Silver Moon By the Light of the Moon Book 3 by Jenny Knipfer Genre: Historical Fiction
A tale of courage and hope in the darkest of times...
Silver Moon, the third book in the series: By the Light of the Moon, paints a stunning and poignant picture of life on the home front in Webaashi Bay, Ontario, and of three men who are a part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI.
Shamed into joining the war, the tide turns for Luis Wilson when he is steered into the depths of espionage. Injured and presumed missing, will he lose his heart to the very woman who presented him with a white feather?
Oshki and Jimmy offer a grim perspective on life in the trenches. They despair of ever returning home to the women who hold their hearts.
Meanwhile, Lily fights for the cause in her own way and rallies the female troops at home as prejudices run high and the local cafe owner is accused of being a spy.
Will the women of Webaashi Bay receive their men back unscathed? Can the power of love win out over insurmountable odds? All this drama and more plays out under the light of a silver moon.
Fans of WWI historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and literary fiction will find Silver Moon a moving, powerful read!
"Silver Moon is a highly recommended read for fans of historical wartime fiction, powerful emotive drama, and excellent atmospheric writing."--Readers' Favorite
"I am stunned by the amount of detail the author gave in this single story. On one hand, we have powerful characters... and on the other, we have a plot that demands all our attention. Jenny Knipfer pulls no punches and holds nothing back."--Readers' Favorite
Vimy Ridge, France
The wee hours of April 9th, 1917
The door between death and life is so thin. I could melt into the passageway as easily as floating on water. It is a place just one step away from drowning. I could be buoyant and breathing one minute, then not. Death's door becoming a fluid birth.
Will they find me and the intelligence stowed away in my shoe before I die? Will I die before I can make a break for freedom? Death resembles a sort of freedom, I suppose, one I find almost welcoming. My mind tells me it would be easy to surrender to the pull of the mud and the slimy, icy water, but my body won’t let me. It struggles to survive. My lungs suck in quick gasps of air through a copper tube as I stay covered in my watery grave, but I need more. Soon, I will need to breathe, really breathe, for I am starving for oxygen. Unless I die of hypothermia first. Perhaps the mud acts as an insulating layer.
Should I listen and give in to death’s call?
Maybe, for I don’t even know who I am anymore. The man I used to be haunts me and grieves me with accusations. I am a killer. I am a liar. I am a cheater. I’m worse than my father ever was.
Does war really give us a bill of rights to become such things?
Maybe death would erase the wrongs I have done and the atrocities I have seen, the images of men blown to bits before my very eyes, their visceral remains flecked upon my face like macabre confetti. Skewered, bayoneted bodies pile up in my memory like stuck pigs ready for the roasting. We are all preparing to be roasted, for the way of mankind has delved into the depths of hell. Here, I rest in this muddy trench, a narrow sea of mud, water, rats—the living and the dead. Just let go. It’ll be easy . . .
The thought reverberates in my tired soul. But I can’t. An image of myself as a boy flashes before me—hanging off the cliff at home by the distant shores of Superior. My fingers grip the dirt and rocks again as if it were yesterday and not twenty years ago. In the vision, my feet slip, and I am a fall away from death’s embrace, but Someone intervenes. My soul now cries as that boy once cried.
“Help me! Save me!”
I open my eyes and see by the light of the silver moon—a face, smeared like a dark, watercolor painting through the water. I see a shadow pass before the moon, and before I know what is happening, I feel a tug. I am pulled from the black embrace which called me to release, and I break the plane of the frigid, murky water at the bottom of the trench, wondering who has me in their grasp.
“Luis? Luis!” a voice fiercely whispers, inches from my face.
He looks like . . . Oshki?
Am I dreaming? How can this be? My ragged lungs take a deep surge
of air as I spit out the thin, metal pipe which has kept me alive for the last . . . how long has it been? Hours? Minutes? I can’t be sure. I shake and shiver in the night air.
Oshki, my young friend. He represents home, hope, and everything good. But I am not of that world anymore. I have been sculpted by darkness.
“O-sh-ki?” I finally sputter out. The tremors of my body make my voice rattle in my chest.
He pulls me into a standing position. The water sloshes around us like a simpering witch’s cauldron. We stand thigh-deep in the lifeless dirge of the trench. I must look like a frightened fool to him. My eyes focus only on his.
We are in an outlying spot that is supposed to be occupied but has recently become flooded. I hoped they wouldn’t think to look for me in this deserted portion of Pan’s labyrinth, and I certainly didn’t think my own countrymen would find me.
“You’re safe, Luis. There are no Krauts here. But how did you . . .?” Oshki’s hands grip the lapels of my uniform.
I want to believe he’s real. I do. But the mind plays funny tricks in the darkness.
I focus on nothing but him. “How did you know I was here?”
