Historical Inspirational Romances

<I>The Roarin' Twenties Book One</I>: Floating Palace

The Roarin' Twenties

Book One: Floating Palace

What happens when two very different people, with one common dream, need to work side by side?
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BLURB: ELLIE DUNKLING’S life long dream has been to work on one of Lake Champlain’s steamboat, the Ticonderoga. There’s only one problem. Men, not women, are hired to work on ships. Ellie, however is determined to change that. After all, it is 1923 and far from the dark-ages.

Captain PHILIP LAWHORN is a man’s man. When Champlain Transportation Inc. informs him a woman has been hired to work on his ship as stewardess, he’s anything but pleased. First, he doesn’t appreciate the fact someone’s hired on his twenty-eight-member crew without his knowledge. Secondly, how is he supposed to handle this company mandated—sure to be—disaster?


"Excuse me, captain?"

Philip whirled on his heel. A petite woman with a creamy complexion stared at him with wide, hazel eyes. "Yes?" The lady hesitated then put one foot into his room. She held out a gloved hand, which he took automatically. No matter how glad he might be for a distraction, passengers weren't supposed to be in his quarters. He made a mental note to have a word with his crew later. For now, he had to find an inoffensive way to get rid of this interloper.

"What can I do for you, miss?"

She withdrew her hand and lifted her chin. Determination sparked in her eyes, and Philip hoped what he'd heard about redheads wasn't true. The last thing he needed right now was a hot-tempered, stubborn woman -- however beautiful she may be -- to upset things even more. He took a step closer and held out his elbow. "Let me escort you back to the purser's desk to find someone to help you locate your stateroom."

The woman frowned as if he spoke a different language. Finally, she smiled. Her whole face radiated warmth that enveloped him. "I don't think you understand. I'm Ellie Dunkling, your new stewardess."

"My... my what?" So much for distracting him, she was the distraction.

"Your new--"

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. "I heard you, but I don't agree." He wheezed, "You are not a steward."

Her arched brows drew together. "There must be some misunderstanding. Mr. Trembley said you were expecting me."

Expecting her? Not hardly.

"Lady." He shook his head. "You have no idea." The situation was so ludicrous he was tempted to pinch himself. However, the only thing he was sure to wind up with was a bruise for his efforts. Before him stood an elegant woman in a long, drop-waist garment, insisting she had a place of employment... here.

If there had to be a stewardess, shouldn't it be a frumpy, gray-haired spinster with thick round glasses and a substantial waistline? At least then he wouldn't feel as uncomfortable about the dirty, difficult responsibilities she would need to carry. Nor would he have half the worry over the reputation of his crew and boat, or even the state of his heart for that matter.


"Ms. Carter must have done her research because from the very first page until the last, you feel as if you are right there with Ellie and Philip and the crew. You are given vivid word pictures of settings and the tone of this novel flows so smoothly with the time period. Ms. Carter inserted colloquial speech from that time in just the right spots and you didn’t have to turn back to the glossary to refresh yourself on the definition of terms. Her prose just works, effortlessly, and stays with you long after you finish reading. I give Ms. Carter Five Stars for Outstanding Fiction… definitely a keeper on my book shelf. I look forward to reading the next book in this series."

Joanne Troppello -- "It only takes a mustard seed..." Blog
Rating = 5 Stars

"In this wonderful romance by JoAnn Carter, the reader is plunged into the world of 1923, where a woman may work but definitely not on a hectic steamboat surrounded by men. With three dimensional characters and a gripping storyline, this novel is a page turner and a kindle keeper. Fist in a new series, Ms. Carter once again doesn’t disappoint. She leaves the reader wanting more and eagerly anticipating the rest of the books in the series."

Clare Revell -- The World Can Wait Blog
Rating = 5 Stars

"This was my first time reading JoAnn Carter and a friend suggested that I read The Floating Palace and I am so glad that I did... This is the first book in the Series and I know one thing for sure I will be reading the 2nd in the series as soon as it comes out. JoAnn Carter makes you feel like you are right there perhaps as Ellie working on the ship and her interactions with others. If you like Historical Romance then this book is for you.. An excellent job!!"

SimplyJewels -- Review posted at Barnes & Noble
Rating = 5 Stars

<i>The Roarin' Twenties Book Two</i>: Mercies in Disguise
The Roarin' Twenties Book Two: Mercies in Disguise
Abigail Madison finally finds a man who captures her affections – Ticonderoga's steamboat pilot, Stanley Fisher. But will the tender shoots of love have a chance bloom after a serious illness strikes and threatens their happiness?
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BLURB: Abigail Madison, a gentle quiet spirit, has always dreamed of a life away from her mother’s controlling ways. Even more than that, she’s dreamed of finding someone with whom she could share her life with. However, her shyness is often taken as aloofness and no marital prospects were anywhere to be found. What was to become of her hopes?

Stanley Fisher, the Steamboat pilot of the Ticonderoga, was drafted and fought in World War I. The experiences he lived though on the battlefield left him wounded -- but not in a way that the naked eye could see. Yet, when he meets Abigail, he yearns for a love like his best friend and Captain of the Ti, Philip found in Ellie. However, with his recurring nightmares from war, what does he have to offer to this special woman?


