Fox River, by Emilie Richards

Fox River by Richards Richards: Book CoverFinished 5-8-09, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2001

“It’s a fork in the road,” Maisy said, stroking her daughter’s hair.  “And you don’t even feel up to walking a straight line.  But you will.  You can.  You’ll get through this honey, and make all the right choices.  There’s no question.”

For once in her life Julia was profoundly grateful to be suffocated in her mother’s soft arms.  But as she sobbed, she wondered who was comforting Christian.  Who would tell Christian that at this critical fork in the road he would take the right path?  Who would hold him and reassure him?

 She knew, without a doubt, it should have been her.

Chapter 11

This grand sweeping romance will draw you into the world of horses and fox hunting and the privileged people who live there.  Julia, who comes from the most respected of horsemen families, is a woman who has had to deal with a lot of tragedy in her almost 30 years and it all culminates with a fall off a horse that leaves her blind.  Her father died when she was too young to remember, her best friend was murdered, her boyfriend was sent to prison for the murder, and the last of the foursome was killed in a car crash.  And this is all before she begins to think her nine year marriage may be over.

Christian was released from prison when another inmate confessed to the murder, but nine years is a long time to serve for a crime you didn’t commit.  He is welcomed back to Virginia horse country by the man who had taken him in as a teenager and had never stopped believing in his innocence.  Now he just has to face down locals who still believe he’s guilty and face up to Julia, whose trouble on the stand helped send him to prison.

Julia’s mother, Maisy, is a wonderful character who takes in her daughter and granddaughter and shares a novel she’s writing which becomes another story within Fox River.  There is no shortage of action and it all weaves together perfectly for a wonderful family saga full of life and death, lies and betrayal, love and revenge.

I adored this story.  I think if you are interested in horses or fox hunting you might appreciate it more, but it is certainly not a necessity.  This is my first Emilie Richards novel, but it won’t be my last!  Read my interview with her here.

9 in ’09 with Emilie Richards

This Friday I invited Emilie Richards to answer 9 questions.  I am almost finished with my first Richards novel, Fox River, and have enjoyed it so much I contacted her before I even finished it.  I sent her the questions Wednesday night and she had sent me her answers by the time I checked my mail Thursday morning!  Thank you, Emilie!

Emily is a  minister’s wife, mother of four, and author of the the popular Ministry is Murder mysteries and the Shenandoah Album novels.  I’ll post my review of her novel, Fox River, on Sunday and I can assure you that I will be reading more of Emilie Richards.

Visit Emilie’s website (www.emilierichards.com) for a list of her books, quilts, and upcoming events.  And now, the questions…

1. You have written over 60 books.  What is your writing routine?  You must be very disciplined.

I am disciplined, but that’s easy enough since I love writing so much that I look forward to my time at the computer.  I usually do email or blogging over coffee, then after breakfast I launch into whatever I need to work on that day.  I try to take care of promotion, research, editing, brainstorming etc. in the morning because I actually write best between about 2 and 6.  I save that time for the most concentrated work and try to avoid interruptions.  I set aside Mondays as my day off, but I do write at least half a day each on the weekends.

2. You have been a minister’s wife for many years and write the Ministry is Murder mystery series.  How has your congregation responded to your books?  Any fun stories?

I learned some time ago that people will see themselves in my books whether I put them there or not (and you can bet I don’t).  Strangely, though, nobody seems to think I’m writing about anything that could actually happen in a real church, nobody except ministers’ families, of course.  My best mail comes from fellow clergy wives and clergy of all denominations, also lots of PKs (preacher’s kids) who recognize my characters and sympathize.  Their real life stories put mine to shame.

I do have to say that our congregation has been totally supportive, and the church I loosely base the series on (and the town of Emerald Springs) invited me for a book signing last year.  They love it.

3. I just visited your blog for the first time and fell in love (http://blog.emilierichards.com/).  You cover a range of topics from the inauguration (made me teary eyed) to swine flu (made me happy you’ve recovered – you have to read it for details, readers).  As a relatively new blogger what has surprised you the most and do you have favorite blogs that you visit?

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the blogosphere.  I’ve never kept a journal, never wanted to, and doing it online seemed pointless and excruciating.  How wrong could I be?  I adore blogging.  I’ve gone from wondering what on earth I’d talk about to how on earth can I fit everything in?  It’s a joy and a journey.  In the very near future I’ll be running my next contest there (for Happiness Key) and anybody who comments on my “happiness” blogswill be entered to win a beach bag stuffed with gifts chosen by my characters.

I am a big fan of my friend author Diane Chamberlain’s blog, and nothing beats Lee Lofland’s The Graveyard Shift for great research on police procedure.  I visit many others, but I’m trying not to become addicted.

4. What is the one thing you could not live without?

My imagination.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I love stories about the “little guy” or “gal” who have overcome adversity, or stood up for their values against impossible odds and won.  There are so many, and we see so few of them.  But I am always inspired.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

I fall in love with quotes and immediately forget them.  But here’s one from Milton that I saw today in the NY Times, and I really like it:  The mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.”

7. What are you currently reading?

I just finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.  I have Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell on my bedside table and Blood Bayou by my friend Karen Young, plus I’m listening to Storm of Swords by George Martin.  There’s a new Diane Mott Davidson mystery on my list, and I’ve downloaded the new Harlan Coben and Lisa Scottoline to listen to once I finish Storm of Swords.  Is that eclectic enough do you think?  I also received a Sony reader for my last birthday (love it) and last night I downloaded three of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and three Sherlock Holmes to go along with other classics I’ve already downloaded.  Life is good.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?

Stephanie Plum, because even though she’s in constant danger, cars explode when she’s not inside them, and she has both Ranger and Joe to keep her life interesting.

Of course I’d also love to take up permanent residence in the Land of Oz, so the choice would be tough.

9. And finally, what are you working on now and are there any books we’ll see on the shelves soon?

Happiness Key, my latest Mira, will be on bookshelves June 30th, along with the new paperback of Sister’s Choice, last year’s hardcover.  Happiness Key is in trade paperback, a new venture for me, and I’ll be offering a $1.50 off coupon on my website, and in my newsletters.  It’s easy to sign up for my email newsletter on my website.  Happiness Key  is the quintessential beach book, set on the Florida Gulf Coast.  It’s a friendship novel, about four very different women and I adored writing it.  Fortunate Harbor, the sequel, is in progress now.  Once it’s finished I’ll launch into A Truthfor a Truth, the fifth book in my Ministry is Murder series.  I think I’m supremely lucky to have two different kinds of books to keep my work fresh, and I never tire of either.

Happiness Key

Thank you, Emilie!