Romance novel set in 1874, Hot Sulphur Springs |

Romance novel set in 1874, Hot Sulphur Springs

After 15 years as a nurse and eight years in the season pass office at Winter Park Resort, Joanne Sundell deep within yet another chapter in her life. This chapter features her as an author, sharing her passion for Colorado history. It features her honoring strong women of the past in her writing, women like those found in her favorite romance, Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.”

Sundell, who still holds her active nursing license and has been a resident in the Tabernash area for about 30 years, is excited to announce the sale of her fourth historical romance, “Meggie’s Remains: A Romance to Die For.” Hardcover release date from Five Star-Gale, as part of Cengage Learning is July 2009.

The story is set in 1874, Hot Sulphur Springs. Protagonist Meggie Murphy is afraid for her life and the 25-year-old flees Boston west to Denver in the wild Colorado Territory. Near penniless, she struggles to find “honest” work and to keep hidden the dark secrets of her past.

Handsome Westerner Ethan Rourke comes across her on a wintery Denver street, but it could even be deadly “for her to encounter such a man in the flesh.” Hired as a teacher “in rugged Ute country,” Meggie is determined to make a home for herself in Hot Sulphur, living incognito as Rose Rochester.

“This story could happen to any woman, in any time,” Sundell said. “It is you. It is me. It is private, but must be told.”

Sundell was a highlighted author at the Friends of the (Grand County) Library annual meeting last October. At the time, she had two published books: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “A … My Name’s Amelia.” The latter was just released in large print last month and Colorado Country Life Magazine listed it as one of the top 12 selections from Colorado authors in its 10th annual book review issue.

Local Stitching Post seamstress and owner Karenann Manley donated a quilted wall hanging she made with the manual alphabet for the deaf and mute for Sundell to take around to her book signings and the author also announced plans to donate the piece to the school for the deaf and blind in Colorado Springs, where she did a lot of her research for it.

She also had another book in the works titled “The Parlor House Daughter,” which is due to come out this December and believe it or not, Sundell had also just started the research for a fifth book. She just submitted book one of “The Quaker and the Confederate,” entitled “Hearts Divided,” and she expects to hear back from her publisher in a couple weeks. She said she’ll begin writing book two, “Hearts Persuaded” very soon.

This new story, Sundell’s first-ever attempt at writing a series and introducing three protagonists, is set in rural Virginia, where Sundell grew up. It takes place in the 1860s during the Civil War.

“And, of course, it’s always about old-fashioned romance,” she said.

The library is her primary market, Sundell said, but anyone can go to a bookstore or online to order her books.

“The libraries up here have been wonderful to me. I really appreciate being able to reach out to librarians and library audiences,” she said. “The best is if you go to a library and they don’t have it, they’ll order it, too.”

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