MAY 26TH WINNER FEATURE -Mary Gottschalk Author of the Literary Fiction novel, A Fitting Place


Book synopsis/description:

In the wake of her husband’s desertion, Lindsey Chandler finds solace in a relationship that offers an intimacy Lindsey has never known.

Before long, however, she finds herself ensnared by the same destructive inter-personal dynamics that plagued her marriage. Unable to blame her dilemma on traditional gender roles, Lindsey is forced to look in the mirror as she seeks to define what she wants from this—or any—relationship.

Freed from the straightjacket of societal notions of friend, wife, and mother, Lindsey calls on inner resources she never knew she had, as she sets out to build a new life for herself and her teenage daughter.

The premise of this psychological thriller is that opportunities for personal growth are greatest when you step outside your comfort zone. A Fitting Place is an uplifting story of the human potential we all have.

To purchase A Fitting Place, please visit:


Short author bio:

Mary spent nearly thirty years in the financial markets, working with major corporations in New York, New Zealand, Australia, Central America, Europe, and now Des Moines, Iowa. Along the way, she dropped out several times, the first time to embark on the multi-year sailing voyage chronicled in her memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam.

In her latest incarnation as a writer, she has written for The Iowan and contributed to several anthologies. A Fitting Place is her first novel. To connect with Mary please visit



Excerpt One

    The lunchtime conversation haunted Lindsey for the rest of the day. It came back with a
vengeance while she brushed her teeth before bed … having to admit to Dee that she’d left 
Ted’s toothbrush sitting in the bathroom of the country house. What she’d said to Dee was
true—that she’d stopped noticing it—but she knew that at some level, she was still clinging
to the idea of them as a family.

As she put her toothbrush down, the light caught the stones in her pendant and cast two 
small red discs on either side of a single white spot on the bathroom wall. She stared at 
them, fascinated by the myriad ways in which light could come alive, but they disappeared 
the moment she raised her hand to touch them. She rubbed the pendant between her 
fingers as she stared at the now blank spot on the wall. Although this tiny piece of jewelry 
was the repository of some of her most treasured memories, it had been years since she 
thought consciously about why she always wore it.

But now, she couldn’t avoid thinking about the day Ted gave it to her, the day Zoey was 
born. He’d had it made by their neighborhood jeweler in Sydney. A ruby for each of the 
July-born women he loved, and a diamond for himself, an April Fools’ baby.
She’d worn that pendant for thirteen years, rarely taking it off. For many of those years, as 
they lay in bed at night, he’d run his fingers along the chain around her neck, and tell her 
that she was more valuable than any jewel he could ever hope to buy.

When had he stopped doing that?
Turning to observe herself in the mirror, she reached up and opened the clasp at the back
of her neck. She held her hands there for several moments, then slowly lowered them, and 
dropped the chain and pendant into the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.

The diamond in her world was gone, and she could no longer pretend it would return.

Excerpt Two

           Dee snugged Lindsey’s arm against her ribcage, and then let it go.
Lindsey found the gesture comforting. “I’m beginning to realize how far apart Ted and I had 
grown. Maybe his leaving was for the best.”

“You don’t really believe that.”

Lindsey reached down for a shiny black stone at the water’s edge. “I do. There are so many 
things Ted and I never talked about … so many things he doesn’t know about me.”


Lindsey rolled the stone around in her upturned palm. Her comment about Ted was also 
true of Dee. While their lives had been intertwined for more than a decade, there were 
so many things she and Dee had never talked about. Her persistent stomachache. Her 
recurrent anxiety about losing Ted’s love. Her irrational jealousy of his relationship with 

Zoey. Her recent fears that history would repeat itself.

But keeping secrets had not saved her marriage. She took a deep breath. “Like being jealous 
of Ted’s relationship with Zoey.”

Dee’s eyes widened. “Jealous of Ted? Why?”

Lindsey ignored Dee’s question, afraid she’d lose her courage if she broke her train of 
thought. “I was ashamed to admit it, even to myself.”

Dee stopped and tugged Lindsey around so they faced each other. “What on earth are you 
talking about? Zoey has always adored you.”

Lindsey looked wary. “Not the way she adored him. He has so much patience. He soaks up 
all her chatter about teachers and classmates. Even—god forbid—boys. She rarely talks to 
me about that stuff.”

“Amazing.” Dee shook her head. “For a smart lady, you sure are dumb.”

Lindsey waited. The laughter in Dee’s voice leeched out the sting of her words.
“Sure, he listens to her chatty gossip about school activities and her classmates,” Dee 
said. “But then he pats her on the head, saying, ‘You’ll be fine. I know you can do it.’ He’s 
so dismissive. He doesn’t want to deal with her doubts or anxieties. He wants her to be 

Lindsey stared at Dee. Had Zoey felt as dominated by Ted as she herself had?
“She’s always been in awe of him, scared she’ll let him down. That’s why his leaving was so 
upsetting to her. I can’t believe you didn’t realize that.”

Lindsey wanted to kick herself. Yet again, she’d been so caught up in her own anxieties 
she’d failed to see what was right in front of her.


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