09 April 2021

Downsizing | Excerpt + Giveaway

JustRead Publicity Tours


Forced to suddenly downsize her life, and not by choice, pushes Mary Pat Latham to give up all that is familiar, to reexamine her life in every area, and to eventually open her heart to new beauty and purpose, instead of only looking back in regret.

At midlife, Mary Pat Latham has an almost perfect life—a successful husband, a beautiful home, four fine grown children, and a wealth of meaningful activities and social clubs to fill her days—so it’s a total shock when her husband walks in one day and says he wants a divorce. As if hearing a stranger talking in her own kitchen, Mary Pat listens to Russell’s reasons for wanting to abandon their long marriage and to his plans, already in place, to sell their home and move on. What will she do? Where will she go? She hasn’t worked since the children were born, her life wrapped up in home and family. Stunned, Mary Pat heads to the small mountain home she and Russell bought from her parents years ago, too shocked and humiliated to face her friends or anyone she knows right now.

Owen McCarter knew he’d need to stop by the old Jennings place, on some pretense or other, after Wheeler told him he’d seen a woman up there acting sick. After all, the house was next door to his at the end of Highland Drive. When he knocked on the front door later, it took him a minute to recognize Mary Pat, weeping and so different from the girl he’d known in childhood and fallen in love with. Owen reached out in friendship, of course, seeing Mary Pat so upset, but he felt surprised at the old memories that touched him, too. Hearing her problems and learning why she’d come to the mountains, Owen knew it unlikely she’d stay for long after the more lavish life she’d known. But he couldn’t help wishing she would.

Another Lin Stepp novel set in the Smoky Mountains … with a special “Downsizing Diet” available free to readers as a book supplement.

Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 1, 2021



Obviously she should have paid more attention. She’d seen other wealthy men trade in their long time wives for a newer version but never imagined it could happen to her. Russell was ten years her senior after all, and she’d always felt that age difference a sort of protection. That and their long-term marriage, which she’d believed a happy one.

“I don’t know what to say, Russell. You’ve decided our marriage is not enough for you anymore and that I am not enough. You’ve picked out a new place to live, a new partner, and you’ve already made plans to move on with your life, thinking little about how all these decisions will affect me or our children.”

“Our children are adults now,” he said with annoyance. “They’ve all finished college; they’re working. They’ll understand. It’s not like they’re little kids anymore.”

She shook her head. “If you think this won’t shock and hurt our children, you’re deluding yourself greatly.” She paused. “And I plan to let you be the one to tell each of them about this, too. You always made me be the one to deal out any disappointing news in past, but not this time.”

He wrinkled his nose. “No problem. I’ll talk to them.”

“Good, and unless you plan to change your mind about filing for divorce, contact them soon. Since you’ve already talked with an attorney and started paperwork, and since Cherise has been marketing our home—I might add without my knowledge—word will soon get out. I’d rather our children hear about this from you before someone calls one of them and tells them about it behind our backs.”

“I said I’d talk to them.” He bit the words out.

She sat there, trying to think what else she could possibly say. Surely this wasn’t really happening? She’d seen people she knew get a divorce, heard stories tittered on the wind, felt sorry for those she knew well. Never had she imagined it might be her. Not for a minute.

“What will I do, Russell? I haven’t worked outside the home since we married. Any office skills I once had are sadly out of date. Any resume I might create would look ridiculous.”

He shrugged. “You’ve apparently felt happy enough sitting around and doing nothing for the last twenty years since Victoria started school. I guess you can keep sitting around doing nothing if you want to, go to your little clubs and such. Your alimony will be pretty good. Divorce doesn’t need to change your life very much if you don’t want it to.”

“That’s a mean and stupid thing to say. Divorce changes everything."


Lin Stepp is a New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, A native Tennessean, businesswoman, and former faculty member at Tusculum College, Lin has twenty-one published books, including her beloved Smoky Mountain and Mountain Home novels, all set in different Tennessee and North Carolina locations, plus a novella A Smoky Mountain Gift in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies.

Stepp’s latest novels, set around the Smoky Mountains, are Downsizing (2021) and Happy Valley (2019). Lin also has three novels set on the South Carolina coast in her Edisto Trilogy: Claire at Edisto (2019), Return to Edisto (2020) and Edisto Song (2021). Lin and her husband J.L. also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and two state parks guidebooks for Tennessee and South Carolina.

Lin’s title Claire at Edisto was the 2019 Best Books Award Winner in Fiction: Romance, sponsored by American Book Fest, her novel Welcome Back a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards, and Lin and her husband’s guidebook Discovering Tennessee State Parks a 2019 Best Books Award Finalist in Nonfiction: Travel Guides with American Book Fest.

Lin enjoys hiking and exploring out of doors and she loves speaking for events, festivals, libraries, and book clubs and sharing about her work and interests through her monthly blog and newsletter, both on her website at: www.linstepp.com


(1) winner will receive a Tennesee gift pack including a print copy of Downsizing by Lin Stepp, The Afternoon Hiker and Discovering Tennessee State Parks by J.L. & Lin Stepp, and a Great Smoky Mountains National Park pocket guide!

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight April 5, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 12, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10/4/21 13:53

    Thank you for sharing! - JustRead Tours