Mrs. Ivey's Cafe
(#1 of the Willowdale, Indiana stories)
It’s 1957, and Shirley’s miserable. Her plan to spend the summer with her girlfriends is over. No swimming at the beach or going to drive-in movies or hosting slumber parties. Even her dreams of celebrating her sixteenth birthday and getting her driver’s license are over.
Her plans collapse when she receives a letter from her grandmother pleading for help. In spite of her best arguments against going, she is obligated by family tradition and has no choice but to go. She must travel more than 100 miles from home and spend the summer working in her grandmother’s café.
At first, Shirley struggles to adjust to small-town life in Willowdale and the job she doesn’t want. Then, she meets a local boy her own age. She hopes for a fun summer with him in town, but their budding friendship faces many challenges.
One day, she and her grandmother find themselves in real danger. The townspeople, accompanied by a little pug named George, set out to rescue them. Through their sacrifice and generosity, will Shirley finally learn the true meaning of friendship?
A Dog's Life
(#2 of the Willowdale, Indiana stories)
It’s 1958. Shirley looks forward to spending her second summer in Willowdale and working in her grandmother’s café. She knows getting older means accepting more responsibility. However, she can’t foresee how her life is about to be turned upside down forever.
At first, her summer goes as planned. She eases into her job and knows everything her grandmother expects of her. Then, she meets a new resident. What she learns about the newcomer changes everything for the small town and for Ivey’s Café.
Shirley must help her grandmother fight the threat the new arrival poses. Their way of life, and the well-being of George the pug are at stake.
They struggle to defend everything they hold dear, but their efforts are challenged at every turn. Even with the help of friends, their success is not guaranteed. It is up to Shirley to push herself to the limit of her endurance to protect them. When all seems lost, will Shirley put aside her anger at Jim and accept his help? Her future and that of a stranger will depend upon her decision.
A Granddaughter's Promise
(#3 of the Willowdale, Indiana stories)
It’s 1958, and time is running out. Shirley only has two weeks before her second summer in Willowdale comes to an end. What can possibly go wrong in two weeks? The teenager soon discovers the answer is - everything.
She helps move her grandmother and Aunt Maude into their new home, but then what? Without a job, she’s at loose ends and must find something to fill her days. She doesn’t need to look very far.
All around the small town, new and old friends struggle with life-changing decisions. Shirley can’t resist the temptation to find the answers they need - whether they want her help or not.
When one of her answers proves to be too complicated, she turns to an old adversary for help. Against her better judgement, the two of them form an uneasy alliance.
It isn’t long before Shirley faces a life-changing decision of her own. She must decide if her affection for Jim should alter her dreams of the future. Will she search her own heart for the answer, or will she listen to her grandmother’s advice?
The General Store Legacy
(#1 of the Ivey Family stories)
A young, single professional, Alyx faces a life-changing family obligation. A provision in her grandmother’s old Will requires the family to retain ownership of her general store. As the oldest member of her generation, it will soon be Alyx’s turn to shoulder that responsibility.
During her summer break from teaching, she travels from her Montana home to Indiana to see the store for the first time. In the small town of Willowdale, she’s seen as an outsider but meets several residents dealing with challenges of their own.
One of them is a high school senior. He reaches for a life-long goal and is misunderstood by his peers. Two are sisters who must come to terms with a tragic accident, but they struggle to find their way forward. If Alyx can earn their trust, will they accept her help?
When the town suffers a devastating loss, Alyx is joined by a handsome new friend to help the most vulnerable residents. She doesn’t realize he’s burdened by a family obligation of his own. But unlike her, he refuses to accept it and sets in motion a plan that could set him free.