Author Alert: Heidi Chiavaroli (with excerpt)




It’s my pleasure to introduce

Heidi Chiavaroli

and her time slip novel

Freedom’s Ring

Tyndale House






Who is Heidi?

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes women’s fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, releases from Tyndale House Publishers in August 2017. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at

Heidi’s debut novel releases 8th August…


Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

Here’s a taste of Heidi’s story ~ I’m certainly intrigued! How about you?

March 5, 1770

“‘My soul impels me! and in act I stand to draw the sword; but wisdom held my hand. A deed so rash had finished all our fate, No mortal forces from the lofty gate could roll the rock. In hopeless grief we lay, and sigh, expecting the return of day.’”

I listened to the lulling cadence of the lieutenant’s voice as he read aloud to me the struggles of Odysseus in the Cyclops’s cave. The fire crackled in the small sitting area, and I kept to the task of darning the captain’s socks.

When the captain had left for Deblois’s Concert Hall on Queen Street a few hours earlier, the lieutenant had stayed behind. I couldn’t help but feel a thrill of excitement when he came down from his room to sit in the chair beside me, then asked if I might like to hear him read The Odyssey aloud.

He paused now, raised his eyebrows. “’Tis too gruesome for you? Shall I continue?”

I smiled. “I helped my grandmother midwife all manner of complaints. I believe I can handle Pope’s translation of the death of Odysseus’s two men.”

“Yes, but ‘the pavement swims with brains’ is perhaps too gruesome for even me, a soldier in the King’s Army.”

If only he hadn’t reminded me. For a short, blissful time I had imagined there were no such vast differences between us.

“Is something troubling you, Miss Liberty? Besides Homer’s poem?”

I allowed my darning to fall in my lap. “I have found my brother.” Three days had passed since James and I had spoken in the burying grounds. He had not tried to contact me since.

“That is good, is it not?”

Instant regret tore through my being in bumpy waves. With five words I had been disloyal to my brother, to my family. Was it not horrid enough that I worked for the Crown? Must I also discuss the person I loved most dearly with an officer in the King’s Army? Inexcusable.

“It is nothing, sir. Please disregard a rambling lass.”

He put down the book and leaned forward in his chair. His long legs almost touched my skirts, and my heart took up a traitorous beat.

“Do you wish to leave our employ, Miss Liberty? Does your brother plan to provide for you? If that is your intent, we would of course understand . . . though I fear I would grieve your absence.”

I raised my eyes to his solemn gaze, saw only sincerity. Heat traveled over my body, and quite suddenly the fire felt too warm.

He swallowed, the movement of his throat speaking of a nervousness I couldn’t quite comprehend. “Perhaps ’tis not proper, perhaps I should not even say it, but I have come ­to—

­to care for you . . . Liberty.”

The wings of a butterfly beat against my chest. An invisible weight drew me toward the lieutenant, and at the same time, I pictured James’s clenched fists and tight jaw at the news I had shared with him three days before. I couldn’t fathom his disapproval over my forbidden feelings for a man of the Crown.


“Alexander, if it so pleases you.”

Alexander. His name was Alexander.

“Lieutenant, while I have . . . fond feelings for you as well, I do not see what could ever become of them. ­I—”

He scooped up my hands within the secure embrace of his own. The gold signet ring he wore pressed warm against my fingers. The scent of cedar and mint washed over me. “Then you care for me also?”

I tried to wrest my hands from ­his—at least in my mind. My disobedient body, however, would not obey. “It seems you are a sentimentalist,” I whispered. “Perhaps you have read too much poetry.”

He leaned closer to me until his knees touched my skirts, until we were but a breath away from one another. I would only have to close my eyes, lean the slightest measure forward, to close the gap. My limbs began to tremble at the anticipation. My mind swam. I should not encourage him so.

He looked down at our joined hands, did not move away. When he spoke, his voice was soft. “How old are you, Miss Liberty?”

The question caught me unawares. I pulled back but kept my hands resting in his. “I am seventeen.”

He bowed his head and sighed, pressed our entwined fingers to his forehead. “So very young.”

I slipped my hands from his, feeling the insult in a storm of turbulent emotion. “And yet I am not a child, Alexander.” Using his Christian name would surely assure him of this.

“We are far apart in years. And with your position in the house . . . I do not wish to compromise . . . Forgive me, Liberty; I should not have spoken in this manner. I will ­wait—”

The door burst open and the fire shuddered, the cold air disturbing the warmth of the house. The captain’s booted footfalls sounded from behind me.

