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In Counterfeit Love (Kregel Publications) Crystal Caudill takes readers back to Cincinnati in 1884 where Theresa Plane finds herself in a precarious situation. Her grandfather has racked up quite the debt and his creditors are calling! After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa feels she owes it to him to save the family name—and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. The secrets he kept have trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home—and the truth.After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancé is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career—but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.
Part 1 of an Interview with Crystal Caudill,
Author of Counterfeit Love
Q: What situation does Theresa find herself in, through no fault of her own? Or is she really as innocent in everything going on around her?Various betrayals work against Theresa throughout her history and present, not the least of which is the betrayal from her grandfather. While their debt developed through a combination of poor business choices, her misadventures, and reoccurring illness, it is ultimately his handling of that debt that leaves Theresa fighting for her home and her future. She is innocent of his poor choices, yet she is the one to pay the consequences and have her reputation clouded by a suspicion of criminal acts.Even though Theresa is innocent of any criminal involvement, she is not innocent in all things. Like everyone else, she is responsible for her reactions and choices. Through her experiences growing up and now reinforced by Grandfather’s betrayal, Theresa has learned to be self-reliant and rarely listens to the wise counsel of those around her. Unfortunately, her self-reliant decisions compound her problems, and her situation grows from dangerous to dire.
 Q: Why does Theresa think her grandfathers problems are hers? Does he know how involved she is in trying to pay off his debts? He has tried to protect her in all other aspects of life, why hasn’t he protected her from the situation at hand? Family relationships can be strange things. Though not always the case, we tend to make allowances for the family members closest to us, even when they hurt us. Loyalty—though undeserved from the outside—is freely given. For Theresa, her grandfather is the only family she has left. She’s staunchly loyal to him because she recognizes the sacrifice he made in choosing to keep her with him after her parents died. She’s also keenly aware of the financial burden she’s added through her many misadventures and fragile health. She wrestles with the knowledge not all of his choices have been wise or even made in her best interest, but she loves him and is loyal to him anyway. Knowing that Grandfather is a proud man, Theresa tried to keep her involvement in paying off debts secret. However, he isn’t unaware. He doesn’t want her help, nor does he approve, but he doesn’t stop her either. Their debt situation has become the least of his worries, and he’s more focused on getting them out of a danger far worse than unpaid debts.
Q: Theresa describes her new fiancé, Edward, as a practical love.” Is that a two-way street? For Edward, his love for Theresa is genuine and passionate. There are always practical reasons for a man to marry, and he has a few that extend beyond the typical. However, where Theresa’s love is less of a romantic love, his is a complicated swirl of passion and wanting what’s best for her, himself, and their future.
Q: Theres something about Edward thats just unlikeable to other characters and readers alike. Even though Theresa is engaged, her best friend still wants to fix her up with another man. What is it about him?While Edward genuinely loves Theresa, he has decided opinions on what she should and should not do. He intends to protect and provide her with everything she needs, but the way he goes about it isn’t well-received by those around Theresa. He’s very pushy and controlling at times—to the point of being manipulative when her stubborn refusal puts her in danger. On top of that, readers and Theresa’s friends see that Theresa is settling. She doesn’t have that spark of excitement that she had when engaged to Broderick. She’s not opposed to romance, but she doesn’t seek it out any longer. While Edward does make some sweet gestures, he doesn’t seem to understand Theresa in the same way that Broderick does. Readers and her friends see this and want better for Theresa. However, romance isn’t always the best determination of if a marriage will last. Theresa knows this and is determined to focus on the practical side of love rather than emotions that can come and go.
