#BookTour “The Counterfeit Wife” by Mally Becker

The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker BannerSeptember 19 – October 14, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover

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Synopsis:

 

Philadelphia, June 1780. George Washington’s two least likely spies return, masquerading as husband and wife as they search for traitors in Philadelphia.

Months have passed since young widow Becca Parcell and former printer Daniel Alloway foiled a plot that threatened the new nation. But independence is still a distant dream, and General Washington can’t afford more unrest, not with food prices rising daily and the value of money falling just as fast.

At the General’s request, Becca and Daniel travel to Philadelphia to track down traitors who are flooding the city with counterfeit money. Searching for clues, Becca befriends the wealthiest women in town, the members of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, while Daniel seeks information from the city’s printers.

But their straightforward mission quickly grows personal and deadly as a half-remembered woman from Becca’s childhood is arrested for murdering one of the suspected counterfeiters.

With time running out – and their faux marriage breaking apart – Becca and Daniel find themselves searching for a hate-driven villain who’s ready to kill again.

Praise for The Counterfeit Wife:

The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker has it all — adventure, romance and deceit … [w]ith smooth-as-ice prose and pitch-perfect dialogue.”

Tina deBellegarde, Agatha- and Derringer-nominated author of the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series

The Counterfeit Wife is a not-to-be-missed adventure that gives new meaning to rebel and loyalist, spy and spouse.”

Lori Robbins, award-winning author of the On Pointe and Masterclass Mystery series

“As the young country struggles for independence, so does Becca, and she will have you turning pages well into the night … I highly recommended The Counterfeit Wife and I’m already anxious for the third of the series.”

Eileen Harrison Sanchez, award-winning author of Freedom Lessons—A Novel

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: September 2022

Number of Pages: 300

ISBN: 9781685121587

Series: A Revolutionary War Mystery

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Heat rose from Rebecca Parcell’s chest, climbed her neck, and stamped a flush on her cheeks. She knew what would happen next. It was time for the toasts.

“Steady now,” Daniel Alloway whispered. They stood alone in a corner of the crowded ballroom. His good hand brushed hers for reassurance. His other hand hung at his side, deadened by the injury he’d incurred escaping from a British prison ship a year ago.

Becca scanned the room to assure herself that no one watched them. Even his light touch was frowned upon by polite society, but it brought her warmth and comfort.

Their host rapped an ornate silver fork against his crystal goblet again and waited for the magpie chatter of gossip to quiet. He stood by the large fireplace, his feet planted wide as if he were standing on the deck of one of his ships. Mr. Thaddeus Barnes was the wealthiest merchant in Philadelphia, which meant, she knew, that he was one of the richest men in all of North America.

Becca had rarely seen luxury like this, not even last winter in New York City. The ceiling dripped curved garlands of flowers carved of plaster. Blue and white vases from China rested on the carved marble mantel. Cherry wood tables hailed from France, and the glass chandelier from Venice.

“I’d be much more comfortable with a bow in my hand,” Becca murmured. “Or a knife. A knife would do.”

“You’d rather hunt in Morristown than here?” Daniel smiled, his green eyes filled with amusement. The gaunt, haunted look he wore when she met him last winter was gone. But his features still seemed to be carved from stone, all hard angles and shadows. Except when he smiled at her like this.

Despite being tall, Becca had to tilt her chin up to see eye-to-eye with Daniel. “Hunting here will do.” she said, sounding more prim than she intended, and Daniel laughed. “Even this type of hunting.”

They were in Philadelphia, searching for the counterfeiters flooding the colony with fake money. They were the obvious, though unconventional, pair for the job, General Washington had said when he assigned them. Daniel because he was a former printer with the skills to evaluate ink and paper and Becca for her talent with numbers, accounts, and codes, which had already served the general well.

The clink-clink of metal on glass rang through the air again, and Mr. Barnes’s guests finally quieted. “A toast,” he called, beginning the first of the three he would raise to Becca and Daniel. It was the same at each of the parties held in their honor these past few weeks. Always three. Becca dreaded the third. “To independence.”

