About the Book
Book: The Pursuit of Miss Parish
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: May 31, 2023
Love’s gentle promise becomes nothing more than a withered dream.
With dreams of love and a hope for belonging, shy Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Colt Lawson’s letters hold great promise and while his devilishly handsome face matches his picture, something does not add up. Discovering his lie only moments before they wed, Belle flees the church and straight into the Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. Giving up the prospect on ever marrying, she dons her nun-like uniform and focuses on her role as a Harvey Girl waitress until a strong, former Texas Ranger rides into her life.
Colt Lawson didn’t want to send that letter to Belle Parish in the first place, but her first response had all but captured his heart. When he is left standing at the altar alone, he is left with two choices—either release his dream of a love marriage, or attempt to win her heart. Wooing her would be a lot easier if that Texas Ranger wasn’t back in town. Who wants a dusty rancher with a past when she could have a shining knight in a Stetson?
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Grace Hitchcock grabs the reader from the first sentences, immersing them into Belle Parish’s point of view. The reader quickly becomes invested in Belle’s plight as a begrudging mail-order bride. When she and her friend end up in the middle of a train robbery, her anxiety increases tenfold.
Early in the book, the author gives a few scenes from Colt Lawson’s perspective, showing how he felt about an important event with his mail-order bride. Later in the book, his character plays a larger role, as the stakes increase for him.
I loved the way Grace Hitchcock provides a big twist to the mail-order bride trope very early in the story. Belle and Colt’s relationship develops as Hitchcock creates tension between what they wrote in their letters and what they discover when they meet in person. The result was a wonderful page-turner.
The action increases during the last third of the book, further raising the stakes for both characters until the story resolves in a perfect happily ever after ending. Loved the action and drama!
Even though this book is the second in a series, the book stands on its own.
I strongly recommend this book for fans of Christian historical romance, cowboy romance, and western adventures.
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Mail-Order Bride Romance, Harvey House Girls
Location: Las Vegas, NM
Time Period: 1899
Romance: Very clean. Light kissing.
Faith: Characters grow in their faith, pray, read the Bible.
Disclaimer: I requested and received an advanced copy of this book courtesy of Valmont House Publishers and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
About the Author
Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.
More from Grace
Questions from READERS for Grace Hitchcock
Q: As a mom, how/when do you find time to write?
Grace Hitchcock: I used to walk around the block to my favorite coffee shop in New Orleans, writing with a delicious latte and scone beside me, headphones in with the perfect soundtrack playing waiting for the muse. . . and now days, I write during Sofia the First episodes blaring in the background for my toddler while the baby sleeps and my Kindergartner is in half-day school.
On the days when I can’t get the word count down during those tiny moments, my husband takes the babies for an hour in the evenings and tells me to go write! When I’m on tight deadline with days left to go, the house usually isn’t the cleanest and Laundry Mountain, in all its splendor, may just fall on top of us. Sometimes while on deadline, I get the urge to pause and clean, but if I ignore the impulse long enough, the feeling generally passes. Once the book is in to my editor, it’s time to clean.
Q: What is your favorite source of inspiration for creating the characters in your stories?
Grace Hitchcock: For main characters, I use Names Through the Ages to figure out their names based on their background and once I know a character’s name, it’s as if the heroine/hero stroll into my writing room and I get to know their personality, the story closely following.
For the supporting characters, I have a need/plot point that they need to fill and I build their personality around that need. Not quite as exciting haha but they serve a purpose. But, I always remind myself to try to fill them out because they do not know they are not the main characters.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Grace Hitchcock: One of my earliest memories is writing stories in my little diary in my closet. (Remember the diaries with the locks on them that were super easy to pick, but still dreamy to have a book with a lock on it.)
I started taking my desire to write seriously when I was a senior in high school. I was homeschooled and my mom let me write a novel for my senior English project to test that theory if I wanted to write. It was so fun to write, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I got my Masters in Creative Writing and I’ve been typing away ever since.
Q: What is your writing process like?
Grace Hitchcock: I usually begin with a spark of an idea that I at once research to see if it would work with the eras I enjoy writing (Gilded Age and Regency England). From there, I do a deep dive into writing out a chapter by chapter plot, which generally takes about a week to ten days.
Once I have my plot down, I do about a week or two more of basic research and begin the first very, very rough draft that I usually finish at 50,000 words after 3 months of writing.
Then, I research any spots that needed improving in the first draft and go full editing mode, pausing throughout the book to research spots that need more description and historical accuracy, which is about two months and then, I do a third round of edits and research while doing a line edit, which takes a month.
By the time I get to the 6-month mark, I am more than ready to have a break haha and I send my 75,000/80,000 word novel off to my publisher/editor who does a content edit, sends it back to me for three weeks, another editor does a line edit, sends it back to me for three weeks, then another editor does a copy edit and sends it to galleys (where they format the book) and send it back to me to proof one last time for two weeks! Then, it goes to press at usually 75,000-100,000 depending on the novel. So long story short, 6 months to write and about 2 months to edit!
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Grace Hitchcock: In this business, just about every author gets a rejection from a publisher . . . even by publishers who later accept them!
When I began sending out one of my first manuscripts, I thought it was pristine, but after about 15 rejections, I put it on the shelf and focused on a new manuscript with fresh eyes and new goals based on some of the industry professionals’ suggestions. Six months after I shelved that first manuscript, I went back and looked over it . . . the professionals were right. It wasn’t ready and it would require a lot more love (aka bleeding edits) before I attempted to send it out again. Sometimes, time is what you need to get a fresh perspective.
But it is also important to remember that when you get a rejection letter, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the work. And as much as you see it as a work of art, the publishers see it as a product. They are there to sell a product and if the product isn’t ready, it won’t sell well, so take heart and “hone your craft” and focus on any feedback you received that has merit.
That critique was very hard for me to hear haha but it helped push me to keep learning, attending writer conferences, and following my dreams. Over the years, I have had novels rejected by Barbour, Bethany, and Kregel, but I tried again and again and eventually signed with each publishing house! So keep it up! You can do it!
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To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of The Finding of Miss Fairfield AND The Pursuit of Miss Parish with bookmarks and book magnets, and a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.