Q: What happened to split Theresa and Broderick apart? Did their relationship have a clean break?The details of their split slowly unfold throughout the story, so I don’t want to give too much away. However, I will say that it was not a clean break. It actually felt like a betrayal to Theresa. Broderick had promised to be by her side no matter what they faced. Then an event occurred that almost took Theresa’s life, and Broderick decided the best way to protect Theresa was to leave her. And he did, without any word. She woke up to find him gone with no explanation or intention of returning. They had no communication or knowledge of each other’s lives for six years. The wound of betrayal festered and turned gangrenous for Theresa, and it led her to develop a wall of self-reliance and a determination that feelings would not be the basis of her future marriage. Edward is a good man. She believes he will be enough for her, even though her traitorous heart still longs for an explanation from the man she once loved. And maybe still does.
Q: What is the faith message in the story? Do you always know what part faith is going to play when you start out writing a book?I rarely know what part faith will play when I start writing a book. Sometimes I have an idea, but rarely does it stay the same. For me, writing is an act of holding my hand open and saying, “Okay, God. What do you want to do with this story?” Oftentimes, it ends up paralleling a growing experience in my faith. For example, in Counterfeit Love, Theresa wrestles with whether or not she can trust and love God, even if He strips everything away from her. It is the same question I struggled through as I wrote the story and experienced two of the hardest years of my life. I’d never been so stripped of my faith, and neither had Theresa. We all walk into our faith with preconceived notions of how God shows love to us. If He doesn’t behave in a way we think He should, it rocks our world and causes us to distrust His goodness. But He is always good, and His ways are not our ways. We all reach a point in our faith when we must decide if we will choose to love and trust Him in those “even if” seasons of our lives. And that struggle is at the heart of Counterfeit Loves faith message.
Q: What significance does Brodericks rock play? Throughout the story, Broderick plays with a heart-shaped rock in his pocket. It’s a physical reminder of his past mistakes and what he’s lost because of those choices. Though not always a tangible item, many of us carry guilt as a penance for past mistakes. Though we want to be or have been forgiven, we cling to the memory of our failures. Sometimes our failures are also wrapped up with treasured memories that we don’t want to lose. In a way, that rock serves as a reminder to Broderick of the good days before his failure ruined things. To let go of his failures—and the rock—means letting go of the treasured memories and dreams he’d once had. The rock is a double-edged sword, bringing both comfort and guilt.
Q: Both Broderick and Theresa had to learn lessons in forgiveness and second chances. Why was forgiveness towards some people easier than others for them?Forgiveness is a difficult lesson any time it’s applied, but it’s both easier and harder to forgive those closest to you. Harder in that their betrayal cuts deeper, but easier in that love covers many sins. Broderick and Theresa’s most difficult people to forgive were the family members who betrayed them. You should be able to trust family, and to be betrayed by them is like being flogged. Even after time has healed over some of the wounds, it leaves behind puckered scars that remind you of the betrayal each time you see the person who caused them. The new betrayals come like a whip for Theresa and Broderick, reopening the old scars and allowing welled-up bitterness to seep out. To forgive those that hurt them the most means confronting the pain, understanding that forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior, and learning to no longer hold the betrayal against the one who betrayed them. No one deserves forgiveness, but it has been freely given to us through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is a source of healing for Broderick and Theresa, and it provides an opportunity to repair broken relationships.  Click here for an excerpt. About the author Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. Counterfeit Love is her debut published novel.Caudill says that reading and writing are part of her soul and have been since she first held a crayon. While she considered writing to be an escape from challenges and struggles and a way to keep her sanity, Caudill would come to recognize that God used it as a teaching tool. “The stories came through my fingertips, but they were marked with His fingerprints,” she shares.As she delved into history and crafted her own stories of hope through danger, Caudill would answer the call to pursue writing as a career after her first writer’s conference. “My stories are still filled with danger, struggle, and history, but they are also permeated with the hope and love of Christ. I hope they are dangerously good. Good for the heart and for the soul.”She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.Find out more at or find her on Facebook (@crystalcaudillauthor) and Instagram (@crystalcaudillauthor). You can also join fellow readers in Crystal Caudill’s Reading Friends group on Facebook.TwitterFacebookWebsite