Wednesday, April 30, 2014

E-book freebie: Just Jane by Nancy Moser

Just Jane by Nancy Moser

Free e-book on Amazon!

Synopsis from

Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma...these titles conjure up a romantic world of rolling English countrysides, elegant balls, noble gentlemen, and headstrong gentlemen's daughters. But how much do we know about the woman who immortalized those times and names like Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett? Growing up in a clergyman's home gave Jane Austen opportunities to watch human nature at its best--and worst. Drawing from historical sources as well as her own keen imagination, Christy Award-winner Nancy Moser transports readers inside the life and times of the literary world's most beloved heroine. Known for her moving and unique Mozart's Sister, Nancy Moser brings to life the mind and wit of Jane Austen--the loves, disappointments, and victories that shaped the novels that have remained popular for nearly two hundred years.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Forget Me Not by Miralee Ferrell

Forget Me Not by Miralee Ferrell

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

Synopsis from

Seven years ago, Julia McKenzie rejected the man she loved, wanting to experience more of life. Now, at the age of twenty-four, she regrets that decision. What will Seth think of her, when they encounter one another hundreds of miles from home? Will the man she cared for understand the direction her life has taken and love her in spite of her choices?

Pastor Seth Russell has never completely forgotten the girl he once courted. When she shows up in his new home of Baker City, all those feelings return. But why is she sneaking around town late at night? Even more important, will she reject him and break his heart again, or can God heal the breach between them?
My Review

This novella is part of the Love Blossoms in Oregon series which I have enjoyed (see my review of Wishing on Buttercups). Pastor Seth makes appearances in the first two books of the series and I was so excited to read his story. I had a hard time relating to Julia- the introduction of her backstory was vague about why she jilted Seth and the intensity of her regret was inconsistent throughout the book. She ran hot and cold with him as their relationship began to redevelop, and could only see her situation in black and white- either isolate herself from society in order to serve the Chinese immigrants, or give up her charitable endeavor altogether if she ever wants a normal life. While she wanted to make a difference and fight prejudice, she was also judgmental of others who weren't as passionate as she. I liked the scenes where the characters from the previous novels get to know Julia and help her overcome her internal struggles and find peace. The "villian" in the story was Mrs. Evans, a busybody from Seth's church who didn't approve of Julia. I thought she was portrayed very over the top; she became a caricature. It bothered me that both Seth and Julia used the phrase "Mrs. Evans and her ilk" during their inner dialogues. Seth and Julia are both repetitive as they agonize over the choices in front of them which prevented the story from flowing smoothly for me.

I've read wonderful reviews from others who really enjoyed this novella, so please don't let my hang-ups prevent you from reading it if you are a fan of the series! I am looking forward to the third book, Dreaming on Daisies, which releases later this year.

(ARC provided by the author for unbiased review)

e-book sale! That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon

That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon
TODAY ONLY! Download That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon for only $1.99!

Synopsis from

Karen and Val are family-yet they’re anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town-as well as a secret to keep-and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other, and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, fan favorite Irene Hannon offers her readers an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven, and the complicated process of finding love.

Friday, April 25, 2014

E-book sale! Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

$1.99 e-book sale for Undeniably Yours... get it here at Amazon!

Synopsis from

When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

e-book sale! $1.99 for Book of a Thousand Days or Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
I love Shannon Hale's fairy tale style books. If you haven't read this one yet, $1.99 is a great price! Grab it here at Amazon!

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Synopsis from

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
 Enna Burning is the second in the Books of Bayern series by Shannon Hale and also on sale at Amazon for $1.99. I'd recommend reading The Goose Girl first (only $4.61 for e-book) to understand some of the backstory better.

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Synopsis from

Enna and Princess Isi became fast friends in The Goose Girl, but after Isi married Prince Geric, Enna returned to the forest. Enna's simple life changes forever when she learns to wield fire and burn anything at will. Enna is convinced that she can use her ability for good-to fight Tira, the kingdom threatening the Bayern borders-and goes on secret raids to set fire to the Tiran camps and villages. But as the power of the fire grows stronger, she is less able to control her need to burn. In her recklessness she is captured by the Tiran army and held captive by a handsome, manipulative young captain who drugs her to keep her under his influence. Can Isi and her old friends Finn and Razo rescue her without sacrificing themselves? And with the fire still consuming her, will Enna find a way to manage the gift that threatens to destroy her?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

E-book sale! Only $1.99 for To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander
$1.99 TODAY ONLY! After reading this author's newest book A Beauty So Rare, I've been excited to read the rest of her novels which all have high ratings. Get it here at Amazon!

