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Maybe the Bird Will Rise (Tales From the Sheep Farm #1) by Susan Helene Gottfried is a Summertime Books Event pick #fiction #womensfiction #summertime #giveaway

Title: Maybe the Bird Will Rise (Tales From the Sheep Farm #1)


Author: Susan Helene Gottfried


Genre: Women’s/contemporary fiction


Book Blurb:


Tess Cartieri has called Port Kenneth, TN home for her entire life. An architect specializing in urban renewal, she's long dreamed of renovating an old sports field at her alma mater, Kenilworth University. But without the funding, the field sits, forgotten—until the day she's hired to take on this project at last.


The money is coming from, of all people, the man Tess set free after college, Emerson Mackenzie. He had shared this dream with Tess but had turned his back on her and Port Kenneth when the family business needed him.


But now Mack is back in Tess' life, still reeling from the recent loss of his wife and hoping this project will help him heal. There's something about Port Kenneth, though, something more than how normal and natural it feels to be with Tess again, that calls to him and he begins investigating what it would take to move his company to the city.


Old family secrets come out of hiding and as Mack and Tess face them together and discover the legacy of the Mackenzie Treasure, they cement their commitment to each other and begin to understand how the past will affect their futures.


Maybe The Bird Will Rise is a story of the search for answers, the hope that adventures brings, and a second chance at love.




Tess Cartieri tried not to think about where she was. It was just an old, unloved, rundown stadium, just a set of crumbling concrete stairs that demanded her attention as she picked her way down them. She tried to convince herself she’d never used this route as a shortcut across campus and met anyone special, never come out to the field down below with a blanket and a boyfriend so they could look for the Milky Way, never taken off her shirt and lain back on the metal bleachers that were dented even then, their coolness against her back a startling contrast to the heat of Mack’s body above hers.

“No, no, no,” she chanted in time with her steps. Forty rows.

She knew this place all too well. If a place could know a person, it knew her. Or, rather, it knew who she’d been. It had known a Tess who was full of hope for a future she’d thought would be hers: Architect. Mack’s wife. Urban renewal expert. 

Two out of three. She’d made her choice and, she told herself, she had no regrets.

Time hadn’t just changed her, it had changed the steps too, and she stumbled on a piece of loose concrete. She reached out for the nearest bleacher, trying not to flash back to the day she’d done the same thing, landing equally as awkwardly back then as she did in the present.

That was the day she’d met him.

She paused, breathing heavily. Every time she’d ever set foot in this place, she’d worried she would put a foot wrong and would wind up hurting herself somehow. Back then, she’d been through here often enough that she’d known all the tricks to stay on her feet, unharmed, unscathed. By the stadium, anyway.

In every project she worked on, every piece of property she renovated and turned into something new, she paused and asked it what secrets it held. What old secrets she would discover, what new secrets she would build into it. In this one, she knew some of those secrets. But there were more to be discovered. There always were.

She scuffed her toe through some debris that had fallen under the bleacher in front of her. Leaves. What looked like weathered trash. A crushed beer can, long abandoned, its wrinkles pressed almost smooth. Something plastic.

Her reverie was broken by a disc that sailed through the air and landed underneath the row of bleachers in front of her. Just as it had done all those years ago.

“No,” Tess said again, although this time it came out with her breath.

“Hey! Mind bringing that down? Don’t throw it; the wind’s not right.”

Tess closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands. He’d remembered. How had he remembered? It had been one moment, one eyeblink in all the time they’d spent together.

Of course, he was Mack. When he wanted to remember something, he did.

“Tess?” She heard feet on the stairs, running up, scrabbling on the disintegrating concrete. “You okay?”

She forced herself to lift her head and plaster on a smile as she pushed her hair out of her face. He stood there, in front of her, life-sized, breathing, dusting off his hands as if he’d used them to help his quick ascent. Emerson Mackenzie. “Mack. I… hadn’t expected you to be here. What— Why— Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’re the client.”

“You didn’t pick up on it? When I had my assistant ask for Tess to come to the consultation? Just Tess?”

“No,” she said and let her eyes rove over him. He looked good. Too good. Entirely familiar and still heart-stoppingly dear, his dark hair cut short, his eyes that strange dark blue, his body less exploding with muscle but still flat and toned—but broader through the shoulders and hips, as if he’d filled into himself. “We were worried you were some creep who was going to assault me. I’ve got the whole office waiting for me to check in. In fact,” she said and pulled her phone out of her pocket, sending the quick text.

“I am not a creep who’s going to assault you,” he said gravely.

“No,” she said, looking up at him, shading her eyes so she could see him. He wore a pale yellow collared shirt with stripes the color of the sunset across the chest—Tess picked up the orange in it, of course. He’d left it untucked and hadn’t bothered with the buttons. She tried not to stare at the exposed skin and chest hair, tried not to remember the feel of it, his warmth, the silkiness under her fingertips. With effort, she pushed the memories aside and took in the rest of him: a pair of casual black pants and black sneakers. He looked less like the athletic trainer he’d hoped to be, nothing like the corporate CEO he’d chosen to become, and entirely like a guy who’d just turned thirty-one and had a day off. “I’m glad.”

Her phone buzzed. She replied to her boss, Red, briefly. Old college buddy. All good.

But what an understatement that was.

“So tell me why I’m meeting you here,” she said. “I hope it’s for more than a stroll down memory lane.”

“It is.” He nodded and sat down, straddling the bleacher in front of her, putting his knee down on the concrete beside her feet. He played with his phone, turning it end over end, and she cocked her head, watching. There was something he wasn’t saying.

“Kelsey died two months ago.”

Tess paused. “Kelsey?”

“My wife.” He looked up at her, looked away just as quickly. “Gotta be the good Mackenzie man, right? Marry the woman they tell you, spit out some heirs, get on with your life.” He closed his eyes and shook his head. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):





What makes your featured book a must-read?


Of course it’s a must-read! We’ve got a dark-haired, blue-eyed flaky hero, a community activist heroine, a diverse cast, a water main break, an alligator, a family history buried for generations and a sheep farm that may or may not be creepy, and a couple who’s going to make it work this time.


I mean… how can you NOT?


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $30 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.

Runs June 25 – July 4, 2024.

Winner will be drawn on July 5, 2024.


Author Biography:


Susan Helene Gottfried is the heavy-metal-loving, not-disabled-enough divorced Jewish mother of two. A freelance line editor to authors of fiction by day, her select roster of clients tend to hit bestseller lists, and more than a few have quit their day jobs. It’s not entirely her doing, but like does attract like.


Susan holds a BA (University of Pittsburgh) and MFA (Bowling Green State University) in English Writing and Fiction, respectively.

She lives with a couple cats in the Pittsburgh suburbs, just West of Mars. Visit her at and 


Social Media Links:


West of Mars website: 

Tales from the Sheep Farm website: 

West of Mars Groupies on Facebook: 

West of Mars fan page: 


Jul 01

One of my favorite summertime books is Driven series by K Bromberg


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Jun 26

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your book in our Summertime Books Bookish Event!

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