Shannon here: Michelle De Bruin shares the story of her real life engagement gift that ended up fictionalized in her latest Historical Romance, Dreaming of Tomorrow. Heads up, this book is one my editing babies from Scrivenings Press. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: November 21st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Michelle:
The Gift of Music Came at Christmas
Gifts were sprinkled throughout the Christmas season of December 1997, when my husband and I got engaged. The first special gift he bought me was a piano. It’s a Gulbransen, manufactured in Chicago during the year 1939. This piano has a dark mahogany finish, ornately carved legs, and authentic ivory keys. It sat in a basement classroom of a church building through my husband’s entire childhood, and most of his father’s as well.
The congregation was making plans to construct a new church building in the year we were engaged, so many of the fixtures from the old building, including this piano, were put on an auction.
My fiancé bid on it and secured it for purchase. With the help of family members, he moved it into his bachelor-pad, ranch-style home he would soon share with me. That December, I received an engagement ring and a piano for Christmas gifts.
I love old things because of their stories. This piano served generations of children, accompanying the teaching of the songs of faith during the Sunday School hour on Sunday mornings. After we were married, I created a music studio in our basement where I used this piano to teach music lessons to dozens of students.
This story of my fiancé-turned-husband’s special gift to me inspired a scene in the book, Dreaming of Tomorrow, which is releasing today. Here is the excerpt from chapter where the hero of the story has just received a gift of a piano for his fiancée.
Excerpt from Dreaming of Tomorrow by Michelle De Bruin:
Friday night, Logan worked by lamplight at his dining room table, putting the finishing touches on his Christmas Eve sermon. Snow fell outside his window, covering Oswell City in a pure and sparkly layer of white. The fire crackled in his fireplace, making the parsonage a cozy haven on this winter evening.
A knock came on the door. Logan rushed to answer it. Someone might want him for an emergency or a death. A man and a woman bundled in coats and scarves stood on his front step.
The woman pushed her scarf away from her mouth. “Is this the preacher’s house?”
“We got a delivery for ya. Conrad Van Drunen bought the house next door to us. It had a piano, but his wife don’t play it none, so they wanted to get rid of it. The word around town is the preacher is lookin’ for a piano. Ya still interested?” The woman studied him as snowflakes collected on her scarf.
“Uh … why … yes. Yes, of course. I’m still hoping to find a piano.” Logan craned his neck to catch a glimpse of the street. A wagon box on a sled was parked behind a team of horses. Blankets bound with twine covered an object in the wagon box.
“Mind if we back it up to your door?” the man asked.
“No, not at all. Let me get my coat, and I will help you unload.” He hastened into his wool coat and went to enlist the help of his neighbors.
After much pushing, shoving, and furniture rearranging, the piano rested along the dining room wall near the hutch. His desk and a couple of chairs were pushed out of the way to make space for the new instrument, but the dining room didn’t look as crowded as he’d expected.
“Thank you for delivering the piano.” Logan shook hands with the couple while he made a mental note to stop in at Conrad’s new place and offer him a payment.
The man waved on his way out the door as if to say he’d enjoyed the exertion.
Logan shut the door and returned to the dining room. Except for admiring his fiancée’s talents, he knew nothing about music. But he sat at the piano anyway. Plunking a few of the keys told him the instrument was in pretty good shape with its keyboard in tune. He stared at the keys envisioning his wife seated here and playing a lovely melody. His heart swelled. Christmas Day, with its flurry of gift-giving, was only a few days away. But for Logan, the season of receiving gifts had just begun.
About Michelle: Michelle De Bruin lives in Iowa with her husband and two teenage sons. She has a bachelor’s degree in Religion with a Christian Ministry emphasis, and in Music. Michelle is the spiritual services provider for an organization that offers services for people with mental and physical disabilities. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) since 2015. Michelle writes inspirational historical romance about people who live in rural communities. Characters that bring to life the delights of farm and small-town living, whispers of Dutch heritage, and Christian faith make Michelle’s stories distinct. A romantic at heart, Michelle is always on the lookout for glimpses of God’s love through the window of a good story.
Her first book, Hope for Tomorrow, released in 2018. The sequel, Promise for Tomorrow, released November 2019. The third book in the series, Dreaming of Tomorrow, releases November 2020.
About the book – Dreaming of Tomorrow:
Love leads them to a lifetime of commitment where the dreams they’ve held onto for so long start to come true.
Popular and eligible, Logan De Witt must convince the women in town that he is engaged to be married. A quiet, simple ceremony is what he has in mind for his wedding day, but when the date and time of his bride’s arrival is published in the newspaper, the whole town joins in the celebration proving to Logan and his new wife their sincere friendship and support. Added to the excitement of Logan’s marriage is the question of what the congregation should do with the unexpected donation of an orchard.
Karen Millerson is counting the days until her long-distance engagement comes to an end and she may travel to Oswell City to marry Logan. More than anything, she wants to share in his life as a help and support, but keeping a house and finding her place in the community requires much more work than she ever expected.
Learn, laugh, and love with Karen and Logan as they start a new marriage and work together ministering to the citizens of their small town.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for readers: What is a special Christmas gift you have received?
Come back Nov 13th for Karin Beery!