In her lyrical and engrossing debut novel, The Way of Water, Teresa H. Janssen mines family lore to vividly portray the coming-of-age of a young girl in the early 1900’s American Southwest.
The daughter of a railroad engineer and a Texas seamstress, Josie Belle Gore’s itinerant childhood takes her from New Mexico’s arid but hauntingly beautiful Jornada del Muerto, to big city Austin, Texas; into revolutionary Mexico; to the copper town of Bisbee, to Tucson, Arizona, and later, to a lively 1920’s San Francisco and its picturesque bay.
Forced early on to confront her family’s hardships, Josie assumes the mantle of family protector, determined to keep everyone together, but her childhood is pockmarked by separations, nonetheless.
Josie grows up as the West expands—and as the world reels from a world war and raging pandemic. With the help of compassionate friends and relatives, and no small amount of grit, Josie fashions an independent life for herself and for her beloved siblings.
Powerful, heartwarming, and hopeful, THE WAYS OF WATER is the story of a resilient young woman charting her course in a dramatically new world.
Teresa H. Janssen’s essays, poetry, and short fiction have appeared in a variety of journals, including Zyzzyva, Catamaran, Chautauqua, and in the anthologies Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis (She Writes Press, 2022) and Offerings: A Spiritual Poetry Anthology (Tiferet, 2022). Her novel The Ways of Water (2023) was inspired by her grandmother’s early life. A career educator, she holds a degree in history from Gonzaga University and an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington. She lives with her husband on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula where she tends a small orchard and writes about family, the power of place, and social and spiritual topics. Find her online at www.teresahjanssen.com
In The Seeing Garden a novel by Ginny Kubitz Moyer [a] sweeping and engrossing debut novel, beautiful nineteen-year-old New Yorker Catherine Ogden weighs the risks of accepting a proposal from the dashing and wealthy William Brandt, son of a California railroad magnate. Their match looks storybook perfect on paper, and Catherine’s aunt and uncle, who act as her guardians after the tragic loss of her parents, are thrilled with the pairing. Still, Catherine dreams of living a more free and artistic life—if it’s possible to find in the rigid society of 1910.
While visiting Oakview, William’s stately home outside San Francisco, Catherine is immediately drawn to the magnificent garden and realizes that it could be her canvas. She swallows her doubts. After all, doesn’t love grow over time? But even in this lush setting, shadows remain—there’s a dark edge to William’s personality, a secret about her family history that Catherine must keep, and her own lingering sense that she’s losing herself. If only Catherine could walk bravely into the life she desires...
Drawing on the rich history of the San Francisco Peninsula during the early twentieth century, Moyer crafts a captivating tale of a principled and kind heroine who comes into her own only when she finds the place where she can best take root, like the blooming flowers in the garden she so lovingly plants. Rich in period detail and set against the backdrop of lavish gardens and mansions, THE SEEING GARDEN is a page-turning story about loss, family, creativity, and love—the perfect summer read.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a California native with a love of local history. A graduate of Pomona College and Stanford University, she’s an English teacher and avid weekend gardener, as well as the author of several books on spirituality, most recently Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses (Loyola Press). She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two sons, and one rescue dog. Learn more at ginnymoyer.org
Teresa H. Janssen - photo credit David Conklin ; Ginny Kubitz Moyer - photo credit Robin Clark