Rumors and Promises by Kathleen Rouser

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 | 13 comments

Rumors and Promises by Kathleen Rouser

Will the scandals of her past destroy his hope for their future?” Rumors and Promises is a lovely historical page-turner that will tug at your heart. This story of a single mother in the early 1900’s also has a deeper side, that of how ready Christians are to judge fellow believers and set standards no one can meet. Author Kathleen Rouser has written a beautiful story, not soon forgotten. Leave a comment to enter the contest to win a print or Kindle copy, reader’s choice! Sign in on the Rafflecopter to increase your chance of winning! 


Fabulous Fridays

Rumors and Promises

Welcome Kathy, I’m excited to introduce you to my readers! Please share something about your family and how you started writing.

Thank you for having me as a guest, Norma. I’m excited to be here!

I’ve been married for 35 years to Jack, who has been a wonderful husband, and very supportive of my writing. We have three grown children spread across the country. We homeschooled for more than 20 years, so that was very much a part of my identity for a long time.

When I was only four, I loved stories so much I thought how wonderful it would be to write books. I couldn’t even read yet, but my mom read to me. When I was in third grade my favorite teacher, Mrs. Williams, encouraged me to believe that I was a good writer. In sixth grade, I wrote a Nancy Drew style story for school and Sr. Giovanni wrote “Exciting to the very end” on my “book.” After many ups and downs, I always had writing fiction in the back of my mind, as a dream, but it took many years and God’s providence to bring me to a place where I began to pursue writing in a meaningful way.

Are you a full-time writer, or do you also hold a day job?

I’m pretty much a full-time writer these days. I had gone back to school when I was face with an empty nest, and became a dental assistant. I worked for a while, but now I do temp work in the dental field, so I’m home most of the time.

What character in Rumors and Promises is most like you? Was that intentional, or did it just come about in the course of the writing?rumors-promises-2

Probably Sophie in that I tried to think of how I would have felt as a young mother faced with her choices in a different era, but Sophie is much braver than I and I’m not at all musically talented. I guess you would say it came about in the course of writing.

What is your favorite period in history and why?

I have more than one for sure. One would be the colonial times and Revolutionary War era in America. It was such a pivotal time and brought about the birth of a nation like no other in history. Also the Christian foundation was integral in the formation of the United States. It was an exciting time when brave men and women put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom.

If you could spend the day with a character from your all-time favorite novel, who would it be and what would you do?

This is another hard question as I have several, but the first one that comes to mind is Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Who wouldn’t like to meet Mr. D’arcy, tour Pemberley, and have tea with them both? I think that would make quite a nice and memorable day!

What distinguishes Rumors and Promises from others in the same genre?

I’ve tried to push Rumors and Promises beyond the bounds of typical category romance. It’s character-driven and has quite an array of secondary characters. Also, dealing with the difficult situation of sexual assault, in Sophie’s background, makes it unusual in the category of Christian romance.

What was the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing Rumors and Promises?

Making it historically accurate in the details.

How do you see the importance of Christian fiction?

When I was going through a very difficult and hectic time in life, the only break I had was around an hour at the end of each day reading Jan Karon’s Mitford books. It was like going on vacation for an hour each night and gave me the refreshment I sorely needed. At the same time, they shared biblical truths and followed Father Tim as he looked to God for help each day and tried to make the best choices, while sometimes making mistakes. I’d been reading mostly non-fiction for a time, so I gained a whole new perspective of the place of Christian fiction in the book world. I hope my stories can bless and minister to others in the same way I have been by Christian fiction!

It also is important in that it gives readers a clean alternative to the less moral choices of entertainment out there.

How did you weave a spiritual thread through Rumors and Promises without being preachy?

Rather than starting with a desire to hammer a message home, I thought about how the story and its lessons might flow from the daily life of its characters and the situations they found themselves in—through their choices, how others ministered to them, and how God might speak to them.

Please share one of your favorite scenes from Rumors and Promises with us.

