About the BookBook:
Faith Lights a Flame
Author:Loni Kemper Moore
Genre:Clean Historical Fiction
Release date: April 2022
Love and Forgiveness…
Seventeen-year-old Francesca “Chessa” Campbell would give anything to have her perfect family back. Instead, her father faces a death sentence, her mother takes ill, and her heritage suddenly makes her the target of prejudice in the small 1920s New Mexico town. Then a single act irrevocably changes her life forever…and rescue comes in the unlikely form of her new teacher, Walker Smythe.
Hoping to earn enough money to finish college and forget the woman who broke his heart, Walker Smythe rides a train for three days from Indiana to the Texas Panhandle to become a cowhand. Instead, he accepts a teaching position in Clayton, New Mexico, to replace a man dismissed in disgrace. Even though Walker secretly questions his faith, friends call him straight as an arrow — and he is. At least, until he is permanently disabled and realizes the only woman who has caught his attention is one of his students.
Thrown together by fate and circumstance, Walker and Chessa must forge a life together. But will the drought hitting the American southwest and dust storms swirling across the plains rip them apart? Find out in this compelling story of faith, love, and the power of forgiveness.
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This is a story that takes place during the 1920's in a New Mexico town. This is the first time I have read a 1920's story outside of a big city. This novel is about a young woman, Chessa Campbell, who deals with a lot that life has thrown her. The book starts out with her father on trial for murder and the family's circumstances only go from that scenario to worst.
Chessa is part Mexican, and she already has dealt with prejudice, now she must deal with the stigma of this murder trial. You would think that all that her family has gone through they would make some positive changes. That is not the case and many times during this time of prohibition, alcohol becomes a problem.
The author does not shy away in some of the circumstances that plague Chessa. There is a rape and a miscarriage along with attempted murder, etc. So, this is quite a story. There are some lighthearted moments throughout, especially in the very interesting way that she and her future husband, Walker Smythe meet.
Even after they marry Walker and Chessa have trials and tribulations to contend with. The marriage kind and the outside world that wants to wreak havoc on them. This is a very drama filled story of one family and their marriage's survival. Many dramatic characters add to this story as well.
I was provided a copy of the novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Loni Kemper Moore is a sports cheering, Diet-Pepsi sipping, Rocky Mountain adventure-seeking kind of girl. She wants to share God’s beautiful love through life’s ugliness with remarkable women around the globe.
A preacher’s kid, her wanderlust was fueled by hearing missionary stories. She’s visited a dozen countries learning from other cultures while experiencing a sort of “minority” feeling. Although she attended several schools as a minority and her DNA test returned a percentage African, she’d never presume to claim such status.
She completed a bachelor’s degrees in Education and Biblical Studies at the former Denver Baptist Bible College and graduate work in Education at the University of Evansville.
A Jesus following history nerd, she was named Leonnie Sue for dead people. Leonnie was her great-grandmother whose died in the Influenza pandemic, and Sue is a common name on the family tree, dating to the 1640’s when Susanna Dean stepped off a ship in Korea, Maine.
Her writing came alive when the crazy Covid time forced her to flip through diaries and family albums. She was specifically struck by a memory of visiting her grandmother during the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, shocked to hear her say, “He’s innocent!” What followed was a tale of her as a 14-year-old testifying in her father’s murder trial. As Loni put the story on a computer, her imagination expanded to become Faith Lights a Flame.
When she’s not writing, she’s a technical support engineer for a product called Cherwell, named for the river near Oxford which T.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis walked. During a trip to the company office in Swindon, UK, she visited the Child and the Eagle Pub where Tolkien and Lewis’ writers group met.
She’s also mom to Adam. a mechanical engineering student; traveler with dear “Hugsband” Robert an embedded engineer; thrilled by her GrandMiracles, Naomie, Zemira and their parents Becca and Anthony.
Loni’s experiences of loving history, learning to trust God through tragedy, and being the granddaughter of ranchers put this story close to her heart. Her grandparents’ love for God and each other helped them survive the Dust Bowl and provide guiding examples for life.
More from Loni
Why I Wrote “Faith Lights a Flame”
I visited Grandma James’ retirement apartment. A news channel distracted us and blared the familiar report of a retired football player’s homicide trial of his ex-wife and friend.
“O. J. Simpson is innocent!” My petite grandmother settled on her couch with ankles crossed.
My jaw dropped. “What? I’ve heard many people talk about him, but you are one of the few I’ve heard say he’s not guilty.”
An hour later her tale of being forced as a fourteen-year-old to testify in her father’s murder trial in 1920’s New Mexico, shifted the way I viewed her. Dreams, laughs and tears filled me with admiration and desire to be like her.
But twenty-four years later, when my brother-in-law, Ray returned from China, an alarming disease, COVID Flu, invaded my awareness. For Christmas he gave us hand-sanitizer, boxes of K-95 masks, and advice to purchase more Vitamin D and an oxygen concentrator.
COVID rumors and Ray’s comments frustrated me as much as the story I hadn’t finished. I pushed aside those thoughts to reminisce, surrounded by binders, diaries and books penned by family members. Good times outweighed the bad.
My Covid fears diminished in light of additional stories of those who maintained strength through the deadly Spanish Flu Pandemic, a hostile Dust Bowl, the devastating Depression, and unbelievable heartbreaks.
I pictured reunions where older ladies and cowboy-hat-wearing men covered tables with their arduous work just like troubles of youth were covered with laughter. How did they do that? Could I use their skills to survive the Covid pandemic?
Having lost dear relatives and friends, I know that COVID was costly indeed, but writing stimulated my faith through those uncertain times. I envisioned book of love and survival which became Faith Lights a Flame loosely based on the saga told by my grandmother.
My prayer is your faith will burn like a flame as we travel along on a fictional journey through decades of beloved memories. Please let me know what you think.
“Faith does not quench desire, it enflames it.” Thomas Aquinas
–Loni Kemper Moore
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To celebrate her tour, Loni is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.