“A fella named Rooster told us, a German turncoat. He escaped and mentioned an escaped prisoner with him. We were told to investigate, and what do I find?” Oshki slaps me on the back with a splat. “You are one crazy Canadian, my friend.” Good. Rooster made it. I hope he hasn’t told Oshki too much. Besides the major, he’s the only other person who knows the truth.
I glimpse the outline of another man at Oshki’s side, but I concentrate on my friend. He offers an explanation for their appearance.
“We were going out this way anyway cause Staff Sergeant Jenkins sent Lenny and me to gauge the state of the trenches at this end and if they are passable or not.” He pauses and looks deeper into my eyes. I avert my gaze and busy myself with wringing some water from my drenched clothes.
“Why were you acting like a sewer rat?” he asks.
“I got a bit lost in the dark is all, and I thought I’d attract too much attention sloshing around. They were close on my tail.” I stand up straighter and back away from him a bit, hoping he doesn’t notice my German military jacket. Oshki doesn’t know who I really am or what my position really is. He just knew of my recent placement as a lieutenant with the Allied ground forces near here. The men were told I was captured.
“Well, lucky for you they moved on a while ago.” He points to the hands of the serviceman waiting to lift me up out of the place I thought would be my grave. “Come. We’ve got to get ya warm, but stay low.” He moves ahead, but suddenly he turns and looks at me incredulously.
“I still can’t believe you’re alive and . . . free.”
I am reminded of my prayer. “I had a little help, it seems.”
Oshki grins at me in the silver light and thumps me affectionately on the back. He’s shorter than me but stronger. I try to grin back to hide who I’ve become. But war has changed us all irrevocably—even he looks older to me.
He says nothing, but I catch his eyes searching me to the core. He must sense more to my story. The spirit of an Ojibwe wise man rests in this young man. Even though his eyes shine hazel, they remind me of the knowing, black eyes of his aunt, Maang-ikwe. Eyes which can see every part of you. It makes me want to hide again. But, no, I must be brave. Brave. I have been brave for years. I am tired of being brave.
But I choke down my fatigue and force myself to move. It is what I do, because I am a soldier and . . .
I am a spy.
Blue Moon By the Light of the Moon Book 2
The year is 1885 and unwed Vanessa Gulet must surrender her newborn son to her married twin sister, Valerie, to raise. A seed of bitterness grows in Vanessa. When the opportunity arises for her to have what she’s always wanted, Vanessa takes it despite the consequences to her family, getting more than she bargained for.
Meanwhile, Valerie, overcome with loss and grief, faces the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Will she and her husband, Felix, forge through their trials together or will life's upsets cause them to drift apart? Will Vanessa and Valerie remain at odds, or will they allow the power of forgiveness to heal their strained relationship?
Love seems to bloom in the most unlikely of places in Webaashi Bay for an old friend of Jenay’s and a woman who owns the local dress shop. A parallel tale of love, forgiveness, and reuniting lost things is spun by a local author adding another dimension to the tale of the Gulet twins and their saga.
June 7th, 1895
A half hour before midnight
“Come. We must be quiet.” I motion to the lad as I kneel next to his bed.
“Is this part of our game?” Luis looks up at me. His sleepy eyes appear to hold doubt that his auntie wants to play at this hour.
“Oui, but we must be quiet. Yes? Juliet, Maman, and Papa will not understand.”
I’m clothed in a plain, black gown, and a black, netted cap confines my dark hair. The full moon shines through the nursery window. Luis searches my face for a moment and seems satisfied with what he sees in the reflection of my eyes.
He quickly rises and does my bidding. The large estate of his home offers unlimited fodder for outdoor games of all types. All his favorite games involve adventure. We’ve been reading Treasure Island together, and I often encourage his playfulness. I hope he goes along with my charade, a secret, promised excursion.
“Where are we going?” Luis asks as he pulls on his trousers, with excitement in his voice. He tears off his nightshirt and yanks on the shirt and sweater I offer him. His pupils widen in the dim light as he questions me.
“Don’t forget your shoes.” I hold up a pair of stylish, black leather boots to the boy before me. Luis snatches the boots, steps into them, and trusses up his feet with their laces.
“Now what?” he demands.
I grab the carpetbag at my feet, which contains some of his clothes I’d packed earlier in the day and hidden under his bed. I pluck his still warm stuffed elephant out of his cozy nest of sleep and add it to the stash. Luis should be past the age for stuffed toys,
but he still loves Elephant. I encase Luis’s warm hand in my cool, clammy one and proclaim,
“Now our adventure begins.”
I lead him with whispers and light steps out of his room through the hall, down the stairs and out the library window, which I’ve left open. He follows me. I’ll keep up the pretense until we are safely stowed away on the train tomorrow morning, which will
take us to Lake Huron’s shore. There, a steamer awaits to take us to our inheritance across two Great Lakes.
