by Vikki Kestell
Fiery-haired, fiery-tempered Tabitha gives her heart to God and her life to nursing. When the Great War erupts in Europe, she hears God asking her to nurse the war wounded. Will the elite British Nursing Service accept the services of an American volunteer? And what is Tabitha to do with her feelings for Mason Carpenter, the man who simply refuses to give up on her?
“Wonderfully written with emphasis on the redemptive love of Christ Jesus through relationship with him.”
“Tabitha, the protagonist, is a strong, inspiring character.”
“The author artfully weaves in the historical context throughout the book adding even more believability to the story. Such a great book.”
CIR: How much research did you have to do for this story?
KESTELL: Oh, my, the research! I can now attest that I now know more about World War 1, the evolution of aviation and fighter planes just before and during the war, and the history of British nursing than I ever expected to! I can also tell you how marvelous it was to fold Tabitha’s story into this rich background. Why British nursing, you might ask? Yes, Tabitha is American, but the United States did not join the war until 1917. From 1914 until America made its formal declaration of war, American nurses had no way to participate in the care of the war wounded—but Tabitha finds a way.
CIR: What messages do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
KESTELL: The message is a difficult one. Tabitha, at the age of fourteen, makes a single (but significant) wrong choice, a choice that destroys her life. In my newsletter I asked my readers, “Do you, like Tabitha, look back with regret on a single wrong choice? Has your life been forever altered or devastated by that one mistake?” That question leads to the most noteworthy message of this book: “Take heart! The God of all grace is calling each of us to redemption and restoration.” What makes this book such a redemptive read is how God reached out to save Tabitha from her circumstances and from herself! As Tabitha grows in her faith, she overcomes the damage of her captivity and goes on to fall in love and make a significant contribution to British nursing during the war.
CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall “clean” feel of the book?
KESTELL: Possibly. After Tabitha runs off with a slick-talking suitor, she is abandoned and then tricked into serving in a bordello. If you have a tender heart, this part of her story will hurt. Human trafficking is big in the news today, but it is not new by any stretch of the imagination.
CIR: Is there more coming?
KESTELL: Yes; the Girls from the Mountain series will have two, perhaps three more books. I hope to write about Esther, Sarah, and Tory, other young women from Palmer House, other restored “girls from the mountain.” Each of these books can be read as a “standalone.” I don’t anticipate releasing the next book in this series until 2017.