About the Book
Book: Behind Love’s Wall
Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels
Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance
Release date: November 1, 2021
Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?
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About the Author
ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
More from Carrie
Why I Wrote This Novel
I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!
I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic TimesTop Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection. So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.
In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me. While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.
Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.
I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!
I love dual time -line stories that go from present to an historical era. This book in particular was different than other dual time-lines because to me it connected two main characters by the secrets that both had to uncover. I loved how the author has the story flow seamlessly in different time periods without feeling lost in the story. The connection between Lily and Willa are emotional and draw on their struggles with trust and loss.
Lily has always felt like she could never reveal who she really was for fear that she would be connected to a crime. How sad that she had to keep herself from making friends and longing to know the truth about her mother. Breaking down the walls Lily has built around her emotions is a challenge for one particular person. Their relationship was nice to follow as they share about theirselves.
Willa is a very successful person who has come to the Mackinac island to redesign part of the Grand Hotel. I did enjoy the history behind the hotel and how it tied back to Lily. Willa is also dealing with secrets from her past which she hopes to solve soon. I was anxious to see if Willa would find out about her family and finally resolve what has been hidden from her for so long.
I felt more of a connection with Lily and her story because she was a character that had flaws that seemed realistic. She worried about inheriting her mother’s mental illness and being accepted by others. What I thought was interesting was how both time periods had a character dealing with mental illness. The author does a good job of expressing how mental illness can affect many people in different ways.
When a diary is discovered the pieces started to come together for me. In those pages were the raw emotions of insecurity, hope and faith. The author does a good job of having faith flow throughout the story in a way that brings characters to know that God was there in the midst of their struggles. The other quality I really liked was how the journal became a symbol of freedom and allowed both women to find closure to their past.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.