I am pleased to welcome Amy Willoughby Burle as she tours the internet with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in support of her new book, The Other Side of Certain.
About The Other Side of Certain:
Publication Date: September 21, 2022
Series: Love for Certain, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
For the love of love…and books
Mattie Mobley planned to be a teacher, but when times grew tough during America’s Great Depression, and there were no teaching positions in her hometown of Asheville, NC, Mattie found work starting a school and helping the Pack Horse Librarians just over the mountains in the rural town of Certain, Kentucky. She’s not certain at all that this is a good situation, but she’s determined, and honestly, a little desperate. Of all the things that Mattie does have—money, comforts, a good name, she doesn’t have what matters most—friends, love, and a purpose of her own.
ALL AMAZON PURCHASE LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH MEANS IF YOU BUY ANYTHING THROUGH THEM I WILL RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION (AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE TO YOU)
Daniel, “The Grizzly Bear,” Barrett had a lovely life for a little while. Overcoming his family’s bad name and worse reputation, he made a life for himself in Certain. He was married with children and a figure of respect in his church, but desperate times called for desperate measures and a terrible tragedy was the result. Now exiled with his children along the wily run of the Hell for Certain Creek, Daniel has gotten used to being the town pariah again. It’s in his blood after all. Right? Maybe not, but he’ll need the powerful influence of love not only to change his own mind about himself but to convince his estranged extended family and the whole town as well.
Can one librarian with a saddlebag full of books make people see the difference between fact and fiction? Mattie loves a good story, and this may be her best one yet. Fiction tells the best truths and the best truth of all is love.
“As a fan of southern fiction, I had high expectations for The Other Side of Certain, and Amy Willoubhy-Burle exceeded them all. She weaves an inspiring story of redemption and finding home in a rough-around-the-edges town that both intrigues and entertains from page one. Simply put, the book is lovely! With thought-provoking dialogue, characters you can’t help but cheer for, and poignant symbolism, Burle tackles the topic of hell on earth and in man-displaying God’s grace and mercy throughout. The ending will leave readers with a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts.” -Beth Pugh, award-winning author of The Valentine Proposal and The Santa Run
“Welcome to Certain, where mountain legends sway minds and secrets rule hearts. The Other Side of Certain is richly grounded in research, taking the reader on a sweeping journey. In the midst of the Great Depression, Mattie and Daniel discover the power of hope and the beauty of second chances.” -Rachel Scott McDaniel, award-winning author of The Mobster’s Daughter
”Amy Willoughby-Burle’s The Other Side of Certain is a heartwarming, enduring tale of how libraries in even the most remote, impoverished towns can change lives since books are ‘so much more than little black words on a white page.’ Reading opens up new worlds for those involved and learning to read helps them heal to love again. A smashed stained-glass window becomes a metaphor for broken things being restored in this small Kentucky locale where many things are uncertain. The author carefully reconnects the shattered, colorful pieces of her character’s journeys and situations into a beautiful and memorable design.” -Delores Topliff, author of Books Afloat, Christmas Tree Wars, and Wilderness Wife.
About the Author:
Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, NC, and now lives in Asheville, NC with her husband and four children. She teaches creative writing and works as a freelance editor when not working on her own fiction. She is also the director of Wildacres Writers Workshop. She is the author of the novels The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey. Her award-winning short fiction has been published in numerous journals and in her collection, Out Across the Nowhere. Her fiction focuses on the importance of family and friends and centers on the themes of forgiveness, second chances, and finding beauty in the world around us. She likes to write about the wonder and mystery of everyday life.
When I stepped out of my father’s 1936 Studebaker and onto the gravel in front of the Certain, Kentucky WPA library headquarters, I felt as much like Alice falling down the rabbit hole as I’d had anything in all my life. My father’s driver unceremoniously left me and my bags and boxes on the curb and drove away as if he might be trapped in this dismal Wonderland forever should he not make an immediate getaway. I was all but standing there in a cloud of dust as he drove off. Waving the cloud of dirt and fumes again, I shielded my eyes against the mid-summer sun as it radiated off the old stone church building in front of me that houses the library.
I could feel the heat sideling up beside me like an unwelcome but expected guest.
Nevertheless, I was not to be daunted, and I straightened my shoulders and made ready to push open the large wooden doors of the make-shift library where I was to help out two days a week while I got the small town of Certain, Kentucky’s school program reinstated. This was not the path I had planned for my life, but my life never had gone according to plan. I was not one to be shaken by things going awry, and this new turn of events the country found itself the victim of was certainly not going to be the first thing to stop me–no matter how devastating.
Eleanor Roosevelt had put on her best walking shoes and hit the pavement and that’s what I was going to do, too. Upon entering the building, the smell of books found my nose immediately, and I breathed in deeply. My eyes closed for a moment, and I imagined all the stories around me coming to life. I didn’t yet know which books were there, but I could sense their characters in the corners of my imagination and hear them whispering to each other–one story to the next as if they were all connected somehow. Ok, so I’ve been accused of being a little fanciful and flighty. Is that really the worst thing?
The heavy door closed behind me and my eyes fluttered open. All around me was color and light. The shifting summer sun found each and every panel of the stained glass windows along both walls of the small church and cast a swirl of color around the room. It reminded me of the kaleidoscope my mother had given to me when I was six. My hands would find it whenever escape was needed, especially during the years when she was no longer there.
The sliding together and edging apart of color and shape mesmerized me. The seemingly endless combination of patterns pulled at my mind, creating a diversion from the world around me. The silent beauty entranced me and I thought, then, that there was some way I could slip inside the pools of color and join their ebb and flow. I could almost feel the cool of the blues and greens like the waters of a lake and the warmth of the golds and yellows like the sun on my skin after a summer swim. At night, I could close my eyes and envision the swirl of light and magic and drift off to sleep with the idea that the world was a beautiful place. It had been, once.
Ever since I first learned of the packhorse librarians I have been utterly fascinated by their story. This is not the first book I have read about them nor do I think it will be the last. I can fully understand wanting to share books as they did; when you have a passion for reading you want everyone to share in that love.
Maddie comes to Certain, KY, with all the high hopes of a young women who is sure she can do good. She is also coming from a rather wealthy family and can’t begin to understand the lives that some of the people in this part of the country have lead and the impacts that the Great Depression have caused.
She comes to town full of hope and books knowing that the path to escape is knowledge. But it is a very difficult time and knowledge, while power is not always the simple answer.
While there she meets the locals including a big bear of a man who is not looking for a relationship – in fact he wants nothing to do with women except for the help they can give his children. But he soon finds that he can’t stop thinking of the new schoolteacher.
But the path to true love never runs smoothly, does it. Pick up this book to find yourself lost in a tale of two stubborn people who are bound to be together and yet slow to realize it.
You can purchase The Other Side of Certain on Amazon.com