Love in the Morning Calm
(Prequel to The Pendant’s Promise)
In the furor of the 60’s, when women fought for their rights and men battled the Viet Cong, a young Tennessee preacher’s daughter seeks liberation only to discover a love that defines her even as it replaces her new found freedom with a life changing responsibility.
It’s heartbreaking and inspiring, warm and relatable all at the same time, especially for those, like me, who wasn’t born until the 80s and want to understand the Vietnam era better. I do have a military background and loved the description of what that meant during this time period.
Love In the Morning Calm offers the reader the opportunity to get into the hearts and minds of an Army Civilian Lily Reed and Green Beret Alex (Ace) Cabot. You’ll understand how they find love and what they do to deal with their situations in a cultural era where choices were limited and the Vietnam war real.
Everyone talks about how turbulent the 60’s generation was. This story puts you right in the middle of the action during that time, with Lily as a budding feminist completely uninterested in connecting with men…until she meets a certain Major with a spellbinding smile. He’s a high potential Army officer headed for a rank of General. For his part, his life’s in danger every day, and he shouldn’t be tied to any woman. Just like Lily who is smitten by him, he is captivated by her!
In spite of their convictions, love unites Lily Reed and Alex Cabot then Vietnam tears them apart. With emotional characterizations and vivid descriptions, Ms. Morgan puts you there in South Korea with her characters.
Love in the Morning Calm is a heart-gripping read that makes you believe a love as strong as Lily and Alex’s could last through decades. You’ll want to read rest of the story in The Pendant’s Promise to be sure they get back together.
—James P. Kennedy
Having read Pendant’s Promise I wasn’t ready to let the two main characters go. They are that real! This book does not need that book to understand at all but if you enjoyed meeting headstrong preacher’s-daughter who is determined to experience life Lily Johnson, and the honorable and truly heroic Alex Cabot in The Pendant’s Promise and wondered how they fell in love, this prequel is for you.
LOVE IN THE MORNING CALM provides the details of their military romance in the sixties. Set in a world torn apart by the Vietnam War, with two people who meet and fall in love you’ll experience the pull of that love and the heartache when life alters your path. You’ll understand how some love lasts a lifetime, but true love lasts forever. Emotionally poignant, well-crafted characters, historical details that place you in the time period LOVE IN THE MORNING CALM is well done and well worth a read!
I wanted more after reading Pendant’s Promise and this delivered and is a moving story on its own. If you’ve read the other one first, this book will give you the “rest of the story.” If you haven’t read, this book gives you the story of how Lily and Alex met and fell in love. Love the characters and the vivid description made me feel like I was in South Korea with them. I really love books that transport me. It’s a short, page-turner and a lovely romance.
The instant ACE came on the page, I totally fell for him. I can see why Lily didn’t stand a chance against his charm. After having lived a sheltered life, getting the job in a war torn country made a different woman out of Lily. A strong, independent woman who would now live by her rules and not her father’s. But when tragedy strikes, she must protect herself at all costs.
The story makes you remember the feelings while falling in love—the undeniable attraction to someone, the playfulness while falling in love, and the consequences that come with growing up. I just loved it.
I read the sequel to this early this year and absolutely loved it, so there was no way I wasn’t going to dig into this one as soon as it was released. This compelling and bittersweet love story pulled strongly at the strings of my own past in a tangled way, making it all so very real. I especially enjoyed the time period and setting in this unusual romance and would love to see more novels set in this turbulent period of our history. Kudos to Ms. Morgan for finding love in those tragic and turbulent times, and touching the heart of what kept hope alive and brought so many of our men home.
—Rebecca S. Burkheart
The Pendant’s Promise
An unwed teenage girl fabricates a marriage and widowhood because her baby’s soldier father is MIA in North Vietnam, but when he turns up twenty years later at her daughter’s wedding, the fiction shatters her comfortable world. Can a love, sidetracked by war, be rekindled when the child born from that love feels betrayed?
What a lovely blending of romance and women’s fiction!
This is a “contemporary historical” novel set in the Vietnam and post-Vietnam eras. If you were a product of the turbulent sixties, like heroine Lillian Reed, this book will be more to you than a romance novel with a strong women’s fiction slant.
Lily has feminist ideals, but, nonetheless, she is the virtuous daughter of a minister. Her life is changed when she falls in love with Green Beret Major Alex Cabot.
