Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Loving Vigil Keeping by Carla Kelly

My Loving Vigil Keeping 
by Carla Kelly 
Publisher:  Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date:  August 14th 2012
ISBN:  1599558971
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Book Synopsis:  Della’s giving up all the comforts of bustling Salt Lake City to teach school in a rural coal mining camp. Little does she know, she may soon be giving up her heart as well. But when tragedy strikes in the Scofield Mine, Della’s life will be changed forever. Based on true events, this thrilling new romance from award-winning and bestselling author Carla Kelly is a must-read!
My Thoughts:  Oh, my goodness!  I just read my all-time favorite book!  No kidding!!  I really, really loved this book! My Loving Vigil Keeping by Carla Kelly is of course from my favorite genre – historical fiction & it also includes romance!!  The title comes from the lyrics of a very popular lullaby “All Through the Night” – one of my favorites as well. 

Della is a young woman who had been orphaned early on- her mother had left when she was an infant, and her father was killed in a mine accident.   She grew up in the home of her wealthy uncle, where she was looked down upon, and pretty much took care of herself.  She got herself through school and eventually earned a one-year teaching certificate.  After a couple of years teaching in a typical community/school, she goes out on a limb and applies for and accepts a position in a coal-mining community called Winter Quarters, located in Scofield, Utah. 

It’s almost as if she were returning home – there are many similarities to her childhood community.  However, the people of Winter Quarters relate her to the wealthy family that raised her and wonder why she is there.  She has to earn the respect of these people of Winter Quarters and find herself.

Owen, oh how I loved Owen!!  He is such a sweet, gentle man.  The father of a beautiful little girl who also lost her mother at a young age – her mother died giving birth.  Own is so perfect for Della.  This growing, possible romance was so great to read.  What I loved most about it was that it was not rushed. Real people with real issues and histories to overcome.  What happens in the end, I will let you read the book to find out.

You will not believe everything that goes on in this story!!!  Let me just tell you, there are many, many ups and downs.  Times I laughed and times I really cried!  I was cheering Della on throughout the whole book!  I found her to be the best protagonist I have encountered in some time.  She was just so real – emotions and actions so authentic.  The other characters – especially those in Winter Quarters – were just what I imagined.  They honestly made me want to check the place out for myself.  Sounds strange doesn’t it? Why would I want to go to an old coal-town?  Well, I was born and raised in West Virginia – where coal mining is a mainstay for many.  While I did not grow up in a family of miners, many of my friends did.  The town I grew up in was not a coal camp, but many years before I was born, that is what the town was all about!  So, many of the same characteristics and lifestyles still lingered.  Therefore, I completely related to the individuals in the novel. 

Carla Kelly definitely knows what she is doing when writing a historical fiction.  The events in the story are based in part on a very tragic mining event – the Scofield mining disaster of 1900.  Lots of chilling events – many that made my heart bleed!!!  At one point I was so angry with what was going on – or really, what I thought was going on.  I was very happily surprised with the turn of events as the story unfolded.  This is most assuredly a must-read – so don’t let it get by you!!!! 

About the Author:  Although Carla Kelly is well known among her readers as a writer of Regency romance, her main interest (and first writing success) is Western American fiction—more specifically, writing about America's Indian Wars. Although she had sold some of her work before, it was not until Carla began work in the National Park Service as a ranger/historian at Fort Laramie National Historic Site did she get serious about her writing career. (Or as she would be the first to admit, as serious as it gets.)

Carla wrote a series of what she now refers to as the "Fort Laramie stories," which are tales of the men, women and children of the Indian Wars era in Western history. Two of her stories, A Season for Heroes and Kathleen Flaherty's Long Winter, earned her Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America. She was the second woman to earn two Spurs from WWA (which, as everyone knows, is all you need to ride a horse). Her entire Indian Wars collection was published in 2003 as Here's to the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army. It remains her favorite work. 

The mother of five children, Carla has always allowed her kids to earn their keep by appearing in her Regencies, most notably Marian's Christmas Wish, which is peopled by all kinds of relatives. Grown now, the Kelly kids are scattered here and there across the U.S. They continue to provide feedback, furnish fodder for stories and make frantic phone calls home during the holidays for recipes. (Carla Kelly is some cook.) 

Carla's husband, Martin, is Director of Theatre at Valley City State University, in Valley City, North Dakota. Carla is currently overworked as a staff writer at the local daily newspaper. She also writes a weekly, award-winning column, "Prairie Lite."

Carla only started writing Regencies because of her interest in the Napoleonic Wars, which figures in many of her Regency novels and short stories. She specializes in writing about warfare at sea, and about the ordinary people of the British Isles who were, let's face it, far more numerous than lords and ladies. 

Hobbies? She likes to crochet afghans, and read British crime fiction and history, principally military history. She's never happier than talking about the fur trade or Indian Wars with Park Service cronies. Her most recent gig with the National Park Service was at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site on the Montana/North Dakota border. 

Here's another side to this somewhat prosaic woman: She recently edited the fur trade journal of Swiss artist Rudolf F. Kurz (the 1851-1852 portion), and is gratified now and then to be asked to speak on scholarly subjects. She has also worked for the State Historical Society of North Dakota as a contract researcher. This has taken her to glamorous drudgery in several national archives and military history repositories. Gray archives boxes and old documents make her salivate. 

Her mantra for writing comes from the subject of her thesis, Robert Utley, that dean of Indian Wars history. He told her the secret to writing is "to put your ass in the chair and keep it there until you're done." He's right, of course. 

Her three favorite fictional works have remained constant through the years, although their rankings tend to shift: War and Peace, The Lawrenceville Stories, and A Town Like Alice. Favorite historical works are One Vast Winter Count, On the Border with Mackenzie and Crossing the Line. Favorite crime fiction authors are Michael Connelly, John Harvey and Peter Robinson. 

And that's all she can think of that would interest anyone.


  1. Sara, thanks for the lovely review. H'mm. I need to figure out how to update the bio, because we now live in Utah (husband retired) and I no longer write for that North Dakota daily. (Although my columns will eventually be published by Cedar Fort.)

  2. I don't think I have ever read anything by this author. The fact that this is your new favorite book makes me want to read it! It sounds amazing. I loved your description of the characters and the plot. I will get my tissues ready. Thanks for sharing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...