by Carolyn Astfalk
After his duplicitous girlfriend left, Dan Malone spent six months in a tailspin of despair and destruction: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Just when his life seems to be back on track, he meets Emily Kowalski, younger sister of his new best friend. Emily’s the kind of girl he’d always dreamed of—sweet, smart, and sincere. But he’s made a mess of his life and ruined his chances for earning the love and trust of a woman like her.
Could Dan be the man Emily’s been waiting for? How could he be when every time they get close he pulls away? And will he ever be free from his shady past and the ex-girlfriend who refuses to stay there?
“This charming tale is as delightful as it is humorous (I laughed out loud several times). But with that said, it’s also a story rich with soul-stirring moments and inspiring growth.”
“More than a romance, it’s an exploration of two hearts as they try to figure out if they belong together. Strong characters, excellent secondary characters, and a twisty, turny plot that was far from predictable, Ornamental Graces is a great read that is lighthearted at times, but with great depth where it counts.”
“The author has such a beautiful way with words and there’s a maturity to her writing that sets it apart—and above—from typical romances. I’m in awe of how she takes rather ordinary situations and weaves such intriguing, emotional scenes. There’s never a dull page! I was highly absorbed and invested in the story and characters the entire time.”
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this?
ASTFALK: I enjoyed writing a Christmas romance because that’s the time of year I most enjoy cozying up with a novel, especially the first one I set in my hometown of Pittsburgh.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
ASTFALK: The hero, Dan Malone, is my favorite character because his transformation is the most dramatic. He’s suffered heartache, humiliation, and defeat, but despite all his missteps, he (eventually) becomes the man he’s meant to be – and gets the girl in the process.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
ASTFALK: The hardest part for me was making sure the shallow and duplicitous ex-girlfriend still came across as human with heartache and regrets of her own. It’s a fine line between a character you want to hate and an empty caricature.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
ASTFALK: That despite the mistakes we make and a past that can still rear its ugly head, we can find forgiveness, redemption, and always hope.