When Alex becomes MIA in Vietnam, Lily faces life as an unwed mother. Scared and alone, she did what she thought best to shield her child from the stigma of illegitimacy as it was viewed during that era.
Poor Lily should have heeded the words of Sir Walter Scott: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” (I’ll confess that was one of my mother’s favorite aphorisms. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, and it probably accounts for my strict adherence to honesty in all matters.)
Strong characterization and a hero worthy of that label people this twining plot of lies and deception. Although at times I wanted to shake Lily and shout, “Just tell the truth,” I understand why she acted in the way she did — she was a product of her generation and the mores of the near past. Alex is wonderful. I mean what woman doesn’t love a man who clings to the memory of the love of his life?
Lily was flawed, but in the way that makes her seem real and allows for her to grow. Author Judythe Morgan skillfully created her characters, and they’ll seem real to you too.
If you like Barbara Delinsky, Danielle Steel, and women’s fiction authors like that, you’ll love this book.
—Joan Reeves, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Thank you, Judythe Morgan for writing this beautiful book beginning with life in the sixties.
Alex and Lily open up whole new memories for me. So many of our young people simply dropped off the earth only to resurface again from POW camps. Too many didn’t.
At that time, society’s mores were very different. It was an act of courage for Lily to leave her family and go to live in Korea. When she discovers she’s pregnant by a Green Beret who has been taken POW, Lily lies to protect her daughter. Any woman would.
But now she faces the supreme test when she must confront Alex with the truth. How much courage should one woman have to show?
Read this book if you were around in the sixties. You will be immersed with memories.
Read this book if you were not around in the sixties. You will understand what it was like.
This book is a keeper in your head and in your heart. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
The Pendant’s Promise is a beautifully written story about family, love, romance, societal mores and the consequences of deceit. Lily, unmarried, got pregnant at a time when unwed mothers and their children were shunned by society. Believing the father of her child was killed in Vietnam she created an elaborate lie to protect her daughter. Only a few people know Lily’s secret. When Ace, the father of her daughter, comes back into Lily’s life, her past and present collide in an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you breathless. Lily and Ace still love each other, but will Lily sacrifice all again for her daughter? This question kept me reading. The pacing is fast, the emotions gut-wrenching, and the backdrop of the Vietnam War lends an exotic authenticity to what is ultimately a story of betrayal, lies, familial love, sacrifice and redemption.
Packed with well-intended lies, well-meaning cover ups, and gut-wrenching heartache, this story takes you on a journey of a special kind of love. I fell in love with Alex from page one. What he had to endure, and what so many of our men and women in the armed forces have endured, should never be forgotten. He is truly the epitome of the word ‘hero’. Being the one left behind, Lilly wove a web around herself to survive. But how fragile webs can be when they’re based on lies.
A wonderful book that kept me turning the pages!
There is a lot to like about this story, but the main thing for me is that the instant connection I felt with Lilly grew and strengthened throughout the book. I loved reading a love story about someone my age, who’d made mistakes and lived with them, was still trying to live with them and still trying to do better – no matter how hard it all was to deal with.
We all make youthful mistakes and it takes the years, sometimes, to realize how small white lies can spiral out of control. I love how the time span this book covers allows us to see the difference between perceived mistakes and real ones, and how wrong we really can be sometimes, but also that it’s still, sometimes, possible, to fix things, even lives.
—Rebecca S. Burkheart
If you’re in dire need of a secret baby “fix” as well as a deeply romantic story, this is the book for you. Lily and Alex are star-crossed lovers who are torn apart by war and kept apart by well-meaning but misguided friends. A lie told to protect her unborn child has far-reaching effects and nearly derails Lily’s life for a second time. THE PENDANT’S PROMISE is a touching and beautifully written romance, the kind of story that has you rooting for the hero and heroine and that produces a satisfied sigh at the end. Bravo, Ms. Morgan. This is a lovely debut and I’ll be looking forward to more of your work in the future.
This moving story begins in the Vietnam era when Lillian “Lily” Reed meets Alex “Ace” Cabot, the love of her life. Like so many couples, circumstances of war tore them apart. Alex became MIA, a prisoner of war for six hellish years. Thinking him dead, Lily, a young and naive preacher’s daughter, begins her path of deception with a lie, perpetrated with good intentions–or at least a choice between the lesser of two evils. The deception grows into a tangled web that holds her captive and frightened many years later when Alex, as if by fate, reappears in Lillian Reed Johnson’s life just as her beloved daughter is about to be married.
