(Bethany House Publishers)
March 2015/384 pages/$15.99
At West Point, Only True Love Should Lead You to Flirtation Walk
Lucinda Pennyworth, the daughter of a con man, is trying her best to leave her father's sordid past behind her. When he dies unexpectedly, she takes the opportunity to move to West Point to live with her aunt, ready to take on a new life and determined to marry a respectable man, a West Point cadet, to impress her relatives.
Seth Westcott, a cadet at the academy, is proud to be at the top of his senior class. But when his mother dies and his sister loses their inheritance to a swindler, Seth wants nothing more than to head west to track down the con man. But the army will only send the cadets at the bottom of the class to the frontier . . . which leaves Seth with some tough choices.
When a woman trying her best to be good meets a man determined to be anything but, can there be hope for love, or will two lonely hearts be condemned to casual flirtation?
Read an excerpt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From the first time I read a Siri Mitchell novel back in 2008, she has been on my must-read list of authors. Flirtation Walk completely enthralled me, not only with its story but with her portrayal of life at West Point in the 1850's. I loved so many things about this book. The characters, especially Lucinda and Seth, walked straight off the pages and into my heart. Even some of Seth's ne'er-do-well fellow cadets managed to endear themselves to me. The fierce competition for "pecking order" between the cadets and the dilemma that arises when family responsibility conflicts with the ever-present rigor and discipline of military service are aptly depicted. Mitchell beautifully intertwines Lucinda's quest to rid herself of the baggage of her past with Seth's efforts to ensure his future, tucking in nuggets of faith and several surprises that kept me reading "just one more chapter" until I finished the book practically in one sitting. Her notes at the conclusion of the story, relating her research and several actual happenings on which she based portions of this novel, are as fascinating as the tale itself. Put Flirtation Walk at the top of your spring reading list and grab your copy of this must-read today!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers for a blog tour. 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.”
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WITH SIRI MITCHELL
1. What inspired you to write this story?
While I was researching a different book, I discovered that the cadet who graduated last at West Point used to receive a dollar from all the other cadets in the class. I also learned that holding on to that position often required genius rather than stupidity. To graduate last in the class, grades and comportment had to be low, but not so low that a cadet would be dismissed. You’d have to study just enough to squeak by, but not quite so much that you’d do too well. In fact, you’d have to be quite smart in how you went about it. It made me wonder what it would take for a cadet who was at the top of his class to sink to the bottom and whether it could be done in just one semester. I decided to create a heroine with the opposite trajectory, one who was working her way from the bottom of society to the top.
2. You have some personal experience with military academies.
I do! My husband is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Through the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of his classmates as well as graduates from the other service academies. I also worked at the Air Force Academy as a civilian.
3. What was the most surprising thing you learned during your research?
This is the third time I’ve featured the military in my stories. The first two times were in contemporary settings. In researching the history of West Point for this book, I was struck by just how little the life of a cadet has changed through the centuries.
4. What is the significance of the title?
Flirtation Walk is a path along the northeastern edge of the West Point military reservation that overlooks the Hudson River. It has a reputation as West Point’s “Lover’s Lane” and is just as popular now as it was in the nineteenth century. It’s strictly off limits to visitors, however; in order to walk that lovely path, you have to be escorted by a cadet.
5. Is a story set at the West Point of the 1850s still relevant today?
I think so. I hope so! At its foundation, this story is about two people who are trying their very best to portray themselves as being different than they truly are. Most of us do the same thing every day. We try to seem better, kinder, less judgmental than we really are. Or we relax the morals we grew up with to try to fit in with those around us. To quote my heroine’s father, we assume that “seeming is the same as being.” But in both cases, the wider community misses out on who we are and the unique talents and abilities we bring to our world.
Many thanks to Bethany House Pulishers for providing this Q&A with Siri Mitchell!
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