Shannon here: Donna F. Crow shares her daughter’s real life romance plus a chance to win her latest British Mystery, A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Also read the details at the end of the post to get your name in the drawing twice. Deadline: April 25th, 11;59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
A Three Generation Romance Series
Not the End
A true love story is never the end— but always the beginning of something new and beautiful, because God is in the business of ever renewing and ever creating anew. I have had such fun through these three days on Inkslinger recounting three generations of our family romances and how they have been reflected in my writing. My parents’ story, which posted on April 17, told of their marriage during the depression, which I used in Elizabeth: Days of Loss and Hope the second book my Daughters of Courage pioneer family saga.
Monday I told about our own fiftieth wedding anniversary, a tribute to the example our parents set and an example of faithfulness to our children and grandchildren. Today I am thinking about our daughter’s romance and marriage which have served as background for my fictional characters Felicity and Antony in a monastery in Yorkshire.
Perhaps I should explain. My fictional Felicity, similar to our daughter Elizabeth, is a young American woman who studied Classics at Oxford, found teaching school in London to be boring, and went off to study in a theological college run by monks in a monastery in Yorkshire.
Because the Monastery Murders is a fictional suspense series, Felicity gets to know her church history lecturer Antony through the alarms of a murder investigation. Elizabeth and Lee met at a gathering for young church workers in London— which Elizabeth had arranged.
Lee arrived late and was going around the room shaking hands: “Hullo,” “Hullo,” “Hullo,” “Hulllooo.” Well, she was wearing a red sweater and she had brought a tin of cookies. Still, this couldn’t be. He was going to be a monk. He couldn’t possibly follow up on this lightning bolt that had struck him.
But he had promised to send her some information about a church organization. That should be safe enough. He pulled an envelope from the back of his desk and inserted the flyer. The second the missive left his hand in the postbox he realized what he had done. His paycheck was in that envelope.
Now he had to ring her. (He knew which church she was working at, so getting the number was no problem.) Yes, she would be happy to bring the check to him Saturday evening— never mind that she had a date with another man that afternoon. She could cut it short.
And, being England, he had to invite her in for a cup of tea. Then, naturally, she wanted to see the church where he worked. And sharing so many concerns it was natural that these two young church interns would stop at the altar rail to share a time of prayer. And when they looked up, the trains had quit running.
The night bus was not a safe option for a young woman alone in London. A taxi would cost the earth. The only thing to do was to go back to his apartment to wait until the trains started running. They opened a tin of soup and sat at the kitchen table, but neither one could eat.
That was in November. On Candlemas (Feb 2) the day the church commemorates the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, they went to Westminster Cathedral. Lee waited a stressful, impatient time for an avid tourist to leave them alone in St. George’s Chapel so he could get down on one knee and ask Elizabeth to marry him.
January of the following year they were married. During the three years they lived and studied at the monastery I visited them many times. And slowly it dawned on me: This was an experience few people get to know; a lifestyle few people even know exists. I wanted to share this with my readers.
And so the Monastery Murders were born. Book 5 in the series An All-Consuming Fire is now with my editor. In that book Antony and Felicity get married. Finally. And perhaps it’s symbolic that as that book goes to press, our daughter is preparing to deliver their fifth child. Truly, “One generation passeth unto another; and the sun also rises.”
About Donna: Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury The Novel of Christian England, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She also authors The Lord Danvers Mysteries. A Tincture of Murder is her latest in these Victorian true-crime novels. The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries are her literary suspense series of which A Jane Austen Encounter is the latest. A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary is the fourth of Felicity and Antony’s adventures in the Monastery Murders. Donna and her husband of 51 years live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 13 1/2 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
Translating an ancient document in an Oxford convent should be a harmless venture, but Felicity just can’t seem to avoid danger. It’s hardly Felicity’s fault, though, that severed body parts start showing up in ancient holy reliquaries. Or that Felicity and one of the nuns is assaulted. Then Antony arrives in Oxford with a group of students and is disconcerted to learn that Felicity has forged an uneasy friendship with his estranged sister. The family situation is further complicated when Antony is obliged to rush to the bedside of his dying uncle in Blackpool. The exultation of All Saints’ Day plunges to the anguish of grief on All Souls’ when Felicity encounters yet another body. Who will be the next victim of the murderer stalking the shadows of Oxford’s hallowed shrines?
Question: Do you know anyone who had a whirlwind courtship?
Come back April 24th for Brenda S. Anderson!