he inhabitants of New Hope, Nebraska, have done their best to put the Civil War with all its turmoil and devastation behind them. By 1878, the town is prospering. Three daily railroad stops. Groceries, feed and grain, hardware, and leather goods readily available. Bank, doctor’s office, café, and barber shop. Its own church and school, preacher and teacher. A civilized community with all the marks of progress. That’s what the hard-working members of the Merchants’ Association believe until the day New Hope’s telegraph agent – young Eddie Barts – disappears, and suddenly life in New Hope changes.
Widow Ruth Churchill, barber and owner of the town’s finest boarding house, has lived and loved in New Hope for over a decade. She calls it home and its citizens friends. Five years after the death of her beloved husband, Ruth has managed to find peace and a kind of happiness. But with the disappearance of Eddie Barts, Ruth will find her world and her life turned upside down. Despite all the trappings of civilization, something – someone – evil is hiding in New Hope. For years, unknown to anyone but one relentless searcher, a wicked man of violence and deception has been living behind a mask of respectability.
Before his mask is ripped off, Ruth will experience suspicion, doubt, danger, and fear. Her own life will be at risk. Her own heart, too. Because along with terror and grief comes love. They live side-by-side. When it’s all over, New Hope, Nebraska, will never be the same. And neither will Ruth.
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Karen J. Hasley grew up from working-class roots in America’s heartland. College research into 17th-century female poets showed her the rich treasures in women’s lives of the past, and in 2006 Karen’s first novel, “Lily’s Sister,” hit the stands. The rest is – quite literally – history.
Do you recognize these historical and influential American women? Jane Addams. Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Dr. Alice Hamilton. Dr. Kate W. Barrett. Donaldina Cameron. Gertrude Stein. Mary Cassatt. You’ll find them all – and then some – in Karen’s books, which intertwine the lives of fictional heroines and historical real-life women so closely and convincingly that you may need to check a history book to figure out which is which.
Hasley’s six-book Laramie Series spans the years between 1880 and 1919 with satisfying stories from America’s past, each with a competent, courageous woman at its center. Peripheral characters from one book may show up unexpectedly in another, but all six books stand independently and can be enjoyed in any order. Karen’s research has been described as “flawless,” and the reviewer wrote that “Hasley’s impeccable writing” offered a “satisfying read from beginning to end.” (ABJ, 2006)
The author’s first stand-alone novel, “The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone,” was a quarter-finalist for Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel of the Year, the Publisher’s Weekly review stating that it was “subtle and effective.”
“Magnificent Farewell,” a second stand-alone novel set in the middle of World War One, was a “highly recommended” Finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.
In 2014, Karen offered readers a trio of light-hearted Victorian romances. The Penwarrens Series ~ made up of “Claire, After All,” “Listening to Abby,” and “Jubilee Rose” ~ is the author’s affectionate, admiring homage to Georgette Heyer.
Now Karen returns to America’s heartland with the first book of a new series set in 19th-century New Hope, Nebraska. As readers have come to expect, “What We Carry With Us” offers mystery, history, and romance with an engaging, strong-minded woman at its center.
Remarkable women. Unforgettable stories. All in historical settings.