Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Janet Dean

by | Oct 19, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 16 comments

Well, you guys already know that I’m a big fan of Seekerville.

And, having just been introduced to Love Inspired novels, I’m so tickled to have Janet Dean back with me. Janet is a beautiful lady, classy, and super-sweet. It was an honor to get to spend time with her last month at ACFW. (see the pic – she’s the blond in the middle of the Seeker gals – me, Audra Harders, Janet, Debby Guisti, and Cara Lynn James).

There’s another picture on the right here of Janet and Myra Johnson. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

Okay, so, Janet, I’m tickled to have you here today.

And for all of you out there – Janet is giving away a copy of The Substitute Bride. So leave your comments for your name to be placed in the drawing!!!

1. What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other? What are some beautiful, interesting, unique ways of showing that realization?

 The hero and heroine are very aware of each other, aware of every nuance of expression and tone, every detail, every characteristic of the other that both charms and sometimes irritates. The slightest touch between them can set off a host of reactions. When they’re apart, they miss each other and look for ways to be together, sometimes justifying the desire to see each other with excuses that are both obvious and touching. Thoughts and conversations center on each other. They’re protective of each other, stand up for one another. The relationship makes them feel alive, gives them a fresh perspective–new eyes for everything and everyone around them.

 But falling in love isn’t always that pretty. The term lovesick is appropriate when the relationship isn’t going well. Falling in love has its highs, yes but also its lows.  Symptoms include an inability to sleep, eat or focus on work. Sometimes jealousy is present and pride that keeps needed apologies unvoiced, adding to the angst.

LOL – I don’t think I’ve considered the negative impact of falling in love. Hmm, I’m taking notes, Janet 🙂

 I can show the realization that the hero and heroine are falling in love by showing their thoughts, physical reactions, actions in an emotional, even dramatic way. Or I can show that realization with a touch of humor. What I chose to do in The Substitute Bride, my marriage of convenience story. Ted married Elizabeth to give his children a mother. Elizabeth married Ted to escape wedlock to an unacceptable old man and to give her brother, Robby, a home.  

 In this scene where Ted realizes he’s falling in love with his rebellious wife, Elizabeth has holed up with her brother in the New Harmony Ladies Club, hoping that Robby will share why he hasn’t adjusted to life on the farm. They’ve been gone a week while Ted cares for his two children alone. Tired of waiting for his wife’s return, Ted enlists his pastor’s help, but things go downhill when other disgruntled husbands join Ted as he crashes the ladies club meeting determined to fetch Elizabeth home.

Ted had given Elizabeth a week to come to her senses but she and Robby hadn’t returned. He’d handled his household himself. To ask his in-laws help would expose his wife’s defection and give Lily another excuse to harp on raising his children, like he couldn’t handle the job.

He dropped Anna and Henry at Rebecca’s on his way in to town, hoping she’d give them a decent meal while he dealt with his wife. Elizabeth shouldn’t play socialite while he worked himself into an early grave. And, while she was at it, make him the laughingstock of the whole town.

His children had capsized his even-keel boat. Henry tested his patience. Anna opposed his authority. Only by the power of prayer had he met the challenge. Each day left him exhausted. His respect for mothers multiplied. Especially for Elizabeth, who’d managed his children and his household without the benefit of experience or the connection of blood.

When she’d married him, she’d taken on a momentous task. And now she’d run away, leaving him to handle it alone.

He’d planted the rest of the garden—taking on her chores as if he didn’t have enough to do—and attended to his children, feeding them…something. Each day things had gotten worse around the house, more disorderly and chaotic.

Now standing outside the parsonage waiting for Jacob to join him, hands hanging limp at his side, he faced the truth.

He missed Elizabeth the way Adam must’ve missed his rib. Something essential had been ripped from him, draining him of vitality. Every word out of his mouth took supreme effort. If he’d thought he had trouble sleeping with Elizabeth at home, he’d found it impossible now that she’d gone. His decision to act, to enlist Jacob’s help, wasn’t just about his children.

Jacob opened the door, plopped his hat on his head and strolled toward him, his gaze somber. “Not sure Elizabeth is going to appreciate my interference.”

“Probably not, but I’m hoping your presence will carry some weight.”

“Have you forgotten she insisted I add try to the obey vow?”

“Hardly.” He sighed. “I must’ve misunderstood God’s call. How can I pastor a church when I can’t handle my wife?”

Jacob laid a hand on Ted’s back. “All in God’s timing.”

“I hope God’s timing includes my wife’s return. Today.”

Jacob chuckled. “You and Elizabeth are an exact match for the other.”

