Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Quiet Place, Michelle Levigne

Widowed and pregnant, Jeannette was run out of town by her vicious in-laws -- and was happy to return home to Tabor Heights. Her friends and church family welcomed her home, and she settled in to a quiet life of working at her church and raising her son. She didn't let a few niggling dreams of "what if?" bother her, even though she sometimes did wonder if Nathan meant it, when he asked her to marry him instead of her beloved Brody.

Then five years later, her in-laws came to town, using every means legal and otherwise to take her son away from her. Nathan was there for her, just like he had always been since their orphanage days. With her life in turmoil, Jeannette wondered if it was really time to wish for much, much more.

May came far too quickly for Nathan's peace of mind. He had to admit that Brody would take good care of Jeannette. He had their house lined up for them to move into right after their honeymoon -- a cottage his mother owned and rented out. Brody had a job waiting for him when he got home, at a car dealership where he had worked during high school. He even had a scholarship for online classes to get a head start on seminary requirements. There wasn't a single thing Brody and Jeannette didn't have arranged and under control for their quiet wedding and their new life in Glenwood -- up until the moment the Evans family rolled into Tabor Heights, four days before the wedding. Somehow, Nathan didn't think it was enough preparation just knowing Brody's mother would try to take over their wedding, and not only change all their arrangements, but be the center of attention.

He wasn't there when Jeannette and Brody met his family at their hotel and took them out to dinner and then to the church to look over everything. Nathan's National Guard unit had been called up for duty again, and he was busy preparing to ship out. Part of him hoped that arrangements would change at the last minute, and he wouldn't be there to walk Jeannette down the aisle. He knew he was a coward, and while he was ashamed, it wasn't enough to quash the growing regrets and the recurring daydream of telling Jeannette he loved her more than a big brother should, and she should stay in Tabor Heights and marry him instead of Brody.

When Jeannette showed up at his apartment door at nearly eleven that night, Nathan stared for a good five seconds. Then he saw the pallor of tension in her face, the lines around her flattened mouth, the dark smears under her eyes. And the fury in those eyes.

"I'm not good enough -- do you know why?" Jeannette didn't wait for Nathan to move aside, but stomped into his apartment.

"She's wrong. Whatever her ideas are, she's wrong," he said, and shut the door, turning to watch her pace a few times in his napkin-sized living room.

"Darn right." Jeannette clenched her fists and stopped short, turning to face him. "I'm tainted. Damaged goods."

"No you're not," he growled. Jeannette had been the leader the first year their church youth group started the 'True Love Waits' campaign. She had vowed she would stay pure, physically and emotionally, until her marriage.

"Oh, not like that. Although I'm sure she'll make that accusation tomorrow, once she realizes Brody isn't going to drop me like a hot potato. You know why I'm not good enough? Because I'm an orphan, and nobody adopted me. Since I grew up in the orphanage, it just proves I'm worthless trash. Nobody wanted me enough to adopt me, and I wasn't even good enough for foster care."

"She told you that?" Nathan thought for two seconds about the weapons drill he had gone through that afternoon with his Guard unit. He could have brought some of his gear home with him, including a pistol. Not that he would use the weapon, but he would have liked to frighten some silence, if not courtesy, into Mrs. Evans.

"Not to my face, but I heard her telling her adoring daughters-in-law. And she made enough snide remarks and innuendos during dinner, even if I hadn't overheard her, I could have picked up what she meant." Jeannette dropped down onto his couch and hid her face in her hands. "Poor Brody."

"Poor Brody?" Nathan went to one knee in front of her and rested both hands on her shoulders. "What are you worried about him for? You're the one the Wicked Witch is attacking."

"But Brody's the one who's getting a lecture right now." She lowered her hands and the tears that glimmered in her eyes cut Nathan's heart to shreds.

"If you decide not to marry him --"

"And let that old hag win? I'm ready to fight for the man I love."

"That's what I was afraid of. Honestly, Jen, if I didn't know how much Brody loves you, I'd tell you to dump him, right now."

"With that dress Miss Emily made for me, and the cake and punch and the fancy napkins all paid for? Hardly." She rubbed the tears from her eyes.

