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The dance floor had been built quickly under the starry South Dakota night sky. The musicians were locals, and they didn’t sound half bad. The cowboys and the young ladies in 1898 loved dances, and at this gathering, CJ Crezner discovered that the most beautiful blue-eyed blonde he ever met was from his home state of Missouri. He doubted Deborah Lynn had ever been denied any request, and he was captivated by her in minutes. Ride with history as Carl John Crezner discovers an unexpected fondness for the prairie’s capricious whims. At the turn of the century, the open range is disappearing, promises of railroads are on the horizon, and homesteaders are listening to the lure of free land.

Changing times are coming, and cattlemen are becoming resigned to the dubious promises of progress. CJ has his own set of problems. He is a minister with a rich heritage of men in his family who preach the Word of God with passion and flare. CJ is filled with doubt about his capabilities, and heads north on a cattle drive to put as much distance between him and the waiting church back in Missouri as possible. Will his Grandfather disown him, or can beautiful Deborah Lynn persuade him to follow his family’s wishes?

About the book

Goodbye, Belvidere, A Hundred and Sixty Acres is the first book in this series. I wanted to give a glimpse into the lives of the immigrants who settled on their government issued 160 acres in my area, and who are also my ancestors. At the same time, I wanted to show what the cattlemen who came here much earlier felt as they watched their way of life disappear. I needed an unbiased observer, and he came in the form of a long, lanky minister’s son, CJ Crezner. Taking real events from our past, and weaving a storyline with fictional characters has made me stretch and grow----and spend delightful hours researching. Readers in this area have enjoyed seeing familiar family names appear, and the families themselves have been gracious in letting me use their ancestors in the series.

Goodbye, Belvidere: His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Young Isaac Swanson is not only angry and frustrated, he is also leaving his family without saying goodbye. CJ Crezner hopes his young friend will remember Joanna’s strange admonition to not shave his newly sprouted goatee and mustache. CJ also hopes Isaac will heed his own advice concerning good men’s actions.

The Crezner family saga during the homesteading years in South Dakota continues, and CJ once again finds his infamous temper a cause of controversy. Isaac’s parting words implore CJ to be careful and not do anything stupid. Will either one of them take the other’s advice?

About the book

I want to think readers who waited patiently for the second book in the Goodbye, Belvidere series were not disappointed. Several have told me this is the best book I’ve written, and that’s always music to my ears, plus an extra goad to make sure the next book is not a failure. There was always a fixed ending in my mind for this story, and it was alluded to from the first chapter. Because this entire series stretches from 1898 until the mid 1930’s, a fair bit of history is included. And, because it is local history as well as bits and pieces of world history, I check my facts several times and still utter a silent prayer that I have it right. I leave this second book as our young Isaac, now a grown young man, leaves his home to be a soldier. World War I is just around the corner.

Goodbye, Belvidere: I Much Love You

Joanna’s eyes filled with sudden tears. “I always thought we’d have this place in our family for years.” 

CJ commiserated with her. “Change, Joanna. Life keeps changing, whether we like it or not.” Future decisions loomed on the horizon, and the needle of doubt that had plagued CJ for years returned to haunt him once again. Soon, CJ reasoned to himself, he and Joanna would have to make some hard choices. He dreaded the day.

Join the Crezners and their friends and neighbors in the final book of the Goodbye, Belvidere trilogy. Walk with them through the ups and downs of rural life before and after the upheaval of WWI. You won’t want to miss CJ’s first attempt at driving the family car with his spurs on. Or, for that matter, his first auto trip in Pierre with lovely Deborah Lynn at the wheel!

Trains, planes, autos, and war change the fabric of life for this small community. Through it all, family and friends struggle together. But when rains quit, and the prairie becomes a desert, an exodus starts. Will Joanna and CJ be able to keep their family home?

About the book

The last book of the Belvidere trilogy took some unexpected turns and twists. It was a more somber story, with WWI, influenza epidemic, and the loss of several key characters. On the other hand, the Crezner twin daughters livened up the narrative, and had I not self-imposed a deadline to submit the book to the publisher, I might have meandered into more of their antics. In the middle of the stream, so to speak, real life threw a curve ball when Tate Publishing stumbled around with one delay after another. Finally---way past deadline---they went defunct and closed their doors. In spite of that, I much love you is available to my patient readers, and that makes me very happy!

I just finished reading this Belvidere series again. It absolutely never gets old!! Thank you Joyce Wheeler for the trip back to where I grew up!