by Mollie Rushmeyer
In 2004, I did something no one who knew introverted me could’ve ever expected—I signed up to attend a summer-long study abroad program in northern England. We would room at a castle in Alnwick, England. Although I was terrified to travel with a group of strangers, it sounded like a dream come true for this anglophile gal. And it was.
We traveled all over Northumberland and took trips to London, Edinburgh, York, one wild van tour through the Scottish Highlands, and more. That was it. My heart was forever linked to this place of great beauty and history, and where, for the first time, I did something brave.
I remember crying over the phone to my husband on our first wedding anniversary (Yes, we married young!), which I spent in England, that I felt guilty for being there instead of with him. I also felt guilty because while I missed him and was sad, I was also having fun. It seemed I shouldn’t have both. But bless my husband, he never begrudged me that time and told me to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. So I did.
When I returned home, I knew I wanted to bring my husband and any children we had someday to see this place that had changed me and my outlook on life. I had caught the travel bug or as I like to say, it put the wind in my veins.
Fast forward to 2020 and our family, including our two daughters, planned to take a trip to England and Scotland. With a story idea brewing, set in Alnwick, it was the perfect time to do my own in-person research.
Well, we all know what happened that year. We canceled our trip, which hit hard but seemed a minor disappointment compared to what was going on in the world. Alnwick would have to wait. That was okay. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t grieve the loss of a dream. This loss, compounded by the next couple of years’ upheavals, changes, and worries about the future, left me feeling the strain on my ability to create.
Our world shrank. Just me, my husband, and our girls. Zoom schooling, working at home (which wasn’t different for me, but I had to adjust to a house spouse), watching through every television show ever created, game nights, and frequent walks at the park or car rides when the weather was bad to keep our sanity and because it was the only safe thing we could do outside of the house.
This was a season of “both” in our lives. Beauty and pain. Fear and peace. Loss of what we considered “normal” life, but a gain of so much uninterrupted time together we would’ve never had otherwise.
During this time, I knew my dream of travel would have to be done by pen. When I finally worked up the courage to write The Lost Manuscript, I never planned to incorporate the struggles of 2020-2021. But as I wrote and traveled to this beloved place the only way I could—through my character—the idea of a girl with the wind in her veins flowed onto the page.
Ellora Lockwood, my history-loving main character, has experienced so much loss and abandonment she doesn’t know if God has a plan for her anymore. Throughout the story, she contends with what she feels was taken from her, all of the broken dreams, what she wants from her marriage when her husband may or may not feel the same, and must learn to reconcile the opposing forces in her life. The grief and the joy and learn to allow both. There’s room for both.
Ruth and Naomi’s story inspired me to illustrate Ellora’s need to face a process of surrendering and “lying down” of one’s self in order to fully love others and God. In each of our stories, God has a way of giving back tenfold in those areas of loss if we trust in Him. Our lives may not look like we planned. But His plan is always better anyway.
After writing The Lost Manuscript and turning in my final edits, I was still missing Great Britain but was at peace with not going. Then without warning, God saw fit to bless us with our long-awaited trip in May 2023. I cried tears of joy as I held an early copy of The Lost Manuscript atop the actual Alnwick Castle.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)
About the Author
Mollie Rushmeyer writes contemporary fiction with a heart for history, a blend of modern settings and fascinating historical elements. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She is not only a bibliophile (the dustier the better), she’s a true Britophile at heart.
About the Book
Since the mysterious disappearance of her beloved Grandma June and separating from her husband, Alex, Ellora Lockwood has felt adrift. Then comes an invitation from Alex to teach history at a summer program at Alnwick Castle in England. He’s even found information about the location of a medieval manuscript that was her grandmother’s obsession before she vanished.
Did You Know?
About 84 million families make up the population in the United States according to a 2022 study. Family is so important, and every family is different. With stepsiblings, foster children, adopted children, blended families, single-parent households, and multi-generational households—families come in all shapes and sizes.
Recent statistics reveal between two and four percent of Americans have adopted children, and more than one-third have considered it. Still, approximately 117,000 children in foster care are waiting for their forever homes.
Approximately 4.5 million children in the United States are adopted. Some children are adopted from overseas, of course, but many are adopted within the country, and often by relatives or stepparents.
Currently, the average size family is smaller than several decades ago. Most families today have no more than two children in the household. But just because families are shrinking, it doesn’t mean that love doesn’t still abound.
Someone once said, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” I’d have to agree. Family is God’s greatest blessing. Whether it’s our birth family, a family we create, or friends who earn a spot in our extended family, love connects us all.
Family is a blessing, and guess what? If you’re a Christian, you’re also a part of God’s family! What could be better than that?
-Michelle Medlock Adams, Love Connects Us All
Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore
“I love shopping in bookstores because there's something about the physical feel of a book in my hands, even the ink and paper aroma of printed books all around, that reminds me of the satisfying experience I'll enjoy when I buy the book and take it home to read and savor in my own ways and times. Sometimes I meet friends in bookstores, and certainly discover new favorite reads there. Long live bookstores!”
-Delores Topliff, Strong Currents