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Home by Morning (A Powell Springs Novel) Kindle Edition

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Length: 329 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

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Book Description
October 1918: En route from New York to Seattle, Jessica Layton stops for a visit in her hometown of Powell Springs, Oregon, and comes face-to-face with Cole Braddock, her first and only love from years ago. Now Jessica is a highly accomplished clinical physician preparing for an exciting new job in Washington, and Cole is a successful horse breeder who is courting her sister Amy. Both are convinced they have moved beyond their youthful passion and the heartbreak it produced; nonetheless, they are grateful that Jessica’s brief visit will leave little opportunity to rehash old wounds. But before Dr. Layton can leave town, Powell Springs is hit hard by the influenza epidemic ravaging the country. With no other doctors available, Jessica must remain in Oregon and tend to her friends and former neighbors. Her work brings her in constant contact with Cole, and with each passing day he finds it harder to convince himself that sweet-tempered Amy can fill his heart as Jessica once did. Set against the backdrop of World War I and the epidemic of 1918, Home by Morning is a compelling story of betrayal, heartbreak, and redemption.

Q&A with Alexis Harrington

Question: Many of your books are set in the Old West. What intrigues you about that period?

Alexis Harrington: To be frank, cowboys are sexy. I’m sure we view the West through a filter of romantic nostalgia. The truth is that life was uncertain, people could be killed or die more easily, and it was a lawless, free-for-all place. As far as I can tell, the shootout at the OK Corral was nothing more than a turf dispute between two rival gangs who differed only in the flimsy fact that the Earps had badges. Still, some people endured incredible hardships and survived. I think that’s the appeal for me, aside from the sexy cowboys: self-reliance; the cowboy code of honor; strong, enterprising women. There’s a lot to work with here.

Q: The influenza epidemic of 1918 was such a dramatic, high-stakes race against the clock. Why did you settle on this particular event for your novel?

AH: Using the 1918 pandemic as a backdrop came to me about 10 to 12 years ago. No one was discussing it at the time, even though it killed millions of people. Then scientists and the National Institutes of Health began muttering about the next possible pandemic, the avian flu. I was spurred to action, and I was amazed by some of the things I learned. This is the only time when the subject came first, and then I had to create characters to fit it. I usually do just the opposite when I create the bones for a story.

Q: Readers and reviewers talk about how realistic your novels’ historical settings are. How do you achieve this?

AH: This is so critical to me. As authors, we don’t have the visual advantage that movies do, so careful, judicious description is a must. Of course, I must be correct about any historical props I use, too. But with description, I want my reader to be right there with the characters. What’s the weather doing? Is the wind blowing? Then you can hear it in the trees. If it’s blowing over tall grass, the blades flash in the light to show their silvery undersides. It’s really a matter of the author putting herself and the reader in that moment.

Q: How did Cole and Jess’s story change from the first draft to the one?

AH: That book went through so many incarnations, even I can’t remember them all! In one version, Jessica stopped in Powell Springs to attend the wedding of Cole and Amy that she was paying for. In several versions, I killed Amy with the flu--but that made her a martyr, and I didn’t want that. For a while, I considered letting Cole and Jess leave together to start a new life somewhere else, but I abandoned that and made her realize she couldn’t run away again.

Q: Are there other time periods you’d love to focus on in your writing?

AH: I have one contemporary that is almost finished that’s been sitting around for a while. And I have an idea for a dystopian story based on an old rock song that I’ve been meaning to make into a story for the past 20 years.

Q: Fast-forward 50 years from the book’s setting. How are Jess and Cole faring in 1968?

AH: Wow. That’s something I’ve never done. In 1968, they’d be about 80. Of course, they’re still together and have grown children and grandchildren. That’s what the happily-ever-after ending is all about.


“Brave. Heartfelt. Incredible...an emotional story filled with honest, raw characters, biting treachery, and abiding love. I couldn’t put it down.” --Lisa Jackson, #1 New York Times best-selling author

Product Details

  • File Size: 751 KB
  • Print Length: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance (December 24, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 24, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005J61D8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,918 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am a working novelist, with 14 books published over the past 20 years.

In addition to my new titles available published through Montlake, I'm thrilled to be able to bring to my readers my backlist.

I also make jewelry and I'm a fine needlework artist, specializing in embroidery, thread crochet, and sewing. I love to cook, read, entertain friends, decorate, and pursue various crafts.

I live in the Pacific Northwest near the Columbia River, still within 10 miles of my old high school. I have one cat, a Great Pyrenees (mixed), an elderly Shepherd (mixed) I rescued, and three chickens who all seem to want to be in my small office while I'm trying to work (except the chickens, although they'd be thrilled to get into the house if I let them). Getting up to step around them is like maneuvering an obstacle course, but they are my children and so dear to me. My hours are kind of goofy--I'm just not a morning person and tend to be up late when the rest of the world is sleeping--and QUIET. No phones, faxes, distractions. Just the kids and me, candles burning, and the elevator music coming out of my CD player.

Before I made the leap to full-time writer, I spent about 12 years working for consulting civil engineers. Riprap, anyone? How about a nice detention pond?

I'll read just about anything written by Stephen King, Frank McCourt, or Martin Clark. A few of my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Outlander series, Angela's Ashes, A Farewell To Arms, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Observations, Lonesome Dove, A Garden of Sand, Gone With the Wind, Hummingbird, Trinity, and The Hunger Games trilogy.

