About the Book
Book: The Melody of the Mulberries
Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing
Genre: Historic Southern Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2019
This sequel is set in the late 1920s Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.
Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet – perfect for pies and jams.
When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds, and when the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.
Where Emerald Ashby’s story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, pure and innocent sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby’s story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.
Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
More about Tonya Jewel Blessing: Growing up Tonya spent numerous vacations and holidays in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Most of her adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women. She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker. For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists local churches, pastors, cross-cultural workers, and others in Christian leadership in providing spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to the poorest in the world. Tonya writes monthly devotionals for women in ministry. She is the award-winning novelist of The Whispering of the Willows, which is Book 1 of the Big Creek Series. She is the co-author of Soothing Rain, a discussion starter handbook/devotional that provides women with important tools for sharing biblical truth.
More from Tonya
Greetings From Author Tonya Jewel Blessing
The Melody of the Mulberries is book two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains were untamed in the 1920s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking, magnificent, and glorious.
The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970s as the state slogan.
In 1937, my mother, Virginia Ashby, was born in the rural hills of West Virginia. She spent several of her formative years in an area known as Big Creek. I have borrowed my mother’s maiden name, several names from her past, and the name Big Creek.
The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” Certainly, there are seasons in my life where I long for the steep, curvy country roads of my youth. This is one deeply satisfying reason for writing about hope with connections to West Virginia, a life held close to my heart.
It is a pleasure and an honor to share this story with the Celebrate Lit family. My southern story is an authentically derived historical romance for young adults and for women of all ages who love Appalachian lore and West Virginia history. It contains some depictions of spiritualism and traditional Christianity during the 1920s in West Virginia. It continues with the inter-racial dealings between two communities, where, some are friends and some are foes.
If anyone would enjoy a free sample of the first audiobook, The Whispering of the Willows, please go to the link and click “play sample”. This amazing voice actress, Courtney Patterson, will start reading you my story so that you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the Ashby family. Enjoy!
Enjoy an excerpt from Tonya’s first book in the series, The Whispering of the Willows, here.
The story is an intriguing look at Appalachian people and their culture. They sure do have some very interesting folk lores. I enjoyed reading them and appreciate the author including one at the top of each chapter. At first I was a bit lost in the story but was able to quickly pick up what was going on. It would be helpful to read the first book in the series, but you can still enjoy this one without reading the first.
I thought the author did a good job of showing the struggle that Coral had about seeing someone in prison. She wanted to share God with this person and knew God had called her to do this. This was a great example of showing forgiveness to someone who had hurt her and her family. Coral was a great character and I admired her determination to follow God.
Ernest has his hands full with being in love with one woman while another one wants him to help raise her baby. The birth of the child was written very well and you could feel a sense of love as a new life was brought into the world. The people sure did have opinions about what Ernest should do since he helped deliver the baby. There were some tense moments when Ernest was confronted by a man who demanded he marry Mercy, the mother of the child he delivered.
The author gives us a look into history during the 1920's and I loved reading about the Hatfields and McCoys. Who can forget these two families and their feud that started so long ago? Now Ernest is in a similar situation and needs to figure a way out. I loved that he was a teacher and how much he enjoyed being around children watching them absorb information.
The character named Granny was interesting and also a little scary at times. She sees things that others can't understand and she is a little deceitful at times. I don't think I would want to meet her at all. The story follows an outbreak of influenza that take many lives. I remember reading about this and how helpless doctors felt as they saw patients succumb to the illness. A few key characters will face this illness and I liked how realistic the author wrote about their fight to overcome something that was dangerous to many.
The story is well written and I enjoyed reading about Coral and Ernest. Their journey is filled with danger, secrets, hope and forgiveness. It has a good faith element throughout the story with scriptures and characters that weren't afraid to share their love of God. I loved the ending and with the authors help was able to feel part of the story of two people searching for love and hope.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 27
For Him and My Family, November 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 29 (Author Interview)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 29
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 1
For the Love of Literature, December 2
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3
Pause for Tales , December 4
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5
Texas Book-aholic, December 6
janicesbookreviews, December 7
Betti Mace, December 8
A Reader’s Brain, December 9
Inklings and notions, December 10
To celebrate her tour, Tonya is giving away the grand prize package of a special pillow and reader’s choice of an eBook or Audiobook of The Whispering of the Willows!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.