Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares the inspiration for her latest Historical Romance, Rollie’s Riddle. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: April 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
I like to read about strong, independent women, so when the opportunity came to write a story about women and the suffrage movement, I jumped at it. Rolinda—or Rollie to her friends—owns a newspaper in a small town called Whispering Pines, west of Colorado Springs and north of Manitou Springs. She is a spinster, by choice, mostly because she’d never found a man she wanted to marry. Her brother, Paul, owns the livery, and he, too, enjoys the single life.
Rollie is advertising manager, typesetter, editor, publisher, and printer of her newspaper, which comes out every week. And she likes running a business that way. Nobody to answer to except herself, her readers, her advertisers, and the Lord. And sometimes she wished she didn’t have to answer to her advertisers.
She is fearless when it comes to her passion for women to be able to vote at all levels, and she stays up to date on what’s happening nationally and in Europe. During the timing of this story, in 1895, women all around the world are working to gain suffrage, and Rollie wants to be part of something important.
When her brother Paul is arrested on suspicion of bank robbery, her heart is torn. The sheriff is certain he has his man, so she works tirelessly to prove her brother innocent.
Smack dab in the middle of her comfortable life, along comes Lucas Bryant, a contender for state senate for the following year. He’s looking for a wife who will bolster his self-confidence and win the women in his constituency to his side—even though they can’t officially vote. Lucas is of the mind that most men vote to appease their wives, so a beautiful woman on his arm will be a win-win for him.
At least, this is what Rollie sees.
She has no time or interest in such tomfoolery—particularly when she learns he refuses to take a public stand with regards to suffrage, and he is comparing her against another as to whom he might offer the honor of marriage.
Compared to the young and beautiful Angela Harvey, Rollie feels like a five-year-old nag in a three-year-old auction. So Rollie chooses to ignore the persistent Lucas—until he obtains information pertinent to her brother’s case.
Can the pair work together to free her brother? And does God have plans for them beyond this single task?
A hero, on the other hand, should be strong, intelligent, and popular.
Lucas Bryant, an attorney running for state senator in Colorado, is two out of three.
Maybe two-and-a-half. He’s popular with his constituents, drawing a decent crowd at fund raising events, political debates, and even the occasional dance. He wished he were as popular with Miss Rolinda Wheaton as he was with her opposition, Angela Harvey.
And what was Miss Wheaton’s interest in the suffrage movement? True, she is a woman—not beautiful, like the petulant Miss Harvey. No, her looks went beyond the fine lines that society construed for a person’s appearance. Miss Wheaton’s attraction rose from deep within her. Perhaps her passion for women to vote also fueled her desire to prove her brother innocent. And to run a business well.
But none of these served Lucas well. He needs a wife to accompany him on the campaign trail, to serve as hostess for functions, to increase the voters’ notion of his respectability, and to propel his political career forward. Next year, the senate. And perhaps before he’s fifty, Washington DC.
Angela or Rolinda? A hard decision to make, for certain. Angela has her father’s money. Rolinda has a heart for others, a love of family, and a passion for justice. Angela has—well, money.
When Rolinda’s brother is arrested for bank robbery, Lucas believes his decision has been made for him. After all, he didn’t want to be associated with the family of a criminal, did he? But Rolinda’s defense of Paul wakens Lucas’s eyes to where true beauty comes from—inside a person.
Rolinda finally lets down her defenses long enough for him to come alongside her and help her with the investigation into the bank robbery, and Lucas finds himself—well, for that, you’ll need to read the book.
Question for Readers: Do you prefer strong heroines? Why or why not?
About Donna: A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 60 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter. Donna also coaches writers who struggle to produce the first draft of their next book. Learn more & connect:
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About the book – Rollie’s Riddle:
Rolinda Wheaton—or Rollie to her friends—is a journalist at the Whispering Pines Echo, the local weekly newspaper. In fact, she’s the only journalist, since she inherited the paper from her parents. Her brother Paul owns and operates the town livery. Rollie is a strong supporter of women’s suffrage, but her brother is against it. Rollie has been a spinster so long she’s given up any foolish notions of marriage, and instead focused on her business, her career, and her passion. She attends a gala event where she meets Lucas Brant.
Lucas Brant is looking for a wife—one that will make him look good when he runs for state senate for 1896. He needs somebody who is the complete opposite of himself: self-assured, well-educated, able to rub elbows with the posh of Whispering Springs and Colorado Springs, even Denver.
When Paul is arrested for transporting stolen gold bullion and tossed into jail pending the circuit court judge coming the following week, Rollie is determined to uncover the culprit. A lead about a senate contender sends her chasing after her story, where she meets Lucas Brant again. He is smitten, but she’s not so sure. Or so ready. She has her life planned out: get the vote, get the story, and find who really stole the gold. Except the more time she spends with Lucas as she unravels the story, the more her heart is drawn to him.
When it appears Lucas and the gold are connected, can Rollie untwist her heart strings? Is she doomed to love a rascal? Or can God make sense of both their lives?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Interested in Donna’s other titles? Get your copy/copies now!
The Suffrage Spinsters Series:
Tired of being ignored and treated as inferior members of society, the brave women of the mid-1800’s decided to do something about it. They banded together to initiate what is now known as the Suffrage movement – the decades-long fight for women to achieve the right to vote. The stories in this fictional romance series feature strong heroines of this era who were unwilling to give up their collective voice in order to discover true love.
Interested in the rest of the series? The Suffrage Spinsters Series
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