Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow Reader’s Favorite author, Ann Mock, who has penned a charming story set in post-Civil War days. I hope you enjoy meeting her, and reading an excerpt from this book that’s receiving well-deserved praise.
Now in audible!
The Union of the North and the South, by Ann Mock, now available from audible.com
Filled with romance and rich setting details, this Reader’s Favorite Five Star reviewed novel, The Union of the North and the South, takes place in the south in the 1870s during the tumultuous years following the War Between the States. Meet Laura Malcolm, forced to draw upon the strength and resilience symbolized by the oak trees surrounding her ancestral home nestled against the Mississippi. Overcoming great personal tragedy, she must keep a secret that, if revealed, will cause great heartache. Will Laura’s enemies become her friends even as she confronts her own past? Will she find the strength to forgive and love again?
Author Ann Mock lives in Florida with her husband Dave and her faithful companion, Happy. She enjoys ballroom dancing, and cruising on oceans and rivers in both Europe and the United States. Some of her favorite trips were on Mississippi steamboats that visited many of the areas mentioned in this book.
An excerpt from The Union of the North and the South
One day Laura told her mother, “I’m going to talk to Pastor Jenkins. I won’t be long.” She mounted a horse and waved at Jenny, who was in the corral training Scamp. Laura rode through a shaded lane toward the chapel. The day was cool and pleasant during her short ride. Along the way she thought about what was troubling her and how the pastor might help her. When she arrived, she knocked on the door of the chapel. Pastor Jenkins stood aside and motioned her inside. She followed him into his small office and sat in a chair opposite him. His jovial smile helped her relax as she quickly came to the point of her visit.
“I know you know so much about me and can appreciate how hard it has been since Gerald’s death. I want to be able to forgive his family for all they’ve done to me, but I find it so hard to do so. For a long time, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t thought about my anger and hurt. Now that I’m back at Oak Grove, I’ve had a lot of time to think, which seems to only make matters worse.”
Pastor Jenkins paused before saying, “To be able to forgive doesn’t come easy to any of us, especially when we’ve been wronged as you have. Let me share one of my favorite biblical passages on forgiveness.” He then read from Colossians 3:13: “‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’”
The pastor advised, “You must change your heart, Laura. When you let go of anger and bitterness, it will free you. Forgiveness takes time. The process is very slow, but the reward will be a freedom that can come only from the Lord.”
A small ray of light came though the window of Pastor Jenkins’s office, as if to show God’s endorsement of the pastor’s wisdom. Laura looked pleased. She knew now what she must do. It would take time and would be hard, but she wanted to be free—free from her anger over all her losses, including those regarding Bradford.
Before Laura reached the corner of the churchyard, Pastor Jenkins called her name. After she walked back to the church, he asked, “If you have some extra time on your hands, would you be interested in helping some of the adults in the community learn to read? The teacher we have is presently sick with pneumonia. Reading opens a whole world to people, and I think this would help keep your mind busy. Helping others is rewarding and often helps the giver as much as the person receiving the help.”
Laura paused. Then her face lit up. “That’s something I can do to help. How many will be coming to the class?”
“Right now we just have a few. Lily is coming from Oak Grove regularly and has made good progress. We’re hoping more will join them.”
Laura thanked Pastor Jenkins as she walked toward her horse. She already felt her burden lighten as she thought about what she needed to accomplish. Each day she would pray that she could learn to forgive. By doing so she would be obeying the wishes of the Lord and, hopefully, would find the true happiness Bradford’s mother had written about in her Bible.
The next evening Laura walked to the church with Lily to meet the adults attending the reading class. Laura found it was great fun to teach such eager students.
When the regular teacher recovered from her pneumonia, Laura became her assistant. Once, when she was leaving to go to the class, Bradford asked her, “Where are you going?”
Laura’s eyes lit up as she explained, “I’m teaching a class of adults how to read. It’s so rewarding. They’re learning quickly. I hope it’s okay that I’m using some of your books from the library. I haven’t seen you, or I would have asked earlier.”
Bradford hadn’t realized she was doing this, since he had been trying to avoid her in order to keep his promise not to bother her anymore. “I’m so glad you found something so fulfilling to do with your time. I have no problem with your using the books. I’m very proud of you!”
Laura was pleased with his praise and smiled brightly at him. It was becoming easier and easier to forgive him after all he had done to help her and her family. Now she just needed to learn to forgive Gerald’s parents, and her prayers would be answered.
If you enjoy Ann’s, or any author’s books, please consider leaving a kind review at your favorite book selling site so that others will know. Reviews are the new word-of-mouth recommendation, and encourage us to keep banging away writing more stories for your enjoyment.
Thanks for stopping by!