“Match? Maybe as in struck and in flames. A man can get burned.”

“I suspect this situation with Elizabeth is providing something you need to learn before you lead a congregation.”

“Her absence is teaching me plenty.” He stopped in his tracks. “You won’t believe this. The gossip must’ve reached Agnes. She drove to the farm yesterday, bringing my favorite cherry pie and offering her condolences on my broken marriage.”

Ted would’ve liked to refuse the pie but it meant something edible for supper. Besides he couldn’t blame this disaster with his wife on Agnes.

Jacob shook his head. “Shame on Agnes for trying to tempt a man when he’s down.”  

“Worse, Henry toddles around the house, looking for Elizabeth, calling ‘Mama.’ Anna cries at the slightest provocation. Even Rose’s hanky no longer consoles her.”

Well, he wouldn’t let his children continue to suffer. He strode down the street, itching to settle things with his wife.


Ted edged closer to his wife. Her cheeks were pink, her eyes shining. His stomach knotted. Maybe keeping her on the farm was unfair. “Can I speak to you alone?”

Her eyes softened. 

Around them couples argued. Ted could barely think above the din. A piercing whistle shrilled, shutting down every sound. All eyes swiveled toward his wife.

Elizabeth removed two fingers from her mouth. “Let’s adjourn the meeting and serve refreshments,” she said demurely. “Mrs. Johnson made dessert.”

Soon the men joined their wives, sipping tea. Ted took a chair at an empty table. Elizabeth finally made it to his side, carrying a slice of cake and cup of tea. She set them in front of him then took a seat.

He cleared his throat. “Where’s Robby?”

“Over at the mercantile, helping unpack supplies.”

“How’s he doing?”

She smiled. “Oh, Ted, Robby’s better. He’s been afraid the farm, the dog, everything would disappear like our house in Chicago. I reassured him. He still misses Martha and Papa and grieves for Mama, but he’s talking about his feelings now.”

“I’m glad.” He took her hand. “You were right about that. Right about a lot of things.” He sighed, hoping he could make her understand how her leaving had turned his world upside down. “Anna and Henry miss you. A lot.”

Moisture gathered in her eyes. “I miss them too.”

Hope for his marriage swelled in his chest until he wanted to shout with the joy of it.

“What about you, Ted? Do you miss me too?”

He missed her all right. More than parched ground missed rain and the grass missed the morning dew. He missed her like he’d lost a limb, a piece of his heart.

But he couldn’t tell her that with Oscar and Cecil at the next table hanging on his every word like hungry dogs waiting for a scrap to fall.

“Of course, I do. Last night’s dinner was a disaster, worse than any meal you fixed.”

She pursed her lips. “I can’t tell you how much better that makes me feel.”

“I’m sorry. That came out wrong.” He lowered his voice, “I miss you. More than you could imagine.”

Jacob appeared at their table. He clapped a hand on Ted’s back. “Well, looks like you two are working it out. I’d better get back before Lydia sends out a search party.”

In accordance with the pitiful help the pastor had been, Ted felt like subtracting a chunk from Sunday’s offering.

He took Elizabeth’s hand. It felt right in his—soft, feminine. Inside that delicate frame resided a strong, intelligent, vital woman. Already she belonged to the town more than he. He knew she could do anything she set her mind to.

He drew little circles on her palm with his thumb. “Hubert said you’re doing an excellent job managing his books.”

“He did?”

“Yes.” He chuckled. “He also said you bartered with him over the price of eggs.”

“It wasn’t all that hard. He’s a softy really.” She flashed a smile. “He likes you.”

“That’s nice but I only care what you think of me.”

“I think you’re a good man, Ted Logan. A good father. A good citizen. But you don’t know much about women.”

“I know I’m proud of the job you’re doing for Sorenson. I know I’m proud of your plans to improve this town. I know I want you to come home with me.”

I know I want to hold you in my arms. But he wouldn’t admit that when Elizabeth showed no sign of readiness to hear it.   

She studied his face then rose. “I’ll go with you.”

The weight on Ted’s shoulders vanished. Leaning back in his chair, he watched his wife promenade around the room, speaking to her friends. He liked the way she moved. He liked the tendrils of hair teasing against her neck. He liked her smile, brighter than the summer sun.

The front two legs of his chair hit the floor with a thud.

His heart pounded inside his chest. He was in love. Deeply and totally in love with his wife. The knowledge scared him silly.

He watched Elizabeth chatting as if nothing of consequence had just transpired. Oh, how he loved her. Nothing and no one would keep him from his wife.

