Shannon here: Janalyn Voigt shares how she met her husband and how her characters met in her latest Historical Romance, The Promise Tree. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: May 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Janalyn:
In Search of True Love
Reading romance novels instills ideas about love in a young girl’s head, as I discovered in my teens. I didn’t know about Christian romance novels back then, but I sought out vintage books light on sensuality. The stories were formulaic and not always well-written, but they brought me vicarious adventures in exotic locations. Reading them was an attempt to sort out the concept of romantic love. Remembering some of the books makes me shake my head nowadays. Against their better judgment, innocent young women succumbed to the charms of handsome rogues. Love gentled these anti-heroes, but not before they mistreated the heroines.
These stories shaped my expectations of romantic love. A suitable mate should be stunningly handsome but not necessarily kind. Patience would win out in time, because love always makes a way. Passion was an indication of true love. I dreamed of being swept off my feet, like Scarlet O’Hara in the movie, “Gone with the Wind.” Perhaps you can see how this mindset was a recipe for disaster.
Several failed romances later, I was broken and weary. It wasn’t hard to see that my concept of true love needed an overhaul. I’d learned the hard way that a man given to drama wasn’t usually passionate about me, but about getting his way. Also, there are limits to my tolerance, and rightfully so. God doesn’t ask anyone to ignore abusive behavior to redeem someone else. That would be a poor plan anyway. Only God can change hearts.
I’d noticed several dating couples in church who interacted with enviable quietness. Their relationships struck me as deep-rooted and steady, displaying none of the tumultuousness I’d experienced as love. The desire to form such a bond uncurled inside me.
I met John on a blind date in an ice cream shop. There were no sparks between us, but we had fun. He lived across the Puget Sound, a short ferry ride away, so we decided to hang out together once in a while. When you’re single, going out alone sometimes feels awkward. I didn’t anticipate anything beyond companionship between us, but it was hard to ignore that we got along really well. I noticed something about him that trumped drama—character.
John announced his intentions by sending me two dozen roses for Valentine’s Day. Our courtship was a quiet affair made up of lingering glances and hand-holding. Being with him felt good and right. It seemed the most natural thing in the world when one day he turned to me in his kitchen and asked me to marry him. I replied that I would, we embraced, and then went back to making sandwiches for our picnic.
I am grateful that the Lord helped me throw off the false definition of romantic love I’d accepted, and that He guided my search for true love. I am as happy now, many years later, as I was the day John and I married. I’ll admit that we have the occasional spat, but life remains on an even keel. We’ve grown so close that one will often know what the other is thinking. The lingering glances and hand-holding never stopped.
Liberty, the heroine of my new release, The Promise Tree, suffers from false expectations of true love. As a preacher’s daughter, she believes she should marry someone upstanding, not a troublemaker like Jake.
About Janalyn: Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.
Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in several genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels, no matter what the genre. Learn more & connect:
About the book – The Promise Tree:
A preacher’s daughter shouldn’t encourage a troublemaker—no matter what her wayward heart desires.
Liberty has always believed she should marry a man of God, but Jake doesn’t qualify. The promises they’d made at age twelve can’t change that. If only Jake would stop pursuing her, she might keep from falling in love with him.
Jake fears he’ll lose Liberty to Beau, the new man in town. He doesn’t trust the smooth-talker—and certainly not with Liberty. Expressing his opinion sounds jealous and pushes Liberty further away. Jake’s efforts to forget the woman he loves lands him in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
A bounty hunter on the trail of a notorious outlaw gallops into town, and Liberty finds herself in unexpected peril. When Jake rides after her, he faces a test of faith. Jake and Liberty must each overcome their own false beliefs. Only then can they experience the truth of God’s redeeming love.
Set during a troubled time in America, the Montana Treasure series explores faith, courage, and love in the Wild West. Read this heartwarming story to affirm your faith in love.
Learn More About the Montana Gold series: Janalyn Voigt – Montana Gold
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Question for Readers: Did books you read as a teen taint your image of what life was supposed to be?
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