When far enough away, I will tell Luis. I hope his ten-year-old heart can forgive me.
Ruby Moon By the Light of the Moon Book 1
Ruby Moon embodies a tale of grief, guilt, and romance set on the shores of Lake Superior in Ontario during the mid 1890’s. Jenay, a young woman of mixed French and Ojibwe descent, must survive the trauma of causing a horrific accident.
Amidst this drama, Jenay is caught in a web spun by Renault, a rich, charming man who once threatened ruination of her father’s shipping company but now seeks something even more valuable...
Jenay must find where her strength lies in order to face the challenges life brings her or be washed away like driftwood on the tumultuous shores of Lake Superior. Life’s richest dramas are played out under the banner of two ruby-colored moons and become the hidden gems which forge her into a mature strong woman. Jenay realizes God is by her side, using even the harsh events of life to create something precious in her.
I will give you the treasures of the darkness and hidden riches of secret places . . . Isaiah 45:3
June 14, 1894
I see the moon, and I imagine the moon sees me—every hidden part. The blood red of a ruby is reflected upon its surface. It appears like a floating jewel, fit for a queen. The queen of death.
I wrap my arms around myself and shudder as my eyes focus on the skirt of cloudy film cushioning the lunar sphere, as if protecting it from the darkness, but . . .
Who will protect me?
I breathe in the heaviness of a coming storm. The air is electric around me.
Gooseflesh spots my arms, and my hair stands at attention. My throat constricts. I claw at my neck, and I momentarily struggle for breath as I realize what I’ve done. I didn’t mean to kill him.
An eerie sensation prickles my skin through water logged clothes and causes me to shiver. My blouse and skirt stick to my body like weed seeds, and I long to be rid of them. If only there is a way to rid me of the heartache of this night? It is a living nightmare from which there is no escape. The moon acts as my judge and accuses me from its heavenly throne. I gaze once more at the ruby moon hung on a blackening curtain before I step under the covering of grapevines arching the stone walkway to home. It is late, and I am tired, but . . . How will I even be able sleep after all that has transpired?
The reality is—I don’t deserve sleep. The finality of this night grips my heart, and my stomach lurches with nausea. I hold my long, wet hair away from my mouth as I heave into the bushes.
When I recover, I move with exhaustion. Each step is an effort as I lift my heavy wood-like legs. I gaze straight ahead and study the thick lintel beams framing the doorway of my home. I hardly recognize this world I left hours before, but the glow of the lamplight through the leaded glass of the door beckons me inside. It waits like a sentinel to guide lost souls. Perhaps that is what I am now? Lost. . .
My moccasined feet make no sound as I step carefully upon the last few steps. My hand finds the cool, curvy brass of the door handle. I hesitate and stop. If I proceed, I will be crossing over more than a physical threshold. I will cross through the past and make this night a part of the future.
I choke back a sob and hold my breath. The evening shadows blur as waves of dizziness spin before my eyes and ring in my ears. The conscious sound of a sudden intake of air shakes me. How long have I been standing here, gripping the handle and dripping lake water on the step, my knuckles white with the force of the grasp? The drumming of my heart is ragged in my ears. It is consuming and hammers out a steady gaveled beat.
I quietly open the heavy oak door and unfurl my fingers from its metal handle.
My hands are cold, so cold, yet they burn at the same time. I look at my thin, tapered fingers, and for the first time, I notice how they shake. Despite the tremors, I inspect my hands and take in every path and crevice on their surface the faint light reveals. One stubborn spot of red remains on my index finger. I should rub it off, but I leave it. Who am I? Whose hands are these really that have taken part in such a terrible thing? If only the pattern of my hands could tell me that.
Decisively, I inhale and step from the darkness into the light. I walk through the doorway, and ease the door shut behind me.
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Jenny’s education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions. She spent many years as a librarian in a local public library but recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability.
She authored and performed a self-published musical CD entitled, Scrapbook of a Closet Poet. Jenny acquires joy in the journey as an author. Ruby Moon, the first title in her historical fiction series: By the Light of the Moon, earned a five star rating from Readers' Favorite. Her books are available in eBook and paperback formats through Amazon and Ingramspark.
Jenny holds membership in the: Historical Novel Society, Wisconsin Writers Association, and Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series is set.
Who doesn’t love the moon and its mystic lure? Although I based my series on a foundation of Christian faith, I added depth and richness by including stories and myths. Here’s how the moon came to play a vital role...
Ruby Moon: It all started with a real red moon, a bag of garbage, and a hot, sticky July night twenty years ago. I stayed up late reading one evening. Before I went to bed, I remembered the garbage I’d placed on the deck. (Out in the country, where we live, one does not leave garbage out; the local wildlife will have a hayday.)
