About the Book
Book: The Green Dress
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: June 2020
Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend
Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?
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About the Author
Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.
More from Liz
We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.
That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.
I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.
Get out of the house.
There’s a fine line between providing enough detail and delving into the realm of the macabre when relating a horror story, especially when that story is true. The True Colors series by Barbour Publishing focuses on historical tales of true American crime, written as fiction but based on actual events. Often the main character is invented by the author to serve as an eyewitness to the crime, which makes for an interesting interpretation because while the narrative becomes biased according to that character’s viewpoint, it also increases the mystery as readers experience everything alongside the protagonist.
This was certainly the case for me as I read Liz Tolsma’s “The Green Dress.” So far, this is the only book in the series about a crime that I was not at least somewhat familiar with already, which was exciting in and of itself. I will admit that I figured out the crime and the whodunit by chapter two, and I was concerned that I would lose interest, wondering how the book could go on for 26 more chapters. However, my fears were unfounded, and I read almost all of it in one sitting. Tolsma’s talent shines through in this fact alone, as well as in the necessarily redundant nature of the tale’s occurrences. I was never once bored! I did, though, want to shout at the characters a few times so that they would see things that seem blatantly obvious to us as vicarious readers.
What I appreciated most about this story is how Tolsma weaves together the historical truth, the faith element, and the color theme into one seamless tapestry. Everything coalesced and worked together well, which is no easy task when writing with so many elements already fixed in place from the outset according to the series parameters. One particularly touching moment in the story addresses Harriet’s concern about whether she is good enough to go to heaven, to which Michael replies, “Did He love you enough to send His Son for you? He did, didn’t He? Then that’s all you need to know. No more fear. Because, though I pray the Lord gives you many more years here, when it is your time to leave this earth, you can have assurance of where you will spend eternity. It’s not what you did. It’s what He did.” I love that this is included in the story because so often we forget that we are saved by grace, not by anything that we do. May our faith, like Harriet’s, grow and increase as we experience the magnificent power of the Savior’s love.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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