The Mississippi Holds a Maiden’s Past, Present, and Future

Genres: Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

First Book of the Enthralling Song of the River Series

Cruise down the Mississippi where a maiden, determined to gain financial independence, embarks upon a riverboat business.  Join Natchez belle Lily Anderson for a riverboat venture this June in Lily; book one in the new Song of the River series.

In 1859 Natchez, Mississippi, Lily Anderson is determined to thwart a marriage of convenience. She embarks on a riverboat venture to keep her and her two sisters afloat financially. But gambler Blake Matthews has won part ownership of Lily’s riverboat. How will their business profit if he and the feisty Mississippi miss disagree about almost everything? The affluent Jean Luc Champney will do anything to get back what he lost in a card game, including wooing and endangering the pretty new owner. Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?

Publication Information

Lily by Diane Ashley & Aaron McCarver / Song of the River Series Book One
June 2012 / $12.99 / 320 Pages / Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-61626-542-7

About the Author

Diane Ashley, a “town girl” born and raised in Mississippi, has worked more than twenty years for the House of Representatives. She rediscovered a thirst for writing, was led to a class taught by Aaron McCarver, and became a founding member of the Bards of Faith.

Aaron McCarver is a transplanted Mississippian who was raised in the mountains near Dunlap, Tennessee. He loves his jobs of teaching at Belhaven University and editing for Barbour Publishing and Summerside Press. A member of ACFW, he is coauthor with Gilbert Morris of the bestselling series, The Spirit of Appalachia. He now coauthors with Diane Ashley on several historical series.


Praise for Lily

“Romantic and inviting as a southern afternoon, Lily swept me into its pages. Ashley and McCarver have created a lasting tale as poignant and deep as the river upon which it’s set.”
–          Elizabeth Ludwig, author and creator of The Borrowed Book

“With themes of faith, family, forgiveness, and more twists and turns than a winding river, Lily takes readers back to the historic riverboat days in vivid detail. This charming tale of a determined, unconventional heroine and a stubborn, hurting hero is sure to capture your heart and leave you smiling at the end.”
–          Vickie McDonough, award-winning author of the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series

“Ashley and McCarver have woven a tale as gentle as a summer breeze and as treacherous as a shifting sandbar… You’ll feel the rocking of the riverboat and the warm breeze on your cheeks as Lily Anderson travels the River from Memphis to New Orleans, discovering the healing powers of love and forgiveness.”
–          Erica Vetsch, author of A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas

“Brimming with romance and history, second chances and spiritual truths, Lily, Song of the River, takes you on a unique excursion that is utterly moving and delightful. Soft as a southern breeze, the compelling characters wrap round your heart and won’t let go. Truly a dream of a book! “
–          Laura Frantz, author of The Colonel’s Lady

“Lily is Gone with the Wind meets The African Queen. This book has all the action and adventure of the grand riverboat days, coupled with all the romance and grandeur of a pre-Civil-War South. I so enjoyed going along on this faith-filled adventure. Lily is a fine start to what is shaping up to be a wonderful Song of the River series. If you love historic fiction, you will love Lily.”
–          Lenora Worth, New York Times bestselling author

“Lily is an endearing, faith-affirming story that will leave a sigh on your lips and a sweet “song of the river” in your heart.”
–          Ramona K. Cecil, author of A Bride’s Sweet Surprise in Sauers, Indiana and Freedom’s Crossroad

“With brilliant style, the team of Ashley and McCarver has perfectly blended Mississippi gentility and steamboat adventure. You will enter the characters’ world and experience the excitement and dangers they endure in this gripping tale.”

–           Janelle Mowery, author of the Colorado Runaway Series

“Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver have written a beautiful story of the South right before the Civil War. You will feel immersed in the Southern culture and setting. I felt I was right there with Lily.”
–          Margaret Daley, author of From This Day Forward, Summerside

“Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver bring a tale as steeped in the flavor of the South as a frosty glass of sweet tea. You’ll smell the muddy Mississippi River, her bottom churned by paddlewheel boats. You’ll stand on the dock at Natchez Under-the-Hill while the breeze off the water teases your hair. Lily takes you on a pleasant journey into the colorful past. You’ll be glad you booked passage.”
—Marcia Gruver, author of the Backwoods Brides and Texas Fortune series.

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Q & A with the Author

You two have been writing together for quite some time.  What made you start writing together? How long have you been writing together?

We began writing together for two main reasons. It was a way for Diane to get started as Aaron had already been published and a way for Aaron to get back into writing after stopping due to his mother’s death. It has worked so well we cannot imagine doing it any other way now. Our first collaboration, Under the Tulip Poplar, was released in 2009.

You write mostly historical fiction.  Have you considered branching out into another genre?

While historical is Aaron’s greatest love and Diane’s early passion, Diane loves suspense novels, Aaron loves classic mysteries, and we both enjoy fantasy/sci-fi stories. So you never know what may come from our pens in the future.

What made you decide to write about the riverboat era in Lily?

Living in Mississippi, we realize it is a time and place often overlooked and we wanted to bring this fascinating era alive for our readers.

Are you going to continue the same time period throughout the series or will it change?

We have set out to cover the entire riverboat era and see in three distinct periods. Therefore, Lily shows the era of trade before the Civil War, Camellia will show the actual war on the river, and Jasmine will portray the era of the showboats after the war.

What type of research did you have to do for Lily?

Most of our research for this book centered on actual riverboats and the goods being transported by them. We also had to learn how the people lived during this time, including what they ate, how they dressed, and the types of entertainment they enjoyed. Research on Natchez, New Orleans, and other river cities was also necessary to properly depict how they were during the antebellum period.

What inspired the characters Lily Anderson and Blake Matthews?

We envision Lily as an innocent but strong-willed young woman determined to provide for her younger sisters while following her heart’s song. We also wanted her to be unsure of herself as her younger sisters are more beautiful and talented, but Lily comes to realize she has great inner strength as she learns to rely on the Lord to meet her needs.

Blake, dashing and debonair, was created as her hero but also her foil. They clash over almost everything until realizing they have more in common than they first believed. All three of our main characters¾Lily, Blake, and Jean Luc Champney¾are searching for redemption, and we wanted to show through each search that the only path to true redemption is found in Jesus Christ.

If you could sum up this series in three words what would they be?

Christ-centered, romantic, intriguing

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.
  • Great interview, Aaron ad Diane! Love this story and the series idea!

  • Aaron McCarver

    Thank you so much, Janet Lee! I am looking forward to your new series from Love Inspired Historicals! I know it is going to be a huge hit!

  • Aaron and Diane, those three words sum up Lily perfectly. I’d add that anyone looking for an escape into another era will love this book. It’s truly like stepping through a porthole into the past and never wanting to leave. Can’t wait for the next one. Write faster guys!! LOL

  • I love the floral names of each of the girls/books and so far from what I’ve seen the covers are even more gorgeous. I’m really looking forward to reading this series and like what I’ve read so far in Lily. She has spunk! 😉
    Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama´s last blog post ..The Berenstain Bears and Mama for Mayor!

    Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama recently posted: The Berenstain Bears and Mama for Mayor!
  • Thanks Janet Lee. I can’t wait to see your historical series. I know Margaret will want to feature your books too. Lori, you are so sweet. Aaron and I labored over those three words for a while, picking and tossing several. Margaret, thanks for featuring us on your blog. You have a lot of information on here for historical novels. I’ll be sure and tell my friends about you.