Readers generally know me for one of two things: historical fiction set in Newfoundland, Canada, or novels about characters from the Bible. I've enjoyed writing both types of books, as well as many others, over the years, and you can read about and buy all my books here.
Such Miracles and Mischiefs
The Cupids Trilogy, Book Two
Breakwater Books, 2021
After pirates attack the Guy family’s plantation near Cupids, Nancy Ellis needs all her ingenuity to survive in the hands of lawless men. Ned Perry crosses the ocean to find her, while Nancy’s employer and friend, Kathryn Guy, must rebuild a home on the harsh shores of the New Found Land.
As the story unfolds in Newfoundland, in Bermuda, in Virginia, in England and on the wild Atlantic Ocean, the characters face not only their worst fears but the darkest secrets of their own hearts. As they encounter other European colonists, enslaved Africans, and indigenous Americans, they are forced to confront the realities of colonization even as they struggle to carve out their own place in this strange "New World."
This books continues the story of the Cupids Trilogy, which will conclude with A Company of Rogues in 2023.
A Roll of the Bones
The Cupids Trilogy: Book One
Breakwater Books, 2019
In 1610, John Guy established a small colony in Cupids, Newfoundland, on the very edge of a world unknown to Europeans. Two years later, he brought a shipment of supplies to his all-male settlement: 70 goats, 10 heifers, 2 bulls, and 16 women. A Roll of the Bones tells the story of some of these nameless women by tracing the journeys of three young people—Ned Perry, Nancy Ellis, and Kathryn Gale—who leave Bristol, England, for a life in the struggling community. Ned dreams of altering his fate with the promise of a New World. Kathryn only wishes to follow her husband—little dreaming she might find romance outside her marriage. And Nancy, the servant girl, has no desire to leave Bristol, but her fealty will ultimately test her ability to survive.
My newest historical novel reaches further back into Newfoundland history than I've yet gone, exploring the earliest English settlement, the role of those unnamed women in establishing it, and the uneasy legacy of colonization. Also, if you think the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger ... there's more to come! It's the first volume of a trilogy, with the next book scheduled for release in 2021.
Prone to Wander
Strident Books, 2019
My second foray into self-publishing is a deeply personal story that, while it's definitely fiction, is more deeply rooted in my own life than anything I"ve ever written. Find out more about this book here.
Jeff Evans never believed that your life flashes in front of your eyes right before you die. But now, with a tractor-trailer heading towards his car on the wrong side of the highway, he realizes there might be something to that idea after all. His memory rewinds to the summer he was fourteen, hanging out at church camp with four close friends. Twenty-five years later, those four friends are living wildly diverse lives. From a rat-infested downtown boarding house filled with drunks and addicts, to a picture-perfect Christian family that hides a dark secret: Dave, Liz, Julie and Katie are in such different places, it’s hard to imagine what could ever bring them together again – except a tragedy. It might too late to save Jeff – but can Dave, Julie, Liz, and Katie still save themselves?
Most Anything You Please
Breakwater Books, 2017
In 1936, Ellen Holloway and her husband Wes open a corner grocery store on the ground floor of their house in Rabbittown, a new neighbourhood on the outskirts of St. John's. Over the decades that follow, the city and the neighbourhood grow around them, as does the Holloway family. When the Second World War comes to St. John's and Audrey Holloway falls in love with an American soldier, she's sure her glamorous new life will unfold far from the streets of Rabbittown.
But fate leads Audrey back to the corner store, where for the next several decades she and the store will remain a fixture in the neighbourhood. The fate of the Holloway family -- of Audrey, her musician son Henry and Henry's talented daughter Rachel -- seems tied to the fate of the corner store and a changing neighbourhood. Finally, in post-moratorium St. John's of the 1990s, Audrey has to face the possibility that the price of saving the family business may be a higher price than she is willing to pay.
A Sudden Sun
Breakwater Books, 2014
For years Lily has kept a secret and hardened her heart against the past. Now her daughter, Grace, grows close to uncovering what's hidden. This novel of breathtaking sweep -- from the Great Fire of 1892 to the aftermath of the First World War -- uses the backdrop of the suffragist movement in Newfoundland to tell the story of a mother and daughter, the men they love, and the choices they make during a time of intense social change and renewal.
A Sudden Sun was shortlisted for Best Atlantic-Published Book at the Atlantic Book Awards in 2015.
Learn more about the history behind A Sudden Sun here.
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.
“A well-drawn portrait of two close companions torn apart by circumstance, betrayal and religion.” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
This novel, which won the Newfoundland History & Heritage Award in 2012 and was short-listed for Best Atlantic-Published Book of 2011, 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. Learn more about the book, the postcards, and Coley's Point here.
By the Rivers of Brooklyn
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.
