Photos copyright James Hrkach 2017
Photos copyright James Hrkach 2017
My novel, Julia’s Gifts, is a World War 1 Romance and the first of the Great War Great Love series. It is available on Kindle and in paperback. I’m currently in the midst of a Virtual Book Tour. Check out all the links here. The summaries of the other two books in the series are as follows:
Charlotte’s Honor is Book #2 and takes place at approximately the same time as Julia’s Gifts, but focuses on a different female protagonist, Charlotte, who finds her purpose in live when she begins working in the death ward and holding men’s hands as they die. She is attracted to Canadian Dr. Paul Kilgallen. During an advance by the enemy, everyone at the field hospital evacuates, except for Charlotte and Dr. K. They remain hidden in the basement of the chateau to take care of the terminally ill men and those soldiers who can’t be moved. Charlotte becomes convinced that Paul is her own “beloved.” But when she loses contact with Paul, she fears not only for his safety, but begins to doubt his love for her. Charlotte’s Honor will be released in late 2018.
Ella’s Promise is Book #3 in the series. It is about the daughter of German immigrants, Ella, an American nurse who (because of the time period) was discouraged from continuing on in her studies to be a doctor. She works as a nurse for three years in Philadelphia but reads medical books every opportunity she gets. During the Great War, she travels to Le Treport, France to work at the American-run hospital. She meets her own beloved in the last place she would expect to meet him. Ella’s Promise will be released in mid-2019.
Remembrance Day/Veterans Day
Today is also a day to remember those who served in wars. I’d like to remember in a special way my father, father-in-law and stepfather (all now deceased). Each served their country in war: my father-in-law was in the United States Air Force during World War II and was ‘Missing in Action’ for months, my father and stepfather (my father’s first cousin) both served in Korea. Today is also my father’s birthday. He died in 1978 at the age of 49.
Remembering Tony An article about my father-in-law, who was a gunner for the USAF in WW II. He was shot down over Yugoslavia, near his father’s birthplace.
Remembering Dad A tribute to my own father, who served in both the USMC and the United States Army, and who died when I was 18.
This last post is a special way to remember, with fondness, the three father figures in my life: Remembrance Day/Veterans Day 2009
Lest We Forget…
“No man has tasted the full flavour of life until he has known poverty, love and war.” O. Henry’s quote could well be the theme of local author, Ellen Gable Hrkach’s, eighth book, Julia’s Gifts, a First World War romance.
One hundred years ago, the world was at war. It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” However, amid the carnage of the First World War, soldiers, nurses and other volunteers discovered love. Hrkach, who writes under her maiden name (Gable), says that creating characters and stories can be “rewarding, but it’s also challenging work, especially if it entails historical research.”
Julia’s Gifts is the first of three books planned for a series entitled Great War Great Love. The setting for this novel is 1917-18, France. The protagonist is Julia Murphy who, as a young girl in Philadelphia, began buying Christmas gifts for her future spouse, a man whose name she doesn’t yet know, a man she calls her beloved. Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical-aid worker, with no experience or training. During the course of the novel, the reader follows Julia from Philadelphia to war-torn France as she transitions from unworldly young woman to compassionate volunteer.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Hrkach is now a dual citizen, having received her Canadian citizenship in 2014.
The author began writing Christian fiction as a hobby in 2002 when her five sons were small boys. The part-time hobby eventually turned into a full-time career of writing, editing, book coaching and publishing.
Reviews and Awards
Reviews for Julia’s Gifts have been overwhelmingly positive. In her review, award-winning author Therese Heckenkamp, says that this novel is a, “touching story of faith and devotion that is sure to leave a lasting impression.” Jean Heimann, author of Fatima: The Apparition that Changed the World, gave Julia’s Gifts high praise: “Stunning love story amid World War 1 … outstanding and unforgettable book!”
“This book is filled with fascinating historical detail and a reminder that love never fails and that miracles — great and small — happen all around us,” says Carolyn Astfalk, award-winning author.
In 2015, Hrkach’s fifth book, A Subtle Grace, was a finalist in the IAN Book Awards in both the romance and historical categories. In 2010, Hrkach’s second book, In Name Only, won the IPPY Gold Medal in Religious Fiction. All of her books are available on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback. Since 2009, the author’s books have been collectively downloaded over 600,000 times on Kindle.
Upcoming Book Signings
The author will be signing and selling books at the following events during the next six weeks:
Friday, Nov. 10: The Ninth Annual Ladies’ Shopping Night, St. John Chrysostom Parish Hall, Arnprior, Ontario, from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18: CWL Bake Sale and Bazaar, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Hall, Braeside, Ont. from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 17: Christmas Shopping Adventure,, Renfrew, Ontario from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 25: One of a Kind Christmas Craft, Bake and Business Sale, Nick Smith Centre, Arnprior, Ont. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 2: Gifts of Light, Christmas Gifts and Bake Sale, Sponsored by L’Arche Arnprior, Kirkman House Bed and Breakfast, Arnprior, Ont. from 10 a.m. to two p.m.