"Don't waste them -- walk down the aisle with me, instead." He managed a smile -- at least, he thought he did -- his entire body felt a little numb the moment he realized what had slipped out between his lips.

"Oh, Nathan..." she whispered. "We'd be good, wouldn't we? We'd have a good life together. For so long, it's been you and me against the world... but I love Brody." The joy that lit her face, despite the misery of moments ago, slashed at Nathan's heart. Jeannette shook her head. "After falling in love with him, as much as I love you, it wouldn't be enough for me anymore. Does that make sense? You don't love me like Brody does."

I love you more, he wanted to shout. I've loved you since you were seven years old and Hank the Hog pushed you down and you wouldn't let him make you cry.
Nathan shrugged and managed to hold the crooked smile on his face. He released her shoulders and stood up, because he knew he couldn't keep looking her in the eyes without her reading the ache and hunger -- and jealousy -- burning in his eyes.

5 Hearts
I am so involved in the Tabor Heights, Ohio Novels that it is hard to express my interest. However, each story, each instalment of this marvellously-written series is better than the previous ones. I cannot wait to get each upcoming book. This one was presented in a uniquely different manner, showing back-flashes and moving from one storyline to the other complimentary one.

Ms. Levigne has, once again, blessed our hearts with a beautifully written story of not only romance but love for the Lord. She does this without sounding preachy. She does, however, present enough scripture to enable readers to have their questions answered by the Word of God.

These characters were so exciting and dynamic that it was impossible to say which ones were the most important. The fact that Jeannette had to face devastating heartache so early in the story was poignant, but not the end of her suffering. The fact that she had so many obstacles made the book surprising.

I would recommend this book to anyone. If I could rate it more than a FIVE, I definitely would. I cannot wait for her next instalment. Great job, Ms. Levigne!

The Romance Studio
Reviewer: Brenda Talley

5 cups
I thoroughly loved A Quiet Place. This extraordinary read is loaded with crisp dialogue that keeps the story flowing at a great pace. The strong and likeable characters make this an exciting book, full of finesse. Michelle Levigne creates a story full of elegance and life-like players that connected with this reader. She allows Nathan, Brody, and Jeannette all to weave an interesting inspirational that touches upon the heart and makes one feel good all over. The romance that follows Jeannette, as well as the emotional heartbreak, is indeed superbly composed. This story undeniably left a huge impression on this reader.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Why Michelle Wrote this Book:
Sometimes books just demand to be written. I think that's part -- just part -- of the reason why I wrote Jeannette and Nathan's story. I had created Jeannette and her son, BJ, for another story, and they kept showing up on the sidelines in different Tabor Heights books as I started "knitting" all the disparate, stand-alone books into a community. Then I had an idea for a family crisis story when my doctor had me on hormone medication for a short time, and the drugstore messed up the prescription, putting me into what I realized was chemical depression. You know how you're half-asleep, and your brain just goes in all directions without any real guidance from you? One night, I had this image in my mind of a woman standing at her husband's coffin, and his relatives basically forcing her out of town. From that came Jeannette's story. Somewhere along the way, Nathan tapped me on the shoulder and let me know he was there.
Other books in the Tabor Heights Series:
The Second Time Around
Common Grounds
Seasons: A Tabor Heights Holiday Anthology
The Family Way

Author Bio:
Michelle has been a story addict for as long as she can remember, starting with The Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. She discovered Narnia and Star Trek in elementary school, and was a familiar face in the school library, especially when she became addicted to Greek mythology.

She fell into fandom in college, and has 40+ short stories and poems in various universes; Star Trek, Starman, Highlander, Stargate SG-1, Stingray, Beauty & the Beast, and The Phoenix. She and a friend published a multi-universe ‘zine, Starwheel, for 4 issues. All this time, she worked up to sending out original stories to magazines and publishing houses, eventually receiving rejection letters that weren’t the standard photocopied photocopy of a form letter.

She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA in communication, focused on film and writing from Regent University. She has submitted scripts for various screenwriting competitions and wrote and submitted scripts for MacGuyver, Beauty & the Beast, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and The Pretender. She also wrote scripts for Matrix and Stargate SG-1, but never obtained permission to submit scripts. Their loss!