Ian McCormick saw the work-worn redness of the young woman’s hand as he helped her into the buggy. He tucked the package at her feet, lifted her bags into the conveyance and wrapped an old quilt his grandma had made around the pair. The young woman shivered, although something in her widening eyes told Ian that it wasn’t all from the cold. After all, he was still a virtual stranger to her.

“I must apologize for my rudeness.” He tipped his hat. “We’ve been properly introduced, but I neglected to mention my pleasure at making yours and Caira’s acquaintance, Miss Biddle.”

“We are . . .” She cleared her throat when she paused. “We are pleased to meet you, as well.” Miss Biddle gave him that slight, crooked grin Ian had noticed in the store. The frightened look in her large, amber eyes let up for just a moment. A wayward strand of chestnut hair blew free in a gust of wind. She tucked it back under the shawl.

The child snuggled against her big sister, popping a thumb in her mouth. She yawned.

“Now I think it would be proper for me to drive you home, don’t you?” He went around to the other side and climbed to his seat. “To Fairgrave’s Boardinghouse, then?” He waited in the silence.

Miss Biddle nodded. “Please.”

“Have you been in town long? I don’t believe I’ve seen you before.” Another frigid blast of wind stung his face.

“I just arrived on the train today.” Miss Biddle pulled the quilt tighter around herself and the child as though to shut out more than the cold, turning slightly toward the opposite side of the buggy.

“In that case, I’m sure you haven’t visited Stone Creek Community Church yet.” Silence ensued, broken only by the soft clomping of horse hooves in the fresh snowfall.

Cringing, the young woman finally answered, her voice was as frigid as the air. “No, Reverend, I’ve never been to Stone Creek before.”

He looked sideways at her, but she turned her head farther away. Like a morning glory closing in the evening, Ian sensed her spirit closing to him. In his line of work, he’d seen the signs before. Whatever her hurt, he was sure it ran deep. “We’ll have to fix that then. You’re welcome to visit us any Sunday. Consider that a personal invitation.”

There. He’d done his minister’s job. He hoped he’d sounded more like a friend inviting her to supper than a condemning judge. He cared to know the condition of her soul, but with someone like Sophie, Ian could tell he needed to tread softly.

“Anything special that brought you here? Do you have any kin?”

“Caira and I are the only family we have left. Mrs. Fairgrave and I will see if I work out as a maid at her boardinghouse. Sometimes I bring in sewing.” She set her jaw. “It’s honest work.”

“Honest work it is,” he said. Shivering, he thought the air must have dropped ten degrees in temperature, but then her weary expression seemed to soften.

The wheels strained through the snow and over the slick, frozen ground. Soon he’d have to get the sleigh out again. The February weather couldn’t seem to decide what to do.

Glittering flakes landed on the young woman and her sister.  Despite their tattered clothing, the pair was blanketed with diamond-like finery. He thought of Jesus teaching about the flowers of the field being better dressed than the wealthy Solomon. God’s exquisite handiwork couldn’t have shone better on two lovelier girls.

“Reverend McCormick.” She bit her lip. “I was wondering what kind of music you bought today.” She glanced up, and then her eyelids fluttered down with a shy look.


“Really?” Enthusiasm punctuated the question.

“And Beethoven. You enjoy music?” He noticed a sparkle kindling in her eyes.

“Enjoy it? Why, I love to play. Or I used to.” Sophie grimaced, averting her gaze for a moment.

“Oh.” What else could he say? She didn’t look like she came from any affluence. Her declaration surprised him. How far had she fallen from her original circumstances?

“Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, I played them all.” She stared as though looking into another world. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been around a piano. A good one, anyway.”

Their ride of several blocks length went too fast for Ian, despite the snow and wind slowing them.

“Here we are. Whoa.” He pulled up on the reins.

“Oh . . . I see.” The young woman sounded disappointed.

Could he blame her? He found the boardinghouse quite unattractive, but at least it was spotless inside and the proud Esther Fairgrave had a sterling reputation. The poor widow did what she could, but the paint was peeling, shingles lifted in the wind, and one of the shutters hung at an odd angle. He could send a crew of young men over from the church to fix things up . . . if only the widow would allow it.

