Wanted: A Family ~ with Janet Dean

It’s always exciting to mosey over to Petticoats and Pistols and spend time with the fillies and their terrific friends! And share with you my love of all things historical.

 In prior visits, I’ve talked about orphan trains, herbal remedies and mail-order brides.

This visit marks the release of my fourth Love Inspired Historical. Wanted: A Family will hit bookstore and discount store shelves this Tuesday, March 8. Here’s a peek at my story:

Shelter of Hope, the ramshackle Victorian house, is all that widowed mother-to-be Callie Mitchell has left. But she’s going to make that house into a true home—a home where she and her baby will be safe and happy…and where women in need can find refuge. And if that means trusting stranger Jacob Smith to help with repairs, then so be it. Jacob came to town with a handful of old postcards and one goal in mind—to find the mother who’d abandoned him years before. He never planned to stay…and he certainly never planned to care for Callie. Yet as they rebuild the house together, Jacob and Callie also build the family they’ve always wanted.

Building a family is part of the “happily ever after” ending of romance novels. I rarely have the fun of selecting the home for the hero and heroine, but since Callie is a widow, I got to choose her home in Wanted: A Family.

I find architecture fascinating. I especially love Victorian architecture.

Victorian houses aren’t all alike.

Folk Victorian is square and symmetrical with spindled porches and brackets under the eaves.

The more lavish Queen Anne is asymmetrical with towers, turrets, wrap-around porches and details galore. A few years ago on a trip up the Oregon coast, I took the opportunity to see exteriors of several Victorian houses in Astoria.

The pink house is one of the photos I took.

When my story needed a large old house for Callie to give refuge to unwed mothers, I chose a Victorian. Callie’s house is Queen Anne gone to seed. Carpenter Jake will set the house to rights while working his way into Callie’s heart. Mine too. What woman doesn’t love a handy man? ?

Houses—like the people who live there—have a history and Callie’s house is no exception. Do you have an architectural style you’d put in a book if you were creating a setting? Or a style you’d like to own if money and location weren’t a consideration?

Think Cape Cod, Federal, Colonial, Italianate, Greek Revival, Antebellum plantation, Cotswold Cottage, Tudor—the list goes on and on.

Take your pick.

Tell what you love about the style.

Or if architecture isn’t your thing, can you share a legend about a house. Haunted? Criminal activity? Mayhem and murder?

When Jake arrived in Peaceful, Indiana looking for work, he carried a handful of postcards. I suspect you’ve seen or perhaps even own a few old postcards.

We are privileged to have a variety of antique holiday greetings sent to my husband’s family: Valentine’s Day postcard with a naked cupid clutching a bow and arrow, Easter chicks riding in little buckets on an electric fan Ferris wheel, St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks. Flags for the 4th of July. Thanksgiving with King Turkey perched on his throne.

I particularly love the Christmas postcard featuring a Victorian family and their candlelit tree. Postcards also conveyed birthday wishes, as they did for Jake.

Each year on the date of his birth, a postcard arrived at the orphanage, the only link to the mother he never knew and is determined to find. If you own antique postcards, share details about the postage, date, and handwritten message on the back or perhaps how you display them.

One day I hope to have the time to investigate the artists/print houses that created our postcards.


Thanks for stopping by and chatting with me today. For a chance to win an autographed copy of Wanted: A Family, please leave a comment.

Thanks, fillies, for inviting me!

Visit Janet online at: www.janetdean.net



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56 thoughts on “Wanted: A Family ~ with Janet Dean”

  1. I’ve loved your others so I’m sure I’ll love this one too. I can’t wait to add it to my to be read pile. Keep all those great books coming.

  2. Welcome to Wildflower Junction again, Janet! The book sounds terrific, and many good wishes come with this comment. I love that first Queen Anne house in your post. During my sophomore year of college, my roommate and I got to live in a witch’s hat tower. Loved it. Have a good day here.

  3. Oh my gosh! I love old Victorian homes. When I was very young my Grandparents owned a Victorian in Santa Cruz, CA and I loved it. I’m originally from Southern California where I never saw a Victorian. But ten years ago I moved to Auburn, IN where we have some beautiful Victorians all through town (along with old cars too!). My favorite is a Queene Anne..I love the turrets and wraparound porche!

    Thanks for the great posting Janet! I love the cover of WANTED: A FAMILY too! Would love to win a copy.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  4. Those houses look so inviting an homey,,,I adore old houses the character an soul are there with their own style an lure…what a nice post thanks for coming!


