USA Today Bestselling Author
Behind every hero is someone who offered them timeless love.
Ethel fell for the handsome George Wiseman when she was only sixteen. She found the love of her life only to lose him too early. Determined to live her life with purpose, she became a foster mother. And discovered a new kind of love as she offered her home, her heart, and her wisdom to the heroes she raised, through a lifetime of Christmases.
The sweet companion novella of Miss Ethel, the character that many have called their favorite character of all time. You’ve read about her boys… now discover the holidays of Miss Ethel as she learns about love, loss, and the renewing spirit of everlasting love again.
This novella can be read first, last, or anytime in the middle of the series!
Loosely based on the fairy tale, The Little Girl and the Winter Whirlwinds.
Throughout this series, I was always wondering about Miss Ethel. She is the boy’s, well now men’s hero.
Her husband George was the love of her life, and he was now he is gone. Their love however lives on in this story, as we see when Miss Ethel fell for him right to the day he died. The two of them were always doing for others in some way or another. They just tried to fill a need.
The decision to take in foster children came easy once she realized the need. It was her friend Julia who made her aware and Miss Ethel has so much love to give and a now empty house.
This is a favorite scene.
Ethel accompanied Judith onto her front porch, offering her a hug. As Judith made her way down the front walk, she turned and glanced back at the house and smiled up at Ethel.
“This house is so big for you, Ethel. I hate to think of you all alone here. Have you ever thought about moving?”
Ethel lifted her gaze lovingly over the house that George had chosen for them. Smiling, she shook her head. “This is home. This is where I feel George every day.” With a wave, Judith made it to her car, and Ethel turned and walked back through the wreath-covered door. There was no tree in the living room, but she’d placed some of her favorite decorations on display. It was easier to decorate this year as grief had moved through the stages toward acceptance.
Sinking into the deep cushions of her favorite chair, she picked up her knitting, the clicking of the needles familiar and comforting. It was easy to allow her thoughts to wander as her fingers worked, and Judith’s words sounded out in the silence. Needy. No home. No one to care for them. She was not surprised when anticipated anger filled her as she thought of abandoned, abused, or neglected children. Dropping her knitting onto her lap, her gaze found the picture of George resting on the table nearby. “You would have given anything for children, and here some people have what we never had, and they throw it away!”
The cruel twist of fate had her toss the knitting back into the basket and taking to her feet. Pacing the floor, she continued to rant about the injustices in the world, shaking her fist and crying loudly. Finally exhausted, she moved to the chair that George had always sat in, now looking around the room from what had been his perspective. The multitude of books they’d collected over the years filled the shelves. The upstairs held empty bedrooms and her dining room table held empty chairs.
“You have gifts far beyond anyone I’ve ever known, sweetheart. You’ll find those who need your gifts. You will seek out those who can only be saved by you.”
His words resounded loudly in the room, words spoken near the end. “What are you trying to tell me, George? That I’m supposed to open our home to children that were never ours?”
“You will seek out those who can only be saved by you.”
His words were so clear to her but only served to squeeze her heart more. “What can I do by myself, George? Maybe this is something we could have done together, but me? Alone? What on earth could I offer these children?”
“A soft bed. A warm home. A listening ear. Hardy food. A sense of stability. Someone to love them.”
“What do I know about being a mother? If it was not God’s will for me to be a mother, how would I even know what to do?” she asked, throwing her hands up into the air.
“God never intended for you not to share your love. You have so much to offer.”
The room once again grew silent, but Ethel didn’t move. She sat in the chair that allowed her to still catch a whiff of George’s aftershave, tears rolling down her cheeks. Minutes turned into hours, and for the first time in her life, she did not seek her bed.
Instead, she was still sitting in the chair as the morning light filtered through the curtains.
Dragging in a deep, cleansing breath, she let it out slowly. Pushing herself to stand, her body felt stiff, but she moved toward her bedroom. An hour later, she stood in front of the mirror and stared at her reflection. A light dusting of powder covered her face. Her graying hair was pulled back into a bun. She had chosen a pale blue shirtwaist dress with a thin belt around her waist. Whispering to her reflection, she said, “Okay, George, I’m going to do this. But I’ve got to know that I’m not in this alone.”
“I’ll be in every breath you take and every beat of your heart.”
Hearing that promise once again and knowing that her beloved husband had never made a promise he didn’t keep, she squared her shoulders as she picked up her purse and walked out the door. It was not long before she sat in the head social worker’s office in the Department of Social Services.
“And how may I help you, Mrs. Wiseman?” the woman with the kind eyes asked.
“I’d like information on how to become a foster mother.” She held her breath, uncertain what the social worker’s response would be. When the woman’s lips curved into a wide smile, Ethel breathed a sigh of relief. She glanced down, almost certain that George had reached out to hold her hand. Thank you, my sweet husband. Looking back up, she met the social worker’s smile with one of her own.
Maryann Jordan. Holiday for a Hero: A Sweet Heroes at Heart Companion Novella (Kindle Locations 401-436).
We get to see each of the boys as they come to Miss Ethel and learn her method of showing them how to love and respect themselves and others. The stories they read, the quotes and so much more as they grow into men under her loving care.
So much laughter, love and even some tears in this wonderful holiday tale. Don’t miss this wonderful series!
5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!
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I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).
I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.
I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.
I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!