Monday, October 15, 2012

Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss ~ First Wild Card Tour with review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Click here to read my review of this book.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Astraea Press (June 11, 2012)

***Special thanks to Tracy Krauss for sending me a review copy.***


Tracy Krauss is a prolific author with several romantic suspense novels and stage plays in print. She is also an artist, director and teacher. She holds a B.Ed degree from the University of Saskatchewan and, after raising four children, now resides in British Columbia, Canada.

Visit the author's website.


Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Product Details:
List Price: $2.99
File Size: 556 KB
Publisher: Astraea Press (June 11, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


“Alas,  sinful  nation;  people  weighed  down  with  iniquity.  Offspring
of  evil  doers;  sons  who  act  corruptly.  They  have  abandoned  the
Lord…they  have  despised  the  Holy  One…
Come  now  and  let  us  reason  together,  says  the  Lord.  Though  your
sins  be  like  scarlet,  they  will  be  as  white  as  snow.”
Isaiah  1:  4  &  18  (NASB)

Chapter  One

A  whispered   breath   skimmed   across   the   long   prairie   grass   like   a
giant  invisible  hand  stroking  the  fur  of  a  silken  feline.  The  screech  of  an
eagle  echoed  through  the  valley  as  it  dipped  and  glided  above  the  river.  The
rounded   slopes   of   the   bank   rose   above   the   swiftly   flowing   water   while
small   clumps   of   trees   clustered   nearby   but   for   the   most   part   the   land
stretched  uninterrupted  toward  the  horizon.

In  the  distance,  a  faint  rumbling  could  be  heard.  It  began  to  shake
the  earth  as  it  drew  nearer.  A  cloud  of  dust  accompanied  the  approaching
mass.   Hooves   pounded.   Nostrils   dilated.   Eyes   reddened   with   fear.   The
musky  stench  of  sweat  mixed  with  the  heat  and  dust.

The  huge  beasts  moved  en  masse  toward  the  precipice.  Thousands
of  shaggy  heads  bobbed  in  unison  as  the  herd  of  bison  stampeded  forward.
As  if  in  slow  motion,  they  continued  on,  up  and  over  the  sharp  bank  of  the
river  into  the  ravine  below.  One  by  one,  they  hurtled  forward,  oblivious  to
the  fate  that  awaited  them,  as  they  toppled  headlong  to  their  deaths.

Thomas  shot  up  in  bed,  panting.  The  T-shirt  he  wore  clung
to   his   body   with   sweat.   It   was   not   the   first   time   the   dream   had
come  to  wake  him.

He  took  a  deep  breath,  disentangled  himself  from  the  sheets,
and  rose  to  get  a  drink  of  water.  No  point  going  back  to  bed  now.
He  wouldn’t  sleep  anyway.  He  padded  down  the  narrow  hallway,
passing   the   half   closed   doorways   that   sheltered   his   sleeping
children.  Ducking   to  avoid   hitting   his  head  as   he  entered   the   tiny
kitchen,   he   paused   for   a   moment   to   look   at   the   expanse   of
landscape   beyond   the   window.  Mostly   flat,   with   a   rise   of   gently
rolling  hills  in  the  distance,  it  was  clothed  with  a  carpet  of  rippling
grass  except  for  the  odd  patch  of  dry  fallow.  Just  like  in  the  dream.

The   early  morning   sunrise   was   just   beginning   to   filter   in,
reaching  to  shed  some  light  in  the  shadowed  corners  of  the  room.
Thomas  had  managed   to   rent   a  house   near   the  outskirts  of   town.
Correction.  It  wasn’t  exactly  a  house.  The  realtor  called  it  a  “double
wide.”  Okay,  it  was  a  trailer,  but  it  was  the  only  property  for  rent  in
Marshdale   at   the  moment.  At   least,   that  was  what   the   realtor  had
said.  It  wasn’t  the  nicest  place—rather  dingy  if  truth  be  told—and  it
was  farther  from  school  than  Thomas  would  have  liked,  but  it  was
still   within   walking   distance.   Better   than   the   overcrowded   and
dilapidated  homes  he’d  been  used  to  as  a  child.

But  that  was  another  time.  Another  life.

He  was  here  now,  for  better  or  for  worse,  and  the  people  of
Marshdale  would  just  have  to  accept  it.  He  was  Thomas  Lone  Wolf,
proud  of  his  Cree  ancestry,  and  determined  to  do  something  about
it.  As  a  community  liaison,  he’d  worked  with  dozens  of  indigenous
groups   all   over   the   western   provinces   trying   to   set   up   business
propositions.  This  time  was  different,  though.  It  was  personal.

