Agnes, an 82-y-o French WWII survivor will teach Noah and Tayte the greatest lessons of their lives:
The strength of tested love.
The promise of new love.
The power of family love.
And the courage each requires.
In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia.Despite all Agnes has lost, she still has much to teach Noah. But the pair’s unique friendship is threatened when Tayte, Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, arrives to claim a woman whose circumstances and abilities are far different from those of the grandmother she once knew.
Items hidden in Agnes’s attic raise painful questions about Tayte’s dead parents, steeling Tayte’s determination to save Agnes, even if it requires her to betray the very woman she came to save, and the secret her proud grandmother has guarded for seventy years.
The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is fighting her own secrets, her own dragons. Weighed down by past guilt and failures, he feels ill-equipped to help either woman, until he remembers Agnes’s lessons about courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his.
Laurie (L.C.) Lewis was born and raised in rural Maryland where she and her husband still reside. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a lover of sappy movies. The Dragons of Alsace Farm, her eighth published novel, was inspired by a loved one’s struggle with dementia. Her women’s fiction novels include Unspoken (2004) and Awakening Avery (2010), written as Laurie Lewis. Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).
She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a late spring 2017 release, and in March 2017 she will release a romance novel for Gelato Book’s “Destination Billionaire’s Series.” She loves to hear from readers, and she can be contacted at any of these locations.
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Tayte stared back at the table, glancing at Noah, who had folded his napkin into an origami shape. “For the most part, you’re still a mystery to me, but I have observed a few things. For instance, I know you play with things when you’re nervous. Am I terrible for pointing that out to you?”
Noah gave a comic huff as his tight lips pressed into a timid smile. “It’s an old habit. My father ran dinner like a prison mess hall. No joking. No talking. I was hardheaded. I ended more than a few meals with a backhanded slap that landed me on the floor. After a while, I realized if I kept my hands occupied, my mouth was less likely to get me into trouble. When I started fiddling with the napkin or the salt and pepper shakers, my father knew he had intimidated me.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be hit. I was never even spanked.”
She reached a hand across the table to touch his wrist and felt the leather band. “You always wear that. Is it sentimental?”
He slid forward and met her eyes. “Are you sure you want to know me, Tayte? Really know me?”
“Yes.” She didn’t hesitant in her reply.
He rolled up his sleeve and watched her face melt in sympathy as the round pocked scars appeared within the tattoos. Then he unfastened the band, revealing the healed cuts on his wrists. He pointed to his arms. “These were gifts from my father.” Then he touched his wrist. “And this is how I dealt with them.”
Tayte covered his wrist with her hand. “Is that all of them?”
He shook his head. “There are more burns on my shoulders and my back.”
She gave a silent gasp. “Oh, Noah. He was a terrible father.”
The comment was underscored by a firm squeeze of Noah’s wrist, and then the removal of her hand. Noah missed her touch immediately. The warmth. The connection. He rolled his sleeve back down, savoring the memory.
- If you could go out to lunch with any literary character, which would it be?Hmmmm. . . Jo March of Little Women fame. I think we’d have a lot to discuss over lunch—the challenges of writing meaningful pieces, the need to be true to one’s heart, love of family. It would be a good chat.
- Which of your personality traits did you wIrite into you characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)All my characters have some part of me in them. It’s how I can relate to them and help them grow. Tayte from “The Dragons of Alsace Farm,” is very much me. She wants to do what’s right, but she has a tendency to be a steamroller. I think I do a pretty good job of reigning that trait in, but it’s there.
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?There are a few. First and foremost, I hope “Dragons” inspires readers to have the hard conversations with their aging loved ones early. There is so much guilt in managing an aging loved one’s life, and it triples when that loved one has dementia. Knowing their wishes and working out a plan before it hits, relieves so much of that guilt. Secondly, I hope readers feel the power of redemption in the book, that we all need to be, and can be redeemed from even our biggest mistakes.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?I’ve always been a daydreamer, making up stories in my minds. It got me into trouble in school because my mind would drift off topic during class. Parents, if this reminds you of your kids, don’t panic. Just redirect that creativity to writing. Becoming a writer was a simple transition. I just started writing my mind-stories down.
- Give us an insight into how your writing day/time is structured?I’m not terribly disciplined right now. I try to put people things first. Writing fits in between, or happens late at night. I try to take a story problem to bed, and ponder it as I fall asleep. I often awake with an answer, or at least some direction. I try to get 3000 to 5000 words at a stretch. On a good day, I’ll get three good writing stretches in.
- Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?I was amazed by how many of my friends were also struggling with a loved one’s dementia. My research took me to some eye-opening topics—how to birth a goat, the bombing of Alsace France, Nazi-stolen art, and pyrotechnics. Cool stuff.
- Do you have any advice for other writers?Get started. Get a notebook to jot down things that inspire you—character treats of people you meet, places that wow you, fun words and names, story ideas, etc. Make a character bible for each of your characters. Know them and what they like look so well that you can see and hear them as you write. Outline your story. It’s awful, and the creative part of our brain hates doing it, but it will make your story stronger, and you’ll write more quickly with better continuity.
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