Synopsis from

Set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America's history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding's head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn "the gift" that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for "betraying" the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Free e-book! Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey

Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey
Free for e-book download- Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey!

Synopsis from

The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg-- as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.
When Royal Baxter suddenly returns to town, Faith allows herself to hope that her dreams might come true. Does he truly love her? Or could another man claim her heart? Will she find that following her dreams may not mean leaving home after all?
The characters in "Where Wildflowers Bloom" jump off the page and into the reader's heart. Author Ann Shorey infuses her characters with the virtues and quirks that bring them fully alive as they search for contentment and love.

Pinterest Scavenger Hunt from author Tamera Alexander!

Join me for a Pinterest Scavenger Hunt and win 1 of 7 copies of USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexanders newest novel, A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series. 

The questions are posted below and the giveaway runs through Sunday night, April 27. The answers to the questions can be found on Tamera's Pinterest page. Not on Pinterest? Doesnt matter. You can still participate and find the answers by using this link. 

Your answers must be submitted to (numbered 1 - 6) by Sunday, April 27, midnight Central to be entered into a drawing to win one of seven copies of A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series. 

Questions for the Pinterest Scavenger Hunt

    1.     On the A Beauty So Rare board, find the pin that shares the seamstress who sewed the dress on the cover of A Beauty So Rare (featuring the heroine, Eleanor Braddock) and *click the pin* to discover what the seamstresss most challenging part of making the pink dress was. 
    2.    On the A Lasting Impression board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the desert seasons in her life––those times that helped her write about a certain relationship in her novel, A Beauty So Rare. *Click the pin* to learn what specific relationship Tamera mentions in that blog. Its the relationship between which two people?
    3.    On the My Novels board, find the pin where Tamera shares about the inspiration behind A Beauty So Rare. *Click it* and watch the video to learn the true history that ties the Belmont Mansion (the setting of A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare) to the real Insane Asylum that existed in Nashville in the 19th century.
    4.    On the Recipes from my novels board, what's the recipe from A Beauty So Rare thats posted about most often on that board (doesn't necessarily have the most re-pins)? It's also a favorite of Eleanor's.
    5.    On the My Loves board, find the pin that references Easter weekend then *click it* to learn what kind of fish Tamera caught this past weekend.
    6.    On the My Novels board, find the pin for the book trailer for A Beauty So Rare, then *click it* to watch the video. What is it that Aunt Adelicia is determined to find for Eleanor?
7. BONUS: LIKE Tamera's Facebook Page for an extra chance to win.

In your email, remember to number your answers from 1 to 6, like this:
1. Answer 
2. Answer
3. Answer
4. Answer
5. Answer
6. Answer
7. I liked Tamera's FB page!

Hope you have fun with it!

Note: Pinterest is not sponsoring this promotion nor are they formally affiliated with it. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

 Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Synopsis from

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected--Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne’s been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She’s only in Garber to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees--leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in Garber, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society--and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

My Review

I had a preconceived idea about Anne's character based on the cute book cover... and was in for a surprise as I read about her past experiences of abuse and the way she coped. She's definitely a complex character and did a lot of growing as she became attached to Sammy, the child she cared for, and Nick, the man she unwillingly depended on. Nick is polar opposite of Anne's persona- immaculately dressed, flawless manners, and involved with society because of the effect it had on his business.

I loved how protective Nick is of Anne as he helps her manage being in town and caring for someone else's child. He sees through her rough exterior and walls she puts up to prevent being hurt. She keeps him on his toes and challenges his faith as she is searching for her own. The ending was great and I look forward to reading more by this author!

(ARC provided via Netgalley for unbiased review)

Review: A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson

A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

Synopsis from

Marty Dandridge Olson is a widow looking for a way out of Texas. Widower Jake Wythe has secured a job as a bank manager in Denver, only to discover that the bank board wants him to be a married man. With Texas in his roots, he advertises for a Lone Star bride, and Marty answers the call. They both agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.
Marty works to carve out a new life in high-society Denver as Jake works to guide the bank through a collapsing economy. But when money goes missing at the bank and accounting discrepancies point to Jake, he must find a way to prove his innocence. Yet all he wants to do is go back to Texas and own his own ranch. Marty, on the other hand, owns a ranch–one she’s never told her husband about. She hates Texas because it represents the losses in her life. But as the couple grows closer and love begins to bloom, Marty realizes she needs to tell Jake the truth. Can she come to terms with the past and her anger toward God in order to make room for love?