She went into the back room and came out carrying her satchel then stopped in front of him. “I’m coming home with you. Robby’s doing better. We both miss Anna and Henry. And that cot’s killing my back.”

Not exactly the reasons he wanted to hear. Yet the softness in her eyes gave him hope she hadn’t told the entire truth.

“But I’m not giving up this club.” She raised her voice. “We’ll meet every Saturday. You ladies can count on that.”

Cecil hung his head. Oscar toed the floor. “You, too, Oscar and Cecil.” The brothers’ heads snapped up and smiles took over their faces.

“I’m ready, Ted, to pick up Robby and head to the farm. I hope you’re up to having me around.”

Ted opened the door. As she marched through, he glanced back at his neighbors. They grinned at him, as if he’d lost the battle. His wife was coming home with him.

He’d won, hadn’t he?

 I hope readers can see some of the elements I discussed earlier and enjoyed the humorous perspective of Ted when he first realizes he’s falling in love with his wife.

 I loved reading this novel, Janet. GREAT story. I’m sure readers will love this tease J Thanks so much for being here today. 

 Thanks for having me, Pepper! It’s always a joy to be on your blog.

 Inspirational Moment:

Ephesians 3:16-18

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”

It’s amazing to me that the longer I know Jesus and the more I learn about him, the more amazing his love becomes. Being ‘rooted in love’ is the foundation to help us ‘see’ the greatness of God’s love. Until we delve into the beauty of who Christ is, we cannot get a better perspective on who we are, and how much we are love. The massiveness of Christ’s love for us becomes clearer the more we recognize His sacrifice. Oh what a Savior!

*** Julie Lessman joins us on Friday. Stop by for more fun!


  1. Sherrinda

    Oh, I loved The Substitute Bride! Great romantic tension and compelling characters! Thanks for the excerpt…I loved reading it again!

  2. janet dean

    Oh, thank you, Sherrinda! Your words are packed with encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it means to know a reader loved one of my books.

  3. Renee Ann Smith

    I’m not familiar with Janet’s books. But visiting Seekerville and reading this post has made me add them to my list of must-reads!

    • Pepper

      Definitely worth the purchase and read.
      GREAT prcies for awesome stories.

  4. Linda

    I haven’t read a Janet Dean book, and would love to win this one. It’s always fun to read a ‘new’ style of writing. Please enter me.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  5. janet dean

    Hi Renee, thanks so much! And thanks for coming to Seekerville! We love having two Renees! 🙂

    • Pepper

      Good luck with the drawing. You won’t be disappointed with Janet’s books. They are wonderful stories.

  6. janet dean

    Linda, thanks for your interest in my books! I love new readers. I love faithful readers. I love readers. 🙂

  7. Cindy R. Wilson

    Thanks for this excerpt today. Janet, your book sounds wonderful. And Pepper is right about you being super-sweet. I met you at the ACFW Conference briefly–in the restroom, no less 🙂 but you had such a welcoming smile and it was great to meet you in person. I look forward to reading this book someday.

  8. Julie Lessman

    JANET!!! LOVE THIS BOOK!! February is WAY TOO FAR AWAY for the next one, girl … or is it March???

    Wonderful scene, Janet, and wonderful blog today, Pepper … as always!


  9. Patsy

    Love all of Janet’s books!

  10. Kim

    thanks so much for the excerpts! I really enjoyed them! 🙂

  11. Barb Shelton

    Hello Janet, This is our first meeting and I won’t allow it to be our last. I enjoyed this excerpt immensely and wish the best of blessings come from it for you. I’m so fond of Love Inspired books and have read them for years. The covers are all so beautiful and inviting and the stories good and sweet. They really fill my penchant for reading way up. Congratulations to you. I look forward to seeing you around everywhere.

    Sharing Christ’s Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at txdot rr dot com

  12. Barb Shelton

    Just re-read your interview and excerpt and found out that you are giving away a copy of “The Substitute Bride.” Please enter my name, I’d enjoy winning this book to read. I don’t have any of your books yet, and I hope to reconcile that little problem asap. Thanks for your giveaway and the chance to win this great book. I hope I do!!

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  13. Renee (SteelerGirl83)

    Ooo I love Janet’s books! After reading this post I’ll have to go back and read TSB again! please don’t enter me I already have all of her books and I’m patiently looking forward to the next one! 😛

    XOXO~ Renee
    p.s. I think there are THREE Renee’s at Seekerville Janet!

  14. Barb Shelton

    I see the giveaway is still open to comments, so I’d like to take another chance to win this adorable story. I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve written, and to win a copy would be a good way to start. Thanks for your giveaway and the chance t o win it. I sure hope I do!

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com



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