Multi published author Pamela Griffin is back with a novel for the ever popular Love Finds You series. This time readers can head to Hope, Kansas and meet a devoted father and a determined sister in law!
Alison Stripling is the opposite of everything lovely her adoptive sister Amy was. In appearance, where Amy was fair, delicate, and beautiful, Alison – in her view – is dark, with brown eyes and hair, slender, but nowhere near as petite or gentle as Amy. In behavior, they shared a few qualities, having been raised in the same home by wealthy, missionary-minded parents, especially their thirst for adventure and a stalwart faith. It is these traits of Alison’s that become Rafe’s saving grace.
Rafe Munroe had one great love in his life – Amy, the mother of his six children. When she died, almost everything that mattered to him died with her. Even after more than a year, he feels lost, bitter, and neglectful, of himself, of his children. His appearance is the least of his concerns, and once Alison arrives at his cabin, she confronts a formidable stranger, as wild and dangerous as this unknown land she now inhabits. He looks little like a farmer and more like an outlaw, with his shoulder-length brown hair, tall, strong build, scruffy appearance – and storm-blue eyes that burn clear through to her soul.
For Alison, I pictured a Jennifer Jones type, perhaps not so pretty. In many roles she played, her characters possessed sweetness in disposition with an underlying spirit and fire necessary to withstand the rigors of living as a new settler in the prairie wilds – much like Alison.
For Rafe, I pictured someone like Sully (Joe Lando) from the old series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”- in both manner and appearance. Intelligent, somewhat arrogant, an attractive, wild, outdoorsman type with a hot head and a heart of gold, but aloof and mysterious too. I loved this show and, though I set my story in the Midwest, the concept of the TV series also gave me the amusing idea of bringing a proper Bostonian woman bred in a life of wealth to the Kansas wilds and letting my creative juices flow with that.
Strengths and weaknesses
Alison was selected from an orphan train by Amy’s parents and later raised by their relations when her adopted parents were killed. She has learned godly values that help her persist and remain strong through troubles – her chief woe being an irreversible “weakness” – or so the Bostonians call it. Her dubious roots led to her exclusion from a high-minded society, who consider her a foundling, unworthy of marrying one of their sons. She quietly resents them all, and when a lengthy engagement fails, once lies surface about her unknown father, she decides to make a life elsewhere. She’s learned to seek the hidden patch of silver in a cloud’s dark lining and feels Hope, Kansas may be it …
She’s stubborn and somewhat prideful, when it comes to her struggling profession as a milliner, is too quick to react, too quick to speak her mind – and finds that, with Rafe, her newest weakness is the temper he can set off with his equally curt tongue and mule-headed attitude. But she loves her nieces and nephews and would sacrifice anything to help them. Even if that means staying in Kansas under their father’s roof.
Rafe’s main strength is his love for his children, though in his grief over losing Amy, he’s not always been there for all of them. He has the ability to see when he’s wrong and isn’t too proud to admit it and try to fix things. But he doesn’t always see the error of his choices quickly, even with the wise counsel of his well-meaning preacher brother, Caleb, whose dry wit sometimes gets on Rafe’s last nerve. Rafe is too stubborn and set in his ways, which have become self-destructive, leading down a path of misery. He’s become a loner, as much as one man can be with six children, has turned his back on God, and doesn’t want the pert and saucy Alison Stripling in his home.
Quirk (if any)
Alison: She is fastidious when it comes to making hats, not at all happy when her skill goes unappreciated. She has a habit of humming then going into song while she’s working, without realizing she’s doing so. She loves music, as Amy did, and brings the idea of after-dinner entertainment back into the Munroe cabin – with unexpected results.
Rafe: As a loner type, he often goes off to be alone – but it rarely lasts. His favorite haunt is outside the door of the cabin after supper, pondering issues while looking out over his crops and the stars in the nighttime sky.
Your inspiration for the character
I love to write about those who are flawed – emotionally, in particular. I like to create harsh and heartrending backgrounds for my characters, to show why they are the way they are – and how their struggles have led them to be the person they’ve become. In Alison’s case, for the better, though she still has flaws. In Rafe’s case, for the worst – and in those instances I enjoy bringing a character through a realistic and often rough growth patch, to become all of who he was meant to be.
I admire people like Alison – who had everything going against her from the moment she was born but, due to the love of those closest to her, learned to overcome and not let her troubles make her bitter. And I love writing about people like Rafe – who had everything going for him, then in one instant his world came crashing down, making him bitter and withdrawn, but still loveable enough that one can’t help but root for him again to find the happiness he deserves.
Background to the story
Rafe and Alison met once before, in Boston, when she was nine years old and told him off for marrying her beloved big sister and taking her out west to live. As she grew out of childishness and into womanhood Alison forgave him for “stealing Amy away,” but in her wildest imaginings she never thought she would answer his plea to come to Kansas and help with his children. Rafe’s letter seems like an answer to prayer, with so much that has gone wrong in her own life, and Alison desires to help others and have her life matter, to be truly appreciated – but once she arrives in Kansas, she learns Rafe didn’t write the letter and doesn’t want her there. When they realize his children were behind the scheme, to find themselves a new ma – and who better than Auntie Alison? – the two join reluctant forces to enact a plan that would show Rafe’s mischief-making brood just why such an arrangement would never work. He never wants to marry again and Alison, once spurned, has sworn to remain a spinster. But sometimes the greatest blessings are at first concealed, and it takes an even bigger plan to unfold them …
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you, and God bless.
Thanks for sharing with us, Pamela!
On Monday the spotlight shines on Jamie Carie’s Ellen Pierce & Buck Lewis from The Snowflake.
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