In 1860, 18-year-old Prince Albert Edward, son of Queen Victoria and heir to the throne, toured British North America. This royal visit included 48 hours on Prince Edward Island and required a lot of planning to run smoothly. All of that is historical fact.
From there, author Susan Page Davis brings fictional characters onstage in Peter Stark, a young steward sent ahead to Charlottetown to prepare the way for the Prince of Wales, and Molly Orland, a local farmer's daughter who gains temporary employment at Government House.
Molly is a beautiful young woman who wouldn't normally be in a servant's position, save for the family's dire need after her father broke his leg in a farm accident. Her main duty is housekeeping and this is where Peter first sees her. They're immediately interested in one another, but Peter is only on the island temporarily, and Molly is certain he's above her station in life.
But there's more to the tale. Molly's grandfather is determined to speak with Peter's employer, the Earl of Washburn, about a historical family matter. The Earl is equally determined to avoid the old man. Peter and Molly get caught in the middle when the 'family matter' comes to light, threatening the fragile trust they've begun to establish.
Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island, Canada is the first book in the series to be set outside the United States. As a Canadian, I enjoyed this glimpse into my country's history. Though the novel started out slow and with many characters to keep straight, I was soon drawn into Molly and Peter's story. When I was through reading, I contacted Susan for an interview.
VC: Congratulations on being the author of the first Love Finds You...book that takes place outside of the United States. How did you come to be chosen for this honor?
SPD: Actually, the editor asked me if I would be interested in writing a Prince Edward Island story. She and I had talked previously about me doing a Maine story, but we hadn’t settled on a town or a story line yet. Summerside Press decided to cross the border into Canada. I feel blessed that I was invited to be part of the adventure.
VC: What drew you to this particular story?
SPD: When I began researching PEI’s history, I found a couple of incidents that grabbed my attention. I presented both to Rachel, the editor, and she loved the 1860 one. The Prince of Wales’s visit to the island of course gives a connection to the name, though he wasn’t the prince for which it was named. Prince Albert Edward’s royal tour of British North America gave me a chance to showcase the pageantry and excitement of the event.
VC: Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island? How did you conduct your research?
SPD: Yes, I had the privilege of spending some time up there before writing this book. At the time, I still lived in Maine, and I drove up. I was able to visit several of the government buildings the prince visited 150 years ago and see the room where the ball was held in his honor. It was wonderful! I also got to spend some time at the archives in Charlottetown, museums, and much more. I took my two teenagers, and we stayed a week in a cottage over on the eastern side of the island near Green Gables. I’d love to visit again sometime. Crossing the 8-mile Confederation Bridge from the mainland was quite an experience. I could imagine how much more isolated the population was in the “old days,” when you had to take a ferry. This bridge only opened about 14 years ago, so it wasn’t that long ago! When I came home I brought lots of brochures and books, and I purchased more books online to help with my research about the island, Victorian times, and all the details that go into writing a historical novel.
VC: What was your favorite scene in this novel? Why?
SPD: I like the one where they are holding a levee for the prince. Molly’s grandfather goes in wearing Peter’s top hat and the jacket Peter “borrowed” from his master. Then Molly’s father puts them on and goes in wearing the same hat and jacket.
VC: Oh, I loved that one, too! According to your website, you have a book or novella coming out pretty much every month this year! How do you manage such a busy schedule?
SPD: That does look impressive, doesn’t it? It doesn’t mean I write a book every month, though (wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do that?) In January, I had a new mystery release and an anthology. The anthology is not a “new” book, though. It’s a compilation of three short books that were earlier published separately.
For April I have Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island (new book) and in May another anthology. That one contains one of my earlier books and two by other authors. In September I’ll see a novella release. This is a very short book in an anthology with those by three other authors. That collection is called Christmas at Barncastle Inn. I’ll also have a new book, Captive Trail, released that month. In October I have a long book coming. It’s a historical called The Lady’s Maid (fourth “new book” of the year) and in November another anthology (The Bride’s Prerogative will contain all three books formerly published as The Ladies’ Shooting Club series) and one new mystery, Nothing to Hide.
Total count: three anthologies, one novella, and five new releases. So, yeah, that is a lot of books. I’m very grateful to have such a strong backlist that the publishers are re-issuing them. As to my schedule, I work long days, nearly every day.
Valerie, thanks so much for having me here.
Susan Page Davis writes romantic suspense, historical romance, and mystery. She is a Maine native now living in Kentucky, and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Susan homeschooled her six children, and now enjoys her grandchildren. She's always loved reading, history, genealogy, and horses, and has even taken a farrier course.
Are you interested in reading Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island, Canada? Susan Page Davis is offering one reader a copy, anywhere on Planet Earth, once the book comes out on April first. If you'd like to put your name in the hat, please add your email address with your comment before Saturday, March 19, replacing @ with (at) and .com with (dot) com.
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I received a digital copy of this novel for the purposes of review, though opinions are mine alone.
Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughter.
She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and has recently sold her first work, a novella, to Barbour Books. Visit her website and blog to glimpse inside her little green world.