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Laura L. Valenti, Freelance Writer and Author
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      In the third book in the Bennett Spring series, set in 1946, Esther Darling, born in 1924 when the famous park was founded, is a Navy nurse, recently returned to Bennett Spring 
from World War II. Like so many others, she is struggling to pick up the pieces of her life but her best friend from childhood, Alice is missing. And now her father has received a letter saying their beloved Bennett Spring Church of God which is abandoned and in disrepair, 
may be seized by the state. As Esther grapples with issues from the past as well as an uncertain future, she comes to find that the love and security she has always depended on 
is to be found right here at home at Bennett Spring. Once again, this story of the past bears true to Bennett Spring's original history while recounting it all through the eyes of the 
Darling family and characters already known and loved in the first two books. Come back to Bennett Spring through The Heart of the Spring Comes Home so that even if you can't 
visit our lovely park as often as you would like, you can take a bit of its peace and beauty 
with you, wherever you go.


    The Heart of the Spring Comes Home is available for $14.45 + $4 shipping and handling 
         + tax for Missouri residents.


Ozark Meth: A Journey of Destruction and Deliverance, originally published in 2006, is an insightful examination of the lives of 30 methamphetamine addicts in sustained recovery, according to Dr. Mary F. Holley, Founder/Director of Mothers Against Methamphetamine and author of Crystal Meth: They Call It Ice.  These southwest Missouri residents told us how they got on, how they got off, and how they stay offr meth and what it means to the rest of us.
   In this updated 2013 edition, author Laura L. Valenti was able to touch base briefly with several of the original respondents. This new book also features updated information from a doctor's perspective and a law enforcement point of view.  


                              Available at this site for $10 & $4 postage via PayPal


    In her first Bennett Spring historical novel, Laura L. Valenti shares the story of eighteen year old, Becky Darling who is thrilled with her first job at the Brice Inn in the real town of Brice, Missouri in 1924. When she learns that Bennett Spring may become Missouri's first state park, it sounds like real progress to her until she discovers her beloved father is working hard against the idea. Life during that Prohibition summer is further complicated by her older brother's involvement in illegal moonshine, the impending birth of a new brother or sister and the surprise arrival of a state senator and his handsome aide. Becky can't help but wonder if life at Bennett Spring will ever be carefree again.

    "Fishing, moonshing, distrust of outsiders, beauty of nature, importance
     of family and a romance are all intermingled in  The Heart of the Spring,
     Laura Valenti's well-crafted and exciting novel about the beginning of
     Missouri's first state park, Bennett Spring."  --Ellen Gray Massey,  
     editor and author of over 25 Missouri Ozarks books, including Brothers,
     Blue and Gray

     The Heart of the Spring is available at this site for $12.95 + $4 shipping via
      PayPal + state tax for Missouri residents.
  
      
       In the first Bennett Spring sequel, The Heart of the Spring Lives On, Ben Darling, who was raised at Bennett Spring,  is a new deputy for the sheriff's department. On a visit to his family's home, he finds a young woman disguised as a man, working in the CCC, the Depression-era work force that built the many features we still know and love today at Bennett Spring State Park in rural southwest Missouri. While Ben grapples with bank robbers and the other challenges of his job, Jessica scrambles to guard her secrets, including her true identity. Ben discovers that Jessica's real talents include rescuing those she loves and he soon hopes to be counted amongst them. Set in 1935, 11 years after the original The Heart of the Spring, this next chapter in the development of the beloved park, follows Ben Darling as he struggles to find his way with a new job in the changing world of the 1930s Depression as Bennett Spring becomes a real state park.

     The Heart of the Spring Lives On is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping + 
         state sales tax for Missouri residents.



   The Choice is the story of an Ozarks county sheriff and the Salvadoran woman who comes to his town to run the Christian mission there. Sheriff Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios quickly find their lives intertwined with a feral child, an old murder-suicide case and those who are making meth in clandestine labs in the county. As Sheriff Harper also struggles with his own personal battles, including the shooting death of his wife the year before, he comes to understand that part of the life of service he loves, is learning to accept both his own choices and those made by others. 

