Three Books in One – the first three books in the Bellamy Family Series
BOOK ONE – Family Treasure
What do you do when life throws you a curve? Samuel Bellamy, his wife Anne, and their five children, Sarah, Sammy, Jesse, Rob, and Bob had it made. Samuel’s work ethic and integrity catapulted him to a top managerial position in his company. The accompanying salary and benefits afforded the Bellamys a large, stately home in a fine Atlanta neighborhood, excellent educational opportunities for the kids, expensive vacations, club memberships, and all of the accoutrements that make life comfortable.
In an instant, though, life threw the Bellamys a curve. Samuel’s company lost its footing and crumbled into a mish-mash of political factions that pushed it into bankruptcy.
Left with no job, no prospects for employment, and very little money, Samuel and Anne find themselves faced with some very difficult decisions. In the midst of their struggle, they receive a call from Anne’s starchy, opportunistic great-aunt who, in typical Aunt Vivian fashion, appears just in the nick of time with a series of carefully crafted coincidences to help the Bellamys through their trouble. With no other viable options, the Bellamys accept Aunt Vivian’s strategically timed offer to leave Atlanta for life in the country on the old, and deteriorated, family estate.
A family legacy, hidden treasure, new loves, and enduring friendships all reflect the faithfulness of God and remind the Bellamys of the words of the Psalmist, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.”
BOOK 2 – Rite of Passage
Anne contemplated the closing chapters of childhood in her eldest offspring. She sighed acknowledging the natural passing of time, “It’s the way it was meant to be. We have them for what seems like only a moment, and then we have to help them cross the threshold into adulthood.” Such is the case with Sammy, Sarah, and Shelly.
Just when Samuel and Anne Bellamy think their new life on the old estate has fallen into place, Samuel makes a shocking discovery that again changes the dynamic of their family. In response to an early pregnancy test box he finds in the garbage, Samuel makes several impetuous and incorrect assumptions in his quest to find the origination of the box as well as the actual test itself. False accusations, an embarrassing series of errors in judgment, and a knee-jerk reaction to the truth leaves him at odds with his children and creates a schism between his eldest daughter and the love of her life.
Enter Aunt Vivian to bring clarity to a difficult situation and to surprise the family with a revelation that none of them see coming… well, except maybe for Uncle Carl and Aunt Edith.
Lost loves, new loves, love unrequited, and love rekindled, all culminate with the birth of the next generation of Bellamys in Rite of Passage, Book 2 in the Bellamy series.
BOOK 3 – The Preacher
Jesse braced himself for the question he knew Pastor Whipple would ask. The old gentleman took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He then looked Jesse square in the face, “Jesse, do you have a call from God to serve him in full time ministry?”
From his earliest memories of childhood, Jesse had always felt a special connection to the church. The adults in his life recognized this and gave him continual guidance and encouragement as he nurtured what they believed to be a budding call toward a life in ministry. As adulthood loomed on the horizon of his young life, Jesse couldn’t help but wonder whether the nudge he felt toward an ecclesiastical vocation was driven more by the expectations of his friends and family, especially his parents and great grandmother, than by the Lord. Further complicating the situation was an unfortunate turn of events which left him struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Beyond all of this, the object of his affection, the girl who had been at his side supporting him through the most difficult time of his life, had become the disdain of many who felt her an inappropriate match for a young future clergyman.
Jesse wrinkled his forehead, “I would like to say yes, absolutely, but since my accident, I’m not sure that I’m fully equipped to take on such a responsibility.”
Pastor Whipple smiled, “I didn’t ask if there were any extenuating circumstances which would inhibit your ability to fill the ministerial role. I asked whether or not you are called into God’s holy ministry.”
Jesse stared at him blankly considering how to answer…
Targeted Age Group:: 16 – 99
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My wife is an avid reader of Christian fiction. Each night, she sits in bed reading a novel to unwind and prepare to sleep. After some years watching this ritual, I began to casually thumb through the novels sitting on her nightstand and developed an interest in writing. I embarked on an internet search, looking for information to guide me into the world of fiction writing and self publishing. Some months later, my mind fully saturated with an abundance of ideas, I felt emboldened to jump into the pool head first.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I first chose a story line, and then, as the main and sub plots began to develop, I developed main and supporting characters who would fit into the plot. Having lived in the southeastern United States my entire life, primarily south Alabama, the local color of my novels is set in the South with characters who are quintessentially southern.
Later in the evening, after the children had gone to their bedrooms, Samuel and Anne relaxed on the sofa in the den with a cup of chamomile tea and honey.
Samuel sighed and rubbed his forehead, “So, how do you think they took the news?”
Anne placed her cup on the coffee table and massaged Samuel’s neck and shoulders, “I think they trust us implicitly, and they’re willing to do whatever you ask because they believe their daddy can do anything.”
