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Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings): A Novella

Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings): A Novella

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Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings): A Novella

4/5 (15 Bewertungen)
144 Seiten
2 Stunden
Jun 4, 2014


Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister's offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream--even if it means giving up the old?

In this charming novella, debut novelist Sarah Loudin Thomas introduces readers to Wise, West Virginia--a small town nestled in an Appalachian valley where the everyday miracles of life and faith play out in stories of healing, hope, and love.

Includes an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season, the first full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series--a book New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber called, "Wonderful, simply wonderful."
Jun 4, 2014

Über den Autor

Sarah Loudin Thomas ( is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has time to write because she doesn't have children of her own. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Coastal Carolina University and is the author of the acclaimed novels The Sound of Rain and Miracle in a Dry Season--winner of the 2015 Inspy Award. Sarah has also been a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award and the Christian Book of the Year Award. She and her husband live near Asheville, NC.

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Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings) - Sarah Loudin Thomas


Chapter 1



Delilah didn’t mean to eavesdrop on her sister and brother-in-law, but when she heard her name, it was like being tugged by an invisible rope. She tiptoed down the hall.

 . . . still young enough to marry again. Why don’t she find some fella to take her in? That was Ed.

Charlotte’s reply was soft. She’s not going to shack up with someone she just met, and anyway, I like having her here. Give her time. She’ll find her way.

I wouldn’t mind so much if she could, you know, pay rent or some such.

Ed Long, that’s not very generous. She helps with the housekeeping and she’s wonderful for Perla. A girl her age needs someone to confide in.

Delilah sighed, backed up, and closed the door to the bedroom she shared with fifteen-year-old Perla loudly enough for everyone to hear. There really wasn’t enough room in the little house for three adults and one teenage girl, but she hadn’t had anywhere else to go when it became clear she couldn’t make it on her own in Chicago. The war was ending, and men wanted their jobs back. Charlotte had talked Ed into letting her little sister join them back home in West Virginia. And now her presence was apparently causing marital discord.

Delilah marched into the room with a reasonable facsimile of a smile. I thought I’d run the butter and eggs over to Thorntons’. Give you two a Saturday to yourselves. Maybe Perla could come with me?

Perla came in the door with the morning’s eggs and brightened. She rushed to her father’s side, where he sat in an armchair, and leaned against his shoulder.

Can I? Please?

Ed’s expression remained gruff. I suppose so. Though I still think it’s forward for your aunt to drive herself around. I suppose they do things different up there in the big city.

He shot Delilah a look that she took to mean she was a brazen woman. So be it. The family was fortunate that Ed’s job as fireman for the railroad allowed them the luxury of an automobile. She’d driven fancier cars than his 1940 Plymouth, but she knew this wasn’t the time to mention it. She also wasn’t in the mood to remind anyone that her supposedly well-off husband had been up to his armpits in debt.

Charlotte headed for the kitchen, and Delilah followed as her sister packed three pounds of butter and five dozen eggs into a crate.

I appreciate you making the butter-and-egg run, Charlotte said. Every little bit helps.

I’m glad to go. I suppose most everyone’s heard I’ve come home by now, and the sooner I show myself, the less they’ll have to wonder about. She tucked a strand of dark hair behind her ear. Plus, it makes me feel as though I’m contributing, since I don’t have a job.

Charlotte squeezed her sister’s arm and gave her a sorrowful look. Delilah hated it, but what could she do? Of course folks were going to think she was sad that her husband of fourteen years died of a massive heart attack. And she had no inclination to disabuse them of the notion. Never mind that he was . . . not what she thought when she was a foolish girl of nineteen.

Perla scampered into the kitchen with her blond curls tied back and white gloves covering her work-roughened hands. Delilah noted the gloves weren’t quite as white as they could be. She pulled on her own gloves and made a mental note to show Perla how to use baking soda to whiten the fabric when they finished their errand.

Delilah slid the crate of butter and eggs into the back of the car as her niece climbed in. The soft June morning was lovely, inviting them to roll down the windows and drive slow. Delilah breathed in the scent of roses and admired the green countryside that seemed to sing to her very soul. Chicago had been exciting, but she’d missed these beautiful hills. And while the town of Wise wasn’t much, she supposed she’d missed it, too. Although, goodness knows, she hadn’t the least idea what she was going to do with herself around here.

They passed the schoolhouse, standing silent on this Saturday morning, then Laurel Mountain Church. Soon, they’d come to the post office and finally the store. She’d heard a filling station had been added just down the road.

Aunt Delilah, do you think we could look at dress patterns? Perla clasped her hands in her lap and sat up ramrod straight.

Certainly. Is there something in particular you’re looking for?

Oh, not really. I just . . . Perla pinked. I just like to imagine what I might wear . . . you know . . . one day.

Delilah smiled. She did know. It was good to dream. When she was only a little younger than Perla, her favorite Sunday school teacher had commented that Delilah would make a wonderful mother one day. She’d nurtured that dream ever since—picturing herself living in a house full of laughter and love. She glanced at her niece, so fresh and open to what life had in store. Yes, Perla should dream now, before she learned how rarely life lived up to dreams.

We might even indulge in some peppermints or caramel creams, if they’re not too expensive.

Perla smiled and leaned forward just a little, as though to hurry them to their destination. Even so, Delilah didn’t drive any faster. She hadn’t been to Thorntons’ store since she was a teenager herself, and she wondered how people would react to her being back in town. Charlotte had explained that old man Thornton’s son Robert took the store over when his father died in a hunting accident and his mother moved to South Carolina to live with her youngest son. Delilah had a vague memory of Robert, but he’d been older and she hadn’t paid much attention.

She pulled up to the porch spanning the front of the store and cut the engine. Perla hopped out and scurried for the front door, but Delilah took her time, fetching out the crate of butter and eggs and looking around to take in any changes as she mounted the porch steps. Other than the shiny gas pumps just down the way, nothing much had changed since she’d been here more than a decade ago. Maybe that was a new Drink Coca-Cola sign, and the saggy chair bottoms had been replaced, but other than that the store was much as she remembered.

Inside, Delilah squinted to help her eyes adjust from the morning sun to the dim interior. She could smell floor oil, cinnamon, and lumber. Now, that was definitely the same. She spotted Perla at a counter flipping through Butterick patterns. A man moved toward Delilah with his hands out. She wasn’t certain how to react until she realized he was reaching for the crate she carried.

Let me take that, he said in a deep baritone. This must be from Charlotte, which would make you Charlotte’s sister . . . He turned and thumped the crate on a wooden counter, then snapped his fingers. Delilah. I knew I’d remember. I remember the name of just about every customer who comes through that door. He took two giant steps to his right and whipped the lid off a candy jar. And if I remember correctly, you had a fondness for caramel creams when you were a youngster. He offered Delilah a handful of candies.

She felt heat rise to her cheeks as she clasped her hands behind her back. Oh, thank you, but I don’t care for any.

The man, who Delilah realized must be Robert, winked and pushed his hand toward her. C’mon, you know you want one.

Not certain what else to do, she plucked a candy from his hand. He grinned and rocked back on his heels. So how you like being home again? Miss the big city?

Delilah found it a bit disconcerting that it seemed everyone within a twenty-mile radius knew her business, but at least he wasn’t offering condolences. Martin had been gone for almost six months now, and she was more than ready to move on without him.

I’ll confess I’m enjoying being back home. The city was exciting, but I missed these mountains and the smell of spring.

Dad always said spring smelled like mud and manure, but when you run a store that caters to farmers, well, that’s a good thing. Robert dumped the candies he held into his jacket pocket. Anything in particular you need today?

Oh, no, not really. Delilah glanced toward Perla. We’ll just look around a bit.

She walked over to browse patterns with her niece, glancing at Robert out of the corner of her eye as she bent over the pattern book. He was greeting another customer who had just come in. Though a bit garrulous for her taste—she supposed that came with being a storekeeper—he was a handsome man. Realizing she still held the candy he’d given her, she popped it in her mouth. It tasted like childhood. Like the days when she still imagined anything was possible—a happy marriage, children, a long life filled with love and laughter.

Why are you sighing? Perla turned innocent blue eyes on Delilah.

Was I sighing? I suppose I was thinking about what might have been. Delilah gave her niece a quick hug. I always wanted a daughter just like you. Your mother is so fortunate.

You could still have a daughter, couldn’t you? If you married again?

Delilah smiled and watched Robert ring up a sale with a flourish. It’s certainly possible. I guess I have a few years yet.