  5. Hi Tanya,

    Thanks for the lovely welcome to Wildflower Junction!

    I’ve never heard a Victorian tower called a witches hat but the term describes it perfectly! Living there had to be a fun! Picturing posters tacked up on your curvy walls.


  6. Good morning, Cindy W. I’ve been to Auburn, a lovely town and visited the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg museum. Loved it! The museum itself is fantastic. Art Deco, I believe.

    Thanks for stopping in today!

    Blessings, Janet

  7. Hi Vickie,

    You’re so right! Old houses do have a soul and appeal that grabs me. Which is why I love staying in Bed and Breakfasts. All their nooks and crannies are great places to plop down and read.

    Blessings, Janet

  8. I’m so looking forward to reading your new book! Can barely wait to get my hands on Wanted: A Family. 🙂 Good luck with it!

  9. Janet, I am so anxious to read your book!! Loved this post; always enjoy seeing Old houses!! Hope to win a copy of your book!

  10. I love the idea behind this book. There is nothing more important than family so I can’t wait to read your book.

  11. When I was young, I “liked” postcards. Just liked. But my mother decided that I must be a “postcard collector”, so every time she or others in the family went away, they always sent me a postcard. When all my elderly aunts died, all their postcards went to my mom for me. When MY mom died, my eldest sister and I got together to review postcards and photographs for the four siblings. It was inevitable that I got all those postcards, whether I wanted them or not.

    I managed to incorporate perhaps 3″ of postcards into my photo albums/scrapbooks (as many times those pictures were much better than those we’d taken ourselves), but I still have at least 4″ of postcards sitting here.

    My favourite postcard story had to do with my dad, who served in WW2. He refused to talk about his war days until the late 1980s, when my new brother-in-law got him talking. Dad was married to my mom at the time, and my sister had been conceived when he was on leave. Apparently “the men” were not so worried about dying or being shot in the war. No. They were more concerned about getting gonorrhea or other STDs from the ladies of the night when they were on leave in France! When my sister and I were assembling all those postcards after my mom died, we came across several my dad sent to my mom, her parents, and his mom all written on the same day, saying almost the same thing: “Having a swell time in France.” Those words took on new meaning for me after I had heard his France story, as I now realize I got my love of words/sense of humour from my dad.

  12. Good morning, ClaudiGC,

    Thanks for the good wishes! The release of a new book is always exciting! I’m going to Walmart today to look for Wanted: A Family on the shelves. 🙂


  13. I love the look of the Victorian houses. To me they look like gingerbread houses. Quaint and candy-covered. 😉

    I added this book to my amazon wish-list a couple of days ago! Looks great!

  14. Hi Janet! Old houses are almost like characters. They have so much personality. My Swan’s Nest series for LIH is centered around women who lived in a Denver mansion in 1875. I enjoyed the research and was surprised by how many old houses were torn down to make room for new ones. Thanks for visiting P&P!

  15. Good morning, Laney4.

    Thanks for sharing the story behind the postcards your dad sent. No Wish you were here message. LOL

    If you don’t want those old postcards and no one else does, try ebay.

    Blessings, Janet

  16. Thanks, Stephanie, for adding Wanted: A Family to your Amazon wish list! Nothing is sweeter to an author’s ears. 🙂 What would we do without readers!

    I love the candy coated image of a Victoria! I see the fancier ones as huge wedding cakes dripping frosting.

    Blessings, Janet

  17. Hi Vicki,

    I love your books and remember the wonderful house in your Swan’s Nest LIH series.

    Thanks for the welcome. I’m thrilled to be here!

    Blessings, Janet

  18. I love Janet’s books. I know this one will be great as well. Looking forward to reading it. Count me in on the giveaway!

  19. Janet, welcome to P&P. It’s always wonderful when you come to blog. And your subject is very interesting. I love old houses and especially the Victorian ones. They are so unique and the craftsmen took their time making each home different and not a cookie cutter design. I hate how builders just slap together these houses and they all look the same. I’d love to own one of the old ones. They have such character.

    Your new release looks wonderful. The woman looks so lonely sitting there by herself. I can feel it. I wish you lots of luck with it.