Becca lifted her goblet and sipped to a chorus of “huzzahs.” One, she counted to herself, because counting was soothing but not soothing enough for what was to come.

When the cheers faded, Mr. Barnes raised his glass again. The wine-filled cup glimmered red beneath the crystal candelabras. “To General Washington.”

“Huzzah!” The ballroom cheered again. Two, Becca counted.

She should be grateful to Mr. Barnes, not gritting her teeth over his toasts. He had opened his home to them at the Washingtons’s request, and he was introducing them to the finest families in Philadelphia, who were happy to welcome two friends of General and Lady Washington.

At least that much was true. Since last February, she and Daniel had become regular visitors to the Washingtons’ residence in Morristown after uncovering a plot that threatened the new nation.

Another round of cheers. Some guests made the mistake of lowering their glasses.

“And…” Mr. Barnes crowed.

A man with ginger-colored hair lounging by the doorway sighed loudly, catching her eye.

Becca couldn’t have agreed more.

The stranger gave her a slow, lazy smile. His expression was almost intimate, as if he were trying to draw her in. She turned away quickly.

“Finally…” Mr. Barnes added.

Becca took a deep breath, inhaling the warm scent of beeswax candles.

“…let us wish the newlyweds a joyous and productive marriage.” Mr. Barnes, a long-time widower, winked at Daniel. “May your hearts ever be at each other’s service.”

The cream of Philadelphia society turned in unison to Becca and Daniel.

She dropped her gaze to avoid the stares.

“A delicate flower, you are,” Daniel whispered without moving his lips.

She banged his ribs with her elbow and heard a satisfying oomph.

Anyone watching her redden and look away at the mention of their marriage might indeed take it that she was a shy, delicate flower. This was false.

She was not shy.

She was not delicate.

And, more to the point, she and Daniel were not married.

Mr. Barnes nodded to a double-chinned musician in the corner dressed in maroon breeches and a matching silk coat. At the signal, he tucked his violin into his neck, lifted a bow, and attacked his instrument. Two men laughed at something a third said. A few women formed a group and chatted, and the high-ceilinged room filled again with noise.

Barnes knew the reason they were in Philadelphia. General Washington had trusted him with that information. But their host believed that Becca and Daniel were wed. This way, Mr. Barnes could rightfully claim to be as outraged as everyone else if their deceit came to light.

Memory pulled Becca back to a dinner with the Washingtons in Morristown. “Perhaps this is unwise.” The general voiced a rare doubt after they agreed to come to Philadelphia. “You are unmarried and unchaperoned. It is scandalous. Society will close ranks against you. You’ll learn nothing.”

Lady Washington had taken a small sip of sherry. Her blue eyes lit with humor. “Then they must appear to be married while maintaining all the proprieties.”

The general made a choking sound that Becca and Daniel decided later was laughter. And so they’d agreed to play the part of a newly married couple, with Daniel looking for a new business opportunity in Philadelphia. It was a brazen plan but might just succeed.

Becca startled. The ginger-haired gentleman suddenly stood before her.

He extended a silk-clad leg and bowed, then rose, displaying the same secret smile that made her uncomfortable minutes ago. His nose was straight, his eyelashes pale against close-set blue eyes. Perhaps his chin was a bit heavy, his mouth a bit small. His features were not memorable, but something about him commanded attention.

It wasn’t just his shock of red hair combed back neatly and tied low along the back of his neck, nor the well-made clothes of ivory silk and gold embroidery. Everyone in the room bore similar signs of wealth. It was the confidence with which he moved, the sense that his regard flattered anyone upon whom it was bestowed.

“You’ve kept her from me, Alloway. I thought I knew all the beautiful women in Philadelphia.” His eyes locked on Becca’s.

She stiffened. It took discipline not to raise her hand and double check that the lace covering the top of her breasts was in place. He made her feel naked.