She didn’t say it aloud, but she thought, Though at thirty-four, I don’t have a moment to spare.

Robert wrapped the bit of ribbon Delilah Harding—no, it was Morrissey now—bought in brown paper and handed her the packet with his customary grin. But it took some effort. He didn’t want to smile and act the fool with the lovely woman standing across the counter. He wanted to say something . . . poetic. Instead he’d talked to her about mud and manure. And while it was more in keeping with what those who knew him would expect, he wished he could do better.

Delilah thanked him and walked out into the sunshine with her niece. The sun caught in her brown hair and shot it through with gold. If he could think such things, surely he could say them. But, of course, he wouldn’t speak anyway. He’d given up any notion of wooing women a long time ago.

He’d heard Delilah’s husband

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15 Bewertungen / 7 Rezensionen
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  • (4/5)
    I was not familiar with this author, so I figured this would be a good way to learn about her writing. I loved this novella. Now I can't wait to read the Appalachian Blessings series. I thought the author did a great job and depicting some town USA. I really loved the characters. She gives us a little bit of everything. The nosy older aunts, the not so nice girl gone bad, our main character Delilah and the hero you can't help but pull for. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are not familiar with Sarah Loudin Thomas. She does an excellent job.
  • (4/5)
    This prequel to MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON certainly gets you anxious to read the novel coming in July. I love the storyline and the great characters, especially Delilah. When her husband dies and leaves her with great debt she goes home to WV. While searching for a job she meets Robert who just happens to be looking for an employee in his dry goods store. His attraction for Delilah grows stronger each day but he's hesitant to get involved. A realistically charming romance set in 1945 Appalachia when times are hard. The author knows how to write a great book! I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Appalachian Serenade was a fast-paced, heart-warming, and inspirational read. Delilah Morrissey is starting life over at age thirty-four. The year is 1945. The war is over. Delilah is a widow, with no home, and no job. The only thing she could do was leave Chicago for her home in West Virginia. Feeling like a proverbial third wheel in her married sister's home, she stumbles across a job helping Robert Thornton out in his general store. Robert and Delilah are both looking for something more in life, but aren't quite sure how to get it. Robert has resigned himself to being sterile and never having children, but he knows that it will all work out in the end. Delilah wants nothing more than to have children and overlooks the man right under her nose rather than admit there is a chance for them to have a meaningful relationship. Ms. Thomas has done a wonderful job presenting a story that answers the question of how do you know what God has in store for you if you don't know what you want for yourself. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction read set in small-town West Virginia. The author captured the feel of the small town community, where everyone knows everyone else's business and is quick to offer advice and assistance when it is deemed appropriate. This was the first book I've read in the Appalachian Blessings series, but I can't wait to read more.
  • (4/5)
    When 33-year-old widow Delilah Morrissey comes back home to Wise, West Virginia to live with her sister Charlotte, husband Ed and daughter Perla, she’s not the happiest person. Her husband of 14 years has recently died but his disastrous handling of their money has left her penniless. She had a good job in Chicago but it’s 1945, the war has recently ended, and her job has been given to a returning soldier. When she overhears Ed grousing to Charlotte about her being an imposition, she determines to help out in any way she can.

    Robert Thornton, upper-30s bachelor, owns the general store in Wise. He loves chatting with his customers but his garrulous manner doesn’t make for efficiency when it comes to serving people quickly and he can’t seem to keep good help. Pretty Delilah catches his eye when she makes her first trip into town. She aids a fellow female customer and her intuitive advice has Robert daydreaming about how great her presence would be for business.

    A donkey-drawn pony cart, lots of misunderstandings between these middle-aged singles, plus the reappearance of Robert’s old flame, newly separated but now with four kids in tow, add spice and humor to this historical romance novella.

    Delilah and Bob’s decisions are molded by their faith and their romance is thoroughly chaste (in other words, no hot-and-heavy love scenes).

    Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas is a prequel to her first full-length book, Miracle in a Dry Season, which picks up the story of Delilah’s niece Perla in 1954. As of this writing, Appalachian Serenade is a free Kindle download at (It also contains the first few chapters of Miracle in a Dry Land, Book 1 in the Appalachian Blessings series, which I actually enjoyed more than Appalachian Serenade. Miracle in a Dry Season is scheduled to release in early August 2014.)

