Today I’m thrilled to have Donna Schlachter with us sharing about her new release, Hollow Hearts! Plus, she’s offering a giveaway, so be sure to enter!

Oftentimes we look back on moments in history and think them glamorous. The good old days. Sometimes we even fall into a kind of revisionist thinking that makes us believe those days were better than the ones we’re living in now.

For my book, Hollow Hearts, I’d read an article about women in the 1860s having few options, and widows having fewer still. It’s a well-known fact that unattached women had few options apart from marriage, and there were far more men in the West than women. It wasn’t unusual for a widow to receive one or more offers of marriage on the way from their dead husband’s funeral.

In another piece of research, I learned that right along the Green River in Utah, the ground was soft enough for a cemetery, and that many wagon trains heading west stopped off there and buried their dead. As you can imagine, crossing the prairies and the rugged landscape, often the soil was rocky, or clay, or simply not deep enough.


As a married woman, I sometimes wonder what life would be like without my husband, and let me tell you, I treasure him even more when I look at situations where a widow must now fend for herself.

In Hollow Hearts, my heroine wonders if God listens to her prayers. Certainly the Almighty didn’t when she begged Him to save her husband’s life. And when the men around her fix their eyes on her to get them out of a bad situation, she wonders where God is in all of this.


The beauty of knowing our loving Creator is that He isn’t angered when we question Him in this way. Instead, He draws us closer into His presence, holding and comforting us. And while we may not have all the answers, at least we don’t feel quite so alone.

God promises never to leave us or forsake us. What a beautiful nugget to grasp onto when it seems the dawn will never come. But even the darkest night cannot hide the truth of His love and compassion for us—no matter where we find ourselves, or in what state we stand.


A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter.

Connect with Donna: and
Books: Amazon:
Etsy online shop of original artwork:




Stories of faith and resilience on the Midwest prairie & the Civil War Era

Inspirational Historical Romance

~Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
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Hollow Hearts releases today, and is available here:


Leave a comment, and we’ll draw randomly for a print copy (US only) or ebook of Hollow Hearts. Don’t forget to cleverly disguise your email address like this: Donna AT livebytheword DOT com

Question: What is the trait you consider the most important in a spouse? I’ll go first. For me, he had to be a Man of God, active in his church.