NEW IN 2011 …
That Forgetful Shore
Breakwater Books, 2011
Triffie and Kit are closer than sisters. But for two girls growing up in a Newfoundland outport in the early 1900s, having the same dreams and ambitions doesn’t mean life will hand you the same opportunities. While a teacher’s certificate gives Kit the opportunity to explore the wider world, Trif is left at home, living the life she never wanted with the man she swore she’d never marry. The letters she and Kit exchange are her lifeline — till a long-buried secret threatens to destroy their bond.
This novel was inspired by a collection of postcards I found in the house my great-great-grandfather built 150 years ago in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland. You can find out more about the novel and the postcards that inspired it here, and you can buy the book through indigo.ca or amazon.ca .
Pacific Press, 2011
James is my latest foray into Biblical fiction. While I’ve written a lot about women of the Bible, this is the first book I’ve written that focuses solely on a male Bible character, and he’s one who really fascinates me: Jesus’ brother James, who seems not to have been a follower of Jesus yet who emerges after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension as a leader in the early church. What kind of man must James have been? What kind of transformation made him into a follower of the Brother he’d once criticized? And what can a modern reader learn from his story? I really enjoyed writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. You can buy it from Amazon or through the publisher’s Adventist Book Center link.
Review and Herald, 2011
Stephanie Kent has a secret identity — SuperSteph, her competent, confident alter ego who can handle any situation life throws at her. But when Stephanie, fresh out of grad school with a social work degree, finds herself in an unfamiliar corner of the country facing a challenging new job with at-risk teens in a street mission, she discovers there are things even SuperSteph can’t handle. As for her love life, she’s attracted to her boss, Paul, and his passionate committment to the work he does — but she recognizes he’s a deeply wounded man who may never be able to trust or love again. As Stephanie tries to take on the world and finds things spinning out of control, she discovers she can’t do everything in her own strength — and learns to place her trust in a God who can.
I originally imagined this book as a romance for the Christian market, but while there’s definitely still a thread of romance there, it became much more a story about finding your path in life and recognizing what you can and can’t do in your own strength. Because I write mostly historical fiction, it was fun to write this contemporary novel. While Stephanie, Paul and the other charaters are definitely fictional, I drew on a lot of real-life background for this book, and it was fun to write a contemporary book set in my hometown and in a setting similar to the one I work in. This book is very close to my heart. You can order it through Amazon or through the publisher’s Adventist Book Center link here.
Review and Herald, 2010
Lydia, “a seller of purple,” was the first Christian convert in Philippi, the first Christian in what we today call Europe. This is my imaginative version of her story — and the stories of her family and friends, of the demon-possessed slave girl, of the Philippian jailer and his family. It’s about a community of people trying to learn to live out their new faith together, exploring what it means when a diverse group of people — Jew and Gentile, Greek and Roman, male and female, slave and free — try to be “all one in Christ Jesus.”
Breakwater Books, 2009
In the 1920s (just like today) young people left Newfoundland to look for new opportunities and new lives. Thousands of them ended up in Brooklyn, New York. This novel tells the story of Rose, Bert, and Jim Evans, who, along with Bert’s fiancee Ethel, all move to Brooklyn in 1924 — and their sister Annie, who stays behind in St. John’s. When tragedy strikes, Ethel makes a desperate choice whose consequences will affect the Evans family for years to come. Sprawling over three generations and three countries, this epic saga (I’ve always wanted to say that!) is fiction, but was inspired by earlier generations of my own family who, like the Evanses, went to live in Brooklyn. I think you’ll like it!
By the Rivers of Brooklyn has its very own website where you can find out all sorts of behind-the-scenes info about the book and keep up on readings, signings, and other news. Reviews and interviews are posted here. You can order the book online from indigo.ca or directly from the publisher.
That First Christmas: Yosef’s Story
Review and Herald, 2009
The first in a planned annual series of gift books about the Nativity story, Yosef’s Story is my guess as to what those events might have looked like from the perspective of Joseph, husband of Mary, who I think is the real unsung hero of the Christmas story. Serious, guys, how would you feel if your fiancee tells you she’s pregant … by the Holy Spirit?? Writing this was a great way to explore the themes of doubt and faith — and faithfulness. It’s a beautifully designed book that will make a great Christmas gift. You can buy it at the Adventist Book Centre, in the store or online, and it’s also available at amazon.com .
