Story Behind the Story: Karen Witemeyer

Have you ever wished there was an epilogue to Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son? I have. So often we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received, but I wanted to know what life was like for him after the fatted calf was consumed and the party was over. How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living? I decided to explore these questions in a new setting—1880s Texas.

First, I needed a prodigal. Enter my hero, Levi Grant. Raised by godly parents, he turns his back on his faith and the blacksmithing trade of his father to prove his manhood and earn easy money through the wild life of a bare-knuckle brawler. Until the day something goes terribly wrong and he ends up in Huntsville state prison serving a two-year sentence. Through the traumatic abuse he suffers in the labor camps combined with the compassion he receives from the prison chaplain, Levi repents and rededicates his life to the Lord.

Our heroine, Eden Spencer, fulfills the role of the parable’s older brother character. She has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don’t meet her high standards. She cannot abide violence of any kind and believes that elevating young minds through education and exposure to literature will help create a more civilized society. To this purpose, she opens a lending library in her home.

In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, our tarnished hero must fight to win back the librarian’s affections.

This is a story about learning to see people through God’s lens instead of one distorted by self-righteousness or past hurts. It is a tale of grace, both given and received, and the power of second chances.

Thank you for stopping by, Karen! Learn more about Karen and all her books on her website!

See my review of To Win Her Heart here!

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Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks