Sunday, August 15, 2010

Journey to Forgiveness, Laurean Brooks

When Jenny Hinson's abusive father deserts the family, the responsibility of the family's Tennessee farm falls to Jenny and her mother. Four years later, in 1938, boll weevils infest the cotton crop, plunging the Hinsons into dire financial straits. Through an invitation from a Chicago aunt, Jenny finds a way to support her family. She takes the train north to find work.

Electricity has yet to reach rural Chicory Valley. But not only is the young woman introduced to it in its tapped form in Chicago, but also encounters a few jolts along the way when she challenges the infuriating Austin Grant over a luggage mishap. Sparks fly outside the Kankakee train station when Jenny discovers her missing vanity case under Austin's arm. She labels him a thief. And when Austin coaxes money from her aunt's congregation, Jenny determines to find enough evidence to expose him and his nefarious deeds.

Why did Austin slip money from the mission strong box and stuff a sizable roll into his pocket? Wasn't this the proof Jenny needed? Then why is she reluctant to report the theft? And why does her heart race at every encounter with the notorious Austin? Is she hopelessly in love with a con artist? Jenny's personal convictions would never allow a relationship where trust was blatantly missing.

Can Jenny muster enough courage to ask Austin the tough questions that will ultimately make or break their relationship? Can she forgive her father and get on with her life? Find out when you follow Jenny's struggles in... Journey To Forgiveness.

Austin hung the lantern on a nail while Jenny unwrapped a length of gauze from the roll. After he doused Mercurochrome on his injured thumb, Jenny wound the bandage around it, then taped it securely. All finished, she held the wrapped thumb up for his inspection. “There, that should do it.”

I should leave now.

Instead she gazed up into Austin's cerulean eyes, searching them for...something. He wasn't laughing at her now. His expression was serious—almost solemn. Austin's eyes spoke of tenderness and something else she could not fathom.

When he reached out to caress her shoulder, Jenny knew she should object, but instead she closed her eyes and tilted her chin up. Austin bent to lightly kiss her lips. Enraptured by the sweetness, Jenny slid her arms around his neck. The kiss lengthened, leaving her breathless.
Again, Jenny thought she should push him away. But everything in her fought against it. At that moment she realized what she'd denied for weeks. She was crazy in love this man. She did not even consider his questionable character. Austin Grant could be Al Capone for all she cared; she still loved him, and would do anything to protect him.

What am I doing? This must stop!

Jenny managed to slide her hands from Austin's neck to push against his muscular chest. They drew apart simultaneously. She could feel his thundering heart beneath her shaky fingers. He grasped her hands and squeezed. Between ragged breaths, he urged, “Let's...go outside...get some fresh air.”

Jenny nodded. She needed to gain composure before she faced the others. Austin lifted the lantern and led the way through the darkness. The stars twinkled; the full moon lit up the night sky. A gentle breezed danced wispy curls around Jenny's face.

Neither spoke until Austin glanced into the distance, then touched her arm. “Look,” he whispered, pointing to the bench. Oscar hugged Trudy close, his arm draped casually around her shoulders.

Jenny smiled until Austin nuzzled her ear to whisper, “Must be that full moon making us all crazy.”

Like ice water dashed on its unsuspecting victim, Jenny flinched. Full Moon? Our kiss meant nothing to him! She tugged her hand free to coolly reply. “I think it's time we rejoined the others.”
Was it Austin's imagination or did he detect a drastic drop in temperature? “Certainly...if you are sure you're ready.” He had messed up again, carried things too far. What did he say? Whatever it was had pushed Jenny farther away, when all he wanted was to prove he could be trusted. I messed up tonight, but there is always tomorrow...I hope.

“I reviewed this heartwarming read for You Gotta Read. “Journey To Forgiveness” is a tale that is intricately woven with both romance and a strong sense of faith…Jenny’s character has a heck of a time holding her tongue…a spirited woman…and it tended to get her into trouble more than a time or two.

Miss Brooks is a very talented writer who just found herself another fan… Humor, romance, sarcasm, action, and drama, and what made this book extra special was the strong belief in God… I thank Ms. Brooks for writing a book that is so much more than just a romance book. She has give me inspiration.”

Reviewed by Val, for “You Gotta Read” review site. April 23, 2009

Five-Star Review: “From the moment I began reading this book, I was drawn to Jenny. She had way of saying things wrong, plus a temper. All the while she prayed, “God, why can’t I control my tongue?' Trying to avoid Austin was hilarious. She got into more predicaments than one can imagine.

You can’t help falling in love with the characters in ”Journey To Forgiveness.” I highly recommend this book. Throughout the book, you will laugh and cry. The strong faith in God never wavers. Ms. Brooks has written an outstanding novel that I could not put down.”
Reviewed by Lynn for “Book Reviews by Debra” May 25, 2009“Book Reviews by Debra” 5/25/2009

Why Laurean Wrote this Book:
Journey To Forgiveness is based on my mother's life. I wrote the story in honor of her, with a prayer to bring emotional and spiritual healing to hurting hearts. My mother told us of the physical abuse her father inflicted and the effect it had on her family. Her struggle to relinquish the pain and bitterness, through forgiveness, would have been impossible without first seeking God.