“Wan get dow! Wan get dow!” Caira wiggled and strained toward the ground.

Ian stepped out of the buggy and took her from the young woman’s arms. “There you go.” He reached to assist Miss Biddle as well.

“I’m fine.” Holding up the edges of her dress with one hand and grasping the side of the vehicle with the other, she all but recoiled from his extended hand. Her obvious distrust took Ian aback.

“Say thank you to Reverend McCormick.” She patted her on the head as though nothing had happened.

“Tank oo ’Cowmick! Bye-bye.” Caira waved, then hid in her sister’s skirt.

“Feeling a bit shy, I see.” He squatted to the child’s level. “Good-bye, Caira. Be good for your big sister.” He glanced up.

The young woman averted her gaze.

When Ian took Sophie’s carpetbag and sack from the buggy, she pulled the luggage from his hands. “I can handle them. Thank you for your kindness.”

Sophie’s appreciation seemed genuine, despite her guarded manner. She took the hand of the little one with her free one. “Come along, Caira.”

“You’re welcome, Miss Biddle.” He tipped his hat. “Let me know if you need any help at all.” Ian watched them walk toward the front door before he could pull himself away.

Miss Biddle was obviously an educated girl, winsome regardless of her circumstances, which seemed to have been reduced to not much more than a beggar . . . a conundrum if there ever was one.

Book Blurb:

Sophie Biddle is an heiress on the run. Worse, she has a two-year-old child in tow, an illegitimate daughter she tries to pass off as her little sister. Believing herself abandoned by family and God, Sophie is caught off guard when she meets a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile. Despite her dire straits, Sophie wants only acceptance—not special treatment from the reverend of anyone else.

Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.

In spite of their attempts to stay romantically untangled, Sophie and Ian find themselves drawn closer through their mutual love of music and their love for the child, Caira. When rumors of her “scandalous” past surface, Ian must decide whether to stand by the lovely Sophie’s side, while Sophie must decide whether to confess the ruse she thought necessary. Will they accept God’s forgiveness and risk forging a future together? Or will they continue to go it alone?

kathleen-rouserAbout the author:

Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She desires to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She is a long time member in good standing of ACFW and a former board member of its Great Lakes Chapter. Kathleen has been published in anthologies, including the Amazon bestseller, Christmas Treasures, as well as in both print and online magazines. Her debut full-length novel, Rumors and Promises, was recently published by Heritage Beacon Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, in April, 2016.

Connect with Kathleen:


Facebook Author Page:




Twitter: @KathleenRouser

Book Link:rumors-promises


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  1. It sounded like a relatable

    • Congratulations Terri, you won the choice of a print or Kindle copy of Rumors and Promises! Please email me at to let me know which you prefer. I will need you mailing address if you choose print.

  2. Thank you, tcarle62. I appreciate your stopping by!

  3. I like books like this, with depth!

    • Thank you, Janice. I do try to give my characters and plots depth–something to ponder beneath the surface.

  4. What a great interview! Please don’t enter me in the Giveaway since I’ve already enjoyed this wonderful novel.

    • Thank you for coming by, Elaine. I’m always to happy to see you
      and am so glad you enjoyed my novel.

  5. I love that the future of the couple hangs on their accepting God’s forgiveness.

    • Thank you, Caitlin. That is an encouragement to me that the theme resonates with you. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to experience God’s full forgiveness, aren’t we?

  6. This sounds like a great story. Just from the sample you gave us, I can hear your voice as a writer and find myself drawn into the characters’ lives. Great interview.

    • Thank you so much, Nan. It means so much to me to know I am connecting with readers through my characters. It is a blessing
      and a privilege to be able to do so.

  7. I have finished this book! A reader will feel sorry for the main character, Sophie. But Sophie is strong and determined to protect an innocent child, who is dear to her heart. Put this book on your list of books to read and enjoy! I don’t need to be entered in the Giveaway. 🙂

    • Thank you, Karen, for your kind words for Rumors and Promises.
      So glad you stopped by today!

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