From the moment that Lily and Alex’s paths cross again, it’s obvious that the fierce spark is still there, but now Lily is the prisoner of her deception and the convoluted web of lies she has spun to protect herself and her family. Is there any way out? Alex pushes hard to win her again. Can she rekindle the star-crossed relationship with Alex? How many lives will be torn apart if she tries?
The Pendant’s Promise is a complex and emotional tale, woven slowly and exquisitely, through the connections of an extended cast of well-drawn characters you will come to know as you struggle with Lily and her conscience and the far-reaching consequences of a life built on a lie. You’ll need a hanky for this one. Good job, Judythe!
Alex and Lily’s story captures the hard choices, the gray areas of an entire generation. A family torn apart by war, a love story that spans years and the heartbreak of a second chance that might not happen for lies told years before; lies meant to shield and protect the innocent. This is one of those stories that make you weep and cheer and wonder long after you put the book down. A great debut author from a talented writer. ~~ Mary Buckham, co-author of BREAK INTO FICTION: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells.
Until He Returns
Shirley Carlson’s husband has been MIA in Vietnam for decades. She’s filled her life with family, friends, her business, and David Sands’ companionship. Now David wants more. Only she wants her husband home and buried before she moves forward with another relationship.
David Sands has loved Shirley for years, patiently waiting for her to come to terms with her husband’s death. After one last assignment to the Middle East, he’s retiring from the Army. All he wants is Shirley at his side, as his wife. He proposes before he deploys.
Can Shirley make a commitment without closure to her past life, or will she watch her new love walk away?
I love Judythe Morgan’s stories because her characters are always fully developed, emotional, and likable. Until He Returns is one of my favorites of hers. I met David and Shirley in the other books of the Promises series, and I’m so glad they have their own story. David is a great hero, a good man who understands what Shirley is going through, I wanted Shirley to move on and realize what a treasure she had in David, but I understood why she couldn’t until she got closure about her MIA husband. Shirley’s predicament is heart-wrenching and so real. Highly recommend Until He Returns.
What a sweet, heart-wrenching tale. Although this book is fiction, it closely depicts what too many military spouses have had to face—their loved ones being MIA. It leaves the family in limbo—with no closure. And even though she loves David, Shirley wants that closure before she commits to him. David was soooooooo patient in this story, such a wonderful hero. Ms. Morgan really wrote a winner here (as are all her books)!! I loved seeing characters from the other books in the Promises series too.
It’s hard to even imagine the heartbreak of a military wife whose husband is Missing In Action (MIA). While I wanted to give her permission to get on with her life, I understood her need to bring her husband home first. I admire her loyalty and wondered if I could ever act with such honor. Vietnam was a long time ago, but to the loved ones of these heroes, the painful memory lives on. The characters are carefully drawn bringing them into your own heart with sadness and joy. You must read this book. I couldn’t put it down.
Promises to Keep
David Sands lost his wife three years ago. Debra Hughes was his wife’s best friend and business partner. Debra and David have been friends for years. They’ve both made promises to his wife before her death.
He promised to sell their condo and donate the proceeds to their foundation that support families of MIA and POW soldiers. Debra promised to look after David. They’ve comforted each other in their grief now as they work together to close out the wife’s estate, their bond grows into mutual attraction. Will keeping their promises open their eyes and hearts to a future together?
Put the kettle on and pull up a comfortable chair. You’re going to lose sleep tonight. This book is definitely worth it.
I admit you’re going to cry, but then you’ll smile and nod your head through those tears.
Judythe Morgan writes with tender sensitivity about love lost and love found by people you’ll want to get to know and spend time with.
Promises To Keep is a stand alone book, but I guaranteed if you haven’t read the rest of the series you’ll be typing in an Amazon order to get the others. Sigh, there goes more sleep.
I’m a huge fan of Ms. Morgan and have read all her books. She delicately deals with real life situations and how different personalities react to them. I cannot imagine how hard losing a spouse would be, so I really related to David–I think I would be just like him. But he has great friends trying to pull him from his grief and he starts to fall in love with his wife’s best friend. Debra was strong and independent, a great change from a lot of heroines. Promises to Keep is heartfelt, sweet, and a great read!