My prayer is to write well-plotted stories about life's painful issues. But always with a happy ending. I believe this is God's plan for my life. I want to move readers to tears, then shake them up with rollicking laughter. So don't be surprised to find doses of humor along the way.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Author Bio:
My first memory of writing began in fifth grade, when I devoured all the mystery books I could get my hands on, then wrote cliffhanger book reports. But when my teacher affirmed me with, “Laurie will become an author someday,” I believed the words to be prophetic. Her words inspired me to hold onto a dream.

Throughout high school, I wrote the thrill of writing poetry and essays, but other than an occasional poem and personal journaling, my dream lay dormant for three decades. The turning point occurred in November 2002, when I read a funny essay in our local Hometown Magazine. I thought, “I could have written that.”

I called the publisher of the magazine and asked to submit a nostalgic childhood essay surrounding a sled-ride-gone-awry. His words were, “Yes, you can send it in, but I can't guarantee it will be published.”

I wrote A Ride To Remember and waited...and waited for the call. It didn't happen. Then on Christmas Day at our family's get-together, my younger brother came in churning with excitement to ask, “Did you know your story is in Hometown Magazine?”

Only an author can relate to the euphoria I experienced with my “first published work.” This lit a fire that still burns. I wrote one family-related story per week for the next months to add to the compilation. Then on January 1, 2004, as a New Year's Resolution, I began Journey To Forgiveness, a historical, inspirational book based on my mother's life.

The first seven chapters rolled off my pen like liquid silk. I wrote fast and furiously. Chapters eight and nine were harder. I hit a roadblock; one that took loads of research to get past. That fall, I rejoined the workforce. With long work weeks and over-exertion left little energy to write. Twenty months passed before I reached a conclusion. I would quit work to finish Journey To Forgiveness. When the book was completed, edited, and ready for publication, I would go back to work.

The day after my birthday, July 21, 2006, I walked out of the factory, wondering if I'd made the right decision. Less than four months later on November 4th, I'd added twelve chapters. With sheer joy, I wrote The End. The following months were filled with edits, then pursuing publishers. The second attempt brought the desired response, in August 2007. The Wild Rose Press loved my story!

Following major rewrites and additions, Journey To Forgiveness was accepted, then released in the spring of 2009. Today, the 300-page book can be purchased through its new (inspirational) sister company, White Rose Publishing. To read more about the book, check out archives at Laurean's Lore. To purchase:


  1. Laurean,
    Congratulations on your successful book, JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS. What great reviews you've received and high ratings for this book. I'd love to read it. And it sounds like this book makes readers cry and laugh - what an accomplishment.

  2. What an incredible story this is and you gotta love Austin. You do feel a bit sorry for him as he has the typical guy response, "Uh oh, I did something wrong, but WHAT?" Usually they are just so clueless! LOL

    Ms. Brooks develops the setting so perfectly, bringing the reader directly into the 1930's and pre-war conversation about the ever-conquering Hitler. I loved how she described the beauty of train travel, and the fun of listening to old radio comedy shows.

    No one should miss this book. It's one that will become embedded in your memory forever!

  3. This book sounds fabulous! Best of luck to your Laurie.

  4. Hi Laurean and Shawna,
    This is an interesting interview. I just got a copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it! Congratulations on it and best of luck with your writing.

  5. Laurie, the book sounds great--and how fun that you were able to base it off of a family story, whatever twists it took from there!

  6. You can view the trailor for this book at It won 2nd place in the You've Gotta Read video contest in July 2009

  7. Wow this sounds really good!!

  8. Laurie, congratulations on your novel. It sounds like a truly inspiring and moving story. The brief synopsis alone touched me. The cover work is simply gorgeous as well. This is a book I would simply love to read.

  9. Hi Laurie, I just read Shawna's comment so Congratulations on winning 2nd place in the You've Gotta Read video contest in July 2009. I fell in love with Journey To Forgiveness by just reading your interview. I have added to my wish list. Thanks for dropping by to chat.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  10. Hi Laurie, this sounds like such a good novel, and your own story is a remarkable journey as well! Good luck with every blessed step along your path. Shawna, this is a great blog, thank you.

  11. I know I've told you this before, Laurie, but I really love the cover of your book!

  12. Sounds like a really good book,

  13. Thanks for sharing your publishing journey. Your book sounds like a lot of fun! Sign me up!

  14. Beautiful story and cover--but what makes it even more special is the beautiful author. Wishing you all the best with your work, Laurean!

  15. Hi,I like the premise of your story and the excerpt. It sounds like a book that I would enjoy.