Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway: ‘At Love’s Command’ by Karen Witemeyer

About The Book:

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, and when she hears of her brother’s abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.

I am so excited to have Karen come visit my blog today and answer some questions. I have read every single one of her books, and have been a fan since the very first. Karen, welcome! Thanks so much for joining me today.

When did you know you wanted to write?

I was always an avid reader but never really thought much about writing. Not until I graduated from college and started immersing myself in fiction again. After graduate school, I vowed to never read another textbook ever again. Ha! I started jotting story ideas down in a journal and thought, maybe someday I’d give writing a try. But it wasn’t until I was a stay-at-home mom with three preschool-aged kids and my husband came home to tell me his position had been cut that I decided to get serious about writing. At first, I thought I could help supplement the family income from home right away while he searched for work. I know . . . don’t choke on your snack while you laugh. I ended up going back to work a couple months later, but by then the writing bug had bitten hard. I haven’t looked back since.

How do you get ideas for your books?

My ideas come from many different places. Books, television shows, movies, historical research, even the Bible. No two books come together the same way. With some, I have a plot idea and I build the characters around it. With others, I have a character or set of characters in mind, and I have to dig around to find a plot to reveal their heroism. The characters came first with the Hanger’s Horsemen series.

At Love’s Command was inspired by three television series I watched as a teen and young adult back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The A-Team inspired my team of four ex-military mercenaries and their determination to help the powerless fight against injustice. I gave them a Magnificent Seven spin to add the western flair, and then created a heroine inspired by Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Dr. Josephine Burkett was even mistaken for a man called Dr. Jo just like Michaela Quinn was confused as Michael when first hired.

This book has such a strong spiritual lesson. Does God deposit those ideas in your mind?

I pray over my writing every day, and I depend so heavily on the Lord for inspiration. Believe it or not, I am not a naturally creative person. I am a paint-by-numbers analytical thinker who rarely veers outside the lines. Yet when I write, I am constantly amazed by the plot ideas or spiritual twists that ignite in my mind. I know they are not my own. The master Creator is generously sparking something inside me and nurturing it into a flame. I love the verses from Psalm 18 where David readily admits that his prowess in battle is not due to his own ability. All the credit belongs to the Lord.

            It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

            He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.

            He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

            You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me;

            Your help has made me great.

I feel like I could easily make this my song:

It is God who arms me with creativity and keeps my stories on track.

            He makes my mind nimble like a deer; he causes ideas to leap into consciousness.

            He hones my craft for battle; my characters can grow and change me in the process.

            You make your saving help my shield,

and your right hand sustains me when doubts and weariness strike;

            Your help is what makes my stories great.

My characters often struggle with the same spiritual issues that I face in my own faith walk. So when Matthew and Josephine both struggle with surrendering control fully to the Lord, I’m on that journey with them.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I am a slow writer. I write one polished chapter a week. My books tend to be around 38-42 chapters, so in roughly 40 weeks, I have a completed manuscript. Because I constantly edit as I go, I write one painstakingly careful draft. My critique partners read and make suggestions along the way, and my editors will give me revisions and suggestions for changes after that first draft is turned in, but overall, I usually plan a full-length novel to take 40 weeks. Novellas take about 10 weeks. That is why I only write one full-length and one novella a year. That’s all I can squeeze in.

What does your writing day look like?

I still work an 8-5 day job, so writing is an exercise in flexibility. During a good week, I write about two pages a day, so that by the end of the week I have an 8-10 page chapter completed. During a harder week, I end up writing all weekend long to make up for the deficit earlier in the week. Thankfully, my husband and young adult children are very supportive. If I need to lock myself away in the bedroom all day on a Saturday, they respect the closed door and give me the time I need.

What do you want readers to take away from this book?

