Meet Janet Dean

Excitement is abounding here at just don't know it yet! LoL I'm working on a blog makeover for this summer and a new series of posts about Adding Zest to your Nest. (yanno, that love nest you share with your husband.) And last week I lined up author spotlights and book giveaways for all of June and July, and on into the fall, including some of my own personal favorite authors. It'll all be coming soon! :)

And now I'd like to introduce you to one of those favorite authors--Janet Dean. Like Julie, I met Janet at one of my favorite blogs, Seekers, where she's a blog contributor. That's where I first heard about her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, and I was privileged enough to win a copy (thank you, Janet!!) I was thoroughly charmed and hooked by Miss Adelaide--not to mention totally envious of her hats! I love that book and I'm anxious to get my hands on Janet's new release, Courting the Doctor's Daughter which she's giving away a copy of this week, so be sure to leave a comment and your email addy if it's not on your blog or site to be entered in the drawing!

Janet Dean believes in love stories that grab people from the first page and carry them along the sometimes rocky journey of maintaining faith in trying circumstances. Fascinated with history and the role of strong women in our nations past, Janet brings both together as she sits at her computer spinning stories for Steeple Hill.

Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, Love Inspired historical, September 2008, is a Booksellers Best “Inspirational” and “Best First Book” double finalist, a National Reader’s Choice Award “Best First Book” finalist and The Golden Quill’s “Best First Book” finalist. Her second book, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter released May 2009. The Substitute Bride will release February 2010.

Janet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Faith, Hope & Love. When she isn’t writing, Janet enjoys stamping greeting cards, playing golf and is never without a book to read. The Deans love to travel and spend time with family. You can keep up with Janet through her website and her blog A Cup of Faith.

Courting the Doctor’s Daughter
An Unexpected Match
A widow with three boys to raise, Mary Graves has no time for peddlers of phony medicine. She's a dedicated healer working alongside her doctor father. When a handsome stranger blows into town with his "elixir of health" and asks questions about her newly adopted son, Mary's determined to uncover the truth behind his claims.

Once the reckless heir to a Boston fortune, Dr. Luke Jacobs travels the country with his herbal medicine while searching for his long-lost son. After meeting the feisty doctor's daughter and her youngest boy, Luke has found what he's been looking for at last. But can he convince her to let him into her home, her family--and her heart?

And here's an excerpt from Courting the Doctor's Daughter:

Noblesville Indiana, 1898
           Mary Graves couldn’t believe her eyes. And the gall of that man. A stranger stood on the seat of his wagon holding up a bottle and making ridiculous claims for its medicinal value with all the fervor of an itinerant evangelist. His accent grated on her Midwestern ears.
           She slipped through the gathering crowd to sneak a closer look. Gazing up at him, Mary pressed a hand to her bodice. The man didn’t resemble any preacher she’d ever seen. Hatless, the stranger’s dark hair lifted in the morning breeze. He’d rolled his white shirtsleeves to his elbows revealing muscled, tanned forearms. He looked more like a gypsy, one of the marauding bands tramping through the countryside stealing chickens and whatever else wasn’t nailed down—like the Noblesville residents’ hard-earned dollars.
           Well, she had no intention of standing by while this quack bilked the town of its money and worse, kept its citizens from seeking legitimate treatment.
           Not that her father needed more work. Far from it. Since Doc Roberts died this spring, her father often worked from sunup to sundown—and sometimes through the night. With the exception of those folks who’d profited from Noblesville’s natural gas boom, most patients paid him with produce or an occasional exchange of services.
           The peddler raised the container high above his head. “Just two capfuls of this medicine will ease a nervous headache and an upset stomach. It’ll cure your insomnia, but most importantly, this bottle holds the safe solution for a baby’s colic.”
           This charlatan attempted to take money out of her father’s all but empty pockets with a potion no doubt containing nothing more than hard liquor or flavored water. Imagine giving such a thing to a baby. But her neighbors nodded their heads, taken in by his nonsensical spiel.
           "Imagine, folks, getting a good night’s sleep and waking refreshed to tackle the day,” the peddler went on.
           Around her, John Lemming, Roscoe Sullivan and of all people, Pastor Foley reached in their back pockets for their wallets. Even her friend, Martha Cummings, a baby on her hip and two of her youngsters clinging to her skirts, dug into her purse. And everyone knew   Martha could squeeze a penny until it bled.
           Mary clenched her jaw. Such foolishness. Why couldn’t these people recognize a sham when they saw one?
           “Step right up folks, for the sum of--”
“Whatever you’re charging is disgraceful,” Mary called, the words pouring out of her mouth like an unleashed dam. She turned to her neighbors. “Have you forgotten the swindler who came through here last year, promising his tonic would do all that and more? Not one word of his claims proved true.”
The townspeople stilled. Her gaze locked with the frauds. Suddenly cool on this sunny October morning, Mary tugged her shawl tighter around her shoulders. “You’re preying on these good folks’ worries, knowing full well what’s in that bottle can be found for less money over at O’Reilly’s saloon.” Sam had hidden his drinking behind the pretext of using it for medicinal purposes.
The man shot her a lazy grin, revealing a dimple in his left cheek, giving him a deceptive aura of innocence. Then he had the audacity to tip an imaginary hat. “Pardon me, Florence Nightingale, but without testing my product, you’ve no cause to condemn it.”
Florence Nightingale indeed. No one in the crowd chuckled as the man had undoubtedly intended. They all knew her, knew she lent a hand in her father’s practice. Knew what had happened to her mother.
Mary folded her arms across her chest. “No right? I’ve seen your kind before....” A lump the size of a walnut lodged in her throat, stopping her words. She blinked rapidly to hold back tears.
Though his smile still remained, the stranger’s eyes darkened into murky pools and every trace of mirth vanished. Good. Maybe now he’d take her seriously.
He leaned toward her. “And what kind is that?”
She cleared her throat, determined not to be undone by this rogue. “The kind of man who instead of putting in a hard day’s work, earns his living cheating others. That nonsense in your hand isn’t worth the price of an empty bottle.”
His eyes narrowed. “Your assessment of my remedy—or my kind—is hardly scientific.”
He jumped to the street and bystanders stepped back, giving him a clear path, a clear path leading directly to her. He stopped inches away from her skirts, his features chiseled as if from stone, his dimple gone. The starkness of that face put a hitch in Mary’s breathing. Her hand lifted to her throat.
“This isn’t a bottle of spirits as you’ve alleged.” He unscrewed the cap and thrust it under her nose. “It’s good medicine.”
She didn’t smell alcohol, only peppermint and honey, but couldn’t make out the origin of another scent.
“Let’s hear what he has to say,” Roscoe Sullivan said.
Roscoe’s rheumatism had been acting up and he probably had trouble sleeping. The poor man dreaded the onset of winter, and no doubt hoped to find a miracle in that bottle. But miracles came from God, not from a peddler with a jarring accent. 
John Lemming, the owner of the livery, waved a hand toward the remedy. “Our baby cries all evening. I’d give a king’s ransom for something to soothe him.”
“If it worked.” Mary exhaled. How could these people be so easily fooled? “Don’t you see, John, he’s in this to fill his pockets and then move on before you folks discover his claims are meaningless. Just like last year’s peddler.”
The stranger smiled, revealing even white teeth. “Since you’re so sure of yourself, Miss Nightingale, why don’t you pay the price of this bottle and investigate the medicine yourself?”