“The character-driven, Austen-esque “By the Rivers of Brooklyn” is a deft and impressive work of fiction in which the prose style is spare – controlled and assured. It’s also a large and ambitious work about leaving home and cultural dislocation, themes relatable especially to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It’s also about guilt and the search for … grace and redemption” (The Western Star).
By the Rivers of Brooklyn was shortlisted for the Best Atlantic-Published Book of 2009. Learn more about the novel and its historical background here.
What You Want
Strident Books, 2015
My first self-published book is a contemporary novel about a young woman on a journey -- a road trip from Newfoundland to California, and a journey into her own future. Megan is at a crossroads in her life when she gets a chance to cross the continent with her friends Andrew and Jonathan. She's looking for adventure, for direction, and, just maybe, for romance along the way.
What You Want is my first contemporary novel in awhile, and it's also my first venture into self-publishing. ind out more about the book, read the first chapter and watch the trailer here.
Kingdom of the Heart
Pacific Press, 2014
In 1991 I wrote a book called The Man from Lancer Avenue, imagining the story of Jesus in a modern-day setting. It's been out of print for many years, but an updated and condensed version was released in 2014 under the title Kingdom of the Heart. The publisher's original plan was to re-release the full version of the book as an e-book, and I did a lot of work on it with the understanding that that would happen. With some changes in management at the publishing house, that part of the contract was breached, and the full e-book is now suspended in legal limbo. Someday I'll get the rights back and re-release it myself, I promise.
The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson
Penguin, 2006; Self-published re-release, 2014
Something old is new again! My 2006 novel The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson is now available as an e-book. This book explores the story of Esther Johnson, an eighteenth-century woman best known to us as the “Stella” of Jonathan Swift’s letters and poems. Like many women who are known to history only because of their connection to a famous man, Esther Johnson was a fascinating woman in her own right, and in this novel I have re-imagined the life and voice of this woman who is remembered as the intimate friend, secretary and possibly secret wife of one of the century’s greatest writers.
This book was released by Penguin Books Canada in 2006 and has since gone out of print. Now you can download it as an e-book. If you can’t get away from your love of paper books, The Violent Friendship can still be found sometimes as a second-hand book.
James, the Brother of Jesus
Pacific Press, 2011
I’ve written a lot over the past ten years about women of the Bible. James is the first full-length 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? This book is one of my personal favourites out of everything I’ve written, and one that best illustrates the truth that I write the stories I’d like to read.
Esther: A Story of Courage
Review & Herald, 2003
Although this book is now almost 20 years old, it’s still in print (an accomplishment in itself!) and is the best-selling book I’ve ever written. It’s 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?
Esther: Courage to Stand
Review & Herald, 2009
This is an abridged version of the book listed above, 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.
Lydia: A Story of Philippi
Review & 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.”
Learn more about the novel and the Bible story that inspired it here.
Deborah and Barak
Review & Herald, 2006
This novel 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.
You can buy the book at the links below, but at this time it's not, as far as I know, available as an e-book.
Daughters of Grace
Review & Herald, 2009
Unlike most of my Biblical stories, this one is non-fiction. Gorgeously illustrated by Robert Hunt, this is a collection of the articles I wrote about women of the Bible for Women of Spirit magazine over a period of several years. Each one explores the story of one woman from the Bible, but rather than weaving the Biblical account into a fictional narrative, I’ve written each as a short essay reflecting on what that woman’s experience might have been like, and the relevance it has for our lives today. This is a beautiful gift book.
Yosef's Story (That First Christmas #1)
Review & Herald, 2009
This was the first in a planned annual series of novella-length Christmas gift books about the Nativity story. Due to changes at the publishing house, the series only ended up including two books, but I had a lot of fun with them and readers enjoyed them. 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 makes a great Christmas gift.
Readers who’ve read my other work might like to know that this novella is not only a companion to my other Christmas book,The Wise Men; both form a sort of prequel to my book James: The Brother of Jesus. The character who becomes James in that novel is a young boy in this book, and the story of Joseph and Mary’s family continues naturally from the Christmas novellas into the later novel.
The Wise Men (That First Christmas #2)
Review & Herald, 2010
As I mentioned above, That First Christmas was planned as an annual series, but due to circumstances beyond my control, 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.
Once again, this is a beautifully-designed book that makes a great gift item at Christmas time. Unlike Yosef’s Story, it is also available for download as an e-book. You’ll miss some of the lovely design elements but still get the story.
Review & 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.
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.
Besides novels, I’ve written two non-fiction books of spiritual reflections 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. These are now out of print, as are earlier books I wrote in the 1980s and 90s, including 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?). All these books are published under the name “Trudy J. Morgan” and are readily available secondhand from used-book sites.