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ABOUT BOOK: Romance. Heartbreak. Scandal. Secrets. Second Chances.

In 1902, Sarah McCall is waiting to leave for the mission field when the man she once loved steps back into her life. Abandoned as a child by her mother and gambler father, she strives to overcome a tarnished history she didn’t create and a heartbreak she can’t forget.

Peter Caswell returns to his Wisconsin hometown a pastor, dedicated to his four-year-old daughter and new congregation. But no matter how hard he tries to move on with his life, he can’t forgive himself for his wife’s death.

When Sarah learns that Peter is returning to Riverton, the letter giving her departure date for Africa can’t come soon enough for her. They were best friends—she loved him and supported his dreams—but he married another and broke her heart. Although ten years have passed since he left Riverton, Peter hopes Sarah still cares enough to give him a second chance. But a charming newcomer pursues her affections—and Sarah’s childhood nemesis manipulates her way into Peter’s life. Will Sarah and Peter find their way to forgiveness and each other, or will past mistakes make a life together impossible?

Author’s Notes


The story is influenced by my hometown, Prairie Farm, Wisconsin, and some of the people who lived there in the early 1900s. My parents also grew up in that rural community. Prairie Farm, the oldest settlement in Barron County, was built along Hay River. It began to develop when the Knapp-Stout Company (lumber) made their headquarters there in 1848.


Because the story is fiction and comes purely from my imagination, I changed the names of people who I based some of my characters on, as well as some of the town’s buildings and layout.


How does the town’s history relate to the story? I included some of the buildings/businesses in the story that actually existed in 1902.


Peter’s congregation worshiped in the original Lutheran church where the new building stands today. Both my father and I were baptized there, and my parents still attend.


The Wing’s Opera House—long gone—did hold various forms of entertainment and community activities.


The Sprague Hotel (Sherlock Hotel in the story) was built in 1875. It burned down in 1899, but was rebuilt and ready for business in sixty days. The hotel no longer stands.


George and Alice Carter are based on real people. George and Alice Scott greatly impacted the community with their faith, leadership, generosity, and service. Mr. Scott later became a state senator.

Sarah’s place of employment in the story is the Home Store (later called the Farmer’s Store), built in 1902 by Mr. Scott. The building resembled an old Spanish mission, and the descriptions—inside and out—are accurate to the best of my ability. It became known as the most beautiful store of its kind in the country and drew many visitors to the small town of 330 people. Sadly, the store burned down in 1948 and was never rebuilt.


The Carters’ three-story, 26-room mansion featured in the book was built by George Scott near the river in 1898. It still stands today and is privately owned. Mr. Scott did indeed build a rollercoaster for his children on the top floor.


In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the town’s Memorial Day celebration was a grand affair and drew participants from all over the country.



1. If you could learn any language what would it be? Why?

2. Out of all the electronic devices out there, what would you most like to own and/or try out? Why?

3. What is the last movie you went to see in the theater?



1. Kimberly McCarthy

2. Bonnie Kaiser

3. Kate Burlakoff


PLEASE Send me your contact information to Dawn Kinzer

NOTE: If you are interested in REVIEWING the book  - PLEASE mention that you'd like to put your name in for the novel SARAH'S SMILE, review copy.

(Make Sure that Your Name, Address and Phone Number are CURRENT - We will be using that information in the drawing)

If you have any question please feel free to contact me

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Replies to This Discussion

Oh, interesting, Deana, that you would choose Arabic. My daughter's in-laws are from Iran, but have been in the US for  many years and are citizens. They became Christians after coming to this country and have quite a story. I would love to be able to speak their native language - Farsi (Persian).  I'd also like to speak fluent Spanish because there are so many people in this country who speak that language.

Thanks for your interest in Sarah's Smile!

Please enter my name for Sarah's Smile any format, can read and review within a few days of receiving.

FOR kindle I choose #1 The language I would like to learn would be Spanish as there are so many more that live around us now that speak that language. Although I'm familiar with a bit of French, I would just need a refresher as I took the Spanish in high school.

Julie, I think it would be great to be fluent in Spanish because there are so many people in this country that speak that language. I took a year of Spanish in High School, but that was a LONG time ago! 

Thanks for your interest in Sarah's Smile!

I rarely go to the theater to watch movies. The last one I saw was The Secret Lives of Pets (I think that's the name) with my grandkids.  I would love to be able to read and review the book in PB if possible but any format will do. Please also enter my name in the Kindle drawing.


Victoria, how fun that you've been able to enjoy a movie with the grandkids! My oldest grandkiddo is 3 1/2, and I'm looking forward to the time when he and his baby sister are old enough to take to the movie theater. 

Thanks for your interest in Sarah's Smile!

I would also like to read and review the book. I missed putting that in. Sorry and thanks.

Wonderful! Thanks for your interest, Victoria!

The last movie I saw in the theater was American Assassin.

Would love to read and review Sarah's Smile. It is a beautiful cover.

It sounds like you enjoy action movies, Anne! That movie has intrigued me. 

Thanks for your interest in Sarah's Smile! And thanks for the compliment on the cover. I love it and feel so blessed to have a talented designer working with me.

1. If I could learn any language, I think I'd choose Greek. Growing up, we had an exchange student who lived in our home from Greece. He came back and lived with my parents while he went to college at the local community college. My sister is heading over for a visit next month and I would love to someday go and be able to converse in HIS language. A close second would be Italian, mostly because it always sounds so romantic. :)

3. The last movie I saw in the theatre was "Hidden Figures". It was stellar and gave an awesome depiction of life in the 60s before the Civil Rights movement . I was very impressed with both the acting and the storyline. Highly recommend!

How interesting that you would choose Greek, Pam. But I can understand why with knowing someone from that country. That's really cool that your family has continued to have a relationship with the student. I agree - Italian does sound romantic when spoken!

I LOVED the movie Hidden Figures. What an amazing story! I was born in 1956, so I grew up during that time. Still, it bobbles my mind to think about what went on in this country.

If I could learn any language I think I'd like to learn American Sign. I especially like to watch signing to music/songs and would love to be able to do that in church.


New Member Orientation

We are posting videos here in the this group to help all of our members figure out how to use this site :-)


We will be posting videos all the time now, basically going through the entire site. 



Created by Phred St Laurent May 27, 2010 at 11:35pm. Last updated by Phred St Laurent May 31, 2010.

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