With   practiced   fingers   he   undid   his   nighttime   braid   and
shook  out  his  hair,  which  fell  well  past  his  shoulders.  Even  at  forty,
there  was  no  sign  of  graying  or  hair  loss.  It  was  straight,  coarse  and
black,  just  like  his  ancestors’ - he  was  the  perfect  picture  of  a  Cree

Now   that   he   was   awake,   he   allowed   himself   to   replay   the
dream  in  his  mind - at  least  the  parts  that  he  could  remember.  Like
most  dreams,  the  initial  clarity  soon  faded  after  just  a  few  waking
moments.   There   were   buffalo - always   buffalo.  And   they   seemed
bent  on  suicide,  careening  to  their  deaths  before  he  could  stop  them

He  was  going   to   start   writing   it  down.  The   theme  was   too
familiar;  the  mixture  of  fear  and  power  too  real.  Some  people  said
you  dreamt  in  black  and  white.  Thomas  wasn’t  sure  about  that.  He
knew  there  was  blood  in  his  dream - and  lots  of  it.  The  redness  of  it
stood  out  in  stark  contrast  to  the  muted  prairie  landscape.  And  the
stench.  That  unmistakable  metallic  scent  filled  his  nostrils  to  such  a
degree   that   he   could  almost   swear  he   still   smelled   it.  Almost.  But
that  was  ridiculous  and  he  pushed  the  memory  of  the  coagulating
stains  out  of  his  mind.

With   a   sigh   he   turned   back   to   the   cupboards   and   started
readying  the  coffee.  It  would  soon  be  time  to  wake  the  children  and
get   ready   for  work  himself.  Another  grueling  day  of   lobbying   for
something  that  should  be  rightfully  his  to  begin  with.  Reality  didn’t
stop  for  dreams.


Rachel  Bosworth  pulled  her  car  over  to  the  side  of  the  road;
gravel   crunching  under   her   tires,   and   came   to   a   rolling   stop.   She
put   the   car   in  park,  pulled   the  emergency  brake   into  place  with   a
jerk,  and  stepped  out  of  the  confined,  yellow  compact.  She  inhaled
a   deep   lungful   of   the   late   summer   air,   surveying   the   picture   of
pastoral  serenity  below.

Marshdale.  This  was  to  be  her  new  home.  Surrounded  by  a
patchwork   of   gold   and   brown   earth,   it   was   an   oasis   of   clustered
houses   and   well   established   trees   cocooned   in   a   desert   of   wide
open  prairie   landscape.   Stretched   out   to   the  horizon,   the   summer
sky  met  with  rounded  hills.

“Not  very  big,”  Rachel’s  friend  Sherri  noted,  joining  her  on
the  outside  of  the  vehicle.  “You  sure  you’re  going  to  manage  way
out  here  all  by  yourself?”

“I  think  it’s  perfect,”  Rachel  said  with  a  satisfied  smile.  “Just
the  change  I  needed.”

“Just  the  escape,  you  mean,”  Sherri  teased.

“Maybe.”  Rachel  turned  to  her  friend.  “Come  on,  Sherri.  I’m
feeling   scared  enough   as   it   is.  This   is   a  big  move   for  me.  Besides,
you’re   the   one   who   convinced  me   to  move   out   west   in   the   first

“Yeah,  I  know.  But  I  meant  for  you  to  move  to  Regina  with
Dan   and  me,   not   out   to   some   backwoods   hole   in   the   wall.   They
probably  don’t  even  have  cell  service,  for  Pete’s  sake!”

“It   can’t   be   as   bad   as   that.   The   hiring   committee   said
Marshdale  was  a  totally  modern  town  with  all  the  basic  amenities.”

“Yeah?   Let’s   hope   so,”   Sherri   quipped,   shading   her   eyes
with  her  hand  as  she  surveyed  the  town  below  them.

“Come   on,   Sherri.  You’re  my   best   friend.   I   need   you   to   be
excited   for  me.   Tell  me   I  made   a   good   decision   and   that   I  won’t
regret  it,”  Rachel  begged.

“You’re   right,   kiddo.”   Sherri   put   on   her  most   encouraging
smile.  “It  will  be  nice  to  see  you  more  often,  even  if  it  is  a  two-hour

Rachel   nodded.   “What’s   a   two-hour   drive   compared   to
thousands  of  miles  all  the  way  back  to  Toronto?”

“Who  knows?  Maybe  you’ll  meet  some  cute  farmer  and  end
up  getting  married  or  something.”  Sherri  shrugged.

“Not   interested   in  men   right  now,  remember?   I  am   here   to
become  the  best  kindergarten  teacher  Marshdale  has  ever  seen.”

“Sorry.   That   was   insensitive   of   me.   I   know   you’re   still
hurting  over  Rotten  Ronny.”

“Who?”  Rachel  asked,  raising  a  brow.

“That’s   the   spirit!”   Sherri   laughed.   “Who   needs   men,

“Better   not   let   Dan   hear   you   talking   like   that,”   Rachel
warned  with  a  chuckle  of  her  own.  “Come  on.  Let’s  get  going.  I  can
hardly  wait  to  get  my  stuff  unpacked.”

“I  can’t  believe  you  brought  so  little  stuff  with  you,”  Sherri
observed,  climbing  into  the  passenger  seat.