My Review

I enjoy reading marriage of convenience stories. It puts the main characters in close quarters and unusual situations while they get to know each other and figure out how to do life together. This novel was a bit different in that Marty and Jake instantly get along well and are attracted to each other, but don't communicate or act on their feelings for a long time. They also don't spend much time together since Jake is so busy at work. The history of Colorado with the silver mining and financial collapse was interesting and highly focused on with Jake's involvement in the banking industry, but the book ended while that storyline was at a peak and felt like there was no resolution for their future plans. Since this is the first book in a series perhaps the author plans to continue where she left off.

(ARC provided via Netgalley for unbiased review)

Review: Gabriel's Bride by Amy Lillard

Gabriel's Bride by Amy Lillard
My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

Synopsis from

Rachel Yoder has two choices: marry Gabriel Fisher or move to Ohio. As an orphan, Rachel doesn’t have much to offer; any match she can make will be a good one. She just didn’t plan on Gabriel with his big hands and permanent frown.

As a widower Gabriel needs help caring for the farm and his six children. But he never thought he’d marry a slip of a girl who barely reaches his chin.

Yet as time passes, Gabriel finds himself thinking about a real marriage. They have spoken vows to God and each other, but can he risk his heart with Rachel?

My Review

There is a wonderful ensemble of characters featured in this novel, each with distinct personalities. My favorite was Gabriel's young son Samuel, who has Down's Syndrome but seems high functioning. He is so sweet and is the one that helps Rachel feel welcome in her new family... which offsets the pranks of two other sons who are conflicted about their new mother. Gabriel was hard to understand, but his flaws are realistic, I'm sure. He didn't do a very good job welcoming his new wife or romancing her after he fell in love. The chemistry and communication was lacking in their relationship, which affected how much I enjoyed reading about it. Overall it's a sweet story with a happy ending.

(ARC provided via Netgalley for unbiased review)

Free e-book today only! Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith

Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith
Free e-book TODAY ONLY! Get it here at Amazon.

Synopsis from

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

Early e-book release! So Fair a Lady by Amber Lynn Perry

So Fair a Lady by Amber Lynn Perry
I'm so excited to read and review this debut novel by Amber Lynn Perry of The Historical Christian Romance Review! The e-book released early for only $3.99! Get it here at Amazon.

Synopsis from

Boston, MA 1773: Shards of Eliza Campbell's life crash to the ground when she discovers a devastating secret: her father was a spy for the Sons of Liberty. Determined to uncover the truth--at any cost--not even a marriage proposal from the dashing British Officer Samuel Martin can dissuade her. When rescued from British capture by handsome patriot Thomas Watson, Eliza discovers what her father risked his life for and yearns to know more. But will her budding attraction to this courageous patriot damage her already wounded heart?

After years of being blackmailed by Officer Martin, Thomas plans to start a new life in the small town of Sandwich. However, when his actions place Eliza and her sister in danger, he must act quickly to protect them from falling into enemy hands. If the three of them are discovered, their lives will never be the same. Now, not only must he protect Eliza, he must protect his heart from a love that is sure to wound him far greater than any British soldier ever could.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Free e-book: Second Chance Ranch by Audra Harders

Second Chance Ranch by Audra Harders
Free e-book today and Sunday only! Get it here at Amazon...

Synopsis from

The Trails’ End Ranch is For Sale.

Pediatric nurse, Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.

Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the Trails’ End would become Davidson property again. When the Trails’ End goes on the market, cost is no object — only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between Zac and his dream.

Once high school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will it jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or offer them a second chance?

Friday, April 18, 2014

E-book sale for Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus

Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus
Download it on Amazon for only 99 cents!

Synopsis from

Kate Dearing’s life is turned upside down when her father loses everything in a railroad land speculation and she and her brother are shipped off to their mother’s brother, Sir Anthony, in England with one edict: marry money.

Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate finds matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, her attentions stray to the one of the least eligible people at her uncle’s home—the garden designer.

Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy—man aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a friend of Sir Anthony’s, a wealthy viscount, shows favorable interest in her. But will marrying for the financial security of her family be the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Free e-book: When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

Synopsis from

As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Free e-books today only: Ekaterina and At Every Turn

Ekaterina by Susan May Warren
Free e-book TODAY ONLY! Get it here at Amazon!

Synopsis from

Upon receiving an unusual package in the mail, Ekaterina "Kat" Moore boards a plane to Russia, her ancestral home, to seek some answers. What she finds leads her on a perilous journey through time as Kat must flee the Russian underground. To further complicate matters, she finds herself falling in love with FSB Captain Vadeem Spasonov, a man trying to forget the nightmares of his own past. When Kat's secrets lead to the answers Vadeem needs, the treasures they find unleash an avalanche of God's design.

At Every turn by Anne Mateer
Free e-book TODAY ONLY! Get it here at Amazon!