Lifting her chin, she met his amused gaze. How dare the man poke fun at her? And worse, ask her to pay for the privilege of disproving his claims? “And line your pockets? Never!”
He stepped closer. If he intended to intimidate her, she wouldn’t give ground, though her heart rat-a-tatted in her chest.
“Well then, stand aside for those folks who are open-minded enough to give it a try.” He pushed past her and lifted the bottle. “For the price of three dollars, who wants a bottle of my remedy?”
Mary gasped. “Three dollars. Why, that’s highway robbery!” She grabbed his arm, then watched in horror as the bottle slipped out of his hand and hit the ground, shattering the glass. Her neighbors’ gasps drowned out her own.
The man pivoted on a booted heel. “I believe you owe me three dollars, Miss Nightingale,” he said, his voice low, almost a tease.
The liquid soaked into the hard-packed ground. She lifted her gaze to lock with his. “I’ll pay your price—if you’ll move on to another town.”
His mouth thinned into a stubborn line. “I’m not leaving.”
Perhaps she had a legal way to get rid of this menace. She planted her hands on her hips. “Do you have a permit?”
With that lazy grin and irritating dimple, he reached inside his shirt pocket and retrieved a slip of paper, waving it in front of Mary’s face. Her hands fisted. This rogue had thought of everything.
Nearby, Roscoe and John exchanged a glance, and then both men ran a hand over their mouths, trying to bury a smile and failing. Apparently, her neighbors found the exchange entertaining.
Mary dug into her purse and handed over the money. “You’ve made a handsome profit on this bottle alone, so move on to fleece another town and leave us in peace.”
“I like it here.” He tossed her a smile, as arrogant as the man himself. “I’m staying.”
Though he deserved it, she had no call to give this scoundrel a sharp kick to his shin, but oh, how she’d love to give in to the temptation. Mary closed her eyes and said a quick, silent prayer to conduct herself like a God-fearing woman, not a fishwife. “Well, I don’t want you here.”
John Lemming pulled out three dollars. “If it works, it’ll be worth every cent.”
The peddler gestured to the knot of people crowded around them, opening their purses and wallets. “Looks like you’re in the minority, Miss Nightingale.”
He returned to his wagon and the good citizens of Noblesville started forking over the money, purchasing the worthless stuff the man had undoubtedly concocted out of peppermint and honey. How could they trust him?
Why had her mother befriended such a man? Her stomach knotted and tears stung her eyes. Even five years later, grief caught her unaware, tearing through her like a cyclone. She bit her lip, breathing in and out, in and out, until her gaze once more focused on the hawker.   
Surely he didn’t mean to stay. If he did, everyone would discover the worthlessness of his remedy. No, he’d depart in the middle of the night, having a good laugh at the town’s naiveté.
Handing out bottles of his so-called remedy, the stranger glanced her way, shooting her another grin. Obviously, he took pleasure in swindling her friends and neighbors right under her nose. Like a petulant child, she wanted to stomp her foot—right on his instep. That ought to wipe the grin off his haughty face.
As if he read her thoughts, he turned to her. “Best remember the exhortation in the Good Book, Miss Nightingale, to love thy enemy.”
How dare he mention the Bible while he duped her neighbors? Still, she had let her temper get the best of her. Love thy enemy was a hard pill to swallow.
Then of all things, the man gave her a wink, as bold as brass. A shimmer of attraction whooshed through her. Aghast at her base feelings, Mary turned on her heel and stalked off. Behind her, the man chuckled. 
Cheeks burning, Mary strode down Ninth Street and then turned right on Conner. License or no license, she’d find a way to run that peddler out of Noblesville. He represented the last thing she and this town needed—trouble.
#                                  #                                  #
Opening the side door leading to her father’s office, Mary’s nostrils filled with the smell of disinfectant, a scent she’d grown as accustomed to as the honeysuckle fragrance she wore. The waiting room chairs sat empty. A stack of well-worn Farmers Home Journals and Ladies Journals cluttered the top of a small stand. She took a minute to clear out the old issues before the whole heap tumbled to the floor. 
Finished with the task, she strode through the office and found her father in the surgery, filling a basin with hydrogen peroxide. Henry Lawrence, his hair falling across his forehead, looked tired, as he frequently did of late, even a tad peaked. Her stomach knotted. She believed doctoring weighed him down physically and mentally. Yet he kept working, seeing to the sick, rarely taking time off except to attend church on Sunday. He should take it easy, eat better. His grandsons needed him. Didn’t he know how much they all loved him?
Earlier that day, she’d taken action she hoped would ease her father’s load. Then she’d be free to pursue her dream. She had the money, thanks to an unexpected inheritance from her late father-in-law. If God wanted her to practice medicine, she’d be accepted at the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons. In the meantime, she wouldn’t tell him about her plan. If she got into medical school and had told him, he’d insist she begin classes, even if that left him shorthanded. 
“Hi, Daddy.”
