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SKELETONS KEY with Stacy Green

Many thanks to Ivy for having me back on Manic Readers! It’s one of my favorite blogs to visit. I’m excited to bring you SKELETON’S KEY, the second book in the Delta Crossroads Series.

Ironwood Plantation is at the heart of the book. It brings characters Cage Foster and Dani Evans together, and it represents their mutual journey to becoming whole.

The house is also my own special creation. I’ve always loved old homes, and plantations hold a special place in my heart. To me, an old home is like a living entity. When I walk into one, I can feel its energy, as if all the lives that were led inside the walls are collectively welcoming me. That may sound corny, but it’s the truth.

Ironwood’s exterior is based on Malmaison Plantation, a historical home in Greenwood, Mississippi that burned down in the 1940s. The inside is all my own: the dual staircase, the grand ballroom, the French tile in the foyer, the butler’s pantry, and of course, the secret passage everyone is so desperate to find. Does it contain the legendary Ironwood cache? Or something infinitely more significant? You’ll have to read to find out. 🙂

I loved every minute of writing this book, but creating Ironwood will always stand out. When I close my eyes, I can see the house as though I’d really walked its halls. I hope you will, too.

An excerpt from SKELETON’S KEY, available in print and all digital formats.

Ducking her head to see beneath the oak’s drooping branches, Dani turned into the drive. Glimpses of dirty white railing partially hidden by rosebushes had her clenching the steering wheel with anticipation. The path wound slightly to the left, around the big tree, and Ironwood emerged.

Pictures hadn’t done her justice. The mansion’s wooded exterior was gray and faded, the balconies sagging dangerously in places. Its four front columns were cracked, its iron railings rusting, and the widow’s peak had lost part of its outboards.

But she was still beautiful, like a weathered grandmother who’d seen more of life than most could comprehend. The grand home’s front was a five bay structure, its centerpiece a two-story portico with four perfectly spaced Greek pillars. An exquisite bracketed cornice marked the roofline, and while several of the Italianate brackets were missing, their craftsmanship was still visible on the remaining pieces. Standing guard over the house was a widow’s walk with a balcony that circled a small cupola. Additional porticos marked the east and west sides of the house.

Dani closed her eyes and imagined the house’s mistress standing on the walk, waiting for her son to come home from the Civil War. Her summer dress would be lightweight, but hoops and underskirts would have added several pounds to her frame. Her hair might have hung in pin curls or been done up in a more stately but ornate knot. A delicate white handkerchief etched with precise stitching – probably flowers – would be crushed in her hand as she prayed for her son’s safe return from the war.

That son would have been John James Laurent, and he did return from the war. He and his father kept Ironwood afloat during the Reconstruction, and the plantation employed free blacks for decades, running a modest but successful cotton crop until sometime during the Great Depression. Ironwood had been slowly sinking into quiet despair since. The once grand home was no more than a shadow of its former glory.

Moisture dripped onto Dani’s lip. She flushed, hastily wiping the tears away. Old homes had always held a special power over her, but the plantations were a force she couldn’t explain. It was as if the last remnants of a forgotten way of life desperately grasped for survival. For someone to remember. To save them.

She would save Ironwood.

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

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