Bestselling Author Marian Rizzo Examines the Effects of a Life Well Lived in Poignant New Novel, The Legacy of Mrs. Cunningham bestselling novelist Marian Rizzo and WordCrafts Press are pleased to unveil The Legacy of Mrs. Cunningham, which released to retail in June, 2022. The poignant new novel follows on the heels of her bestselling ancient historical fiction novel The Leper, which debuted at #16 on’s Hot New Releases in Biblical Fiction chart when it released in December of 2021.

Set in the not-too-distant past in the idyllic town of Fall River, New York, The Legacy of Mrs. Cunningham details a world where local businesses operated from nine-to-five, weekends were for fishing, little league baseball was a highlight of the week, and neighbors still sat on the front porch to share the news of the day along with a glass of iced tea. While time passed in the small community, and the pace of life accelerated, the all too familiar trials, tribulations, desires, motivations, and ultimate failures of human interactions remain. Yet some people, like Mrs. Cunningham, manage to leave a powerful imprint on the lives they touched. And sometimes, the legacy of those people is only acknowledged after they are gone.

“Writing The Legacy of Mrs. Cunningham had a special place in my heart,” author Marian Rizzo confesses. “I have known many “Mrs. Cunninghams”–both male and female–unselfish people who made an impact on my life and on the lives of others. The truth is, we all have opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. We only need to be open to God’s promptings, and, perhaps, like Mrs. Cunningham, we might enjoy the fruit of our labors. Or, in some cases, we might make a difference without ever having known it.”

Adele Cunningham had died. And she had lived. Two hours of personal testimonies proved as much. Multiple individuals stepped up to the pulpit to share what Mrs. Cunningham had done for them, either through prayers or through advice. The truth was, Adele Cunningham left a legacy that would never die.

Overwrought by the loss of her mother, Judy Cunningham needed a place where she could grieve alone. She sought a path through the swarming crowd. Arms fell like gates at a railroad crossing and blocked her way. She endured the body hugs, the wet kisses on her cheek, and the suffocating mix of perfume and body odors. Mumbling her apologies, she broke free and passed from the living room into the kitchen and headed for her mother’s bedroom. She slipped inside and eased the door shut.

Then, breathing a sigh, she drank deeply of the quiet. A sense of nostalgia took over as she swept her eyes across the four-poster bed, the hand-crocheted granny quilt, and the lacy pillow shams, everything neatly arranged as if Mother had just left the room. On the little bedside table sat a Tiffany lamp, a worn leather Bible, and a box of tissues, remnants of Adele Cunningham’s daily meetings with God.

She approached her mother’s rocker and ran her hand over the curved back. This was where Adele Cunningham met God every morning and every night. Judy settled into the chair, shut her eyes, and imagined her mother’s arms enfolding her. She set the rocker in motion and thought about the many notes her mother had left behind for her to deliver. She’d handwritten more than two dozen during her last week in the hospital. One of those little blue envelopes had Judy’s name on it.

She stared at it for a moment, then slid her fingernail under the flap and opened it.

“A Pulitzer-Prize nominated journalist, Marian Rizzo approaches her fiction writing with the observant eye of a newspaper reporter,” said WordCrafts Press publisher, Mike Parker. “Whether delving into the ancient past or setting her novels in contemporary times, Marian manages to populate her fictional world with real human beings who struggle with real human character flaws like greed, lust, envy, low self-esteem, pride, and ambition. And even the ‘good guys’ like Mrs. Cunningham have dark secrets that make them equally real in the eyes of the reader. Ultimately, The Legacy of Mrs. Cunningham is a poignant tale of how one person’s life can impact so many others, for good or for ill.”

About the Author

A Pulitzer Prize nominee in the field of journalism, Marian Rizzo has won numerous awards, including the New York Times Chairman’s Award and first place in the 2014 Amy Foundation Writing Awards. She worked for the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper for 30 years. She also has written articles for the Ocala Gazette, Ocala Style Magazine, and Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine.

Several of Marian’s novels have won awards at conferences and retreats. In 2018, her suspense novel, Muldovah, was a finalist in the Genesis competition at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference.

Marian earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible education from Luther Rice Seminary. She trained for jungle missions with New Tribes (now ETHNOS 360), and she served for two semesters at a Youth With A Mission training center in Southern Spain.

Marian lives in Ocala, Florida, with her daughter, Vicki, who has Down Syndrome. Her other daughter, Joanna, has blessed her with three wonderful grandchildren.

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