Daniel stiffened, too. “Mrs. Alloway, may I introduce Mr. Edmund Taylor, another merchant here in Philadelphia.”

Taylor’s light eyebrows shot up in mock distress. “Just another merchant? One of the most successful in the colonies, despite the war.” His gaze dropped to Daniel’s injured hand.

“And is your wife here, too?” Daniel bit down on the words, “your wife.”

Irritation crossed Taylor’s face so quickly Becca thought she imagined it. “My dear,” he called loudly.

A woman standing near the fireplace tensed, then moved toward them with the elegance of a swan. Her hair was honey blond, her skin unblemished, and her eyes a liquid blue. She stopped before them, wearing a tentative smile.

“I’m honored to present my wife, Charlotte Taylor.” He completed the introductions.

“It is a pleasure. I hope you enjoy our city.” Her voice was breathy and slow. There was a stillness about her, as if she had her own secrets to guard.

“I am enjoying it.” From downstairs, Becca heard the butler’s placating voice, then a woman’s shrill, demanding response.

Moments later, Mr. Barnes’s butler, Eli, slipped into the room.

Heads turned to the butler with a mixture of curiosity and mild surprise.

He whispered to Mr. Barnes, who nodded.

Then Eli strode toward them. He cupped his hand over his mouth and leaned toward Mr. Taylor.

“Begging your pardon, sir. There’s a woman at the front door. She says she’s yours, and that she must see you now.”

Becca couldn’t help but overhear. She says she’s yours. The woman at the door must be enslaved. Neither her dead husband nor father had owned slaves. But even she knew that enslaved people did not enter by the front door.

Color leeched from Taylor’s face.

“I will see her.” Mrs. Taylor swept from the room without waiting for her husband’s response.

“How do you find Philadelphia, Mrs. Alloway? Your husband says that this is your first visit,” another guest, who had turned to them at the servant’s approach, asked to mask the embarrassment of the moment.

When Becca didn’t answer, Daniel elbowed her gently. “Yes, Mrs. Alloway. How do you find Philadelphia?”

She really must do a better job responding to her married name. “People have been kind here. I hardly expected it.”

Mr. Barnes joined them, interrupting, “How goes your business, Taylor?”

“We don’t want to bore the ladies.” Taylor glanced at Becca.

“Please, don’t stop on my account. I comprehend so little, but hearing you speak of business never bores me.” Becca would have fluttered her eyelashes if she were the sort of woman who could manage it without appearing to have caught a speck of dirt in her eye.

She pasted a pleasant far-away expression on her face. Men spoke of business and politics as if she couldn’t understand a word, as if she didn’t listen and pass anything of interest back to General Washington. She took a small sip of the straw-colored dry sherry.

“Are you paying your investors in silver or paper these days?” Barnes asked.

Becca admired his playacting. Daniel and their host had rehearsed their lines. They asked the same questions at each party.

Taylor glared. “Sterling, of course. What are you accusing me of?”

Becca slowly lowered her glass. Taylor was the first to interpret the query as an accusation. An accusation of what? Having less silver than a man of his stature should? Or of passing along fake dollar notes?

Barnes nodded to Taylor. “No offense intended. I started seeing badly printed dollar notes again this spring. Merely asking whether you’re being cautious about paper dollars these days, given the situation.”

Taylor nodded curtly.

By now, five men had formed a tight ring as if warming themselves round a campfire. Becca stood just outside their circle.

Another of the merchants stepped up. “I thought I was the only one who noticed the forgeries.”

Daniel feigned surprise. “Has that been a problem here?”

“The British—damn them. They’re printing false money and spreading it as fast as they can,” one of the men said.

“There are worse problems, surely,” Daniel said.

“Ah, a young man who believes war is only about battles,” another guest drawled with feigned pity.

The others chuckled.

“If not winning battles, then what?” Daniel smiled, but the skin around his eyes tightened. He’s offended by the condescending tone, Becca thought.

