The Waldensian Series

LAKE COMO FROM the VILLA CIPRESSI.

LAKE COMO FROM THE PASSERELLA IN VARENNA

The project for the Waldensian Series began with a family trip to Europe in 2001 (as with so many of my ideas). As I looked across Lake Como from our lakeside hotel in Varenna, Italy, I became enamored with the beauty of the place and thought it would be a great setting for a book.

Fast forward several years. Remembering the lovely setting on Lake Como, I went in search of a story. My research led me to a lesser-known, pre-reformation Christian sect called the Waldensians or Valdese—valley dwellers—who lived in the Savoy region between the French and Italian Alps. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs dedicates a page to their story, yet these relatively obscure people had a great impact on Christian Europe during the second millennium and helped set the stage for the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Their story of enduring faith and valor high in the Cottian Alps captivated my attention. I had to return to Italy to investigate further.

I headed to the Waldensian valleys west of Turin, Italy to talk to local scholars and visit the many museums and sites dedicated to the Waldensian story throughout the region.

WALDENSIAN HEADQUARTERS, TORRE PELLICE, ITALY

Some church experts say this courageous group banded together in 1170 A.D. under Peter Waldo who took a vow of poverty and defied the Roman Church. Others suggest these great men and women of faith hail from the first-century church and carried on the traditions of their ancestors throughout the first two millennia A.D.

Regardless of their origins, after spending a week exploring the Waldensian Valleys and talking to people at the main museum in Torre Pellice, I concluded the Waldensian story must be told.

Rather than setting the Waldensian story several centuries in the past, I chose to bring their story to life in a contemporary Christian romance suspense series. I wanted to create compelling circumstances for my protagonists in the present that mimicked a need for enduring faith and valor their ancestors demonstrated to stay the course.

SCHOOL OF THE BARBA, BOBBIO PELLICE

Thus, in Light Out of Darkness, a prestigious art exhibition turns into a horrific spectacle when a murder sends an art curator and a professor on a hunt for a highly sought-after painting. Their high-stakes race against time requires them to explore their mettle as they follow clues to the Waldensian Valleys and discover a two-thousand-year drama unfolding before their eyes.

CAVE OF FAITH, ANGROGNA VALLEY

In Undaunted Valor, when Alessandro Marianni’s grandmother Luciana is kidnapped, he and Jamie have to climb ominous heights to find Luciana before it’s too late. The clues will be found in unanticipated places and with unexpected allies and require them to discover what it means to trust God with undaunted valor.

A remnant of Waldensians still exists in their home valleys in Italy. But one doesn’t have to go that far if they live in North America. A community of Waldensians lives in Valdese, North Carolina. Each summer they reproduce their history in an outdoor amphitheater where they present From This Day Forward. They’ve also constructed an outdoor replica of the historical sites in Italy on their Trail of Faith. Other Waldensian-related museums can be found as well as things to do at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit www.visitvaldese.com to get more information.

REPLICA OF THE CAVE OF FAITH-VALDESE, N.C.

ACTRESS IN WALDENSIAN DRESS PREFORMING IN FROM THIS DAY FORWARD