The 4th book in the series is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Click to get it now!
In Lebanon, Illinois the annual Victorian Holiday Festival kicks off a month of celebrating Christmas—and Charles Dickens. He’s the town’s claim to fame ever since he stayed at the Mermaid Inn during his 1842 tour of America. But judging from the snarky comments Dickens wrote in his travelogue, he was certainly not a fan of Lebanon.
Professor Merrideth Randall gets the opportunity to find out why when her “dream house” goes on the market, and a realtor gives her a key to the front door. Built in 1839, it sits right across the street from the Mermaid Inn, so it’s the perfect place to use her amazing time-rewinding computer software.
Brett Garrison, brilliant professor of physics during the work day, and her witty partner in historical adventures during the off hours, goes along with her. Spending time with the man she loves—while pretending they’re only friends—is even more difficult than she thought it would be. Together Merrideth and Brett meet an interesting assortment of Lebanon’s citizens in 1842, and they finally find out what Dickens was really thinking when he wrote about them.
As usual, everyone from the past has much to teach Merrideth about mankind’s sinfulness and God’s plan to rescue them. Will she finally come to the point of trusting him, or will all the holiday hoopla around town get in the way of understanding the true meaning of Christmas?
Merrideth Randall’s day job is teaching history at McKendree College. But after hours she turns to her first love, historical research. And she has a tool other historians can only dream of—a computer program that rewinds time, giving her a first-hand look at the past!
In ONCE AGAIN, she makes startling discoveries about the American frontier—and about her handsome colleague Brett Garrison. READ MORE.
In ONLY ONE WAY HOME, Merrideth Randall experiences the Cherokee Trail of Tears through the eyes of Matthias Frailey, a man who lived in Golconda, Illinois in 1838. Matthias is a wonderful man and she falls just a little in love with him even though he’s been dead for over a century. Fortunately, Brett Garrison is very much alive. READ MORE.
In HOW SWEET THE SOUND, Professor Randall meets Trevor Dalton, a mysterious tattooed biker who shares her adventures with the Ohio River pirates of Cave in Rock—AND teaches her that you can’t can’t always judge a book by its cover. READ MORE.
You don’t have to read the History Mystery Trilogy before you dig into the Rewinding Time Series, but you may want to. There, you’ll meet Merrideth fifteen years before when she was a bratty eleven-year-old with an old house, a new computer, and the travel opportunity of a lifetime—to another century. The star of the trilogy is Abby Thomas, a college student who comes to tutor Merrideth but ends up learning more than she teaches. For a description of all three books, check out the “About my Books” tab above.
The History Behind the Books
All my novels are inspired by the lives of actual historical people and the events they experienced. But it was impossible to fit it all into the books, so if you want to read more, click on the “About my Books” tab above. Lots of my readers have told me they don’t normally like history but they do enjoy the historical themes of the books. I hope you will too.
I loved doing the historical research for these books nearly as much as writing them. But it would have been so much easier to do if I could go back in time to see what it was really like in the “olden days.” The characters in the trilogy find a weird computer program called Beautiful Houses that lets them do just that. Abby and Merrideth call it “time-surfing.” It’s miraculous, but as Brother Greenfield says in Every Hill and Mountain, “Our God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Hallelujah! If he wants to give us a gift like that, he can.”
It’s an amazing gift, all right. Except sometimes Abby and Merrideth learn more than they ever wanted to know about people from the past. Still, studying their lives of people teaches them about God’s love and goodness in a new way. From the distance that only time gives, they clearly see that God has a plan for his people, that He’s in the business of redemption, that He makes all things new. I hope my readers get that. Writing about it reminded me, too.
The Setting of the Books
All the books are set in my own beautiful southern Illinois. I was born in Eldorado, which is near tiny Equality, the setting of Every Hill and Mountain. I grew up in Woodburn, a village just down the road from the settings of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Today I live with my husband Bob in Monroe County, Illinois, the setting of Once Again. Golconda, the setting of Only One Way Home, is the site where the Cherokee entered southern Illinois on their tragic Trail of Tears in 1838. It is a topic that has always fascinated me because of my own Cherokee ancestor Mary Ann Jones Bohannon, whose parents somehow escaped that fate. She was born in North Carolina, but ended up in Sugar Tree, Tennessee, where her neighbors called her “The Indian Woman.” When Mary Ann died in 1882, they buried her outside the cemetery fence because she was not white enough. Today, the cemetery has grown to the point that her grave now lies at its center, a fact that makes me smile every time I think of it.
I enjoy reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. My husband and I have three grown children, five grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout (Scout had a cameo role as “Dr. Bob” in Unclaimed Legacy).