“The counterfeits will set this country ablaze.” Barnes sputtered. “There have been food riots already. The poor are starving, and they can’t afford bread. How soon until people seek another king, another tyrant who swears that only he can save them?”

“When no one can tell whether money is real, the price of bread goes up, and everyone—everyone—turns against the government,” another man added. He looked to the group for support.

Becca studied them, shaken. She had thought of this trip as a lark, a way to spend more time with Daniel while unraveling a simple puzzle for General Washington.

Daniel bowed to Mr. Barnes. “It does sound terrible. My apologies.” He turned to Taylor. “And what do you think of all this, sir?”

Taylor shrugged. “Mr. Barnes is right. The economy is undone. I’d look to the traitors’ wives first. I wouldn’t put counterfeiting past them.”

“Who are the traitors’ wives?” Becca asked, catching Taylor’s attempt at redirection.

The men turned to her in surprise.

Oh bullocks. “Traitors? I don’t see any traitors at this party. Mr. Barnes wouldn’t allow it.” There. That sounded more like the simple, oblivious young woman they expected her to be.

Taylor and the others chuckled indulgently. “Nothing for you to worry about, Mrs. Alloway. Our apologies.”

“Do you know something specifically about these women, or are you trading in rumors?” Daniel’s voice was soft, but the challenge was clear. Neither he nor Becca cared for baseless rumors, not after gossip had almost ruined her life last winter.

“My husband’s passions sometimes lead him astray.” Charlotte Taylor had returned. “There are times that he causes harm when it is least intended.”

The husband and wife stared at each other from across the small circle of guests. He looked away first.

***

Excerpt from The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker. Copyright 2022 by Mally Becker. Reproduced with permission from Mally Becker. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Mally Becker

Mally Becker combines her love of history and crime fiction in mysteries that feature strong, independent heroines. She is the Agatha Award-nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow, which Kirkus Reviews called, “A compelling tale… with charming main characters.” Her first novel was also named a Silver Falchion finalist and a CIBA “Mystery & Mayhem” finalist.

A member of the board of MWA-NY, Mally was an attorney until becoming a full-time writer and an instructor at The Writers Circle Workshops. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Mally and her husband live in New Jersey, where they raised their wonderful son and spend as much time as they can hiking and kayaking.

Catch Up With Mally Becker:
www.MallyBecker.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @mallybecker
Instagram – @mallybeckerwrites
Twitter – @mally_becker
Facebook – @mallybeckerauthor

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Tour Participants:

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#BookTour “Out of Performance, Into Identity: How Love Found Me” by Angela Yarborough

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Self-Help/Spiritual

Date Published: 8.28.2022

Publisher: Help from 100X Publishing

 

 

 

This is my story of how I went from fighting for the love, belonging, and acceptance my heart yearned for in finding my place in this world, to laying down my sword and allowing God’s love to find me.

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EXCERPT

Introduction

Writing a book was never an item on my bucket list. I began this book-writing journey out of obedience to God after He spoke to me in a dream one night. Initially, I dug my heels in as I reminded Him that I was not a writer and had no intentions of ever being one. He lovingly brought me to the idea as He started sending women into my life who needed to hear my story of redemption.

As I prayed for God to show me how to teach these women to fall completely in love with Him, He told me, “Just tell your story.” So, this book was born. I went from performing for love, attention, and needing to be seen and heard by others to find validation to finding my identity in who He had created me to be.

In addition to writing this book as an act of obedience to help others, it has been a healing journey for me. I wrestled with what I saw as an impossible task of putting this many words into written form. It brought up beliefs I had formed about myself over the years that had become an identity for me. Only intelligent, intellectual people write books. I am average. People want to read interesting books. I have no story to tell. For a book to sell, you must be someone famous. I am not that important.