And someday, before one of us is snatched from this earth, I'd love to meet these people. They have either inspired my own work, impressed me with theirs, favorably impacted my life, made me think, performed brave deeds, or any combination thereof: Bruce Springsteen, Stephen King, Captain Sig Hansen, Jon Bon Jovi, LaVyrle Spencer, and Stephen Hawking.

(Captain Phil Harris was also on this list, but it was my great pleasure and good fortune to meet him in June 2008, 18 months before he passed away.)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

258 of 262 people found the following review helpful By Tooncesmom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's been a long time since I read a romance with as interesting a premise as Alexis Harrington's Home by Morning. I saw this book on a review site, and the cover art and blurb sucked me in instantly. I downloaded the sample read from Amazon, was so entranced by the story and the strong characterization that I had to buy the book. I read it in a day and a half (okay, I was a vendor at a craft show and read between customers), but when I got home I had to read the rest.
I was not disappointed.

This is a book considered unsaleable by New York publishers, so Ms. Harrington offered it as a Kindle read (and at a very attractive price!) What was the problem? Ms. Harrington chose to set her story during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic! (As one whose great aunt perished during this time, I was drawn like steel to a magnet.) I find the period refreshing, fascinating and unique-at least in romance fiction. Here we have a world balancing between tradition and modernism, and with the onset of WWI, a cataclysm that changed the world utterly.

Home by Morning is the story of Dr. Jessica Layton who is enroute from New York to take up a research position at a Seattle hospital and stops off in her hometown of Powell Springs, Oregon...and lands smack into the middle of the influenza epidemic. Daughter of the town's deceased practitioner, Jessica left to study medicine in the East, and remained, leaving behind her childhood love, Cole Braddock. Cole ranches and runs the town's smithy, and he is courting Jessica's younger sister Amy.

Jessica is pressed into service since the town is desperate and the new doctor hasn't yet arrived. But there are conflicts and misunderstandings that make Jess' position difficult in every way.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Renee on January 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I'd have to say after reading the "details" before reading this book, I thought it was going to be far better than it was. Once the characters were introduced, it seemed very obvious and predictable almost all the way to the end. The "who done it" wasn't but everything else was. It kind of seemed like a love story that someone didn't put a whole lot of thought or time into. Don't get me wrong, it was good but it wasn't great. I definitely didn't feel like I couldn't "put it down". It didn't keep me very interested honestly. It read like a "Lifetime" TV movie. I found myself skimming through the whole Riley in the war parts. They really didn't serve a purpose in the story. The drama between the lovers seemed trivial and I wasn't convinced. If you're just looking for a rather simple love story with a bit of trials and tribulations, then you'll like it but if you're looking to be swept off your feet and constantly entertained, look elsewhere.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ann de Vries on December 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Home By Morning" is an historical romance set around the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918. The research was well done, and one gets a sense of how devastating this outbreak was at the time. The heroine and hero were sympathetic and likable characters, while the villain was truly detestable. The depiction of the minor characters and small town atmosphere added a lot of depth and realism to the story. This book was very well written, and definitely hard to put down. It is a "clean" romance that would be suitable for any age group. I definitely recommend it.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Book lover on March 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story's setting is unusual. Have you ever read a love story against the background of the Spanish Flu? The female main character is a young doctor named Jessica who has to fight against all kind of prejudice when returning temporarily to her rural home town. There she meets her ex-lover again, who is meanwhile courting her sister. In any case, the reader feels immediately that neither Jessica nor Cole have ruled off their feelings for each other. What happens with Jessica's sister who finds herself in a very delicate situation? The author has resolved this situation absolutely masterly! ( Can't really tell you more without spoiling!)

On the other hand, I didn't like how Harrington developed the string concerning Riley. I think that this part doesn't contribute anything to the plot. According to my opinion it would have been much more interesting to develop further how his wife and the rest of the family experienced Riley's death. At one point there was an indication that the hired help on the farm showed some interest in the young widow but this string wasn't further developed. One could argue that that this is a missed opportunity. Especially when taking into consideration that the hired help takes care of two small children. ..... Anyway.

In general, this was a pleasant and interesting book that can be recommended for light-hearted and easy-going reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By angela longstaffe on March 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jessica Layton, our heroine grew up as the older daughter of a small town physician. Her vision of her future was to become a physician like her father and after archiving this goal to return to her hometown and marry her high school sweetheart, Cole. Her father supports her goals, at least, with regards to education however, he does not actively discourage her personal goal. He does send her away to college after he learns that his daughter and Cole were almost intimate. However, since she had to go to college anyway, one can't say one way or the other if he liked Cole as a future son-in-law.

Jessica goes away to college leaving Cole behind. Cole is a blacksmith and the younger son of horse breeder who supplies horses for the army. From college Jessica goes to New York to work, still with an understanding that she and Cole will eventually marry. A telegraph from Cole demanding her return changes that all.

When Cole receives a telegraph from Jessica that she will not return, he is devastated. At the same time, he older brother, Riley is drafted into the army and leaves for France, leaving Cole, his father and his wife, Susannah behind.

The story begins when Jessica returns home for a short visit to her new job in Seattle. It is near the end of WW1, the small is holding a parade for one of their own who is supposed to be deployed to Europe. She returned to see her younger and has severe misgivings about being in her home town. Cole, shortly after breaking it off, has started to court her sister, Amy and there are expectations that he will propose sooner than later.

The parade also is the start of the Spanish Influenza which we now know killed more people than the war.
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