“This is quite the snug picture.” His words slurred even as he attempted to pronounce each syllable with precision.

The lieutenant stood, took a step back from me. “Sir. You are home early. You are welcome to join us, of course.”

The chill of the captain’s coat brushed against my arm as he came in front of me, his back to the lieutenant. He towered over me in full ­uniform—silver gorget, red coat, sash and epaulets, ­silver-laced hat. Snow melted off his boots onto the Persian carpet. He leaned down, placed his hands on either side of my chair. The scents of rum and pipe smoke and snuff swirled in nauseating waves around me. The sock I darned fell from my lap as my entire body took to quaking. “Perhaps it is my turn to get cozy with the help, eh?”

“Step away from her, sir. Now. You have had too much rum. You will not talk to Miss Liberty in that manner.”

At first the captain didn’t move. His addled gaze pinned me to the chair, and at Lieutenant Smythe’s words, a lazy grin spread across his face. “And I suppose you, Lieutenant, are just the one to set me to rights?”

The lieutenant cleared his throat. “If need be, sir, yes.”

The captain stood, swayed in front of me. Sounds from ­outside—shouts and ­knocks—pushed their way through the paned windows. Without warning, the captain spun, clenched the lieutenant’s shirt in his hand, and drew back a ­tight-knuckled fist.

More noise from outside. A rapid knock on the door, and then a voice echoing down the street. “­Town-born, turn out!”

Fire bells begged our attention, and I sat up, straining my ears for the sounds outside. The captain lowered his hands from their offensive position. In the distance, another bell took up the same call as the first. In such crowded confines, one fire could signal the destruction of the entire town. More shouts and frantic knocks. The clink of metal on ­metal—a shovel or bucket to fight the fire?

The captain seemed to sober quickly. He straightened his uniform and searched the room. When he found his musket, he grabbed it up.

“I fear ’tis not a fire this night,” the lieutenant said, gathering his own coat and musket.

I thought to ask him what he meant, but I knew. He spoke of the tension that had built for months between the colonists and the king’s soldiers. The fracases in the street, the mobs, the sentries taking abuse from schoolboys. The Sons of Liberty gathering at The Salutation on Ship Street, talking treason and working their rhetoric into the minds of the colonists through publications such as the one my brother worked for. The death of Christopher Seider and the great funeral that had followed. Just a couple nights earlier there had been another incident at the ropewalk. What would it all come to?

“Parcel of blackguard rascals. Those blasted Americans.” The captain strode to the window, pushed aside the curtain roughly, and looked at the sight on the street. “Do not leave the house,” he said to me. And then they were gone.

I scurried from the chair, tripped over the sock I’d been mending on my way to the window. Dark forms milled about the street, a great crowd, swelling in one ­direction—Queen Street.

My breathing quickened as I thought of James at the print shop on Queen. Of James and his ardent fervor for this living, breathing, fiery rebellion sweeping through the streets of Boston. I went to the keeping room and thought how to busy myself. I took two tankards from the cupboard, prepared to have cider for the men when they arrived home. Outside, the swell of people passed the window, lanterns and pine knot torches lighting up sticks and clubs and shovels. The bells continued their persistent ring, rattling my nerves further.

Then I heard it. Musket fire? I thought I recognized it from the many times the British infantry had taken up their shooting practice upon floating targets in the harbor.

Was this it, then? Had the ­Regulars—or perhaps the ­Sons—finally started their war? Or had the shots come from the harbor? Were they nothing more than a common drill?

My only thought was to help if in fact the shots had come from the center of town. At the risk of the captain’s wrath, I left the jug of cider and searched the linen closet for old sheets to strip into bandages. Thankful I’d gone to the apothe­cary the week before, I grabbed a tincture of honey and camphor I’d mixed that morning. Who knew if I could help; who knew if my help would be welcome? Lord willing, the shots were to disperse a mob or merely a shooting practice, and no one would need aid.

My mind’s eye conjured up an image of the woman grieving over Christopher Seider’s grave in Old Granary. In this blistering town of chaos, bloodshed was possible, even probable. And all in the blasted name of freedom.

My petticoats dragged through the frozen mud and snow as I ran up Queen Street. The sound of drums echoed in the night, calling the soldiers to arms. The few paned windows that didn’t hold latched shutters revealed curious little faces, a mother’s skirts within grasp, no doubt behind bolted doors.