All these beliefs had been previously addressed in my life. I thought I had moved forward with dismissing them. What I found was interesting. As you will see in my story between the pages of this book, I have experienced phenomenal growth. There was a lot of transformation over my journey of healing, yet there was more He wanted to do. Going from “I am not smart, to I am average” was not good enough. Telling myself that I was better at supporting others as they built their dreams and told their story was no longer a place for me to hide from letting my story be told. Believing that I had nothing within myself to offer, therefore, it was better to remain in the background was playing small.

I had formed a solid belief that my purpose was to cheer others on and support them as they pursued their calling in life. Not only being good at this but thoroughly enjoying seeing others rise above, I never questioned my beliefs in this identity. I could have stayed there and never known any different.

Yet, those deep desires of my heart kept surfacing. This is how great our God is. He will never let you settle for less.

If you are open to growth, He will take you to the height of your potential and show you who you were created to be. It will be the most amazing gift of discovery as you yield to His love and find total freedom from your past.

This book is my love story. I went from fighting to prove who I was and performing for the love I deeply desired, to laying down my sword and allowing Him to show me a love so deep, that I never thought existed. In the middle of fighting for the love I desperately wanted, His love found me. It was there all along, I just could not see it through my brokenness.

Unlike the love I was seeking that would never satisfy, His love was not one that needed to be fought for. It only required a heart of surrender. His love has drastically changed how I look at everything. I no longer fight for love and acceptance created through others’ opinions, job titles, or accomplishments. I live from a heart of freedom overflowing with passion for Him.

As I have stretched myself through this writing journey, I had no clue about the potential that was lying dormant inside me. Many days, I look at myself in the mirror and question, “Who is this girl? I flippin’ love her!”

I am no longer the same person that I was. Jesus has totally and completely wrecked me for His good. He has helped me gather all the missing pieces of my heart that have been stolen and put them back together in the most beautiful way. It has been a process with lots of learning, growing, and healing along the way. Praise God, I have walked it out and received the gift of His unfailing, never-ending love on the other side. His love will make every fairy tale you have ever dreamed of fall short.

As I have put my love story into words over these past months, I have been praying that you would find your own love story as we journey together through this adventure. I have prayed that God would meet you in the pages, and you would find the love that He has been waiting to give you as He heals up those broken places. I know that it is possible, no matter where you find yourself today, because I have seen it happen repeatedly. I also prayed that your heart would be tender and your ears open to hear how much He truly cherishes a love relationship with you. You are special. You are seen. You are loved beyond measure. You were created for a great purpose; a purpose that only you can fulfill.

This is my story of how I overcame and found my identity and purpose. I love you, friend. As we embark on this journey of helping you discover who you are created to be, I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Welcome to my love story.

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About the Author

Angela Yarborough has a passion to see women set free from the lies of their pasts and begin living in the love and freedom of Christ. Having accomplished this in her own life, she regularly speaks to women and gives them hope for a love story of their own.

Combining her business knowledge, creative gifting, and love for the women she is called to serve, Angela has built an online jewelry business that employs women coming from the prison system or sex trade industry.

AmadeaDesigns.com equips women with the skills they need to obtain a long-term job that fits their God-given talents.

Living in a small town in North Louisiana with her husband, Jerry, along with their last 2 kids at home, daily adventures in nature bring a smile to her face. Picnics by the lake, kayaking on the river, and playing with her pet goats and sassy chickens are just a few things you might find Angela doing when she is not designing jewelry, writing books, or ministering to women.

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Instagram

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Purchase Link

Amazon

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#BookTour “Old Sins” by Lynne Handy

OldSins copy

Welcome to the book tour for Old Sins by Lynne Handy! Read on for more details and exclusive excerpt!

