Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Beth White’s new book, A Reluctant Belle.

Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to Charlette Bond for winning Susie Finkbeiner’s All Manner of Things.

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Beth White has charmed readers with her historical romance novels set in the Deep South. In A Reluctant Belle, book 2 in the Daughtry House trilogy, White returns readers to Tupelo, Mississippi, and offers a captivating tale of a love triangle that is entangled in the turbulence, dangers, and intrigues of America’s post–Civil War.

Impoverished Southern belle Joelle Daughtry has a secret. By day she has been helping her sisters in their quest to turn the run-down family plantation into a resort hotel after the close of the Civil War. But by night and under a male pseudonym, she has been penning articles for the local paper in support of the construction of a Negro school. With the Mississippi arm of the Ku Klux Klan gaining power and prestige, Joelle knows she is playing a dangerous game.

Desperate to protect her family and the hotel business, Joelle forms an alliance with her longtime nemesis, Schuyler Beaumont, who is the current investor in the Daughtry house renovation and has also taken over his assassinated father’s candidacy for state office. Joelle grapples with her feelings when animosity becomes respect. Will she have to divulge all her secrets and reveal who she really is to her sisters, her fiancé, the Ku Klux Klan, and a disturbing new romantic interest?

Summer Memories

Most of my best summer memories involve my first cousins. Though I grew up in Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis, my family originates from the southern end of the state, both my parents having grown up in Lucedale. My three younger sisters and I would spend large chunks of the summer with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins on the Gulf Coast.

Y’all, it’s hot in South Mississippi in June and July. At my grandmother’s house on Cook’s Corner aka Highway 63 (where my grandfather used to own a country store, the real version of Cracker Barrel), we all wore as few clothes as possible and went barefoot one hundred percent of the time. Every morning we’d walk down to Cedar Creek (the swimming hole near my grandmother’s house) to swim. That creek is cold as ice, so it’s best to just jump in and get it over with. And try not to think about the snakes and fish you might be scaring off.

Then you go home and eat peanut butter-jelly or grilled cheese sandwiches (on a handmade quilt out on the lawn), washed down by sweet tea in jelly jars and followed up by homemade cake with caramel icing. In the afternoon, all thirteen grandchildren would play Rock School on the porch steps and swing, including the littlest ones who might be barely big enough to talk. Or maybe prowl around in the old store if it’s raining, thumbing through old shape-note hymnals that smell like mildew, and gathering buttons and Nehi caps left under the shelves. After dark, mosquitoes big as hummingbirds eat you alive, leaving giant, itching welts on your arms and legs when you play “Ain’t No Boogers Out Tonight.”

That night you sleep on sheets that smell like fresh air and lavender, with the windows open, listening to tree frogs chirr in the camellia bushes around the house, then wake up to birds singing in the magnolias and mimosas and oaks and the smell of bacon and grits and fried eggs coming from the kitchen.

And start it all over again.

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Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride, The Creole Princess, The Magnolia Duchess, and A Rebel Heart. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

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