Julia’s Gifts costs $15 (Canadian) for the print edition and $4.99 for the Kindle edition. It’s available online via Amazon and through the publisher’s website at http://www.fullquiverpublishing.com. More information can be found at the author’s website: http://www.ellengable.com
St. Gertrude’s Prayer for the Holy Souls
Happy Feast of the Holy Souls. November is the month of the Holy Souls. St. Gertrude’s Prayer is an ideal prayer to recite during this month, but it is also a powerful prayer said daily.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.
Today begins the Virtual Book Tour for Julia’s Gifts. See all the stops here at this link.
Other books I’ve been reading:
Dr. Gloria Polo
Synopsis from Amazon: On May 5th, 1995 something extraordinary happened to Dr. Gloria Polo Ortiz, a dentist from Bogota Columbia. She was taking shelter from a storm with her nephew, when both of them were struck by lightning. What happened to her afterwards was a miracle which led to her conversion and a life of abandonment to the will of God. She now tells her story in many different countries around the world, and has the approval of her diocese in Bogota, Colombia, and her spiritual director. Her testimony is an inspiration for all of us, and will increase our faith in Christ Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.
My review: I’m not sure where I heard about this book, but I decided to order it. The content was good, although there were a few parts that just didn’t seem right theologically. And grammatically it definitely needed worked (then again, this is a translation from Dr. Polo’s original Spanish, I believe). However, it was a good story of how Dr. Polo realized that she was far from being the “good Catholic” she thought she was. The parts where she discovers the reality of abortion and the IUD she had been using are compelling. Overall, a good read.
Amazon Synopsis: In The Lamb’s Supper, Hahn explored the relationship between the Book of Revelation and the Roman Catholic Mass, deftly clarifying the most subtle of theological points with analogies and anecdotes from everyday life. In Hail, Holy Queen, he employs the same accessible, entertaining style to demonstrate Mary’s essential role in Christianity’s redemptive message.
Most Christians know that the life of Jesus is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. Through a close examination of the Bible, as well as the work of both Catholic and Protestant scholars and clergy, Hahn brings to light the small but significant details showing that just as Jesus is the “New Adam,” so Mary is the “New Eve.” He unveils the Marian mystery at the heart of the Book of Revelation and reveals how it is foretold in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis and in the story of King David’s monarchy, which speaks of a privileged place for the mother of the king.
Building on these scriptural and historical foundations, Hahn presents a new look at the Marian doctrines: Her Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, Assumption, and Coronation. As he guides modern-day readers through passages filled with mysteries and poetry, Hahn helps them rediscover the ancient art and science of reading the Scriptures and gain a more profound understanding of their truthfulness and relevance to faith and the practice of religion in the contemporary world.
My review: This happened to be on sale for 1.99 on Kindle. Whenever I see one of Scott Hahn’s book on sale, I usually download it immediately. I’ve just started reading, but if this is anything like Hahn’s other books, I won’t be disappointed.
Amazon Synopsis: Based on the tragedy of the Twin Towers … two powerful novels of heroism, loss, and redemption by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury.
ONE TUESDAY MORNING: The last thing Jake Bryan knew was the sound of the World Trade Center collapsing on top of him and his fellow firefighters. The man in the hospital bed remembers nothing. Not rushing with his teammates up the stairway of the south tower to help trapped victims. Not being blasted from the building. And not the woman sitting by his bedside who says she is his wife. Jamie Bryan will do anything to help her beloved husband regain his memory. But that means helping Jake rediscover the one thing Jamie has never shared with him: his deep faith in God.
BEYOND TUESDAY MORNING: Determined to find meaning in her grief three years after the terrorist attacks on New York City, FDNY widow Jamie Bryan pours her life into volunteer work at a small memorial chapel across from where the Twin Towers once stood. There, unsure and feeling somehow guilty, Jamie opens herself to the possibility of love again. But, in the face of a staggering revelation, only the persistence of a tenacious man, questions from Jamie’s curious daughter, and words from her dead husband’s journal can move Jamie beyond one Tuesday morning … toward life.
My review: I picked up this two-book series for .99 recently. I finished reading the first, One Tuesday Morning and enjoyed it. I did, however, find the plot to be unbelievable. It was an enjoyable read nonetheless and Kingsbury creates excellent, well-developed characters. If you haven’t read any of Kingsbury’s books, this may be a good one to try.