Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Penny for Your Thoughts

Rosemary Vaughn, pen name of Shirley Greves, an award winning author, was raised on the Canadian prairies.
She immigrated with her family to the northern plains of the United States in the mid 1970’s. She is a former English teacher and Professor of Teacher Education. Vaughn's unique experience living on the semi-remote Queen Charlotte Islands, now officially known as Haida Gwaii off the northwest coast of Canada, provided fertile ground for her debut novel Love on the Misty Isles. This book has garnered three recognitions: 
2017 Mill City Press Author Independent Author Awards First Place Winner in the Romance Category
2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in two Categories: Regional and Romance
2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards Program Silver Award in the Romance Category

At the end of Vaughn's first novel Love on the Misty Isles, three characters, Sheryl, Libby and her brother Corbin, realize they all came from the same fictional town of Crocus Plains on the Canadian prairies but hadn't known one another. Penny for Your Thoughts,  published by Mill City Press, Inc. is Vaughn's second and newest novel. Its title evolved from readers who urged her to write a sequel. Vaughn purposely left out the a in the old phrase “a penny for your thoughts” as she was giving the new character Penny and her life story for your thoughts, the reader. This story returns readers back to the Crocus Plains area by giving the characters' backstories making Vaughn's sequel also a prequel. With the introduction of Penny, a new character, the stories in both books become interwoven and intergenerational coming full circle over several decades. Vaughn skillfully pulls together the stories in the first and second novel. Note that Penny for Your Thoughts is a novel that can stand on its own but readers who have read the first one will really appreciate getting the background of the characters they liked. 

Penny's life journey begins with her father William's story and the secrets it holds throughout the 1930s Depression years and World War II. Penny shares her growing-up years with Sheryl Leigh in Crocus Plains. They go their separate ways during college and eventually lose contact with one another. In the meantime, Penny becomes the summer nanny for the Campbells, a new family in town. Siblings Libby and Corbin Campbell capture Penny's heart. Penny pursues her career as a math teacher and then principal of the high school in Crocus Plains keeping contact with the family. Over the years Penny encounters many opportunities for love, but wonders if she will ever find her special and enduring love that will capture her heart?

Strengths of Vaughn's writing include giving the readers a sense of place to an area in her sequel focusing on the Canadian prairies, a region she is familiar with. With her description of the landscape and everyday life in this region readers will feel what it's like to live in such a unique area. Readers may even find that life growing up in the 50's and 60's was quite a similar experience for both Americans and Canadians. It was particularly interesting learning about the role of Canadians during World War II. Vaughn purposely included information in the story to highlight the differences between the US and Canada during this time period appealing to  readers interest  from each country. Any novel that covers a wide range of decades is a challenge for authors. 
It's obvious Vaughn strove for accuracy in Penny for Your Thoughts. She was able to effectively capture the area's culture and way of life covering an extensive time period by fact checking using primary sources and online research.  Vaughn found friends and family were helpful consultants. 

Vaughn creates authentic and relatable characters through their dialogue and interactions as a variety of events unfold. Your interest will be piqued by a scene from the Prologue which will be repeated again towards the end of the book revealing its significance. 

Two years ago Vaughn had the pleasure of returning to Misty Isles (Haida Gwaii) the setting of her first book. She discovered there had been many changes in the forty years since she had lived there. The visit provided an opportunity to meet up with book consultants from her first book she had never met, view local art in shop and museums and take photographs for use in her book presentations. These experiences enriched her writing for Penny for Your Thoughts. 
Haida Art of Eagle and Raven symbols resembling Haida moieties

Check out Vaughn's website and her Facebook page for more information about the author, availability for speaking presentations and book clubs, book discussion questions for Love on the Misty Isles and book launch for Penny for Your Thoughts. Books are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and locally in Minnesota this spring at Turtle Town Book Store in Nisswa, Timeless Appeal, Lakes Latte in Pequot Lakes and Encompassing Beauty in Crosslake.

Author input was available for some of this review. 

1 comment:

  1. Cheers for Rosemary on her new book! Fans have been waiting for this!


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