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Why Did Donna Get Her Own Story?

The other day, someone posted about The Promise in Poppies on Instagram. I just happened to see the post in my feed and one of the comments caught my attention.

Essentially, the commenter said they weren't sure they'd read the book because they didn't want to read Donna's story. Especially not from her point of view. And definitely not if it's a romance.

At first, I was surprised. I hadn't even considered that telling the rest of Donna's story would be off-putting to some readers.

But the more I thought about the comment ~ and contemplated the myriad of reasons behind it ~ the more I understood.

We first meet Donna Hayward in book 1 of the series, The Clause in Christmas. As an unstable and selfish alcoholic, she didn't have many redeeming qualities. Arguably, she didn't have any. And after the way she treated Cassie, how could we not view her as the villain?

From this perspective, it's easy to see why some readers wouldn't want to read her story or root for her redemption.

So, why would I write a book about it?

If I'm honest, I think I see some of myself in Donna. No, I'm not an alcoholic who often neglected my child. On the surface, Donna and I have little, if anything, in common.

But, like Donna, I have wounds from my past. I've felt broken, unlovable, scared, and alone. I've made choices that hurt loved ones. At times in my life, I've been someone I didn't like or respect.

And yet, in the midst of my brokenness, God showed me the beauty He'd created. I saw my worth and value through His eyes, not my own or through the lens of others.

In Him, I found redemption and unfailing grace.

I found hope ~ the kind that transformed my life from the inside out.

And that's why I believe in second chances. And why I write stories about people who need the same grace that I desperately needed.

Donna Hayward didn't deserve her own story. Or a second chance. Or a shot at love.

But I gave her one anyway. And it's my sincerest hope that readers who give this book a chance ~ even if it's purely to revisit with all our old friends from the previous books and see where their lives have taken them ~ will have an open mind.

And maybe even an open heart. 😉

Would you like to know more about this book? You can read the description below. Cassie, Donna, and Rhett all get POV chapters and we'll revisit with nearly every single character from past books to find out what they're up to these days. :)


In the picturesque town of Poppy Creek, Cassie Davis’s peaceful life takes an unexpected turn. Entangled in a battle to save the beloved library from an unscrupulous developer, Cassie faces fears of motherhood while reconciling with her own mom.

Donna Hayward, devoted to making amends and rebuilding her life, strives to maintain her sobriety and be the best mother she can be while guarding a troubling secret. The last thing she needs is to fall for an ex-con who sees beyond her scars, igniting a glimmer of hope in her heart.

Rhett Douglas, burdened by his past mistakes, is determined to repair his relationship with his son. Dating isn’t on his radar until an unexpected encounter with a captivating kindred spirit inspires a second chance at happiness.

When a shocking truth emerges, perceptions of love and family are put to the ultimate test. Is the tight-knit community of Poppy Creek strong enough to withstand the storm?

Return to Poppy Creek for a heartwarming tale of hope, redemption, and the power of found-family to heal a wounded heart.

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