Welcome Wednesday – Giving and Receiving Grace with Naomi Much

Author: Naomi Musch

Genre: Historical Fiction

Books and Series:

The Black Rose: When Jesilyn betrays her twin, a fall from grace leads her to a hard and dangerous boom town. Can a lumber camp preacher rescue her from a life of shame, and will her sister ever be able to forgive? @NMusch #HistoricalFiction

Giving and Receiving Grace

Interview by Jenny Fulton

Naomi Musch is an award-winning author based out of the north woods of Wisconsin who enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, encouraging homeschoolers and young writers, and spending time in the great outdoors.

“About 95% of the time I write historical/historical romance,” she said. “Every once in a while, I get a wild hair to write a contemporary romance, but my sweet spot always leans to the historical.”

Her latest novel, The Black Rose, is a historical romance set in northern Wisconsin in the 1890s. Although it’s the third book in the 3-generational family saga, the Empire in Pines series, it can also be read as a stand-alone.

“What inspired you to write this book?” I asked.

“I wanted to tell the story of the twins born at the end of book two, The Red Fury. I also wanted to explore the riotous Northwoods of the booming 1890s, where the saying was, ‘Hayward, Hurley, and Hell…the three hottest places on a Saturday night.’ In addition, I wanted to address the issue of sin taking on various forms, even that which tries to pass itself off as righteous indignation. And finally, the idea of twins, so alike and yet so driven by different ideals, seemed a rich story to analyze through fiction.”

As she wrote this book, Naomi pulled from her love and knowledge of northern Wisconsin.

“I drove around the neighborhood where the Beaumonts’ home is located and chose an old house facing Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay to use as theirs. I’ve spent many hours in Fairlawn Mansion, home of a northern lumber baron and now a public museum, which is in that same neighborhood, and which gets a mention in the story.”

As far as personal life experience goes, Naomi says she’s been both girls in the story: the misguided desperate, though she didn’t do what Jesilyn did, and the “righteously” offended one who couldn’t see past her own spiritual arrogance.

“I’ve even been the hero Paul, trying to do the right thing, wondering what God’s will is, and feeling confused and worried that I missed His lead somehow.”

“Did writing this book change or impact you?” I asked.

“Yes, I always learn something about myself when I write a story, and strangely, when I get an idea for a book, God somehow uses it to guide me through something going on in my life or in the life of someone close to me. I first wrote this story about eight years ago, and this is a re-rerelease of an earlier publication. At that time, it turned out one of my children was going through a difficult time that, I think, made me empathetic in a way that helped me write these characters.”

“What are some of the themes woven throughout the book?”

“This is definitely a story of grace and second chances. The ideas of our worth to others and to God is also a focus – that He loved us SO much, He gave His Son to die for us even in our worst states.”

The Black Rose is the conclusion of a family saga that begins in a humble cabin in the wilderness and ends in the gilded age at the height of Wisconsin’s lumber and railroad boom.

“It’s an inspirational romance,” Naomi said. “So, while it taps into history and theme, I primarily hope to give the reader a story that will sweep them away and keep them turning pages.”

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?”

“I hope they are delighted, but I also hope they are refreshed with a sense of both giving and receiving grace into their lives. I hope their sense of self-worth to God is encouraged.”

While, as was mentioned earlier, The Black Rose could be read as a stand-alone, Naomi hopes readers will start with book one, The Green Veil, so they can receive the full richness of the saga. The first book in the series is set during Wisconsin’s founding, and it continue on into book two, The Red Fury, which tells about the deadliest fire in our nation’s history.

 “No…not the Chicago fire,” Naomi clarified, “though it happened on the same night. The second book is told through the eyes of a young woman and two brothers who are civil war veterans.”

Sounds intriguing. To learn more about this series, read the book blurbs below and find out how you can connect with Naomi.

Book Blurb for The Green Veil

1841 ~ Lumberman’s daughter Colette Palmer has always loved timber cruiser Manason Kade, though she’s too young for him to consider seriously. Leaving Michigan with her family to settle in the Wisconsin wilderness, and separated from him by miles and years, she grows into a woman. When her heart is broken, she makes her vow to another.

Manason longs to plant roots of his own in Wisconsin Territory, if he can break from the alluring female who tempts him to do otherwise. Given an opportunity, he strikes out and forms the new Kade Forest Works. When his fresh crew challenges the illegal log harvesting of a rival company, however, it is Colette’s husband who will stop at nothing to ruin him.

Logging enterprises collide as the territory nears statehood, and dangerous schemes threaten those Colette holds dear. Then Manason and Colette finally meet again, and when they do, the battle between lumber kings reaches new heights. Now she will have to choose between her first love and her commitment to her marriage vows, while her dreams, her faith, and an empire in pine hang in the balance.

Book Blurb for The Red Fury

Peshtigo, Wisconsin ~ 1870

Spurned twice since the death of her first love in a logging accident, Lainey Kade has become the object of talk. “That Lainey, she’s a shrew all right. Not ever going to marry, likely,” the gossips say. Fleeing heartache and flaunting convention, Lainey seeks solace instead in seeking adventure and breaking the rules.

Embarking on a journey, where she hopes to put the past behind, Lainey crosses paths with brothers Zane and Kelly Beaumont and pretends to be a married woman. It isn’t long, however, before they find her out. She soon forges an adventurous companionship with these men whose nightmares since the Civil War have never let them return home.

Following the lead of the next thrill, the ties of their friendship tighten, and Lainey denies love’s rekindling spark. But, as fires rage across the Wisconsin wilderness and a dry summer turns deadly, the brothers’ attraction to her may tear them each apart, and Lainey may be consumed by the fury burning inside her.

Book Blurb for The Black Rose

1893 ~ As logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, twin sisters Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bustling, Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori’s fiancé, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boom town brothel where a fresh start is denied her.

Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the carousing lumber and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but his successes have been few, and he’s begun to question his calling. Then his ministry is challenged in an unexpected way when he meets a lost and broken red-head he calls Pie Girl. Though willing to offer rescue, he’s never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.

Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn’s betrayal, Corianne finds refuge in refusing to forgive, but bitterness might separate her from a second chance at happiness.

When tragedy ignites fresh sparks between the sisters, will grace fail forever? Or can they each begin new lives—and find budding love blooming in places neither of them expects?

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