  20. Hello, Janet! Thank you for a lovely, charming story with great images. I love Victorians, and the more “gingerbread”, the better : )

    “Wanted: A Family” sounds very heart-felt and poignant. Callie is a woman of great heart, and I can easily see how Jacob would be captivated. Families are made from love : )

  21. Victorians have always been a favorite. We have always looked at houses on our trips over the years. I have chosen many a dream home on most of them. We drove through Astoria on one of our trips in the 1980s. From the highway, we spotted a Victorian house on a distant hilltop. We actually got off and drove around to find it. It was for sale and I went as far as to look up the listing. We were in the Air Force and stationed in CA at the time, so it was just a dream, but exactly what we would have loved. Imagine my surprise a few years later when that same house was used as the teacher and her son’s home in KINDERGARTEN COP. After seeing the inside more completely, I was even more sure I wanted it.
    We did buy an 1898 Victorian farm house similar to the white one in your last picture. It is much more basic and simple a house, but still has the wrap around porch and the gingerbread trim. It was in rough shape (needed to be totally gutted) and needed much work. 19 years later we are still working on it. It has its own personality and a couple of ghosts. We found a couple of more fancy Victorians when we were looking, but couldn’t afford them. With all we have spent on this one, it would probably have been cheaper and less work to have purchased one of them: ) Now that we have almost completed fixing up our house, the children are grown and moved out. We now have a house that is much bigger than we need. I will be glad when e are completely finished (yes, I know that really never happens with an old house) so we can sit back an actually enjoy it.

    I do have some old post cards. Some are old holiday cards and some are of historic sites. They are still packed away, but I hope to sort them and get them into an album at some point. I have a stack from a friend that she had in her antique shop, but have not really had much of a chance to look them over. The cards from the 1900’s to the 1960’s are such a window into what the country was like and how people spent their vacations. I bought some old books (another favorite) at a flea market and found several greeting cards from 1900 or so in them. Really will be happy when I can really look at them

    Thanks for the post and the lovely pictures. Would have loved one of the Queen Anne style Victorians, but knowing how much trouble all that trim is to paint and maintain, I am almost happy we didn’t find one. I know my husband is.

    Good luck with the release of WANTED: A FAMILY. It sounds like a wonderfully heartwarming story.

  22. Thanks for the welcome, Linda. I love being here!

    The old houses do have character and charm. I’d love to own one too–a renovated one with new plumbing, electricity and a jetted tub. 🙂 I do love modern conveniences.

    Callie is lonely but she loves the baby she’s carrying and knows once her baby arrives, she’ll finally have the family she craves. Lots more is in store for this caring woman who opens her home to unwed mothers.


  23. Hi Patricia B,

    Thanks for sharing the fascinating story of one of the Victorians of Astoria! Now I want to watch Kindergarten Cop again.

    I admire your tenacity and all the hard work you put into your house. I’m sure those ghosts are grateful to you for giving the house new life. How do you know you have resident ghosts?

    I don’t have our postcards in albums. I bring them out at the appropriate holiday and enjoy looking at them.

    Thanks for the good wishes with Wanted: A Family!

    God bless,

  24. I have THAT postcard! I had to find it to be sure! It belongs to my hubby’s grandmother.

    Looking forward to reading this book. I love have such a wonderful mental image while reading.

  25. Good Morning Janet,

    I love the Victorian homes too. I watched a movie once that had homes like that and it was such a wonderful feeling. I love postcards I collect them Mostly Native American.

    I cannot wait to read your new book It is on my must read list

    The cover is just beautiful

    Walk in harmony,

  26. Hi Janet, thanks for stopping by today what a great post. I love the old Victorian homes, there are a few of those in a town near where I live and they are beautiful. Your book sound fabulous and I can’t wait to read it.

  27. Congrats on your 4th Love Inspired Historical, it sounds wonderful! 😀
    I loves houses with a lot of history behind them… stories that get passed down…

  28. I love the Victorians of San Francisco. My favorite is the Queen Anne. We visited an open house in Spokane many years ago and my step-daughter got so spooked in one of the third story bedrooms she ran out of the house. She still doesn’t like Victorian houses. Behind her back we had a good laugh. (Don’t know what spooked her). Hope your new book is a big success.

  29. Love your books!

    I love the wrap around porch. I also love the Victorian style. Antebellum plantation style homes are all around us here in middle Tennessee so that is also a favorite of mine.

  30. Hi Connie, what fun that I put up a postcard that the one your hubby’s grandmother owned. You can visit the site oldpostcards.com and see what its worth. 🙂 Maybe buy more. LOL

    Blessings, Janet

  31. Hi Melinda,

    Native American postcards would make a fascinating collection. A 2×3 history lesson.

    Thanks so much for your interest in Wanted: A Family.

    Bless you,

  32. Hi Quilt Lady,

    I love your webname! Can’t remember if you’re a quilter or a collector of quilts or both, but I’m sure you’d agree that no Victorian house should be without one of those handmade beauties.