That First Christmas: The Wise Men
Review and Herald, 2010
As I mentioned above, That First Christmas was planned as an annual series, but changes at the publishing house sadly meant that only two volumes ever appeared. This second Christmas novella traces the journey of the Magi from a royal court plagued with hostility, suspcion, and intrigue, to … another royal court where they find the very same things. Only when they detour to a little town called Bethlehem do they find, in a humble villager’s home, that the hope of the world doesn’t lie powerful men and palaces, but in a Baby in His mother’s arms.
Review and Herald, 2009
This is an abridged version of my 2003 Biblical novel Esther: A Story of Courage. This shorter and somewhat lighter version is aimed at teen readers and focuses just on the part of Esther’s story that’s told in the Bible. It was released to coincide with the 2009 Pathfinder Camporee, which had “Courage to Stand” as its theme and presnted a nightly musical on the story of Queen Esther. I had the opportunity to sign some copies of the book at Camporee and meet lots of Pathfinders who identified with Esther’s story and who I hope will enjoy the book. It’s available at local Adventist Book Centres or online from the ABC site or from amazon.com .
Review and Herald, 2009
This book, gorgeously illustrated by Robert Hunt, is a collection of the articles I’ve written about women of the Bible for Women of Spirit magazine over the last few years. Each one explores the story of one woman and the relevance it might have for our lives today. This will be a beautiful gift book. Order it through amazon.com or through the Adventist Book Center’s online store.
The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson
Penguin Books Canada, 2006
This novel is the result of my 20-year-old fascination with Esther Johnson, close friend (and possibly the secret wife?) of Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift of Gulliver’s Travels fame.
“In this poised and polished novel…, Trudy Morgan-Cole evokes the social milieu of early-18th century England….Esther Johnson comes vividly to life through Morgan-Cole’s imagined journal entries and poetry. As Esther’s life ebbs, she ponders her choices and weighs the sacrifices they have entailed -an accounting that is as resonant today as it was 300 years ago.” (Quill and Quire)
Deborah and Barak: If God Be With Us
Review and Herald, 2006
This is my second Biblical novel. It tells the story of the prophetess Deborah and the liberator Barak, building fiction from the bare bones of the story in Judges 4 and 5. I was curious about how a woman could have risen to a position of such respect in a patriarchal, Bronze Age society. Also, I wondered about Barak — why did he trust Deborah and rely on her so much? Did he know her before she sent him a message from God? I ended up writing the story from both their points of view — it’s always a challenge to get into the heads of characters so remote from our own time and culture, but I thoroughly enjoyed both Deborah and Barak. I hope you do too!
Esther: A Story of Courage
Review and Herald, 2003
My retelling of the often-retold story of Queen Esther — a novel that attempts to explore the questions left unanswered in the Bible story. I started by wondering about her marriage. What would it be like to be one woman among many in a harem? What kind of a relationship could you have with a man who had so many other women competing for his attention. The gaps in the Bible story caught my curiosity — especially the five-year gap between the time Esther is crowned as queen, the most favoured of all the maidens, and the time when Mordecai appeals to her for help and she tells him the king hasn’t even summoned her in a month. What happened? Did she fall from favour? Did he get bored? And what happened after she saved the Jewish nation?
Besides my novels, I’ve written two books that were used as yearly devotional books in the SDA church — Connecting, for college-age young adults, published in 2003, and God’s Positioning System, for high-school youth, published in 2006.
Several of my earlier books, published by Review and Herald in the mid-1980s-1990s, have since gone out of print. These include my first novel All My Love, Kate, about a teenager’s quest for God, and the sequel Roommates. I also wrote a five-book series of young adult novels about life at an Adventist boarding academy, the Best Friends series (Who is Alex Best?; Whatcha Doin’ Alex; Facing the Music; Jackie, Get a Life! and Who Loves Alex Best?). My very favourite of my “early works” is The Man from Lancer Avenue, a retelling of the story of Jesus in modern setting, which I would love to rewrite and see re-released someday. All these books are published under the name “Trudy J. Morgan” and are readily available secondhand from sites such as abebooks.com .