OLD SINS - cover

Old Sins (A Maria Pell Mystery)

Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022

Genre: Thriller

Battered by her archeologist lover’s betrayal, poet Maria Pell flees to an Irish village to study prehistoric people and write her next volume of poetry, but her sanctuary is invaded first by her moody cousin and then by her Togolese lover who unexpectedly show up on her doorstep. When the discovery of a girl’s body on a rocky shore reawakens Maria’s devastating childhood memory of finding a dead baby floating in a stream, her days become haunted by this child’s death. As teenage girls disappear, villagers are terrified that sex-traffickers are targeting their community. With crimes to be solved, both past and present, Maria risks her life to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Excerpt

In the summer of 1988 when I was ten, I found a baby girl caught in the cattails of a stream running through my parents’ property. At first, I thought she was another baby Moses waiting to be discovered in the bulrushes. It was when I knelt to free her from the fronds that I saw her ashen face, her vacant eyes, and knew she was dead.

I see it all in slow motion now: I, in a yellow sundress, scrambling to my feet, knowing something was horribly wrong that a baby had been thrown in the creek. I ran toward my house crying, “There’s a dead baby in the creek!”

My academician father was sitting in the porch swing, reading a newspaper. He threw it down and came running. The kitchen door banged behind my mother. “John? What is it?”

I ran to her and pressed my face against her chest.“It’s a dead baby,” I sobbed.“She’s wearing a pink dress.”

“A pink dress?” My mother folded her arms around me and stared after my father, who admonished her to stay where she was. I’m sure my mother looked at the baby afterward, but not on the day that I found her.

No one ever claimed her. No one ever admitted throwing her in the creek. The town called her Baby Doe. The coroner said she’d been alive when she went in the water. She had been a throwaway child. Until finding her, I had not known that children could be so unloved they would be discarded. I was so distressed that my parents sent me to a psychiatrist who told my mother that I had merged my psyche with that of the unwanted infant and feared no one would ever want me.

How many times during my childhood had my mother asked if I knew how much she and my father loved me? Taken literally, it was a difficult question to answer, so I had kept silent. How do you measure love? Fear of abandonment helped form the woman I became, and in some ways, I remained stuck emotionally in my tenth year.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Lynne Handy author photo

The eldest child in a farm family, I grew up in western Indiana where the tall corn drove me inward to create fantasy worlds. Books were my salvation. I was drawn to poetry in the beginning. Wordsworth and other poets taught me that metaphor, sound, and cadence made a good poem. From authors like Dickens, I learned that rhythmic sentences advanced plot. Hemingway taught me about verbs. Upon graduating from library school, I worked as a librarian in Illinois, Texas, and Michigan. In retirement, I co-founded Open Sky Poets, a collaboration of poets in the western suburbs of Chicago, and published poems and short stories in literary journals. I self-published three novels—two are mysteries. Current projects involve a mystery series with author Jake Westin, who, like Christie’s Miss Marple, somehow lands in the middle of murder investigations. I live in a brick house with roses in front and two rescue dogs who bark at passersby.

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#ReleaseTour “Flare (Steel Brothers Saga)” by Helen Hardt

 

Flare by Helen Hardt

(Steel Brothers Saga)

AVAILABLE NOW!

#Flare #HelenHardt #barenakedwords #releaseblitz #contemporaryromance #steelbrothers #waterhousepress

 

Blurb

The Steel family won’t go down on his watch…

Rory Pike never imagined she’d fall for a Steel, but she has—Brock Steel, a renowned womanizer, no less. While passion flares between them, Rory knows they’re on different pages in life. She’s older and ready to settle down. Brock? Not so much.

Brock is enamored with Rory, but he’s content to simply live in the moment, especially with everything that’s currently going down in his personal life. Brock’s discovery that his father has kept important information from him—information that could lead to the downfall of his famous family—leads him to question everything he’s known since he was a child.

Rory has her own problems as well, and when they converge with Brock’s in the form of one person, the mysteries surrounding the Steel family deepen. Rory and Brock are determined to find the truth…no matter what the cost.

 

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.

https://www.facebook.com/HelenHardt/

https://twitter.com/helenhardt

Buy Links for all Helen’s Books: http://www.helenhardt.com/book/