  33. Thanks Colleen! You’ll like this story then because Callie’s Victorian and other houses in Peaceful, Indiana sheltered a lot of memories, both good and bad. If houses could talk, the stories they’d tell. 🙂

    All the best,

  34. Hi Mary J,

    Oh, I love the Painted Ladies Victorians in San Francisco!

    Perhaps your stepdaughter was spooked by one of Patricia B’s ghosts. 😉

    Thanks for the good wishes!

  35. Hi Sherry.

    Thanks for loving my books and saying so. I love my readers!

    I’m a northerner but I love the south, the Antebellum plantation homes, the accents and food. Tennessee is a gorgeous state. Love the Smoky Mountains. Moving on to South Carolina, I adore Charleston, Savannah. Now I want to make a trip!


  36. GREAT POST!!! I am a huge fan of the American Foursquare. Love the boxy homes, the paneled hidden doors dividing rooms. The large kitchens.

    I have Janet’s book and am reading it!

  37. Janet, we Hoosier authors are proud of you. And I just have to say that I would love to poke around in some of the old homes pictured on your post. Can’t help but think there must be some interesting, forgotten items gathering dust in those attics or basements. Maybe even secret rooms to discover…?

    Blessings to you!

  38. Hi Tina,

    Great to see you here. I love pocket doors. Being able to open or close off rooms depending on the need for space or privacy is a terrific idea. Wonder how long they’ve been around.

    Hope you enjoy Wanted: A Family!


  39. Hi Rick, you’re a gem! We Hoosiers are proud of you and grateful for all you do for IN ACFW.

    There’s a show on Home Garden TV where they delve into a house’s history by what they find in the attic or between the walls. Guess walls do talk. LOL Secret rooms make me think of the Underground Railroad.

    Thanks for stopping.

    Blessings, Janet

  40. Interesting article. Your book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.
    I have a collectionof glass doorknobs from old houses and have several from Colorado where there are still a lot of Victorians left. Especially in Georgetown. I like to wonder about whose loving hands have opened their doors using these beautiful doorknobs. Some have turned purple they have been in the sun so long.

  41. Loved this post and really loved the book. No need to put me in the drawing. Whoever wins is in for a treat!

    Peace, Julie

  42. I remember as a kid, there was a card in the board game “LIFE”…that had the coolest old Victorian house. I have ALWAYS wanted that house.

    And btw, I ain’t never gonna get it. 🙂 Now I’m to the “If we ever move I want one floor” phase of my life.


  43. Hi Joye,

    Glass doorknobs are beautiful. I like to speculate who owned the things I collect. Whoever they were, they took care of their things or they wouldn’t have survived all these years.

    I collect old pressed glass and some pieces have turned lavendar from sunlight. I have a lot of light in my house.

    Thanks for your interest in reading Wanted: A Family! I saw it on the shelves at two Walmarts tonight. 🙂

    Blessings, Janet

  44. Hi there, Mary!

    I don’t remember having the Life game. I think it’s still around.

    My parents didn’t have a Victorian but we had this square built house. Maybe the four square Tina mentioned. I had my own bedroom. My brothers shared. Only one bathroom, but we had an enormous kitchen with a built-in breakfast nook. A clothes chute went from the second floor to the basement where a wooden cage with slats hung from the ceiling. The landing for those brave enough to take the plunge. Not me. But my brothers and neighbor girl did.

    I’m so excited I found Sharpshooter in Petticoats in Walmart tonight. Can’t wait to dig in.


  45. Hi Janet,
    I also collect antique cards, mostly of children and toys. However, none have affected me like a set I found in an old, out of the way antique store in the hills of southern Ohio.

    She was adorable. A toddler posed on a table, perhaps two years old, with delicate nose and fine lips, her eyes wide, peering from beneath buckets of tight light colored ringlets cascading across her head. She wore what appeared to be a christening dress that featured embroidered flowers and a small cross necklace dangled to her chest.

    Despite the cost of the postcard, I didn’t hesitate to put it into my basket. But then I saw the next postcard in the stack, and my heart sunk. It was the image of a small white coffin draped in daisies and roses. On top of the lid sat a framed photograph of the same little girl. And beneath, her name spelled out in carnations. Powerful image.

    I truly enjoy reading your books and always look forward to more!


  46. Hi Lyndee,

    The story surrounding your postcards is heartwrenching. Life is fragile, even more so then. I’m glad you’re preserving those precious images.


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