Susan Anne Mason’s historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA as well as the Christian Retailer’s Choice Award for Debut Novel. A member of ACFW, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two adult children.

In this interview we talk with Susan about her latest book, A Feeling of Home, the thrive book in her Redemption’s Light Series.

FF: Can you please provide a summary of your new novel, A Feeling of Home?
Following the suicide of her father, Isabelle Wardrop’s life of privilege comes crashing down around her. She and her younger sister, Marissa, must find a way to make a living in a world completely foreign to them. Forced to live in an impoverished area of town, Isabelle struggles to find work and then must rely on Dr. Henshaw, the man she holds responsible for her mother’s death.

Mark Henshaw has admired Isabelle from afar for some time and hoped to one day have the chance to win her heart. But when he learns that his brother, Josh, is involved with Isabelle’s sister, he fears Isabelle will now have one more thing to resent him for. Surprisingly, Isabelle agrees to work with Mark to prevent the budding romance from ruining the teenagers’ futures.

Just as Mark decides to open his own medical clinic, an unwanted development in Marissa and Josh’s relationship throws him into a tailspin, and any hope he had for a romance with Isabelle comes to a sudden halt. Will they ever be able to get past their siblings’ issues to focus on their own happiness?

FF: What was the inspiration for your novel?
I don’t know if there was any one thing that inspired this story. I knew the third book in the series would be Mark Henshaw’s story, but I had to come up with a heroine who would give him a run for his money. One who was above him in class and seemingly unattainable. And, of course, they needed a big obstacle between them. Blaming Mark for her mother’s death was a good way to start. Then the problematic relationship between their younger siblings added another layer of conflict.

I’m not sure where I came up with the idea of Isabelle and her sister losing everything and having to start over from scratch, but I loved the idea of hardship bringing out the strength of Isabelle’s character and allowing her to see Mark in a different light.

FF: What do you love most about writing novels in the historical romance genre?
I love that there were so many societal rules that dictated people’s actions back in the day. It adds such great conflict. And I also love researching specific time periods and learning new details about Canadian history.

FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
My hope is that Isabelle’s journey will show people that no matter what difficulties life throws at you, if you have faith and determination, you will get through it and come out better on the other side. I also wanted to show that through it all, God remains faithful and will never desert us.

FF: Are readers always promised a “happily ever after” in your novels? Why or why not?
Most definitely they are guaranteed a happy ending! I’m all about leaving the reader feeling uplifted and positive. I put my characters through a lot during the course of a book, and there has to be a reward at the end!

FF: How do you get yourself in the mindset of a character who once had a great deal and has now lost everything?
I simply tried to imagine how I would feel if I lost my home and all my creature comforts. I think Isabelle deals with her misfortune a lot better than I would!

FF: How did you research this historical period to write it accurately?
Over the course of writing the three Redemption’s Light Series stories, I read many books and articles about Toronto during this time period. It started with a newspaper article about Velma Demerson and her struggle with the Ontario government, which led me to read Velma’s memoir, Incorrigible, which shed a lot of light on society during the 1930s and 1940s. For the second book in the series, To Find Her Place, which centered around the Toronto Children’s Aid Society, I read a book called A Legacy of Caring: A History of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. This was an excellent resource that gave me great insight into the workings of the operation.

By the time I started writing A Feeling of Home, I had a pretty good grasp on Toronto during this time period. However, when I gave Isabelle the job of a hotel maid, I needed to know how the Royal York Hotel would have operated back then. I was lucky enough to find a wonderful, archived article in MacLean’s magazine on the inner workings of the hotel at the very time I was writing in. It gave me a great feel for how a hotel maid would have functioned back then.

I also made a few visits to the different areas of the city that were featured in my stories to soak up the atmosphere of the neighborhoods I was writing about. My husband really enjoyed going on these day trips with me.

A Feeling of Home
Redemption’s Light Series #3
Susan Anne Mason
Bethany House
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN-10: ‎ 0764235214
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0764235214

Book Summary:
Isabelle Wardrop’s well-to-do life has totally unraveled. Within months, she’s lost both her parents, her fortune, and her home. With nowhere else to turn, she and her younger sister, Marissa, move in with a trusted former servant in an impoverished area of the city. Needing to look for a job, but having no qualifications, Isabelle is forced to accept help from Dr. Mark Henshaw, the very man she blames for her mother’s death.

She lands a job at a Toronto hotel but struggles to adjust and worries about her sister, who has started a friendship with a boy and seems uninterested in her schooling. To make matters worse, Marissa’s crush is Joshua Henshaw, the doctor’s younger brother. Surprisingly, Isabelle finds an ally in Mark, and they team up to prevent the budding romance from ruining the teens’ future plans.

Mark has hopes of earning Isabelle’s forgiveness and affections. But a startling development in their siblings’ relationship may derail any hope they have of starting their own.


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About The Author

Susan's debut historical novel, Irish Meadows,won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. She is also a member of ACFW. Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children.