Welcome one and all! Happy Valentines Day! I am excited to share with you an upcoming release from one of the more intriguing authors I know. Keely Brooke Keith is a fabulously creative author I know from the local ACFW chapter I am a part of. And the premise of her Uncharted Series is truly fascinating. I have just been so terribly eager to jump into this series. To say it is unique would be putting it mildly. But I’ll let you read on and find out for yourself.
All Things Beautiful
Release Date: April 17, 2018
It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. By lantern light she slips into her story world and dreams the adventures she’ll never experience. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts won’t make it easy for her to prove her writing is worthy of his ink.
If Henry Roberts did nothing else for the rest of his life but print and bind books, he would die a satisfied man. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress.
Get swept away to the hidden frontier settlement where love requires sacrifice, faith-filled adventures await, and sweet romance makes people glad to be alive. Read All Things Beautiful today and embark on an unforgettable journey of the heart in this inspirational story.
Enjoy an Excerpt
Henry studied her for a moment, struck by the oddity of seeing Hannah Vestal somewhere other than church. The years of seclusion since her mother’s death made her a mystery to him. She must be a slave to her siblings’ upbringing. Though demure in appearance, something about her high cheekbones and dark lashes veiled innate nobility, shirking the impression of servitude.
The eldest of the Vestal children had grown into an attractive woman. Still, Henry would always see her as the mournful teen weeping over her mother’s fresh grave years ago. He had left Mrs. Vestal’s funeral and gone home to weep that day too, grieving the loss as everyone in the settlement had. The only way he’d overcome it was by sketching Mrs. Vestal’s portrait, not the way she had looked in those final months of life, but the way she looked when the group lived in Virginia. She’d been strong, majestic almost, with the same high cheekbones as the woman standing before him now.
Remembering the pain, his heart stirred with an overwhelming desire to help Hannah in any way he could. He waved his good hand at the rolls of paper beside a cut table at the back of the shop. “I have plenty of paper and happen to need candles.”
She didn’t immediately respond. Had she not heard him or not understood his reply? He rounded the press and stopped at the worktable. “On cloudy days, it’s almost too dark in here to work.”
A slow smile graced her rosy lips. “Excellent, or rather, not that your workshop is dim, but I mean it is excellent that you should need candles.” Her cheeks flushed, matching her pink lips. “For me, anyway, because I have two dozen here to trade for paper.”
He reached into the basket and drew out a pair of tapers, which were still attached at the wick. “That’s a lot of candles to trade for paper. I’ll take four. Save the rest to trade at the market.”
Her smile vanished. She took a half step closer and whispered. “I need quite a lot of paper.”
The secretive manner of her voice over something as trivial as trading candles for paper almost made him laugh. He held it back not wanting to mock such a delicate creature. Leaning down to whisper too, he asked. “How much paper?”
“Two hundred sheets.”
“You’re right. That is quite a lot.” He stood straight and grinned at her. “Why are we whispering?”
The light shining through the doorway highlighted the golden flecks in her brown eyes. She leveled her glowing gaze on him, bucking all notion of fragility. “I prefer to keep my business affairs private. If you aren’t accustomed to trading discretely, I can trade with your father. He never questions me.”
He laced his voice with sarcasm. “Pardon my insensitivity. The secrecy you employ over a trade for paper piqued my curiosity.”
The punch of his humor seemed as lost on her as it was on any woman. She bowed her regal neck a degree as if deigning to accept his apology. “No harm done.”
Perhaps she was being sarcastic too. If he knew her more, he’d be able to read her intentions or at least be able to provoke her and then read her reaction. Considering her simple life, it seemed more likely she was taking him at his word. A twinge of guilt tightened his chest.
What was it about women that always put him on guard? He gave her unimposing stature a quick study. She was too small to be threatening, so his defensiveness must be unwarranted. He cleared the cynicism from his throat. “I take great care in stocking and cutting my paper and like to be assured it will go to good use.” He returned the taper candles to her basket and rested both palms on the worktable. “Why do you need so much paper?”
Her gaze darted around the print shop. “I’d rather… I’d rather not say.”
The noblewoman was gone and the homebody was back. Had he flustered her by being male or did she need the paper for a truly private endeavor? Either way, there was something amusing about pressing her further. “Did your sisters lose their school slates?”
“No.” “Are you papering your walls?” She squared her shoulders and hiked the basket up to her chest. “Will you trade with me or not?” “You don’t have enough candles to trade for two hundred sheets of paper.” She plunked her basket on the press table, her assertiveness ignited. “How much paper will you give me for all of these?” The force in her voice fueled his urge to vex her for the pleasure of watching her stir.
However, knowing the woman before him encased a mournful girl who needed something he had to offer, he decided against jesting and drew several candles out of the basket.
The smooth candles were solid with tightly woven wicks, and he needed them. He removed all but four of the candles, unable to take everything she had. “I will accept these for twenty sheets of paper.”
“But I need two hundred sheets.”
She didn’t need that much paper. Something was amiss. He pointed at the tall rolls of paper filling a wide bin beside the cut table in the back corner of the room. “Each of those rolls contains only twelve sheets of paper.” When her eyes widened, he asked, “Are you certain you require two hundred sheets?”
“Oh, no.” A burst of laughter broke her regality. She pressed her hand to her middle. “I’m sorry. No wonder you looked confused. I need two hundred pages—as in sheets of writing paper.” She drew a rectangle in the air. “About this size.”
Delighted by her laughter, his eyes refused to look away as he pulled a paper roll from the bin and opened it on the cut table. Little lines curved around her mouth when she laughed, almost like dimples but more stately.
The smile lines faded along with her laughter, and he wanted to see them again. The yearning pressed him to say something humorous, anything to make her laugh again, but his mind went as blank as the paper he was unrolling. He stood open-jawed as if every ounce of his intelligence had been doused by her song-like laughter. His half-hand lost what little strength it had, and he fumbled with the paper roll. For a moment time seemed to freeze. Her gaze darted to his scars, and pity changed her expression. He would rather receive disgust than pity. Wanting neither from her, he fought to appear composed. “Yes, well, I will trade you the candles for writing paper… two hundred pages. About six inches by nine then?”
She nodded. “Sounds right. I’ve never measured. Your father always cut the pages for me.”
“We get eight pages of six by nine per sheet.” He tried to focus on the paper, though her gaze had yet to leave his hand. “So you only need twenty-five sheets, not two hundred.”
She pointed at the door. “Should I come back for it tomorrow?” “No, unless you’re in a rush. It will only take me a few minutes.”
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More About Keely
Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.