Her father looked up and smiled, the corners of his gentle hazel eyes crinkling in his round face. “Hello, kitten. Got the boys off and now you’re checking on your old man?”
“Exactly.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “It’s such a pretty day. Want to take your grandsons fishing after school?”
“Wish I could.” He screwed the cap onto the bottle of antiseptic and tucked it into the glass-front cabinet, banging the door closed. “I’ve got office hours all afternoon.”
“Well, at least come to supper tonight.”
“Sounds good. Six okay?”
Nodding, she laid a hand on his arm. “You look tired.”
“I spent the biggest part of the night at the Shiver place, bringing their firstborn into the world. A howling, healthy, eight-pound boy.” He gave a wry grin. “They named him Quincy. Imagine tagging a child with such a name.”
Normally Mary loved to hear about a new baby, sharing her father’s joy of the miracle of birth. But she shook her head, only half listening, thinking about her father’s lack of sleep. “Daddy, don’t you think it’s time to bring someone into the practice?”
Henry’s head snapped up and his gaze met hers. “Now, why would I do that?”
“Well, for one thing, you’re not getting any younger. And for another, you work too hard.”
“I’m fifty-two, not ancient, and I don’t work harder than any small town doctor. Besides, I have your help.”
“Doc Roberts didn’t have any warning before his fatal heart attack.” She sighed at the stubborn set of her father’s jaw, then bustled about the room, emptying the wastepaper can, checking and laying out supplies, doing all she could to ease his burden. “You’re handling his patients and your own. You’re not getting enough rest.”
“Babies come when they decide, not to fit my schedule.”
“True, but your days are so full you have little time for the boys. They need a man’s influence.”
Her father’s brow furrowed. “I know they do, honey,” he said, gathering the instruments out of his bag. “I’ll try to spend more time with them. If no one gets sick, maybe we can go fishing Saturday afternoon.”
How likely would that be in a town this size? Then her heart squeezed. She shouldn’t pressure her father to do more, even if the more involved relaxing with his grandsons. “Let me clean those for you.”
“Thanks.” Her father dropped into a chair.
“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! I heard from the placement committee about Ben’s guardianship.”
“From the look on your face, daughter, I’d say the news was good.”
Mary gave a wide smile. “After talking to Ben, the committee interviewed his guardians. Judge and Viola explained that the judge’s stroke made it clear they might not live to see Ben grown. They asked to assume the role of grandparents, if Ben could remain in my care.”
“Even before his apoplexy, Judge Willowby told me they could barely keep up with a four-year-old.” He frowned. “What about the Children’s Aid Society’s rule against giving custody to a single woman?”
“The committee took into consideration that I’d been caring for Ben since the judge’s stroke, and as a widow with two sons of my own, I’m qualified to raise another child.” She took in a breath, smiling, hardly believing the good news. “They decided it would be unfair to move Ben again.”
“Thank you, God. With your brother-in-law sitting on the committee, I felt reasonably sure of the outcome. Still, a couple of those members adhere to rules as if Moses himself brought them down from on high.”
Laughing, Mary gave her father a kiss. “I can always count on your support.”
She returned to the counter to wash, soak in hydrogen peroxide, and then dry the equipment her father used to deliver the Shiver baby. Her father kept his surgery and office immaculate, while his quarters lay in shambles. She tried to keep up with the cleaning, but he could destroy her efforts faster than her boys put together.
When she finished, she stowed the instruments in his leather black case, then set the bag in its customary spot on the table near the door, where he could grab it on the way to the next house call.
Mary turned. Her father had nodded off in his chair. As she prepared to tiptoe out of the room, he roused and ran a hand over his chin. “Guess I’d better shave. Don’t want to scare my patients.”
In the backroom, she filled the ironstone bowl on the washstand with hot water from the teakettle, and then sat at the small drop-leaf table to watch her father shave. He lathered the brush and covered his cheeks and chin with soap. Since Sam’s death, she’d missed this masculine routine, a small thing, but the small things often caught her unaware and left her reeling.  
If her father didn’t slow down, she could lose him too. Yet, Henry Lawrence was as stubborn as a weed when it came to helping others. No point in beating a dead horse ... for now.
She’d tell him about the peddler. Surely he’d share her concern. “You won’t believe what’s going on downtown, Daddy. Why, it’s enough to turn my stomach.”
“Let me guess.” He winked at her in the mirror. “Joe Carmichael organized a spitting contest on the square.” He scraped his face clean with his razor and rinsed the blade in the bowl.
Mary planted her hands on her hips. “I’m serious.”
“Your feathers do look a mite ruffled.” He patted his face dry with a towel. “So tell me, what’s wrong?”
“Some fraud is selling patent medicine. He’s making all kinds of claims. Says it’ll cure upset stomachs and headaches, a baby’s colic. People couldn’t buy it fast enough, even after I warned them the bottle probably held 90-proof.”
“My precious girl, you’ve got to stop trying to protect everybody, even from themselves.” 
She lifted her chin. “I don’t know what you mean.”
