by Caren Simpson McVicker
An enchanting boardinghouse tale of sisters, secrets, and later-in-life romance, Henderson House invites you to pull up a rocking chair and lose yourself in the heartaches and hopes of 1940s Oklahoma.
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In May 1941, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, hums with talk of spring flowers, fishing derbies, and the growing war in Europe. And for the Blackwell sisters, who reside in a quiet neighborhood boarding house, the winds of change are blowing.
Bessie Blackwell, copy room manager at Phillips Petroleum and faithful churchgoer, is the reluctant owner of a new pair of glasses and a self-proclaimed spinster. Frank Davis, Henderson House’s newest tenant, throws that status into question with his gentle eyes and ready smile. But the scar on his forehead and rumors of divorce speak of a troubled past.
Bessie’s sister, Florence, a sales assistant at the men's clothing store downtown, knows all about troubled pasts. Her husband is dead, and it’s only with her sister's help that she’s able to raise Johnny. Life at Henderson House is luxurious compared to growing up in Cherokee Indian Territory, but Florence wants more for her boy than a rented room. When the flagship store in Tulsa offers her a management position, Florence sets her sights on the future and keeping the family together. And neither future nor family includes Frank Davis.
Mrs. Henderson, the landlady, cook, and adopted matriarch of the Blackwell clan, possesses an uncanny intuition about all her borders. She knows true love when she sees it. But soon even her vision becomes clouded as Florence schemes to undermine her sister’s budding romance. In a desperate attempt to keep Bessie by her side, Florence exposes the sisters' darkest secret. A secret that will change their lives, and the lives of those they love, forever.
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Born in Oklahoma, Caren lives in Vermont with her husband, a rescue pup, and a barn cat turned happy house kitty. Caren is also a mom to two incredible humans and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. Winner of the Inkshares 2020 All-Genre Contest, Henderson House is Caren's first novel.