Judythe Morgan has a knack for weaving into her novels family values and I do like this style of writing. I just finished her last book in this series (Promises to Keep) and wanted a sequel. You will not be disappointed reading her books and hope she continues writing. Her novels also engage you with the story an you can put your own spin on the outcome and I’m always pleasantly surprised with the ending. The themes of her stories are about real life and that keeps you hanging on every word until the end. I look forward to her next book.
You will not be disappointed in the way she brings life as we know it into her writing style, because she has had so much life experiences. I’m thrilled that David found his true love, which I thought it was lost. Like I said, you will enjoy the read.
I love this series and was glad to see David get his happy-ever-after. Ms. Morgan writes well-rounded, real characters with real emotions. Debra and David are two people who have been through adversity but fight their way out to claim the love they both deserve. I recommend the entire series to those who want emotional stories with satisfying endings.
I love this book as much as the other books by Judythe Morgan. It’s nice to read about grownups and real-life situations complicating their growing love for each other. Ms. Morgan writes so beautifully, you feel the emotions as you read. I highly recommend reading this book and her others.
The Fitzpatrick Family Series
Eight preacher kids, each with a sweet romance story of his or her own.
When Love Blooms
After a hit-and-run accident leaves her mother confined to a special care facility, Darcy Clark abandons her dream of an art career. Instead, she focuses on helping her father run the struggling family landscape business. She has no time or interest in romance.
When at-risk students from her old high school become her labor force on a city park project, their teacher Andy Fitzpatrick shows up to help and keep an eye on his kids. The chemistry between Darcy and Andy is instant.
Darcy dares to daydream about the possibility of a happily-ever-after until a dark secret connecting Andy to her mother’s accident comes to light. Will the secret kill their attraction before romance can blossom?
This was such a delightful, sweet story!! Darcy and Andy are both characters you root for and fall in love with. Their budding relationship is challenged at every turn, yet they are continually drawn to each other. Andy’s students are wonderfully portrayed and could be any teenager you meet on the street. I like the gentleness of this story, the development of feelings beyond the physical. Can’t wait for Ms. Morgan’s next book!
When Love Blooms is a beautiful, sweet story that will make you sigh. Darcy and Andy are very likeable characters, each carrying deep hurts. As they get to know each other and fall in love, they’re able to release the walls around their hearts and take a chance on love and life again. The story itself is uplifting and multi-dimensional. I loved the characters and the story and didn’t want to see it end. I can’t wait to read other stories in what promises to be an exciting series.
It’s refreshing to read a love story that’s portrayed without the sex we’ve come to expect in a romance. Darcy and Andy have obstacles to overcome before they can admit their love, but Judythe Morgan leads them slowly and masterfully toward that end. I look forward to the next book in the Fitzpatrick Family saga.
Morgan introduced so many obstacles to this couple I just ached for them. However, When Love Blooms is a prime example of how a good author faces life as it really is and we are care. Oh, how we care.
All I can say is, Morgan, write faster. What happens next?
When Love Returns
Becca Fitzpatrick fell in love with Ethan Wells at age five. At eight, he proposed. At seventeen, he disappeared and broke her heart.
Twelve years later, he returns with a new name – Ethan LaMotte – and a new life in Paris. He claims he’s never stopped loving her. Once upon a time, Becca believed him. Not anymore. Now family, friends, and adoring students fill her life. Plus, she has an opportunity for the job of her dreams in her small Texas hometown.
Although their lives and work are an ocean apart, Ethan won’t lose Becca another time. But, will she risk her heart again and accept this new Ethan’s proposal?
When Love Returns is a beautiful story with fully-formed characters that will grab your heart. The Fitzpatrick family is warm and big, and just the kind of family we’d all like to belong to. Ethan and Becca are complex characters who have some hard choices to make. This story is about second chances and letting go of the past to embrace an uncertain, but hopeful future. There are a couple of nice twists that kept me reading. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
Great story of lost and found love!!! I usually like the heroes in stories more than the heroines, but I liked these characters equally! They had much to overcome, but with love, patience, and a deep abiding connection, these two prove nothing can stand in the way of happiness!!
Sweet story of lost love finding its way back. Would have like more depth in the story but great short read
Enjoyed getting to know the members of the Fitzpatrick family better. Looking forward to stories about the rest of the clan.