Samuel swelled with pride, “Thanks for that.” He took a deep breath and relaxed. “So then, when we sell the house, they’ll be ok.”
Anne chuckled and returned to sipping her tea, “Absolutely, they’ll be ok, as soon as they’ve recovered from the inevitable meltdown which will assuredly include great wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
“Yeah, ok, thanks for that.” Samuel laughed, “Thanks a lot.”
Their moment of reflection was broken by the ring of the telephone. “Who could be calling this late?” Anne mused.
Samuel reached for the phone and answered, “Bellamys.”
The voice on the other end of the line, as always, caused a surprise of mixed emotions. “Hello, my boy, how is my great-niece and her beautiful children?” The voice was that of Anne’s somewhat eccentric great-aunt, Vivian. Samuel was her favorite in-law, but publicly, she felt it necessary to keep her feelings about him a secret.
“Hello Lady.” Samuel greeted Anne’s great-aunt enthusiastically with the pet name he’d given her at their wedding rehearsal.
When the wedding director informed Aunt Vivian that she would be escorted to the front pew of the sanctuary to sit with Anne’s mother, Aunt Vivian refused to be “paraded” down the aisle on the arm of “just some flunky usher” and insisted she be escorted by the groom, giving her the opportunity to “size him up” and bestow upon him some friendly family advice. From that moment forward, Samuel referred to Vivian as “Me Lady” which he later shortened to just “Lady”.
Samuel continued, “They’re all fine. How’s everything in Alabama?”
“Very nice, may I speak to Anne?” said Aunt Vivian.
Samuel motioned a reluctant Anne to come to the phone and said, “She’s right here.” Anne tried to make a quick getaway through the kitchen, into the dining room, out to the foyer, and up the stairs, but Samuel ran down the hallway from the den to the foyer, cutting her off at the pass.
“Oh!” Anne squealed with a giggle when Samuel caught her. He pressed the handset into her hand with a smile and a kiss on the forehead.
“Hello, Aunt Vivian,” Anne answered while giving Samuel an affectionate yet firm punch on the arm.
“Anne, my dear child, how are you doing?” Aunt Vivian had a conspicuous lilt in her voice.
“I’m doing just fine, Aunt Vivian, how wonderful of you to call.” Anne was immediately suspicious of the sing-song response emanating from the receiver. Aunt Vivian wouldn’t have been using such melodious tones unless she had something up her sleeve.
“Thank you,” said Aunt Vivian, her voice reverted to something more serious and direct, “Anne, I’ll get right to the point. I need to see you regarding some very important family business. When can we meet?”
Anne was taken aback. She’d not heard of any pressing family business, and she could hardly curb her intrigue. “Well, I don’t know,” Anne responded nonchalantly, “I promised Sarah I’d take her into Buckhead tomorrow to do some shopping at Lenox Mall.”
“That’s perfect,” Aunt Vivian responded immediately, interrupting Anne, “I’m staying at the Mandarin. Let’s meet in the café here for lunch tomorrow, my treat. Is noon-thirty ok with you?”
“Oh… my… Aunt Vivian, you’re in Atlanta, then?” Anne’s curiosity was now sufficiently piqued. She was most interested to know what possible turn of events would have caused her aged great-aunt to suddenly appear in Atlanta.
Aunt Vivian answered excitedly, “Yes, I came rushing up here the moment I…,” she paused for a split second, calmed her tone, then continued, “I just had to see my wonderful Anne, and what a nice surprise to have the opportunity to lunch with young Sarah too.”
Anne’s eyes grew as big as quarters. She looked at Samuel and worded without speaking, “She knows.”
Samuel whispered back, “She knows what? About me?” Anne nodded as she responded to Aunt Vivian, “Yes ma’am. It will certainly be a treat. Twelve thirty. We’ll be there.”
“Until tomorrow then, love to all,” Aunt Vivian replied as she hung up the phone.
Anne looked at Samuel and said, “How does she do that?”
“Do what?” asked Samuel.
Anne continued, “Aunt Vivian is in Atlanta. She said she came up the moment she… and then changed the subject.”
Samuel clapped his hand and exclaimed, “She knows I lost my job!”
“Yes,” said Anne.
“How does she do that?” Samuel ran through a quick mental list of people who would have heard about his job situation, and no one came to mind who would have known Lady, much less tell her about it.
“I know, right?” said Anne in amazement. “Where does that frail little woman get her information?” Aunt Vivian was the “fount of knowledge” when it came to family business. She notoriously had the inside track on just about everything, and there was seldom any significant event that she missed especially when the details were juicy.
Samuel smiled and said, “I don’t know. All I can say is, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’.”
Anne gave Samuel another punch in the arm and then stared into space. “What is that old girl up to? I wonder…,” her voice trailed away as she slipped into deep thought. Samuel guided Anne up the stairs to bed.
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