After marking where I’d left off in my book, I swung the front door open, picked up the hefty bag of garbage, and tottered to the dumpster. The damp night air told of a coming storm. I looked up to check the sky and gasped at what I saw. The sight was so surreal; I dropped the bag of garbage with a splat and started, incredulously, at a full red moon, hanging over the top of the tree line to the west of our home. Prickles on my arms erupted, and I immediately wanted to write about that moment. And so I did...
After depositing the garbage, I ran back to the house, sat in my favorite chair, took up my pen and notebook, and began. I paired the moon sighting with a story of a young woman who accidentally kills someone she cares for. Ruby Moon and Jenay’s story also sprang from a true story of a friend who played a part in a real accidental death.
In the novel I play off the image of the moon through Jenay’s love of nature and the heritage she bears—Ojibwe. Her Ojibwe aunt, Maang-ikwe or Loon-woman, tells Jenay truth through tales, some of which include the moon. Most of my stories I tell through Maang-ikwe are pure fiction, but in truth many Native American cultures charted their lives by the cycles of the moon.
There is a moon in June/July called the Strawberry Moon, not only because the moon can appear red during these months, but also because the wild strawberries ripen then.
Blue Moon: the second book in my series came from the idea of something rare, like a blue moon. The saying goes, “Once in a Blue Moon”, which actually references a month that contains two full moons and is a rather rare occurrence.
I had wanted the title to be “Once in a Blue Moon”, originally, but being the second book, I figured I might confuse readers. So, I went with simply Blue Moon, representing something rare and true: friendship, love, and forgiveness.
A tale of sibling rifts, challenged friendships, and second chance loves formed on the page, and Vanessa and Valerie’s story came to life in Blue Moon.
Silver Moon: the third book in the series came to me on an autumn day, while I sat by my favorite fishing hole in a backwater slough of the Red Cedar River. Evening approached, and I watched my husband, backlit by the setting sun, casting his fishing line, hoping for a bite. I could just make out the faint, silver outline of the moon in the sky. As I lowered my gaze to the eddy of swirling water in front of me, where the current and the stagnant water of the slough met, I thought of what it would be like to be submerged in that chilly, temtuous liquid. Then the first scene of Silver Moon spilled out of my imagination. While leaf boats floated by and migrating geese honked overhead, I pecked out the words on my iPad, and Silver Moon was born.
Excerpt from Silver Moon:
Oshki listened and looked up at the moon smiling down on them. His thoughts drifted from the priest’s words to a tale his great aunt had told him when he was a child. Maang-ikwe’s mellow and slightly nasal voice spilled out the story in his memory . . .
“Now there was Moon whom Gitchi-manidoo made. Moon looked down from heaven. He liked to watch de life of men, but he sad not to gaganoozah, talk, with man. Gitchi-manidoo knew Moon could not talk men’s talk, so he thought of way. He asked Moon question.
“‘Moon, you tired of always being de same color?’ Moon say, ‘’Eya,’ yes. Moon not think of that before, but he tired of gray. So Gitchi-manidoo gave him gift.”
“What did the moon get?” Oshki widened his eyes and asked. The firelight of the hearth danced behind them.
“Moon’s maker say to him, ‘I give you red, orange, blue, gold, and silver to dress in.’
“Moon pleased, but he ask, ‘How I know which color to put on?’
“Gitchi-manidoo tell him, ‘Sun will tell you.’ So . . . Moon listens for Sun and its light to tell him when to dress in a different color.”
“Does the moon have a favorite color?” Oshki asked.
“Is the moon happy wearing different colors?”
Maang-ikwe smiled at him. “It is just so, ingozis. Moon is happy, he wear color so Anishinaabe know when to do certain things.” “Like what?”
“Harvest and thanks. Planting and protect. Joy and laughter. Sorrow and tears.” Oshki was puzzled. He had an inclination of what she meant, for the moon glowed orange often at harvest time, and he had seen it look golden and full every once in a while. Oshki couldn’t remember seeing the other colors, though.
“Will I see all the colors of the moon? Will the moon tell me when to do these things?” Oshki watched his great aunt. He loved her stories, but he often did not understand them. Maang-ikwe paused and gazed at him so hard it almost hurt. He wanted to turn away but didn’t.
“What is it?” he finally got up the courage to ask her.
“Ingozis, my son. I see a silver moon.” Maang-ikwe placed a shaky hand on his chin.
“What will a silver moon tell me?” Oshki’s brows puckered together. She hesitated, sighed, and trailed down the curve of his smooth boy cheek with her wrinkled finger. “Silver a metal that chases away maji-manidoo, bad spirits. The light of de silver moon a cleansing light. It save you from bad things and help you remember Gitchi-manidoo, who protects.” Maang-ikwe’s hand hovered a few seconds longer at Oshki’s cheek, then she dropped it back into her lap and turned her head to the low, flickering flames. Oshki looked at his aunt’s profile and wondered when he would see this moon and what he would need protecting from . . .