Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweeter Than Birdsong | Rosslyn Elliott | Book Tour & Author Interview & 2 Giveaways!

Sweeter Than Birdsong is the second book in The Saddler's Legacy series, which follows the lives of the Hanby family, real life heroes from Westerville, Ohio. You can read my review of the first book in the series, Fairer Than Morning, here. In this second installment of the series, we meet Ben Hanby (son of Will Hanby and Ann Miller from the first book) and Kate Winters, daughter of a drunken father and a cold and distant mother. Drawn together by their mutual love of music, and later by their support of the abolition of slavery, Ben and Kate must navigate social etiquette and family ties as they explore the possibilities of something more than friendship.

Music offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles . . . but real freedom is sweeter.

In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance—and use it to mask her flight.

Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.

A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.
~ from the publisher

You can read an excerpt of this moving story here.


Rosslyn Elliott is the award-winning author of Fairer than Morning, the first in the Saddler's Legacy series. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. Her study of American literature and history inspired her to pursue writing fiction. Elliott lives in Albuquerque, where she homeschools her daughter and works in children's ministry.

To learn more about Rosslyn, you can visit her website, "like" her fan page on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. Rosslyn loves connecting with her readers, and I have personally really enjoyed getting to know her since I reviewed her first book in September.


I loved this book so much ~ just as much as the first one, and that's saying something! ~ I had to invite the author back to do another interview for this book. (You can read her first interview here.) Rosslyn not only agreed to come back on the blog and do a second interview, she even offered to give away a copy of Sweeter Than Birdsong, as she did with Fairer Than Morning last September. Please join me in welcoming Rosslyn Elliott to Little Bit Of Wonderful...

Sweeter Than Birdsong is the second novel in a series about the Hanby family of Ohio. My readers can read my review of the first book, Fairer Than Morning, here, and they can also check out the conversation you and I had about that book here. Can you tell us what it is about the Hanby family that inspired you to write such moving novels? 

The Hanbys accomplished some great things in their lifetimes, particularly in their work against slavery. I’m especially inspired by the way that Ben Hanby used a gift that some might not think of as powerful, his gift of music, to help change the course of American history. Sweeter than Birdsong is a very encouraging story for those who want to minister to others and oppose evil and cruelty. It shows us that our efforts make a difference, sometimes in ways we can’t imagine, and we can never give up in fighting the good fight. But the novel also speaks to people engaged in a more internal battle against their own pasts and the pain in their families, like Kate Winter. Both types of freedom are equally important.

I understand that the Hanby's story is not yet complete. What comes next in this wonderful series, and when can we expect to see it available to read? I know I personally cannot wait! 

Lovelier than Daylight is the next novel in the series, and in it we jump forward twenty years from Sweeter than Birdsong to see Will Hanby and his wife Ann Miller Hanby involved in a temperance crusade to keep a saloon from opening in their hometown of Westerville. This is a suspenseful story based on a real event called the Westerville Whiskey War. The novel centers on a conflict and love story between the Hanbys’ niece Susanna, who detests alcoholic drink, and Johann Giere, the son of a local German-American brewing dynasty. It will be published this November, 2012, so not too long now!

In our first interview, you said that you had a terrible time with writer's block when you first began writing Fairer than Morning, because your "goal was so high" you "melted down", afraid that you were insufficient to the task you had set for yourself, but that you were able to push through it because you "held onto faith" that God would supply you with what you needed to complete your task. Did you struggle at all while writing this book? Was it with the same things, or did you find new challenges to overcome? 

This question makes me smile, because I did have new challenges for this book. Sweeter than Birdsong was actually the first novel I ever wrote, because I finished it in 2008 before I wrote Fairer than Morning. In 2008, Sweeter than Birdsong was titled A Wind through Westerville, and that version was very, very different from what readers are now experiencing! I had to do two major rewrites of A Wind through Westerville in order to create the right sequel to Fairer than Morning. My dad commented, having read both, that Sweeter than Birdsong is SO different that it’s really my third novel, not my first. J This rewriting process was painful, at times, because for the second rewrite, I didn’t quite know what I was doing, and then the third rewrite was so quick that I greatly feared that I would produce a bad novel. Not to mention that I had no life whatsoever. Ha! But I have been blessed with very good editors, and so their feedback (and lots of prayer) got me through it and—in what seems almost miraculous now—did manage to get the novel to the quality I had hoped and prayed for.

One of the many, many things I love about your novels is that, in addition to a sweet love story, and well written narrative, your books deal with themes that are not often tackled in Christian historical romances and similar literature. In Fairer Than Morning, Will Hanby is an indentured servant to a cruel and barbaric master; in Sweeter Than Birdsong we see themes of slavery, abolition, and even domestic violence. I am very impressed with your ability to speak out on such loaded issues without becoming preachy or losing the voice of your story - what inspires you to be so bold, and to tackle these subjects when other authors remain silent or dress them up in pretty language?