I want readers to enjoy a fun, adventurous story, but deeper than that, my prayer is that God will meet them within the pages. The overarching theme of this story is our need to live fully surrendered to God. Our independent natures want so badly to prove that we are self-sufficient. That we can fix what is broken and achieve our own greatness. Beyond the pride of those thoughts, there is the fear that if we completely surrender to God’s will, he will take us some place we don’t want to go. I admit that I struggle with this myself. In fact, as I was writing the scene where Josephine finally lets down her guard with God and becomes brutally honest in her prayer, I found myself admitting the same fears.

I’m afraid, Lord. Afraid to completely surrender. Afraid that if I have no control over the outcome, it won’t end the way I desire. . . Afraid you’ll take Matthew from me.

And then came God’s response to her spirit and to mine: Lean not unto thine own understanding.

Our understanding cannot see the full picture. It is limited. Small. Far better to surrender and trust completely the One who sees all and understands all, and who loves with a depth I cannot fathom. My character prayed the prayer of my soul. And the Lord gave me an answer that had far more impact in the real world than the fictional one. My desire is that the Lord will touch readers in the reality of their souls as well.

My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘Horsemen never quit. We find a way to achieve the mission and we protect our own.’

Karen Witemeyer begins a new series, ‘Hanger’s Horsemen’ with this book and she’s off to a fabulous start! Matthew Hanger, ex Calvary officer and three of his buddies forma band of mercenaries, bringing justice to those who are oppressed. He lands on Dr. Josephine Burkett’s doorstep when one of his men is wounded. Dr. Jo is sassy and not inclined to allow Matt’s idea of women doctor to deter her. Soon, though, Josie needs Matt’s and the Horsemen’s professional help.

‘God’s warriors had been outnumbered and outmatched before, and that hadn’t stopped them from facing their enemies and emerging victorious.’

I have never missed a Karen Witemeyer book and have enjoyed them all. But this one totally captivated me. From the opening sentence to the last, my interest never once waned. Not one bit. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I would love this book. Just knew it. Very well written with a cast of characters that completely endeared themselves to me (except the bad guys), I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of this book. And Witemeyer has included some deep spiritual truths here as well, lessons we could all take to heart.

Witemeyer’s portrayal of Hanger’s Horsemen had me loving these men–men of honor and integrity who never abandon a mission and fight for justice. And there are four horsemen, so there are more books coming!! Witemeyer truly shines here! I very highly recommend this book and author. This series is going to be awesome.

‘I might not know you well, Matthew Hanger, but I’ve seen your heart. The world would be a darker place without you in it.’

*My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions expressed here in this review are completely my own.

Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Buy Link:

Now…on to the giveaway. I am giving away a print copy of At Love’s Command. Sorry, but due to postage costs, it will only be available to those living in the 48 contiguous states. Details and rules below.

To enter to win, here’s what I need from you:

1. Your FULL name
2. Your email (non spammy formula, please)
3. Comment on the blog post.

Contest runs through June 11th. Winner will be notified via email. If no response in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

12 thoughts on “Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway: ‘At Love’s Command’ by Karen Witemeyer”

  1. What a great interview! Go do a lot of work reviewing so many books. It must be like a full time job. How do you keep up with it all?
    Phyllis Bullock


  2. I’ve read all of Karen’s books so far and I’m excited to read her new series!
    Elizabeth Litton
    eclitton at gmail dot com


  3. Beautiful post and such an inspirational interview. I loved how Karen placed herself and her writing into the words of the Psalm. Both are truly a gift. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the chance to win a copy of her book. Looking forward to meeting Matthew and Dr. Jo. kclarkholly (at) gmail (dot) com.


  4. I love all of Karen’s books. She is one of my most favorite authors. r.hicks1985 AT yahoo DOT com


  5. Wonderful interview, Karen and Susan. It is always interesting to learn how a book comes about. Thanks for the giveaway – I would love to read this book!
    bettimace at gmail dot com


  6. Thank you for your interview with Karen. I love her books and have read all of the prior ones, I think. At Loves Command is on my wish list. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    Pam Kellogg


  7. Hey Susan and Karen! Thank you for the fun interview! I’m looking forward to reading At Love’s Command!

    Caryl Kane


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