Her father crossed to her, touched her arm, his hand freckled with age. “Yes, you do. You’ve always been a caring woman, but since you lost Sam, you’re on a mission to save the human race. Trouble is you’re not God. You don’t have the power to control this world, not even our little piece of it.”
Mary covered her father’s hand with her own. “I know that. But I worry about you.”
“Yes, and about the boys getting sick or hurt, about their schoolwork.” He gave her a weak grin. “Why, your worrying worries me. Remember the scripture that says we can’t add a day to our lives by worrying.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” 
Forgive me, Lord, for not relying on You. Not trusting You. Give me the strength to change.
These past two years, widowed and raising her sons alone, and now Ben, hadn’t been easy, even with her brother-in-law pitching in with the heavier chores. The money she’d inherited from Sam’s father had made a huge difference, meant she might live her dream, but the added financial security hadn’t eased the constant knot in her shoulders. Hadn’t eased the loneliness. Hadn’t eased the empty space in her heart.
Not that Sam had filled it. 
Trying to alleviate the tension of her thoughts, Mary tapped her father playfully on the arm. “Besides, the topic isn’t about me. It’s that traveling salesman. Don’t you find his claims upsetting?”
Her father sat beside her. “Most of those tonics and remedies are worthless, but until I give his a try, I can’t condemn it.”
 Her father prided himself on being impartial, as if the past meant nothing. “Think about it, Daddy. How could just anyone concoct a remedy with real medicinal value?” She leaned toward him. “Can’t we do something to protect the town from a quack?”
Her father rubbed the back of his neck. “Does he have a license?”
“Yes. He’s too cunning to be tripped up that easily.”
            “Well, then there’s nothing to be done.”
            As if on cue, they both rose. Her father put his arm around her shoulders and they walked into the surgery.            
“Doesn’t it bother you that half the town owes you money and they’re squandering what they have on a worthless tonic? If you could collect, you’d have a nice little nest-egg for retirement."
            His gaze roamed the room, and then returned to her with a smile of satisfaction. “What I do here is important. I have no desire to retire.” Her father snorted. “Besides, I can’t leave this town with one less doctor.”
From the stubborn set of her father’s mouth she could see her argument fell on deaf ears. “There’s got to be doctors from one of the Indianapolis medical schools who’d be interested in entering your practice.” She took his hand, bracing for his reaction. “I’m so sure of it that I put an advertisement in the Indianapolis News Journal. The ad should draw inquiries from graduates seeking an established practice.”
Her father’s mouth tightened, his displeasure at her actions unspoken, but palpable.
Sudden tears stung Mary’s eyes. “I’m sorry you disapprove.”
He walked to the window and rolled up the blind, letting in the morning sun. “You’ve already admitted there’s no money in doctoring here. That’s not going to draw many applicants. Besides, I’m doing exactly what I want to do. I know these people. Know their ailments, their struggles ... their secrets.”
When they had troubles, the folks in this town turned to two people—their doctor and their pastor. She respected and admired her father and the preachers in town who had a knack for listening. Knew how to comfort, and knew how, when necessary, to admonish.
Henry Lawrence not only made a difference in people’s lives, but he’d saved quite a few. He had a purpose she admired more than any other, and wanted to follow. Once she was a doctor, she’d be dependent on no one.
Her father returned to her side and tweaked her cheek. “If you want to help and can find your way around that pigsty I call a kitchen, then please, darling daughter, make me some breakfast.”
Glad to be useful, Mary smiled. “It won’t take but a minute.”
He gave her a hug. “You’re like your mother. Susannah could make a feast fit for a king out of an old shoe.”
Mary laughed, pleased by the comparison. Even five years after her mother’s death, she missed Susannah Lawrence every day, wanted to be like her serene, unflappable mother. But she failed. In her mother’s north-facing kitchen, the walls painted the hue of sunshine, Mary’s spirits lifted. Her mother always claimed she never had a gloomy day working here, but she’d surely be amazed by the condition of her workspace now.
Mary might not know how to fix the problems around her, but she knew what to do here. She donned one of her mother’s bibbed aprons and tackled the mess. 
Once her advertisement brought in the ideal doctor to help in the practice, she could go to medical school, knowing someone young and capable would help her father oversee the health of his patients. That is, assuming she got accepted. No guarantee for anyone, especially a woman. Months had passed without word. At twenty-eight, would her age work against her?
She finished clearing a spot on the counter, washed it down, and then poked around in the icebox, emerging with a slab of bacon and a bowl filled with eggs. Once she’d fed and helped her father with his patients, she’d complain to Sheriff Rogers about the dark-eyed stranger. Maybe he could find a way to retract the permit. Surely he didn’t want that swindler taking advantage of peoples’ worries.
Taking advantage of her.
Her hand stilled and a wave of disquiet lapped at her. Earlier, the dark stranger had disconcerted her ... but only for a moment. She wouldn’t let that happen again.