You’ll fall in love again. The Fitzpatrick family calls me back to them. Morgan’s characters are deep, believable, and totally loveable. It’s painful to see them make the day to day decisions that we know will be wrong for them, but somehow, Morgan works out happy endings. Read this. You won’t be sorry.
As always, Judythe Morgan writes an exquisitely written love story that you hate to see come to an end. Can’t wait for the next book in this series.—Diana Peto
Claiming Annie’s Heart
An Irish Love Story
Annie Foster’s outraged parents discover she’s living with her boyfriend Chad Jones and banish Annie to a remote boarding school in Ireland. Believing Chad has deserted her, Annie refuses to return to Texas when she graduates. Instead, she remains in Ireland to nanny a widower’s infant daughter. Now, five years later, she accepts the widower’s marriage proposal.
Chad has never forgotten Annie or the way her parents tore her from him. He refuses to give up hope that someday he’ll find her. Now a private security contractor with NSA, he arrives in Belfast weeks before Annie’s wedding.
Only problem is, he’s there to investigate her fiancé’s connection with terrorists. Without revealing his role, Chad must protect Annie while convincing her she still loves him because he’s never stopped loving her.
Unexpectedly faced with truths she never anticipated, Annie must choose between the man she’ll always love and her fiancé and his child, the daughter she has promised not to abandon.
Claiming Annie’s Heart is an emotional blend of Women’s Fiction and Romance. But let’s call this an Irish Romance because it’s a sonnet to Ireland. With strong characters determined to do what’s right even if it goes against what they really want, this is the kind of emotional book for which Judythe Morgan is noted. Annie Foster’s emotional, conflict-ridden journey will make you wonder if she and Chad Jones can ever be together.
How can Annie forgive Chad when he betrayed her in the worst way. Or did he? As in real life, the truth will out. When it does, Annie has a choice to make. Get out the hankies because Morgan always pulls on your heartstrings as she delivers a memorable story, and that’s what she does with this Irish romance.
—Joan Reeves, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
This book is delightful from beginning to end. It is a story of love, commitment, promises made and thought broken. But also of hearts that have never forgotten and that will always be connected. Annie has done a good job of pretending to get over Chad, but in all their time apart, five years, Chad has done nothing but search for Annie. So when they meet again, everything has changed. The characters are wonderfully written–even Pearce, Annie’s fiance and Emma, Pearce’s daughter, will steal your heart. Ms. Morgan does a terrific job with the setting, the descriptions, and the accents. Treat yourself to this sweet, heartwarming story.
There’s something beautifully tragic about Ireland and Irish Romance. Maybe it’s the lovely accents that make my heart swoon or maybe it’s the fact that I’m part-Irish. I had no expectation about Claiming Annie’s Heart, other than it sounded interesting. Boy, there should be a warning label on this book:
WARNING: THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU CRY AND YOU WILL NEED KLEENUX
My heart was immediately connected with Annie and I rooted for her throughout the book. When her heart broke, mine did too. I understood her pain and kept nudging her to follow her heart. I don’t reveal any spoilers but I was very satisfied with the who Annie chose. The twists in the plot kept me guessing and I sometimes laid awake wondering what was going to happen next.
What I loved more than the love story was the Irish setting. Ireland and their people became another character to the story. I loved it and now am aching to travel to the Isle myself.
Judythe Morgan is a magnificent storyteller and I can see why she has won several awards. The characters are brought to life with such realism, I’m not sure they aren’t real people. There are a few surprises and those made me gasp aloud. Wonderfully written!
If you believe in true love, no matter how much time has passed, Claiming Annie’s Heart is the book for you.
—N. N. Light
This is romance the way it’s supposed to be. The characters are determined to act with honor and courage. They consider the effect their actions will have on others, most particularly a young child. The setting is beautiful Ireland. You’ll ache for the country struggling with the “troubles.” I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though I lost sleep reading until dawn to see what happens next.
I loved Claiming Annie’s Heart. Judythe Morgan has written a warm-hearted, lovely story that is unique. The characters, especially Annie and Chad, are very real with true-to-life emotions. Annie and Chad have never stopped loving each other, but life has changed them and they each have hard choices. The setting in Ireland is also part of the story. The story kept me guessing about Annie’s choice until the very satisfying end. Claiming Annie’s Heart will claim your heart.