Abigail's dark hair hung to her shoulders, framing her fair face in shiny curls and her green eyes sparkled when he asked if he could take her bag. A slight blush colored her high cheekbones. He was in trouble -- deep trouble. She was every bit as beautiful in person as she was in the photograph Ellie had given him earlier today when she asked him to pick up her friend at the train station. Like a magnet, the picture had held him captive. And now that he saw her in person... he gulped. As his fellow bell bottoms would say, she was a doll. And although she was very quiet, the longer they talked he couldn't help but notice her beautiful, expressive eyes. They held a sort of tempered peace, or perhaps it was contentment, which he found completely unattainable.

Never before had he been so enamored, nor had he ever had as much reason to keep far away from that allure. He needed to stay strong. The serenity in her eyes would vanish if she knew the sorrow buried within his heart and how it affected him. Granted, his war wounds didn't leave any scars on the outside, but they were too numerous to count on the inside.

Lord, help me overcome the past.

He took a deep breath and stepped back, widening the space between them. If he could just turn off his thoughts and stop dwelling on his recurring nightmares, he'd be great.


He was sure that's all it would take... time to put his experiences behind him. Meanwhile, he had God, work, friends, and most importantly, the determination to make it through -- somehow, someway -- without being a total killjoy and dragging a beautiful woman into the mess of his life.

Abigail finished the letter, tucked it into her handbag, and gazed trustingly into his eyes. "Will you please take me to the steamboat now?"

Stanley nodded and offered her his elbow. "I'd love to." To fill the time and keep his mind off her tiny hand warming not only his arm, but also a place in his heart, he asked, "Have you been on board the Ti before?"

Abigail nodded. "A time or two. My family and I once resided here in Vermont."

"Ah, so that's where you know Ellie from."

"Yes. We've been best friends since grade school."
<i>The Roarin' Twenties Book Three</i>: Shifting Sands
The Roarin' Twenties Book Three: Shifting Sands
What happens when a self-taught environmentalist, who is very much into "natural" ways, meets a university graduate physician who's interested in the latest research and medicine, yet find themselves attracted to each other? Can such different people commit to love each other for a lifetime?
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Blurb: Dede White is going to shut down the Fairview sanatorium, no matter what. Her beloved aunt died because of doctors like James Riley and she’s not going to let him trifle with any more lives. But -- James Riley isn’t what she thinks. Unfortunately, Dede doesn’t figure this out until she’s done her best to shut his sanatorium down. She might not be able to repair the damage she’s done, and even if she is, will he be able to love her back?


He drove down through the town of Brown's Mills in silence. As he neared the lake, he pulled off on a side road and stopped by a path that led to the beach. All the while, Dede stayed hunkered down behind his seat. "You can get up now."

She slowly raised herself up to the back seat and then peered out the window to double check. Apparently, she was satisfied. She sank down into the seat and sighed.

"Why are you in my car?"

"I told you..."

He held up his hand. "Dede, wanting to talk and hiding are two different things."

In a small voice she said, "I didn't want to damage your reputation any more than I already have. People are starting to talk... someone is spreading a rumor that the only reason I worked on the Thanksgiving program was to get my foot in the door of the sanatorium." She swallowed. "You know, to use things against you. But that's not true."

James closed his eyes. It was as plain to him as the nose on his face that Dede did not act vindictively against him, yet he could see how it would easily be construed as so. "Dede..."

"I am to blame for everything." Dede rested her hand on his shoulder. "Do you think you could ever find room in your heart to forgive me?"

A shock of awareness zipped through him. Now he was frustrated not only with the circumstance, but the attraction he still felt toward Dede. She's hurting, but why should I have to comfort her when I'm the one who has just lost everything?

A verse filled his mind. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

He sighed and turned around. "Dede, I know that you didn't set out to hurt me... that what you did, you did for your aunt... but it does affect me."

She kept her gaze fastened upon her clasped hands. "I realize that." She peeked up. The tears that filled her soft gray eyes were nearly his undoing. "So what now?"

He opened his door, stepped out, then opened her door, and offered her his hand. She took it and stood next to him. He bundled her up in his arms and rested his chin on the top of her head. "I think it's past time that we both lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross and seek the Lord." He looked out over the glistening water. "I've been real diligent to tell Him what I want... but not so much in asking what He wants." He lifted his head and looked down at her. "Will you do that with me? Ask Him to guide us."

She sniffled but then nodded. "I'd like that. Very much."

"Good. Let’s go to church together on Sunday."

Dede's eyes grew large. "But..."

He held a finger to her lips. "Shh. What others think about you or me is not what's important -- only what God thinks. If people want to talk, nowhere you go or nothing you do is going to stop that."

"Yes, I suppose you're right."

He tweaked her nose. "I like hearing you say that."

She gave him a wobbly smile. "Oh, James. I truly am sorry."

He leaned down and rested his forehead up against hers. "And I truly forgive you."