To purchase Courting the Doctor's Daughter from:
Christian Book

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a book drawing for Courting the Doctor's Daughter and join us tomorrow for an interview with Janet!
See ya then!


  1. Yeah, another giveaway! Can't wait for the interview!

  2. Wow, Patty, what a gorgeous blog! You make me want to redecorate mine.


  3. Oh - how exciting! I love historical novels and this sounds wonderful!

  4. Must be back in the late 1800s. Love historicals. This should be great, being a doctor's daughter! Please enter me for the drawing. Thank you.

  5. Janet,
    Your story sounds wonderful and the cover is too.

    Linda Ford

  6. Woohoo! Enter me please! I loved the first one, as did my family members. Hopefully I can win this one and pass it on, but if I don't win I'll be buying it. LOL
    Congrats on the third sale too, Janet!

  7. Thank you, Janet! I've had a blast working on my new blog look (which will be coming soon), and even better, it's been relaxing. :) :)

    For the book drawing, if your email addies aren't on your blogs, pleeeeeeze leave your addy so I have a way of contacting you if you're the winner. :) Like this, or some similar way: patterly at gmail dot com

    Janet, thanks so much for being with us this week and offering a book! :)

  8. Hi Stonefox, Debbie, Linda and Carmen. Thanks for your interest in my book!


  9. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for your congrats! I'm delighted you enjoyed reading Courting Miss Adelaide and are sharing the book with family and friends. Hope they'll let others know about it. The books are available for such a short time it's great having help getting the word out.


  10. Patty, you're going to improve this look? I'll be checking back!

    Thanks for having me. Like you, I hope those who leave comments, leave their e-mail addresses.


  11. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Your blog is beautiful now! Can't wait to see what you'll come up with for an improvement. Thanks for intoducing me to these authors and their books.
    You know my addy. Smile. Sunny

  12. Janet,
    Your books are fantastic. So glad about all your success -- you deserve every bit of it!

  13. Add me please, I would love to win Courting the Doctor's Daughter. Thanks!


  14. Hi Debbie, you're so sweet. Thanks! Your books make me lose sleep. Now that's a great read!


  15. Hi Mez! Good to see you here. Thanks for your interest in Courting the Doctor's Daughter!


  16. This book looks terrific! I've been wanting to read Janet's books for a while and would love a chance to win this!


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