Leslie Ruskin, single mom to five-year-old Ava, is the new owner of the historic Midlands Building in Butler, Pennsylvania’s reviving downtown. After her devastating divorce, she’s come to town in hopes of starting a new life. Her plan is to live in one of the second-floor apartments in the building, and rent out the first floor—a large commercial space with stunning architectural details. But the building’s interior needs renovation to attract a tenant.
Jack Kenyon, who is also starting over in Butler and beginning his own construction business, seems to be the perfect man for the job, with his experience in restoration. He trained with one of the best in the business—Ethan Willis—on the crew of the renowned Carter Mansion in Franklin, Pennsylvania. He may be a master carpenter, but he’s struggling to master his own demons. Haunted by loneliness, his past failures, and the lost relationship with his own young daughter, Jack finds it hard to maintain his sobriety. The one bright area of his life is being hired by Leslie to renovate her building.
As Leslie tries to provide a stable life for little Ava, she struggles to manage her anxiety and sustain her equilibrium. She is hopeful as Jack begins to work his magic, then thrilled when she rents the first floor of her building to the Adams—a chic young couple who are Butler natives and experienced restauranteurs in Pittsburgh. The Adams want to be part of their hometown’s revitalization, and find the historic Midlands Building to be the perfect place for their exciting new venture. Once a run-down locksmith shop, the space has secrets of its own. As it is transformed into a vibrant café/bistro, the relationship between Leslie and Jack becomes the catalyst in the difficult journey they both must take toward spiritual renewal. And in the process, the secrets of the locksmith shop, as well as the love Jack and Leslie so desperately need, are unlocked
MEET TERI KRAUS:
After eleven co-authored books with husband, Jim, Terri Kraus has added her award-winning interior designer’s eye to her world of fiction. She comes to the Project Restoration series naturally, having survived the remodel, renovation, and restoration of three separate personal residences, along with those of her clients. She makes her home in Wheaton, Illinois, USA, with her husband, son, Elliot, miniature schnauzer, Rufus, and Siberian cat, Petey.
Along with her interior design consultation work, Terri has been the director of women’s ministries at her church for the past six years and is a perennial room mom. She loves to read, and her Book Club is in its 11th year. Of particular interest to the group is books about women in other cultures. When she’s not writing or reading, Terri enjoys photography, quilting and knitting, cooking and baking, and she loves exploring the city of Chicago with her family. Terri has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Favorite places are New Zealand and the British Isles, but, being 100% Italian, she feels most at home in Italy, and is passionate about all things Italian. She has studied the language for many years, and dreams of living in Italy for at least six months—”to get really fluent.” Her current work in progress is the story of an Italian-American woman set mainly in Italy during World War 2, which reflects her love of researching and writing historical fiction.
Terri is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.