I’m so delighted today to welcome Regina Jennings to the blog to give us an inside look at the setting of her new historical romance, Engaging Deception!
ENGAGING DECEPTION by Regina Jennings
SERIES: The Joplin Chronicles #3
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance / Romantic Comedy
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: December 13, 2022
A lively competition draws her into her rival’s blueprints–and maybe even his heart.
Olive Kentworth has spent her life hiding her interest in architecture, even though she pores over architectural books and sketches buildings. When she accepts a job on a home expansion, it’s only because her cousin Amos agrees to pose as the builder. To further hide her involvement, Olive takes a position as a nanny–not knowing that she’ll be working for her idol, Joplin’s leading architect, widower Maxfield Scott.
Maxfield is intrigued by his new nanny–she makes his home and his life bearable again. His work, on the other hand, is a disaster. An untrained builder is remodeling a completed project of his. What’s worse, Maxfield’s current client wants changes to his plans because of that builder’s work.
As the architectural one-upmanship heats up, Olive’s involvement becomes harder to hide. Will the relationship between her and Maxfield survive, or will they both miss out on building something for their future?
From Grime to Gilded – Joplin and Its Rise
by Regina Jennings, author of Engaging Deception
Everyone loves rags to riches stories, but few are as dramatic as that of Joplin, Missouri. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that the mineral riches of Joplin were fully appreciated. With the dangers of roving marauders passed, mining camps began appearing in the early 1870s and from those camps, riches unimaginable.
Within a decade almost 75% of the nation’s zinc was produced in the Joplin area. In 1897, the zinc and lead mined that year was worth the equivalent of $180 million in today’s currency. There are many stories of men traveling through the area and buying a pickax on a whim, only to strike it rich and never leave.
So they stayed, and oh, the things they built!
With all the quick money and flourishing industries, Joplin’s rolling prairie quickly filled with mining headframes, busy commercial centers, and gorgeous private residences.
The Murphysburg residential area is renowned for the lavish homes that have been meticulously maintained by history-appreciating Joplinites and the Historic Murphysburg Preservation organization.
It was the Henry Weymann house that inspired my book Engaging Deception. Here it is in 1902 and currently:
(Photo from Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc.)
Henry Weymann is credited with operating the first zinc smelter west of the Mississippi River. He was innovative in other ways as well. When he wanted a house to show off his newfound wealth, who did he trust with the design besides his wife, Matilda?
Matilda Weymann worked with the drafters and construction crew to design this house and included all the latest conveniences such as speaking tubes and a central vacuum system. In 1891, it must have caused quite a stir putting a lady in charge of such an expensive building project, but I love knowing that the ladies of Joplin had a hand in the creation of these impressive homes.
Like Matilda, Olive Kentworth dreams of being an architect, but who would hire a woman? When her family finally convinces her to take a commission, she does it with the stipulation that her cousin Amos will be the front man. That will leave her free from censure and conflict, or so she thinks. To provide cover for her unconventional pursuits, she takes a temporary job to watch a widower’s children and finds herself in the home of her architectural idol and now rival, Maxfield Scott.
If Maxfield knew Olive was responsible for the remodeling project on one of his creations, he’d kick her to the curb, and she’d lose access to his extensive library. Just a few more design ideas from his journals, a few more evenings with his lonely children, a few more quiet hours with the fascinating man, and then she’ll leave and her secret will be safe. Or will she miss out on building something for their future?
You can get your copy of Engaging Deception this December then, if you’re able, plan your visit to Historic Joplin and see the setting come alive.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and a finalist for the Christy Award and the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online at reginajennings.com.
Bethany House is offering a print copy of Engaging Deception to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Engaging Deception by Regina Jennings?