  • (4/5)
    APPALACHIAN SERENADE by Sarah Loudin ThomasThis novella introduces you to some of the characters in MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON. Delilah. the main character here is also a character in Miracle. Charlotte, her sister, and Charlotte’s husband Ed and daughter Perla, also appear. The other major character is shop owner Robert . APPALACHIAN SERENADE tells the love story of Delilah and Robert. The tale is pretty straight forward and the end of the love story ambles to its natural conclusion. The real purpose of the novella is to give you the back story of the characters in MIRACLE. It does the job very nicely with a tiny bit of foreshadowing of a main conflict in MIRACLE.A quick read that will entice you to read MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON. 4 of 5 stars
  • (4/5)
    Appalachian Serenade is a pre-qual to another book by Sarah Loudin Thomas, A Miracle in a Dry Season, that I have read and reviewed earlier this year. In the novella, you meet Perla Long when she's only fifteen and Casewell Phillips as a young man. The main characters in this short story are Robert Thornton and Delilah Morrissey.Delilah and her sister Charlotte grew up in the hills of West Virginia. While her sister stayed in the area after she married, Delilah and her husband went to live in Chicago. Now, more than a dozen years later, Delilah is back after her husband's death. She is living with her sister, brother-in-law, and her niece Perla in the little town of Wise. Besides being a companion for Perla, she has no idea what to do with her life. But then she found a job working in the local General store. She felt life held some promise after all, that is until Ed's employers, the railroad company, planned to transfer him somewhere else. Delilah was faced with a decision. Should she move with her family, or stay in Wise? Years ago, Robert Thornton took over ownership of his father's business, the General store. Robert loved his work and the opportunity to socialize with his patrons, who were more like family to him than customers. But he was frustrated because sometimes he was so busy he didn't have time to talk as much as he wanted to. So when Delilah Morrissey inquired one day if he needed help, he hired her on the spot. Before long, he couldn't imagine how he operated the store's business without a woman's touch. She nearly doubled his business. But more importantly, he was attracted to the widow. His yearning for her grew stronger the longer she worked for him. He wondered if she returned his feelings. One hindrance stood in the way of pursuing a relationship with Delilah; he had a secret that has kept him from marrying anyone these past years. He didn't know how she would react if she knew about it. At the very least, he didn't want to lose her friendship. This is a sweet romance of two mature people beyond their 30's. The novella is short and only took me a few hours to read. I have already read Miracle in a Dry Season, and was delighted to have an opportunity to review this story and get the chance to get some background on Robert and Delilah. They play a major role in Book 1 of the Appalachian Blessings series. One of the things I like about this tale is how well it complements the theme of community we find in the first story. Robert's store was already a hub of activity in his small town. When Delilah became part of the community again, she fit right in. She regained her sense of family and her participation further endeared her to the many customers she came in contact with. The ending of this romance was not really much of a surprise.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  • (4/5)
    There seems to be a new trend in publishing to have authors, established and newbies, produce novella length works to either introduce the targeted audience to the authors or to give some extra background to a novel that has been or is yet to be published. In the case of Sarah Loudin Thomas’ Appalachian Serenade, the publisher is doing both. I find the trend a great way to pique readers’ curiosity and to whet their appetite for more. From what I saw in this novella, I would say Thomas’ novel, Miracle in A Dry Season, due out in August, is sure to please historical romance fans.It’s 1945 and Delilah has been back in her hometown of Wise, West Virginia, only a short time when she feels the need to be doing something. Living with her older sister’s family after the death of her husband has been an answer to prayer, but she wants to contribute more than helping with the laundry. During a visit to the local store, Delilah is offered a job helping customers — she seems to have a knack for knowing what people are looking for. Soon she and the store owner, Robert, are attracted to each other, but their goals seem contrary to each other.In just a few pages, Thomas creates a great sense of community that is Wise. Not sure how she did it, but the characters did not suffer for the short format. Each character, both major and minor, became real to this reader. The love story is very satisfying, if just a bit predictable, and I loved how Thomas subtly sends the message of how God places His people in families. If you are looking for a sweet romance, look no further than Appalachian Serenade. And if you, like me, are charmed by the town and its inhabitants, you only have to wait 2 months for the release of the Thomas’ full-length novel, A Miracle in A Dry Season.(I purchased this novella for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)