Synopsis from

Caught up in a whirlwind of religious enthusiasm, Alyce Benson impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to mission work in Africa. Now she just has to find a way to get the money.

Alyce harbors a secret passion for speed and automobiles, and she's spent many an afternoon driving around the rustic track in the field behind her home. When she discovers that her father's company has sponsored a racing car that will compete in several upcoming events--races in which the driver will be paid and could win as much as five thousand dollars in prize money--she conspires with her father's mechanic, Webster, to train and compete.

But when her friends cast aspersions on Webster's past, she realizes she may have trusted the wrong person with her secret. Will Alyce come up with the money in time, or will she have to choose between her hasty promise and the man who holds a piece of her heart?

Savory Custard recipe from A Beauty So Rare

I'm excited to be able to share with you a bonus feature from a book I recently read and gave five stars- A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander! The author shares below the recipe for a dish the heroine makes for her ailing father since it is his favorite... although one of her pies suffers an dismal fate...

If you haven't checked out this book yet I highly recommend it! It was a pleasure to read :)

Eleanor Braddocks Savory Custard
(or Ham and Cheddar Quiche)
From the novel A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander

Most people think quiche originated in France. Not so. Its originally a German dish and people referred to them as "savory custards" in the 19th century. Which is accurate since the egg-based mixture forms a luscious-like custard as it bakes.

In my novel, A Beauty So Rare, the second standalone novel in the Belmont Mansion series, the heroine, Eleanor Braddock, is "a cook with a dream." But her dreams dont quite turn out like she thinks they will. However, her savories always do!

I hope you enjoy this recipe (or "receipt" as recipes were called in the 1800s) from A Beauty So Rare. For more about A Beauty So Rare and for recipes from all my novels, visit

1 old-fashioned unbaked pie crust (recipe below)
1 large onion, diced (or sliced if you like larger pieces of onion in your savory)
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound cooked ham diced into cubes (if using bacon, use 8 slices, fried chewy, not too crisp)
8 large eggs
1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste (I always go heavier on the pepper, personal preference)
1 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sauté onion in the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Chop the ham into bite-sized pieces (or fry your bacon until chewy, then chop). Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pie crust and press into a deep dish pie plate. A medium-sized iron skillet works wonderfully for making a savory custard (and is what Eleanor used). The crust comes out divine. I just happened to use a pie plate this time.

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, ham (or bacon), and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Cover the pie plate (or skillet) lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. QUICK BAKING TIPS: The quiche may still seem a little loose when you first remove it from the oven, but it will firm up nicely once removed from the heat. Also, watch that lovely crust so the edges dont get overly brown. I use a silicone pie crust shield if that starts to happen. Those are a fabulous invention (but foil crimped around the edges works just as well).

Remove from the oven and allow the savory custard to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before diving in. Its so good, and just like Eleanor Braddock would make. Its also delicious left over and warmed up the next day.

Eleanor Braddocks Old-Fashioned Pie Crust
(makes two large crusts)
From the novel A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander

This is a wonderful crust that Ive been using for years. Eleanor would likely have used lard in place of Crisco (since lard was cheaper than butter in her day), and you may too, if you prefer. Yes, lard is still available on most grocery shelves, although Im pretty sure I just felt you shudder!

This pie crust "freezes beautifully " as they say in Steel Magnolias (instructions on freezing below), so even though I may need only one pie crust at the moment, I always use this recipe and make a second, and freeze it for later. Makes that next pie (or savory custard) go twice as fast!

1 ½ cups Crisco (or lard)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
5 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, using a pastry cutter (or two knives will do the job), gradually work the Crisco into the flour for 3 to 4 minutes until it resembles coarse meal. In a smaller bowl, whip the egg and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir gently until all ingredients are blended well.

Halve the dough. Form the 2 evenly-sized balls of dough and place each into large sealable plastic bags. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each to about 1/2 inch thickness to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If youre using the crusts immediately, its still a good idea to let them chill in the freezer for about 15- 20 minutes. Theyll be much easier to work with.)

When youre ready to roll the dough for your crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes (if its frozen). On a well-floured surface, roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough if its too moist. If the dough starts to stick to the countertop, use a metal spatula and gently scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until its about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie plate (or iron skillet).

Using a spatula, carefully lift the dough from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. (I sometimes fold my well-floured dough in half and then "unfold" it onto iron skillet. Or you can lop it over your rolling pin. That works well, too.) Gently press the dough against the sides of the pan or skillet, getting it all tucked in. Then crimp the edges in whatever way you prefer. And now, youre ready for that yummy savory custard filling above, or maybe for a fruit pie.

If you make this recipe (or if youve read A Beauty So Rare), Id love to hear from you. You can write me through my website at