Barlow has just returned home after serving time in prison for his part in a bank robbery. His family welcomes him, but the townspeople are skeptical. Bored with life in the small town but determined to make a new start, he goes to work with his father, hoping to regain the town’s trust.

Clayton recognizes the schoolteacher at the Prairie Grove School as his childhood friend, Merry Lee Warner, and old feelings surface. Still, he doubts that he could ever get a woman like Merry to love him.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Thursday, October 20
Prairie Grove, Kansas 1898

Home for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Clay’s heart pumped blood through his veins at a frantic pace. After serving five years for his part in a bank robbery, he’d be home for his two favorite holidays. The question looming in his soul was whether he’d be welcome by anyone other than his parents.

The train hissed and steamed its way into the station with a blast of the whistle, and Clay peered through the window. When the cars came to a screeching stop, he remained in his seat, fear gripping his heart. The conductor stopped in the aisle.

“Son, this is your stop. Time to get off.”

Clay nodded and willed himself to stand and make his way down the aisle. No one would be here to greet him since no one knew he’d be on the train. He’d planned it all as a surprise, especially for his mother. He stepped to the platform and gripped the handle of the small bag containing all his worldly possessions. The town had grown some but didn’t appear to have changed that much.

 Although Thanksgiving was still over a month away, the spirit of the coming holiday season hung in the air in a town that loved to celebrate every special occasion. The trees wore their best fall colors in welcome, and Clay drank in the sight he’d seen only in his dreams for the past five years.

He made his way to the street in front of the depot and stopped to take in the scene spread out before him. The good citizens of Prairie Grove moved about on their way to one place or another, oblivious to his presence. The livery still stood close to the station with the post office nearby, and right next to it a new addition announced itself in gold letters. The telegraph office was now the Prairie Grove Telephone and Telegraph center. His hometown had grown more than he realized. He spotted the hotel and the Red Garter Saloon a few blocks away then breathed deeply of the fresh smell of baking bread drifting from the bakery next to his father’s store. The green and yellow letters on the sign hanging in front welcomed customers to Barlow’s General Store, still the only mercantile in town. A slight breeze sent the sign swinging with a creak he heard from his position near the depot. Dust whirls danced across the street where he’d once played and raced with other boys his age.

By Christmas those streets would most likely be filled with snow, and snowball fights would be the game of the day at the school. His days at the red clapboard schoolhouse had been some of the happiest of life. He viewed the bell tower of the school at the end of the street and could almost hear the sound of it clanging in his memory.
Doubt lodged in Clay’s throat, but he kept walking to the store. When he stepped through the door, it could well have been ten years ago when he helped Pa. He inhaled the familiar smells of coal oil, fresh ground coffee, fabric dye, and peppermint candy. Nothing had changed.

Then he spotted his ma. He observed her for a minute or two, savoring the sight of her graying hair and slight frame. She didn’t move as fast as she once had, and she stopped to catch her breath after placing some items on a shelf.

From the corner of his eye, he saw his father coming from the storeroom. A good five inches shorter than Clay, Pa’s study frame handled the box in his arms with ease. He turned to set the box on the counter, and Clay cringed the moment his father recognized him. The meeting he both dreaded and anticipated had come.

To Buy her book, go here:

About the author:

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and attending football, baseball, and basketball games when one of the grandchildren is playing or performing. She is a member of several writing groups.  A former Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series as well as several other novels and novellas. The first book in her new series, Love Stays True, released in May, 2013.

Connect with Martha here:
Facebook: Martha Whiteman Rogers   
Twitter: @MarthaRogers2

Martha is giving away a copy of Christmas at Holly Hill. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post).

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Patty said...

I've read and enjoyed several of Martha's books. I would love to read this Christmas story!
It would be very hard to some home after having spent time in prison. one might be tempted to just go somewhere new and start fresh...


Lisa Lickel said...

So proud of you, Martha. Congratulations on this new book - looks lovely.

Patsy said...

Would love to read this book!

Jackie McNutt said...

Martha, the excerpt from Christmas At Holly Hill is well written. I will enjoy adding your book to my reading list. Best Wishes

Susan Johnson said...

This looks like a good book. I am a sucker for any book that has a main character named Clayton. That is my son's name.
susanmsj at msn dot com

Mary / Touch of Heaven said...

I love historical romance. Would love to win this!
atouchofheaven2010 at gmail dot com

Brittany said...

Ooh! This sounds so good! Having to overcome that kind of reputation will be tough! Thanks for the chance to win.
Brittany McEuen

HomePlace Gatherings said...

I love Christmas stories AND historical romance. This one is the best of both worlds!

priviesandprims at yahoo (dot) com

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win this book giveaway

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

sam said...

Another fabulous Christmas fiction book for me to read! Love to win this one! sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pam K. said...

I don't think I've yet read a book by Martha but this sounds like a good one to start with. I enjoy reading books set in my native Kansas.


Wendy Newcomb said...

I've been seeing this book and would like to read it, it'd be great if I could win it!


Rick Estep said...

Left a comment on both for a better chance to win!

Librarybooks at religious dot com

cjajsmommy said...

This is the kind of book I could share with younger women and not worry about the message it sends. I would love to win a copy. djragno [at] hotmail [dot] com

Martha W. Rogers said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Wish I could each of you a copy of the book. It's very special to me as you will see in my interview.

Linda Yezak said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the interview, Martha, and I love the idea of having a Christmas story that includes the characters in your series. Sounds great!

Cindi A said...

I absolutely love the cover of this book.
The blurb sounds so inviting.


Linda Marie Finn said...

Oh I just would love to read the whole book. so so good.
Linda Finn

Anonymous said...

Oh boy! Another chance to win Martha's Christmas book. She can write some good stories. Please put my name in. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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