Getting to Know Lily Larsen

In less than a week, book one of my latest saga will be released! I’m so excited to bring this story into the hands of readers. It’s been in my heart for a great while. From the first time I traveled the loop road around Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains, the beautiful setting became a part of me. I do all I can to visit the Smokies at least once a year.

In anticipation of the release of “Whispers from the Cove,” I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my heroine, Lily Larsen. Yes, she’s fictitious, but she represents the amazing people of the cove who worked hard and made a life for themselves in the mountains. Though Cades Cove is now part of a national park, when you travel there, you’ll step back in time and easily visualize what it must have been like to live in the beautiful, lush valley. Many of the cabins, churches, and other historical buildings remain. 

Lily Larsen was born February 23rd, 1847. The first child of many to Rose and Howard (Buck) Larsen. Labeled a ‘mountain girl’ from the time she took her first steps.

She followed her pa around their small farm and learned all she could from him and her ma. As she grew, and her siblings began to arrive, she understood the meaning of responsibility. Not only did she have an abundance of daily chores, she was also expected to help with the children.

Lily’s tough-as-nails demeanor made her perfect for mountain life. She feared nothing, including hard work.

The family farm thrived, thanks in part to Lily’s help. Her optimism kept her folks smiling and lifted the spirits of her brothers and sister. Her sister, Violet, became her dearest friend. Though their personalities differed, their bond couldn’t be stronger.

At the opening of “Whispers,” Lily is seventeen. Her hands aren’t soft, like those of pampered city girls. They’re callused, rough, and capable. She uses them to plow fields, skin wild game, and cuddle her youngest brother. Her heart is as big as her ambition, but she now has something to fear.

She’s become a beautiful young woman, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The war between North and South is raging, and soldiers wearing both blue and gray arrive in the cove to find refuge and take whatever they want. They feel entitled to it. Some see the mountain women as spoils of war, and one particular rebel soldier has his eyes on Lily. She’s not naive by any means and knows his intentions are far from those of matrimony.

Even before the soldiers arrived, the war created other problems for her family. Her pa went off to fight, but returned home maimed. Now her folks have lost hope, but Lily’s determined to keep her family’s spirit alive and the farm somehow thriving. She’ll never allow herself to be defeated. That quality is one of her greatest traits.

She longs for love and a family of her own, but the war has made it impossible. Every day, she prays the fighting will end and life will become as it once was. Though they’ve had to struggle to survive, Lily certainly won’t give up hope. It’s not in her character.


23 thoughts on “Getting to Know Lily Larsen

  1. Just finished Whispers from the Cove. I was sobbing like a baby and turned the page to discover I was at the end of book 1. Please tell me when book 2 might be coming. I have to know what happens with Lily next. My heart is breaking for this character.

    • Regina, I, too, cried for Lily. I keep a box of tissues next to my desk. I love her dearly! Book two is scheduled for release sometime in July. (Probably close to the end of the month). I’m sorry you have to wait so long for the next installment. I try all I can to keep them coming at three-month intervals. My editor is expecting to get book two in her hands on July 1st, so I intend to meet my deadline. As of right now, there will be three books in this saga. I’m glad you reached out to me, though I feel bad that I made you sob.

  2. Jeanne, You should take the sobbing as a compliment to your writing!! Says something when the writer cries for her characters too. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! Thank you for responding so quickly. July is not really that far away. Decided to check out some of your other books while I wait, starting with Deceptions.

    • You’re so sweet! Thank you for giving my other books a try. I hope you’ll enjoy the Southern Secrets Saga. Maybe it can keep you reading while you wait. My fingers are typing as fast as they can!

      • Jeanne! I had to send you an update on my reading….I just couldn’t get into Deceptions at first, but I so wanted to read something else you had written and be drawn into the characters – to get lost. So I tried the River Romance series. So glad I followed my instinct! It was difficult getting into the third book, Forgotten; it wasn’t going the direction I had envisioned so I put it down for a bit. When I took it up again, I couldn’t put it down. Loved it!! Including your endearing acknowledgement at the end. So ready to read Deceptions now too! Your writing speaks to me in a way no writer has, in quite some time. Thank you!

  3. Regina, I’m so glad you followed your instincts, too! I hope you’ll find when you pick up “Deceptions” again that the characters in that series will also touch your heart. Thank you for the update! I’m so glad that you enjoy my stories. I always try to write from my heart.

  4. Hi Ms Hardt. I just wanted to say I cannot wait for the release of the second book in the Whispers series! Having read Southern Secrets, River Romance, and your single novels; I am anxiously awaiting the next adventure. I also wanted to take a moment and extend a heartfelt thanks for enabling the text to speech feature on your digital books for Kindel. As a blind reader it is so nice to have imediate access to new releases as soon as they are available. Do you think you may partner with Audible in the future? I was also curious if we ever may see a short novella as a prequel to where Lilly’s life begins in Whispers From The Cove so we may see how these families thrived on their treasured land? Thanks again and looking forward to more adventures to come!

    • Thank you for reaching out to me and posting such a kind comment! I’m really glad you’re enjoying my books and that the features offered work well for you. I’m definitely considering audible and am currently looking at those possibilities. I’d love to see my stories brought to life that way. I love your idea of a prequel to “Whispers.” The cove has such a special place in my heart, and I’d enjoy stepping further back in time and seeing how the Larsen’s lives unfolded.
      Thank you again, and I promise, book two will be coming soon! Jeanne

  5. Hello I wanted to say I’m totally engrossed in the smokey mountain books, I’ve finished the second one and wondered if you could tell me when the third book will be released? I’m anxious to see if lily find her way back to those she truly loves ( I’ll not say more in case folks haven’t read the second book). They are lovely and just my style of book.


    • Hello Kim! Thank you for your kind comments! I’m so glad you’re enjoying these books! Book three, “Murmurs in the Mountains,” will be released in October. Thank you so much for asking! Jeanne

      • Hey Kim! I hope you saw where I said I’ll be glad to email you when book three comes out. I realized I posted it as a regular comment instead of a direct reply to you. Silly me! Jeanne

      • Book 3, “Murmurs in the Mountains,” is scheduled to be released sometime this month. It’s in final editing, but I don’t have a definite release date yet. I’m excited for the chance to share this final installment in the series with everyone, like you, who has grown fond of Lily and the others in her life. Thank you for asking! It warms my heart every time I hear from a reader who’s enjoying my books.

  6. i just finished book 2 about Lily and would love for you to email me and let me know when I can get book 3 Murmur in the Mountains.

    • I’m glad you’re looking forward to getting book 3! Thank you for the message. I’ll be happy to email you and let you know when it goes live. It should be sometime in October. Thanks again! Jeanne

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