It is my pleasure to welcome Jenny Knipfer as my guest today with an excerpt from her new book. If you loved Luminous, you might consider On Bur Oak Ridge for your next read.
Excerpt from On Bur Oak Ridge
Guest Post by Jenny Knipfer
Molly - Late September 1919
I see him, but I can’t move. I stand rooted in place like a tree with my arms outstretched.
“Momma!” he giggles with glee, and he runs toward me, dangerously close to the vat of boiling water.
Water vapor rises from the vat and hangs suspended in the air in a slow, surreal way. Some soap bubbles float large and free, growing until they burst, appearing like a shimmer of glitter around the halo of Lonny’s blond ringlets.
My frozen-in-place arms strain to rescue him, but they are immovable. I’m helpless to prevent what’s coming next—what I’ve seen over and over and over again. The vat supports creak and groan, the mechanism tips, and Lonny is lost in a sea of boiling water and bedsheets. Next, I feel the hiss and pain. My hands fly to my face, where the burning-hot, carbolic water sears my skin. My voice strains to scream, but no sound issues from my wide-open jaws…
It takes me some seconds to realize that Mabel’s form hovers over me, grooves edged on her face, set deeper in the faint glow of the candle she holds in one hand.
“You must have been dreaming,” she says, somewhat breathlessly, and she sits on the side of the bed next to me.
I blink my eyes several times and try to make sense of her words.
Her eyes, flecked with questions, reflect the flame. “We heard you moaning.”
She reaches out and smooths some hair away from my face.
I’m grateful she doesn’t inquire about the origin of my dream. I push up on my elbows and raise myself into a sitting position, working to calm my breathing.
“I’m sorry I’ve disturbed you,” I growl out, my throat dry.
She sets the candle on the nightstand. “There’s no need to apologize.” Turning back, she asks, “Do you want to tell me about it?”
How do I explain?
Swallowing, I begin, “I was dreaming about...my son.”
One of her brows hunches lower. “It must not have been a pleasant dream.”
She tilts her head, waiting. Patient as ever.
“No.” I pause and search her eyes in the candlelight. “Did...Robin tell you about the accident?”
She nods. “Some. I know you got burned, but I didn’t know your son was also involved.” She shakes her head. “Well, I know you had a son, but Robin didn’t say how he...” She lets her explanation hang and squints her eyes. “What did happen?”
I don’t want to talk about it now. It’s not that I don’t trust Mabel, but I don’t want to relive it again, not twice in one night.
“I think I need to rest. Do you mind if I tell you the whole story another time?” I plead.
She stands. “Of course. I...shouldn’t have asked.”
I intercept her hand as she reaches for the candle. “I want you to know the truth, Mabel, but I just can’t bear thinking about it anymore tonight.”
She nods and barely smiles.
Linc appears in the open doorway to my bedroom, his hair on end and his eyes droopy. “Is everything all right?”
Guilt pricks at me for interrupting my hosts ’sleep.
Mabel steps close to her husband, a confident tone to her words. “Nothing we can’t handle.”
I value my friend’s loyalty and protection so much.
“Nothing but a dream,” I say and moisten my dry lips with my tongue.
But dreams have more substance than nothing. At times, they seem like my reality and the life I lead upon this Earth a woeful, fictional tale.
“Good, good.” Linc runs a hand through his hair and yawns. “Tomorrow comes early. Let’s get back to our rest.”
Mabel steps through the doorway, offering a consoling lift of her lips to me before disappearing into the hallway. Linc nods once more, steps back, and closes the door behind him.
I lean my head on the metal bedframe, close my eyes, and breathe—in...and...out. Several bouts of this rhythm help quiet my yet pounding heart.
That particular type of dream hasn’t manifested in some time; they sporadically reoccur. I tire of the burden and wish to have them as aptly erased as rubber erases lead off paper. But their stain remains, in my mind, on my body, and forever within my heart.
I lie back on my pillow in the darkness and pray quietly for peace.
“God, You’ve helped me again and again through my struggles. You never relinquished me to the darkness of my own thoughts or dreams but called me into the light. When my heart broke from grief, you comforted me with the thought that I will see my son again and that You are with him. I like to envision him picking daisies in a wide-open field with other small children while You watch. Your word says that Your eyes are ever on Your children."
A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE
In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons ’farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face.
Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons ’hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel–seeing past Molly’s scars–draws her out of her self-protective shell.
Molly and Samuel form a friendship, but just as their hearts lead them deeper, an unexpected guest comes calling, demanding what’s his.
Will Molly and Samuel find a way to be together or will they be separated, due to impediments beyond their control? Can they trust in God’s plan and travel a path that heals the hurts of the past?
Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian historical romance will delight in this beautifully wrought story of the healing power of love.
“A heartwarming story of healing from external and internal scars. Through some of life’s harder lessons the characters learn to trust, forgive, and find second chances out of the ashes of pain and loss.” Anne Perreault, author of eighteen inspirational novels, including the Yellowstone series
Trigger Warnings: Grief, trauma from burns, accidental death, time in an insane asylum
Connect with Jenny
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to dis-ability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.
All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers As-sociation, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Inde-pendent Book Publishers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.
She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.
Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons and a three-part fantasy series entitled: Retold Fairy Tales.