She has penned parenting books and a poignant memoir—but prolific author Mary DeMuth returns to fiction with The Muir House.
Published by Zondervan, it’s a modern-day love story that is also a journey of brokenness and self-awareness for the twenty-something, Willa Muir. The loving and artsy Hale Landon has asked Willa to marry him, but she is unable to accept with so much of her childhood a haunting mystery. Driven by an insatiable need to know why she can’t say yes to Hale, Willa returns to the Muir House Bed & Breakfast, a former funeral home in Rockwall, Texas, to discover the truth of her past. Mary explains, “Willa can’t say yes to her potential fiance because she can’t fully understand her past. The question becomes, ‘Must we fully know and understand and uncover every aspect of our past to be able to live and breathe and make decisions today?’”
Mary believes the foundation for any great love story is angst, coupled with flawed but likeable characters that the reader empathizes or identifies with. Says Mary, “I also love to see the contrast of selfishness and self-sacrifice.” The Muir House reflects this contrast and also delves into the life-altering choices people make to keep their reputations intact. Reputation can be everything to some people and Mary believes, “[Such people] don’t feel worthy of love if they’re flawed or needy or lonely or vulnerable.”
Mary’s deeply held faith flows authentically into the lives of her characters as they struggle with love and relationships. “Since it’s me who is writing the story, it comes naturally from my own relationship with Jesus. I strive not to make the faith element heavy-handed, but woven intricately into the story as a part of the landscape.”