today’s book: Counterfeit Faith by Crystal Caudill
Happy Memorial Day and welcome to summer! I’ll admit that summer is NOT my favorite season – I really really don’t like being hot and I’m not a beach person. BUT I do love road trips so I decided to make my summer more fun by visiting all 50 states – and Washington, DC – through the pages of recently released books. And since road trips are always better with friends, I’m letting you all in on the fun too with a summer-long Road Trip Reads Giveaway series!
today’s state: Pennsylvania
Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Crystal can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at crystalcaudill.com. Sign up for her newsletter & receive a free ebook download of Counterfeit Truth, a Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age novella.
COUNTERFEIT FAITH by Crystal Caudill
SERIES: Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age #3
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance/Suspense
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2023
She’s losing her faith in mankind. He’s lost his faith in God. Can working together restore them both?
As matron of Final Chance House of Refuge, Gwendolyn Ellison has dedicated her life to serving the children deemed delinquents by society. She’ll protect them with everything she has. So when she suspects someone is using Final Chance for criminal deeds, she’s determined to investigate and put a stop to it. But villains don’t like to be crossed–and they’re willing to kill to get their way.
Gwendolyn knows she can’t quit fighting. More than her own life is on the line if counterfeiters go free. She must find someone she can trust to help her expose the criminals and protect the children under her care.
Charming and chivalrous Secret Service operative Josiah Isaacs has never been able to turn his back on a woman in trouble–and capturing counterfeiters is his job, after all. The danger he’s truly worried about is his growing attraction to Gwendolyn when his heart wants to remain faithful to his deceased wife.
As both peril and interest grow, he begins to consider whether a second love may be possible–if they can live through this case. At the same time, he’s put off by her faith in a God he no longer trusts. How can a future together even be possible when their beliefs are at odds?
Hi Crystal! Welcome back to the blog!
Crystal: Apples! I’m actually allergic to citric acid. It won’t kill me, but my tongue becomes painful and my stomach wants to reject it. The exception is if it has been cooked in something and the acidity reduced.
Carrie: Citric acid makes me break out around my mouth and – oddly – the top of my hands lol
Crystal: TEA. And hot tea at that. I’m such a snob. I really prefer only loose leaf, but I can lower myself to tea bags if desperate. But never Lipton. There is no level of desperation that will have me stooping to what we called “dirty sock water” when I was a kid. LOL
Crystal: Soup. Specifically, Autumn Squash soup from Panera with a French baguette to dip into it.
Carrie: yum! Panera soups are so good 🙂
Crystal: That is an evil question. Both. My family loves games of all sorts. Especially Shanghai Rummy, Splendor, Catan, and Quiddler.
Carrie: ooo Quiddler is a fave around here too!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Crystal: One I actually had or wish I did? The one I wish I had was the ability to clone myself and get it all done. There just are not enough hours in the day. What I would say is my actual super power is research. My writing buddies will have trouble finding a piece of information, and when they ask me, I can find it in five minutes or less. They’ve learned to just save themselves time and ask me. LOL
Carrie: haha! i love it!
Q: If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?
- Is it cheating to count the soon-to-be released Bow Street Runners Trilogy by Michelle Griep as one? It’s one of my absolute favorite series, and to have all three in one book is amazing. Hefty, but amazing.
- The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham for when I need a good laugh and romance that makes me blush but is clean.
- The Knight and the Jewel by Lori Wick – I love the hero and heroine in that story, although the entire series if my favorite from her.
- Where Dandelion’s Bloom by Tara Johnson – I love the story of a female Civil War soldier and just the amazing depth that Tara brings to it.
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – I love all the layers of that story. Every time I read it, I discover something new.
