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Uncut Diamonds by Karen Jones Gowen

It is the late Seventies. Gold medallions and disco dancing, bell bottoms and bushy sideburns, Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever are all the rage. Jimmy Carter is President during a frightening recession, with mortgage interest rates at 13% and fuel bills higher than house payments. In the heartland of the nation, a young Mormon couple, Marcie and Shawn McGill, struggle to save their home, family and marriage, during these uncertain times. And they find help in unexpected places…

Follow the lives of Marcie and her two sisters as their lives intertwine. Beautiful Cindy who is single and dating, often the wrong guy. Linda who married rich and lives in Denver with her husband and young daughter. And their parents, the kindly Methodist minister and his cheerful wife, who do what they can to help everyone out.

Karen Gowen: Born and raised in central Illinois, the daughter of a second-generation Methodist minister, I now live in South Jordan, Utah with my husband and three of our ten children. We have a back yard overgrown with fruit trees, vegetable garden and wildflowers, as well as a pond full of koi. I love to read, knit and watch Woody Allen movies. I graduated from BYU with a degree in English and American Literature. I've been writing for most of my life, published a few newspaper articles and sold a few stories to the Friend. The past few years I have finally been able to devote more time to writing. Two years ago I finished Farm Girl, story of a young girl growing up on a 1930's Nebraska farm. Uncut Diamonds is a longer, more ambitious work, a novel set in central Illinois, one part chick lit, one part family saga, it is like Steel Magnolias with Mormon characters. I am now working on the sequel, House of Diamonds.

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri.

Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, she is directed by her late brother's will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother's friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator's shop -- until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love.

Then Triston's past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri?

Joyce DiPastena fell in love with the Middle Ages when she first read Thomas B. Costain's The Conquering Family in high school. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree specializing in medieval history.

Joyce lives in Arizona with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov.

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