In 1990, her writing career finally broke into the public market when she won 1st place in the 4th quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, which earned a hefty prize, payment to have her story in that year’s anthology, and a week at a writing seminar in California before the awards ceremony. Unfortunately, it was a long-term launch, because it wasn’t until 2000 that Mountainview Publishing contracted for Heir of Faxinor. (Now at Hard Shell Word Factory). Since then, Michelle has published 40+ books and novellas with multiple e-publishers, in science fiction and fantasy, YA, and many sub-genres of romance. She has been a finalist in the EPPIE Awards competition (10 finalists and 2 wins, Lorien, in 2006, Inspirational category, and The Meruk Episodes, 1-5, in 2010, Anthology category) and has garnered 4s and 5s from many review sites.

Her training includes the aforementioned degrees; the Institute for Children’s Literature correspondence course; 8+ years proofreading at an advertising agency; and 10 years at a community newspaper, entering and editing freelancers’ articles and news releases. She has also freelance edited for small presses and a major business publisher.

In 2008, she launched her own freelance editing business, offering proofreading as well as light or in-depth editing services on an hourly basis. Check her Web site: click on the red pen to learn more.
Don't forget your comment so I can enter you in the drawing. And don't forget the winner gets three books, this one, Loyalty's Web, and Journey to Forgiveness.
Happy reading, Guys!


  1. It doesn't make sense to me that there are no comments by now for this fabulous giveaway. Michelle's credentials are impeccable and what a package she's offered. I'm already regretting that I've not read her writing before, because it's just the kind of story weaving I enjoy reading. Her story covers some actual real life problems that are ever present in society today. Fighting over child custody and spousal choices. I am glad to learn from the interview that she includes plenty of scripture to lend basis to the right decisions. I want to be included in this giveaway and thank you Shawna for providing the chance to win.

    Sharing Christ's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  2. I would love to read these books! They sound like my kind of reading! Thanks, Shawna, for a wonderful interview!!

  3. This sounds like a great book! Would love to win it and the others. Thanks for an insightful interview. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  4. Thanks for introducing me to an author that I have not yet read. The excerpt was intriguing.
    I was also drawn to the cover.
    Please include me in the drawing.

    A J Hawke
    ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

  5. Hi Michelle and Shawna,
    This book sounds fantastic, I can't wait to read it. You are inspiring, Michelle, and the excerpt is fabulous. And what a gorgeous cover. Good luck with your books! Shawna, as always, this site is outstanding.


  7. This book has a lovely cover! I gotta tell you guys, the best thing about this series is how you feel like part of the community. Each book focuses on a different Tabor Heights' resident, but they all show up in one way or another in the books. Lots of the scenes overlap too, so you get another perspective. This series is one of my favorites!

  8. I also want to add that the author is a really nice person!

  9. I'd love a chance to win A Quiet Place. The whole series sounds engaging, I'll have to check it out.

  10. Michelle, I love, love, love this cover..and the title. The excerpt sold me on the story. Great dialogue, wonderful conflict, and characters I can care about. The storyline has grabbed me by the heart. Congrats on the well-deserved fantastic reviews!!

    Carol Ann Erhardt

  11. Loved reading the excerpt! Wow! And phenonomal reviews! Wishing you much success!

  12. This sounds like an interesting and heart warming story. Congratulations.

  13. Great excerpt, Michelle. Sounds like a wonderful story.

  14. Laurie was having some technical problems that kept her from posting, so she emailed me this comment to share.

    "Michelle's writing is VERY good and about true-life experiences. I found myself caught up in the excerpt. She has a gift for getting inside characters' heads. Got a feeling we will be hearing a lot from her in the future.

    The blog wouldn't let me post, so I'm letting you know here. Tell, Michelled to not to ever give up writing. This author can quit her day job, if she has one. LOL."


  15. What a lovely story--I recognized the cover immediately as I've seen it several times before. Congrats on your great reviews--this sounds like a very uplifting read.

  16. This sounds like a lovely and amazing story. It begins with that sad premise (who wants to be run out of anywhere by their in-laws?) but has that promise that faith, love and hope can bring. Must put it on my "To Read" list.

  17. Congrats on the awesome reviews. The books sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I wish you all success.

  18. This book looks great! I would love to read it and have put it on my to be read list.

    Kim Thorne