Monday, August 4, 2014

A Lady and an Officer by Mary Ellis ends August 11th

Please welcome Mary Ellis to my blog this week. Mary is graciously giving away a copy of her book A Lady and an Officer. Ask Mary a question or comment on Lessons Learned to be entered in the drawing. Don't forget to leave your email addy and let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry.                Lessons Learned from Walks on the Beach by Mary Ellis

Do you remember the age-old story about the starfish? As told to me as a child, a young girl was walking along the beach with her grandfather when they happened upon thousands of starfish left behind with the tide. When Grandpa picked up one to fling back into the waves, the girl did the same. One by one another they returned the creatures to the sea before the scorching summer sun killed them. After a while the child peered up and wailed, “This is hopeless! There’re only two of us and thousands of them. What difference can we make?”

The sage grandfather pulled another starfish from the sand, its glistening surface almost completely dry, and flung it as far as he could into the surf. “You’re right. We can’t save them all, but I’m sure we made a difference to that one.”

That story has stayed with me my entire life, the concept returning in various applications: I recycle my water bottle instead of adding to a receptacle overflowing with plastic. I attempt to purchase green cleaning supplies and recycled paper products despite the plethora on the shelves. Americans are continually challenged to do the right thing ecologically…or as Christians. In the modern world it’s tough to walk the narrow path with every thought, word, and deed. How about the Bible’s command to introduce the saving power of Christ to non-believers? With the world’s population only thirty-three percent Christian, how can a humble fiction writer from Ohio have any impact whatsoever? But perhaps like the starfish dying in the sand, it might make all the difference in the world to the few I do reach.

In my historical novel, The Lady and the Officer, Madeline Howard arrives at a makeshift hospital following the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Untrained, she’s completely ill-equipped for the enormous task sprawling before her. Although most would consider her brief nursing career an abysmal failure, Madeline manages to save the life of one dying soldier. Amidst a sea of suffering and death, she made a difference in the life of one Confederate colonel from Richmond. Each journey must begin with a single step, whether we’re reducing waste, helping the sick, or introducing a friend or neighbor to a life-changing relationship with our Lord.

“Colonel Haywood had been the only soldier she saved in Gettysburg. The hopelessness and futility of war would continue to haunt her forever.” ~from The Lady and the Officer

Love, Loyalty, and Espionage…

How Does a Lady Live with All Three?

Purchase book here
As a nurse after the devastating battle of Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederacy. But even though she must soon make her home in the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a Union Army corps commander.

Colonel Haywood has not forgotten the beautiful nurse who did so much for him, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. While spending time with army officers and war department officials in her aunt and uncle’s palatial home, Madeline overhears plans for Confederate attacks against the Union soldiers. She knows passing along this information may save the life of her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends? Is it right to allow Elliott to dream of a future with her?

Two men are in love with Madeline. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring devastation on those she loves?

More About Mary. 
Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her last series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. She is currently working on a three-book series of historical romances set during the Civil War for Harvest House Publishers. The Quaker and the Rebel released in January and The Lady and the Officer released in July. Her current Amish release is A Plain Man. She can be found on the web at: or!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236


  1. Making a difference - I like that theme. Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of problems, but I really like your starfish story to gain perspective. I'm excited to see how this book plays out the theme!

  2. Mary, Thank you for the reminder that things can make a difference one at a time.
    I find I am really challenged by doing this personally. I tend to look at the bigger picture and neglect what could be right in front of me.
    Debbie, I follow your blog by speedburner. Thank you

  3. My father told me the starfish story when I was very young, and it has stuck with me as well. It has been this thought that has kept me going during the discouraging times.

    Thanks for sharing, Mary!

    I love the Civil War era. I'd love to win this book. :D
    I'm a feedburner subscriber.

    Amber Schamel
    visionwriter2 at gmail dot com

  4. Great post! I'm entering for my Grandma who really wants to read this book!

  5. This looks like a wonderful book. I would share it with my 80 year old aunt who loves to read.

    dianemestrella at gmail dot com

  6. We have Mary's books in the church library. I would love to win this book to add to our collection.
    I am a feedburn follower.
    Janet E.

  7. I love this guest post! I have actually never heard of that story about the starfish, but it has a powerful message! I definitely think that Christian books can have a such a huge impact on a person in getting to know Christ (even if it is just one)! I appreciate authors like you who take the time to write and share the love of Jesus with others through novels! Thank you for the giveaway!
    sylvesternator (at) yahoo (dot) con

  8. Thank you so much for sharing the story of the starfish. You know, we get so overwhelmed at times trying to take in so much but if we take one thing at a time, steadily we will get where we are going, set out what we are trying to accomplish and accomplish it and progress will be made and success will course through our veins.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  9. I would love to win Mary's new book. Please put my name in the drawing. Thanks. Lesson Learned was that you should get your graduation done before getting married. I married at 16 thinking I could finish school. But I got married. Then got pregnant first thing and my asthma got so bad I had to move away from my folks. So no babysitter or money to pay one. So learned we cannot depend on our own plans. God will do that. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie
    > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  10. I loved your starfish story You made a difference to that one starfish.....
    And in your story you made a difference to that one soldier
    God bless u
    Chris Granville
    feedburner follower