Carrie: is it bad of me to admit that I have never read North and South? I know, I know…
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Crystal: I’d say it depends on at what point in the story they are when you asked them. But generally? They’d describe me as an evil mastermind they wished they’d never met. I tend to give them troubling pasts and compound that past with trials and traumas as they progress through their stories. They’ll also describe me as a push over. Once they decide a story must go a certain way—even if I determined they should go another—my plans get derailed and they lay new track taking my writing train in a whole new direction. However, I do enjoy adding traps and perils to that track. So I firmly remain evil in their eyes. But I do give them happily ever afters, so they can’t hate me forever. Just for the 350 or so pages that I take them through the wringer.
Q: Which character in Counterfeit Faith was the most difficult to write?
Crystal: Josiah Isaacs, hands down. He was probably the most difficult character for me to write in the entire series. Josiah is a flirt but also a wounded soul. As a widower who is crazy devoted to his deceased wife, it really took me a while to understand him. How could the man be so devoted to his wife, yet become engaged to nearly a dozen women? The truth was he has a protective side that is easily manipulated. He knows his weakness, but he can’t tell a woman who is in trouble, no. I also struggled with his whole mental shift from devoted only to his deceased wife to really and truly falling for Gwendolyn—and he did it hard and fast. I spent several weeks talking to widows and widowers, reading books by and about them, and trying to figure out where Josiah fell in with others’ experiences. On top of that, he’s a romantic. Believe it or not, I am not. Kiss scenes and the gag-me-with-a-spoon romance is something I’d rather avoid. But that wasn’t Josiah. Two of his favorite things are flirting and kisses. So yeah. He was a challenge to write.
Carrie: which should be no surprise to anyone that he is my favorite of your heroes 😉
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing Counterfeit Faith, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Crystal: I had a general idea of where I wanted the story to go, and I thought I had my ending written in stone. But as is usually the case, I got to the 1/3 mark in the book and my characters laughed in my face, crumpled my plans, and ran a completely different direction, leaving me to chase behind them. Actually, due to a lot of outside events and struggles, I wrote almost half of this book in a single month. So much of the experience is a fuzzy haze that during the editing stage, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the story. Honestly, it’s probably the only way that Josiah could have gotten away with as much romance as he did. And poor Gwendolyn. That woman had a few train-wreck moments that probably would not have happened the way they did—or her response be what it was—had I had more control over my characters and the story. But I do love it when my characters become so alive that they can—and do—wrangle the story from my hands.
Carrie: i do not understand this at all but I find it fascinating haha
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Counterfeit Faith?
Crystal: I hope they will walk away with a feeling of being encouraged and challenged in their own faith walks. Josiah and Gwendolyn wrestled with doubt. Their faith wavered and struggled, just like everyone’s does at some point. However, instead of ignoring their doubt and pretending it didn’t exist, they eventually faced it head-on, carrying it to God and asking Him to help their unbelief. God doesn’t get upset with our doubts and questions. He welcomes them. They are an opportunity for us to come to Him and allow Him to show us things about Him and our relationship with Him that would never have occurred otherwise. So, my biggest hope is that readers will walk away unafraid to bring their doubts to God.
Carrie: amen ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Crystal: The Hidden Hearts Series will actually continue in one more novella that is part of the We Three Kings Christmas Novella Collection that releases this fall. “Star of Wonder” actually falls between Counterfeit Hope and Counterfeit Faith, and you get to see Josiah again. However, the main characters are Josiah’s youngest sister, Celestia, and Aldrich Weise, a German-American steamship mogul. As always there is a mix of history, danger, romance, and God’s hand in their lives. The other two stories in the collection continue the Weise lineage as it progresses from the Gilded Age through World War II to present day. It’s full of German Christmas traditions, romance, and family dynamics. It really was neat as the author of the first story in the series to see the legacy of my characters and hear stories of their lives beyond when my story ends.
Crystal Caudill is offering a signed, print copy of Counterfeit Faith to one of my readers! (Open internationally. 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 Counterfeit Faith by Crystal Caudill? Have you ever been to Pennsylvania?