Bestselling Novelist Gail Kittleson Spins a Compelling Tale of One Woman’s Loss, Redemption, and Rediscovery of Her Self-Worth

Author Gail Kittleson and WordCrafts Press are celebrating the release of Kittleson’s latest historical romance, Secondhand Sunsets. Set in the American West during the aftermath of the Civil War, Kittleson’s new novel examines themes of loss, grief, isolation, forgiveness, redemption, and the restoration of self-worth.

The story follows young Abby Ferguson, who has already suffered the loss of her fiance to the American Civil War. But Abby’s suffering is not over… not by a long shot. As tragedy piles on top of tragedy, an unexpected marriage proposal from a rough-edged westerner named Ray McHale offers Abby the opportunity to simply walk away and leave her old life behind, and perhaps find a new, better life in the isolated wilderness of the Arizona Territory. Yet life appears to have even greater trials and tribulations in store for her.

 In nose-biting pre-dawn cold, Ray’s rap on the door sounded. Out front waited a new wagon. Abby buttoned her wool coat and bonnet, doubled Papa’s traveling blanket over her arm with her parasol, and crossed the threshold for the last time. Ray hoisted her trunk as she clambered into the buck-board.

He was no gentleman—no surprise to that. Through hushed streets, past Annabelle’s house, the silent empty clapboard church, and beyond the new train depot, memories flitted one by one. With each, her heaviness lifted, and out in the countryside west of town, each squeaky turn of the wheels breathed hope. In rhythm with the creaking wheels, words circled through her mind like poetry:

Now we are wed… no longer alone… heading west.

A fog immersed her. Not an endearing word from him, nor even a kindly touch of his hand. Her husband.

“In Secondhand Sunsets, the setting’s geography becomes a character—almost as essential as the heroine, the antagonist, and the hero,” Kittleson says. “Sometimes the terrain of a place enters into our soul and provides respite. This proved true for me in Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country, and I desired Abby, my heroine, to sense this, too. When a mountain blocks the sunset, you embrace what you do receive—an incredible rosy reflection in the East from the sun setting in the West. This metaphor describes how our lives can become twisted, yet beauty, faith and hope still lie within our reach.”

Well known for her World War 2 Women of the Heartland series, Kittleson has developed an avid fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic, prompting one British reviewer to write, “This story holds out hope when there appears to be none. That’s [Secondhand Sunsets‘] greatest literary strength, along with a beautifully written narrative and in-depth character development. I found myself feeling all that Abby feels, my heart aching for her. And as her faith grows, I realize I felt uplifted too. I highly recommend this redemptive tale for Christian historical fiction fans and readers who love compelling stories that inspire.”

About the Author

Words have always been comfort food for novelist Gail Kittleson. After instructing expository writing and English as a Second Language, she began writing memoir. Now, intrigued by the World War II era, Gail creates women’s historical fiction from her northern Iowa home and also facilitates writing workshops/retreats. She and her husband, a retired Army chaplain, enjoy their grandchildren and in winter, Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country. You can count on Gail’s heroines to ask honest questions, act with integrity, grow in faith, and face hardships with spunk.

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