A din of conch shells and whistles, drums, and pounding feet. Then the haunting echo of shots rang through the air again, and unlike the last time, they were followed by an eerie sense of quiet that rippled from the center of town. Just as quickly, the din began once again.

I passed the Edes & Gill print shop, where I hesitated, yet instinct told me James would not be safe and warm in the back room with such a fabulous fray outside the door.

The crowd took on a life of its own as I neared King Street. I was carried along with the throng, fearful of its sudden force, cognizant that I would be trampled if I didn’t keep up with the swell and press of it. Men, lads, and women joined around me. I tightened the basket I held against the crook of my arm. Someone stepped on my petticoats, and I tripped but caught myself, my skirts dirtying in the mud. A line of soldiers from the 29th Regiment formed what looked like a defensive barrier, their bayonets aimed at the crowd. I glimpsed a ­captain—Captain Preston, I knew, for he had come to the officers’ house for ­tea—behind the barrier of grenadiers with their bearskin hats, along with the sentry I had seen tormented by ­school-age boys on more than one occasion before the Custom House, and several other soldiers. The crowd appeared mad for their blood, pushing toward them with shovels and catsticks despite the threat of the bayonets. The faint scent of musket powder clung to the air, as horrid as rotten eggs and a thousand times more terrifying.

Above us, from the balcony of the Town House, came a loud voice. I recognized Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson, calling for the crowd to return to their homes.

A man in the midst of the mass called up to the governor. “Order your soldiers to go inside the guardhouse, then, before we depart. See the position they are in, ready to fire on us!”

Governor Hutchinson’s thin face wrinkled. “Indeed.” He ordered them inside the guardhouse.

The soldiers of the 29th shouldered their guns and began to march inside.

Hutchinson again beseeched the crowd to go home. “Residents of Boston, believe me when I say I will see justice is done. I ensure a full inquiry on the events of this night. The law shall have its course; I will live and die by the law.”

Slowly, the crowd began to disperse from King Street, their anger still united and burning. I wondered who had been hurt, who had been shot, for I could see no one in the midst of the tumultuous bodies.

“Light the tar barrels on Beacon Hill!”

“­Yes—our town needs aid. Others should know!”

The comments swirled around me. From out of the chaos I heard my name.

“Miss Liberty!”

The lieutenant didn’t appear to be in line with the other soldiers. The captain stood beside him. I dipped my head, bracing myself for his censure. The lieutenant spoke first. “Thank the Lord you are here,” he said. “There are injured. ­Perhaps—”

The captain grasped my arm roughly. “There is naught to be done. We are all going home.” He started away from the crowd, my skin burning where he held it.

“Captain, the governor has ordered us to the guardhouse. Miss Caldwell has supplies and knowledge these men can use.”

Behind my employers, I felt the mob brewing, nudging one another over our display.

“I don’t answer to Hutchinson,” the captain sneered. “I take my orders from Colonel Dalrymple. We will go home now.” He pulled my arm.

The lieutenant stepped close to the captain, his posture firm and steady. I hadn’t realized he was taller than the captain until that moment. He spoke down to his superior, his nose nearly touching the captain’s. “Use wisdom, sir. You will certainly hang this very night if you do not remove your hand from the girl this minute.”

His words rang true. Behind him even now a burly gentleman struck a catstick against his open palm. “You bloodybacks shoot us, then dare manhandle a girl before us? You best run and leave the lass alone if you know what’s best for ya.”

The captain snorted and shoved my arm away so that I stumbled a step. “You best be home within the hour, Miss Caldwell, or you will find yourself out of employment.”

“Yes, sir,” I mumbled after him as he began, not toward our residence as he claimed was his intent but toward the guardhouse with the rest of the soldiers.

The lieutenant looked after him. “Do be careful, Miss Liberty. What has begun this night cannot be undone.” He followed after the captain, his chin high against the jeering of the crowd, his musket firm at his side.

Be sure to stop by next week for my interview with Heidi and, thanks to Tyndale House, a giveaway of Freedom’s Ring!

Connect with Heidi

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Pre-order from Amazon: Freedom’s Ring or Koorong

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3 Responses to Author Alert: Heidi Chiavaroli (with excerpt)

  1. Thank you SO much for having me, Rel! I am honored to be here!

  2. Oh, wow! this is going to be a best seller for sure. Such compelling writing. I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Looking forward to reading it! Great cover, too!

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