A Love Restored
She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.
When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
How would you describe your main character(s)?
Ruth Ann is feisty, opinionated, determined, and broken. She has a big heart for others, especially her students at the Freedman’s School and always seems to find herself in a pickle. But, like so many of us, she carries with her the weight of words that have been carelessly spoken to her about her physical appearance.
Benjamin is gentle, sweet, humorous, and totally enamored with Ruth Ann. He is smart, hard-working, and desires to be successful. Benjamin makes Ruth Ann laugh, holds her accountable to herself and is very generous with his time and talents.
What is the problem your character(s) face in your book?
At its core, A Love Restored is a story about the power of words in our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture, so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us.
At the beginning of the story Ruth Ann is plagued by self-doubt about her appearance because of the unkind things that have been spoken to her about her fuller-figure. She repeats these unkind things to herself until they come to define who she thinks she is. Watching her blossom into the strong, resilient woman she wants to be and seeing her character accept herself as a beautiful, Godly woman still makes me teary.
Benjamin struggles with his pride and allows vows, words he’d spoken over himself, dictate his choices. Because of the poverty of his youth and his own overweight, slovenly mother, Ben is determined to rise above his meager beginnings. Benjamin’s journey is about finding the courage to challenge society’s idea of what success looks like and trusting God’s plan for his life.
What would you like your readers to know about your character(s)?
I found it challenging to write Ruth Ann and Benjamin’s characters, who both struggle to come to terms with Ruth Ann’s fuller-figure, without making her look weak and pathetic nor him look shallow. I hope readers find them to be strong, good-hearted characters struggling with very human flaws who look to God and scripture for guidance and healing.
Read an excerpt
Loudoun County, Virginia
Benjamin Coulter cringed as the shrill tune hung in the air. That woman sure knew how to ruin a Sunday afternoon. Sounded like something was dying and needed to be put out of its misery.
He shook his head. All he wanted to do was rest a while longer. His decision to go around his headstrong superior and talk to Mr. Farrell directly about his boss’s inaccurate measurements had made for a nerve wracking week. That decision could have cost him his job. Thankfully, his discovery had been received well, saving the struggling railroad both time and money.
Benjamin leaned against the sycamore tree and tossed his line into the creek. A slight hint of remorse nicked his conscience. He now sat poised to guide the construction of the Washington & Ohio Railroad through the town of Catoctin Creek and over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Winchester, but he hadn’t intended to get his boss fired. If only the man hadn’t refused to admit he’d made a mistake.
Yep, it was all coming together. Just the way he’d hoped it would when he agreed to leave Texas and take this apprenticeship in Virginia. All he had to do was pass that examination next spring and…
He shuddered. The woman’s screeching escalated to a bone-grating pitch. She’d frighten the fish away for sure. Like most folks, Sunday was his day off, and he didn’t intend to spend it listening to her sing off-key.
Wedging his pole in the mud of the creek bank, he set off to investigate. Her ear-piercing slaughter of The Merry, Merry Month of May led the way. He spied his first glimpse of the lyrical assassin through the thin limbs of a dogwood tree. Perched on a large, flat rock at the edge of the creek, she swirled her bare feet in the water. Behind the rock sat a pair of woman’s boots—fancy ones. Too bad she hadn’t spent some of her shoe allowance on singing lessons. Her voice cracked. “The skies were bright, our hearts were light, in the merry, merry month of May…”
Benjamin winced. That was the fourth time in a row she’d sung that part. For the love of Pete, didn’t Miss Fancy Boots even know the words? He needed to put a stop to this so he could continue fishing—and napping. He stepped forward then stopped. The woman reached up and removed a pin from her hair, then another. Mounds of long chestnut brown ringlets spilled over her shoulders into the middle of her back.
Curls. He groaned. Why’d she have to have curls?
“The skies were bright. Our eyes were light…”
Never mind. Curls or not, the woman’s voice could haunt the dead.
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Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.