    "Themes of loss and betrayal then, finally hope and love are at the heart of
    this gritty tale about the raw edge of life in today's changing Ozarks...a tale that
    can hold a reader to the end, in part because the book reflects Laura Valenti's
    own years in the serivce of the local sheriff's office. There's an authentic feel to
    the characters and their environment, whether it's a local drunk, a middle-of-the-
    night call or the sheriff's relationship with his hard-working staff.
       Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is a good read. It's a com-
    pelling yarn about subjects and a world,  unlike our own, where even though
    the worst can happen, the bad guys get their due and justice is served."
    --Susan Kirkpatrick, former editor, Ozarks Magazine 

     "Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is a a true-to-life narrative of
     a county sheriff in the rural Ozarks. Here strength comes from adversity. In her
     well-told story of Sheriff Dale Harper, Laura Valenti captures not only his style
     of compassionate law enforcement, but his personal tragedy and spiritual
     growth and understanding, as his involvement in new problems helps him solve
     a murder-suicide from the past."  --Ellen Gray Massey, author of over 25 Ozarks
     books, including Brothers, Blue and Gray. 

          "Laura Valenti tells a tale that comes from real life experience--as a jailer
     who has seen the horrors of meth, a volunteer at a local shelter and a woman
     of deep faith in an Ozarks town not unlike Serenity. Her characters are like
     family and friends, and she makes us care deeply about them, from the first
     page to the last. I hope The Choice is only the first of many such tales, perhaps 
     some that will bring us back to Serenity."--Linda Leicht, religion editor
                                                                             Springfield News-Leader  

     Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping
        + tax for Missouri residents. 
      Return to the Ozarks town of Serenity in Between the Star and the Cross: The
Election, in this sequel to the original Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice, with Sheriff Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios. As he fights to win a tough
re-election campaign, the sheriff also works to solve new murders in his town and other situations that also threaten his job. They include an imposter posing as
a law enforcement officer and a possible unknown terrorist, both of whom are 
roaming free in Crossland County. Meanwhile, Milagro reminds Sheriff Harper that
prayer and the peace of God represent a real presence 21st century life in Cross-land County. A difficult election, puzzling murders and a friendship that is
growing ever closer between Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios makes this new
story one you won't be able to put down easily.

    Between the Star and the Cross: The Election is available for $15.95 + $4 shipping +
    tax for Missouri residents.
ELLEN is an anthology (collection) of short stories penned by several of Ellen Gray Massey's friends and family members in honor of the famed Ozark writer, who passed away in July 2014. Ellen loved to write and loved the Ozarks and combined those two into 30 books over the course of her lifetime. Her friends could think of no better way to honor her memory than sharing short stories about strong Ozark women, from the Civil War through the Depression years up to modern times, in this new volume. All proceeds from its sales go to two women's charities, Lebanon, Missouri's own New Life House, transitional housing for women in recovery coming out of jail or prison and an African women's charity, Tostan, helping to empower women economically in their own homes through part-time employment and making new items for sale. Great stories in memory of a great lady helping women today live lives they can be proud of.



ELLEN is available for $17.99 + $4 shipping + handling. 

THE HEART OF THE SPRING EVERLASTING, the fourth in this series, picks up the legacy of the Darling Family at Bennett Spring in 1967 as Tabby Darling Shine wakes up in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco to discover California dreamin' is not what she thought it would be. Coming home, she quickly finds herself caught up in the building of the new Catholic Sportsman's Chapel just outside the famous park. Life gets complicated when her family takes in a Cuban refugee and a childhood friend returns from Viet Nam in a wheelchair. As America grapples with these issues, the residents of Bennett Spring must do the same.  

THE HEART OF THE SPRING EVERLASTING is available in March 2016  $17 + $4 shipping