Certain things ruin a girl’s reputation, and madness is one.
Boston, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent decision leads to public scandal, Molly is tempted to take the easy way out: a marriage of convenience.
Merchant sailor Josiah Robb is as familiar to Molly as a brother—as dear and as exasperating. Yet she is no sister to him. He hopes to marry her before anyone else does, but sailing the high seas leaves no time for convincing Molly that he is more than her teasing childhood friend. Josiah wants a new job and a fresh start, and when he agrees to carry a confidential letter to President Washington, his life is forever changed.
In the wake of tragedy, these longtime friends discover a new intimacy. But slander, confusion, absence, and a wealthy, conniving bully stand between them. And with French spies on the loose, they not only have to rescue their reputations—they have to protect their lives.
Winner, 2020 ACFW Genesis Award, Historical Romance
Winner, 2019 ACFW-VA Crown Award, Historical/Historical Romance
Finalist, 2022 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Award, Published Historical Fiction
Finalist, 2022 Catholic Media Association Book Awards, Fiction: Inspirational
Recipient, Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval
“This delightful historical romance is so refreshingly alive. It is not deadened by the supercilious contempt for the past that characterizes so much contemporary historical fiction, nor is it killed with the cynicism of pride or with hallmarked schmaltzy sweetness, the two extremes which are the death of true romance. It is as fresh and alive as Miss Austen in its treatment of really believable people in a believably real world. It breathes the life of realism, philosophically understood, into the reality it depicts.” – Joseph Pearce, author of Catholic Literary Giants
“Rarely have I encountered a debut novel as well told as this one. In Pieces took me captive from the first scene and held me fast to the end. This seamless story is woven into a rich historical tapestry, threaded with intrigue, and shaped by characters who grow, change, and take their faith seriously. A winning blend of liveliness and deeper themes, this carefully crafted tale was a joy to read. I can’t wait to see the adventures Molly Chase and Josiah Robb have next.” – Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of A Refuge Assured and The Windy City Saga
“Readers of historical romance will find congenial company in this novel’s plucky, winsome lead duet who must thread their individual paths through spiritual crises, hostile social pressures, and the lingering effects of past trauma to find peace together. Ortiz particularly shines as an observer of courtship dynamics that, though shaped by the period’s expectations, will find echoes in many contemporary relationships.” – Katy Carl, author of As Earth Without Water and editor in chief of Dappled Things
“Unforgettable! With her sharp, sophisticated brand of writing, author Rhonda Ortiz has canvassed a remarkable breadth of history in this epic debut set during post-Revolutionary America. A time when New England’s shipping ports gave rise to international intrigue and the ever-present threat of an infant country being drawn back into war. Amid the cleverly colorful cast, Molly and Josiah are especially endearing as they explore what it means to become family while navigating their joys, sufferings, and the uncertainties in between. And at its core, love in its truest, purest form—that sacred bond between a man and a woman exemplified on the Cross by a love greater than ourselves—believing that only through sacrifice can we learn to give wholly and unconditionally to its cause. In Pieces is a novel that will remain on the heart long after the last page. Bravo!” – Kate Breslin, bestselling author of Far Side of the Sea
“While engaging the reader in a delightful tale of romance, sewing, seamanship, and early American political intrigue, In Pieces also teaches us the importance of seeing well—of seeing with the heart. The essential questions of life—the nature of true love, finding meaning in suffering, how to make a good marriage, the primacy of faith and conscience, and the gift of family—make this spiritually satisfying historical fiction as rich in depth as it is fun to read.” – Sarah Bartel, moral theologian, founder of Cana Feast, and coeditor of A Catechism for Family Life