First, I have to give credit to my editors for allowing me to write these spiritually-substantial books. I strongly, strongly believe that in order for stories to uplift us in a powerful way, we have to be willing to be a little more real and more open to life as it really is.  We have to walk through some darkness to truly appreciate the light, when it peeks through the clouds and then breaks out in radiance at the end of a novel. The challenge is that in order to write about darkness, an author has to know how to write effectively in ways that don’t apply to lighter stories—as you said, preachiness doesn’t work, and neither does melodrama, which sometimes appears when novelists try to tackle serious issues. It takes a delicate balance to bring depth without going overboard, all the while remembering that the point is to tell a compelling, realistic, and uplifting story. I always respect my reader’s intelligence and try not to cop out with simplistic answers or moralizing—life’s real moral lessons happen in complex ways. And in answer to your question about what makes me bold enough to do it, I would say that this is the heart of my calling as a writer, to offer people hope and the possibility of change, not just another escape. I would rather not be published than ignore that calling by writing something that didn’t serve a more substantial purpose. To parallel a well-known verse, sometimes, you have to be willing to lose your dream to save it.

Rosslyn, thank you so much for coming on Little Bit Of Wonderful again, and chatting with us! I can't wait for your next book, and I am so glad that God gifted you with such unique talent for the written word. While we eagerly await the release of the third book in The Sadler's Legacy series, how can we get to know you better?

I love to have readers stop by my hangouts on the internet. First is my website and blog at There’s a contact form on the site plus a comments section on the blog if you want to chat or ask a question. Then I’m always glad to see new people at my author page on Facebook, which is under my own name, and I’m on Twitter. Come say hello!


Are you excited to read this book yet? It's so worth it! You can buy Sweeter Than Birdsong here for only $15.99. You also have two opportunities to win this book and read it for free. Yep, that's TWO chances to WIN and read for FREE!!

First, Rosslyn is kicking off the release of this great new book with a huge giveaway of her own...

In this second in the award-winning Saddler's Legacy series, Rosslyn Elliott has written a stirring novel of hope and faith inspired by real historical people and events. With Ben Hanby, a genius composer, Kate Winter, one of the first female college graduates in America, and John Parker, an ex-slave who risked his life time and again to help fugitive slaves, Sweeter than Birdsong is full of real heroes to inspire us. "I hope readers will find a renewed sense of strength in their own lives," says Elliott, "knowing that change is possible, and our efforts matter. I want them to remember these unique, brave people in history who left us a shining example of what it means to live out one's beliefs with passion and commitment."

So to celebrate the music in all of us, Rosslyn and Thomas Nelson are hosting this "sweet giveaway".

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Brand new iPod Nano (Winner's choice of color!)
  • Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott
  • Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 28th. Winner will be announced at Sweeter than Birdsong Author Chat Facebook Party on 2/28. Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, sharing a sneak peek of the next book in the series, hosting a trivia contest, and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, season 1 of DowntownAbbey, and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Rosslyn.)

So grab your copy of Sweeter than Birdsong and join Rosslyn and friends on the evening of the 28th for an evening of fun.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

Rosslyn has also kindly offered one of my readers here on Little Bit Of Wonderful the opportunity to win a copy of Sweeter Than Birdsong via a Rafflecopter sweepstakes that starts today and will end on DATE. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, and you must be at least 18 years old to claim this prize. Please be sure to review the Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form. Only entries collected via the form will count toward this giveaway, so be sure to follow all directions carefully - entries will be verified *smiles* Have fun, and tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ Disclosure }

I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post is in compliance with FTC regulations. To learn more, please visit my Disclosure page. If you are interested in having your book, product, or service reviewed on this blog, please see my PR Friendly page, and send me a message via my Contact page. Thank you!


  1. Thanks so much for your terrific questions! I am so glad you enjoyed the novel. And I'm always impressed and amazed by the intricacy of Rafflecopter--you really seem to know what you're doing. :-)

  2. Thank YOU for being such an amazing storyteller, and good friend! :) I also enjoy Rafflecopter - I cannot imagine running these things without it, haha :)

  3. thank you--I love historical fiction

  4. I just finished Fairer than Morning and loved it! I can't wait to read Sweeter than Birdsong.

  5. This is my favorite genre and time period and it sounds like a great book.


  6. What a great interview!
    This book sounds like an amazing read. I haven't read any of Rosslyn's books yet, but after reading this, I have to get both of them!


Thanks for reading my blog post! I can't wait to hear your comments. If you have a general question, or want to contact me about something not related to this post, please use the form found on my Contact page. Thanks! *smiles*