“I   wanted   to   start   fresh.”   Rachel   put   the   small   standard
vehicle  in  gear  and  rolled  forward.  “Besides,  moving  a  whole  lot  of
furniture   and   stuff   seemed   pointless.   I’ve   rented   this   really   nice
little   basement   suite.   It’s   fully   furnished.  And   that’s   what   you’re
here  for,  remember?  I  need  your  expert  advice  on  what  stuff  I  need
to  buy  in  the  city  before  school  starts  next  week.”

“Now,  shopping  is  one  thing  I’m  very  good  at.”

“I   know.”   Rachel   nodded   with   a   grin.   “It’s  why   I   brought
you  along.”

“Thanks.  I  thought  it  was  for  the  company.”

“Of  course.  That  too.”  Rachel  laughed.  She  sobered  quickly
and  glanced  over  at  her  friend.  “Thanks,  Sherri.  For  everything.”

“What   are   you   talking   about?”   Sherri   waved   a   dismissive
hand.   “I’d   be   some   friend   if   I   didn’t   come   to   your   rescue   when

“I   mean   about   Ronald.   I   don’t   know   how   I   would   have
coped  without  you  there.”

“I  know,  kid.”  Sherri  gave  Rachel’s  hand  a  squeeze.  “That’s
what   friends   are   for.   Besides,   I’ll   expect   pay   back   someday,   you

They   were   nearing   the   outskirts   of   the   village.   A   large
carved  sign  by  the  side  of  the  road  read,  “Welcome  to  Marshdale.”

“I  bet  people  live  more  freely  here,”  Rachel  stated.  “It’s  what
I’m  hoping  for.  The  simple  life.”

“People  have  problems  wherever  they  go,”  Sherri  noted.  “It
may  look  all  peaceful  right  now,  but  I  bet  they  have  their  share  of
troubles,  just  like  everybody  else.”

“Yeah,  like  what?  No  cell  service?”  Rachel  asked,  the  corner
of  her  mouth  turning  up.

“Now  that  would  be  tragic.”

“I   know  my   life   isn’t   suddenly   going   to   become   a   bed   of
roses,”   Rachel   admitted.   “But   it   just   seems   to   me   that   country
living - the   slower   pace - has   to   do   something   to   calm   people.
Make  them  less  artificial  and - you  know - less  selfish.”

“We   can   only   hope,”   Sherri   shrugged.   “Now   come   on,
girlfriend.  Let’s  find  that  basement  suite  of  yours.  If  we’re  going  to
unpack,  make  a  list,  and  get  back  to  the  city  before  dark,  we  better
get  a  move  on.”

“Roger  that.”  Rachel  nodded,  glancing  at  the  hand-­-- sketched
map   that  was   on   the  dash.   She  made   a   left   hand   turn   at   the   first


The  interior  of  the  church  was  cool,  quiet  and  dim.  Just  the
way  Pastor  Todd  Bryant  liked  it.  He  sat  on  one  of  the  upholstered
chairs  in  the  sanctuary,  allowing  the  viscosity  of  stillness  to  envelop
him  like  a  silky  smooth  liquid.

Sometimes  he  wished  he  could  stay  in  here  forever,  without
having   to   go   out   there.   The   recently   refurbished   sanctuary   was   a
peaceful  place   compared   to   the  world   just   outside   its  double   oak
doors.   When   he   had   come   here   just   a   year   ago,   he   knew   the
Marshdale  Community  Church  would  be  a  place  of  refuge;  a  place
to  rest  and  strengthen  his  own  weary  spirit.  A  place  to  hide.

Modern   and   well   kept,   the   Community   Church   had   the
appearance   of   comfortable   affluence - a   testament   to  God’s   favor.
The   folks   who   attended   were   proud   of   their   commitment   to   the
Lord’s  work  in  Marshdale  and  God  had  blessed  them  with  material
prosperity.   They   required   little   actual   input   from   the   pastor.   Just
keep   the   ship   running   smoothly,   as   instructed   by   the   board,   and
everything  should  be  just  fine.

Perfect.  His  less  than  amiable  departure  from  his  last  church
had  left  him  feeling  just  a  bit  shell-shocked.  He  needed  a  place  to
hide  out  for  a  while.  As  long  as  he  followed  the  program…


Another   soul   sat   alone,   waiting.   The   room   was   dark,   the
slatted  shades  drawn  over  the  open  window.  The  only  light  came
from  three  candles  burning  in  their  resting  places  on  the  pentagram
table   top.   The   air   was   rich   with   the   heady   scent   of   incense
smoldering   in   the   small,   intricately   designed   brass   burner.   The
woman   breathed   deeply.   Empty   the   mind.   Allow   the   inner   self   to

A   sudden   breeze   whipped   into   the   room,   announcing   its
entrance  with  a  slap  of  the  wooden  slats  on  the  window  frame.  It
caressed   the   chimes   hanging   nearby   before   darting   to   tease   the
three  flames  into  a  flickering  dance.

She   smiled.  Yes.  There  was   so  much   to   share,   to   enrich   the
lives   in   this   town.   There   were  many   paths   to   enlightenment,   but
ultimately  they  all  ended  one  way.  It  was  up  to  her  to  release  this
narrow-minded  and  stiff-necked  people  to  accept  that.

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