Marienstadt Series

Reading Valentine's stories, I understand that this is not just an entertaining collection about a fabulously rich culture. She is memorializng her people, and her town. Thus, this becomes a fascinating and educational look at a region and culture relatively unsung in American literature. THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL: SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, is a tribute to a people and a place, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their contributions to American history. With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. Please read these stories slowly, then read them again, because while we are reading about life, love, and birth and death, we are also learning the rich culture and traditions of one of the most fascinating communities in our United States.
- Kiana Davenport, author of Shark Dialogues and The Spy Lover

The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood was the first of the Marienstadt stories and was based on a custom practiced on December 6th among Pennsylvania Dutch families. It grew into ten more stories, then a novel, and, most recently another thirteen stories in The Bucktail Cap in the Trunk. All of them are set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, based on the author's home town, St. Marys, Pennsylvania. The five main characters--woodsman Oliver Eberstark, quilter Gretchen Fritz, Chief of Police Henry Werner, strudel-maker Lola Eckert, and Father Nicholas Bauer, pastor of St. Walburga's Church--are beloved characters, along with a cast of other colorful and quirky characters. 

The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall:
Secrets of Marienstadt
a novel in eleven stories 
(Marienstadt Stories Book 1)

The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt, a novel in eleven stories, is set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Marienstadt's vibrant, versatile characters include Father Nick Bauer, the priest who wants to revive local heritage; handsome, sexy Chief of Police Henry Werner; Gretchen Fritz, owner of The Calico Cuckoo Quilting Fabric and Supplies; lovely, elusive strudel artist Lola Eckert; and the huge but reclusive woodsman, Oliver Eberstark. These stories will charm you with their wit, poignancy, and colorful supporting characters including a dance champion turned pig farmer, a nun who runs a snowplow, a shopkeeper building a guillotine, a 17-foot tall fiberglass woodchuck, moonshiners and hippies, woodhicks and chainsaw artists, ladies fighting over dumpling recipes, the multi-generational Winter family, secret identities and secret loves long hidden. Marienstadt and its citizens will tantalize your senses and warm your heart.

1 - Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow
2 - The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall 
3 - The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition
4 - The Confession of Genny Franck 
5 - Drugs, Alcohol, Bacon, Firearms 
6 - The Day The Viaduct Blew Down
7 - Of Beautiful Strangers, Woodchucks, and Bearded Ladies 
8 - The Legend of Father Cuneo's Grave 
9 - The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood 
10 - Wapiti 
11 - A Long Day's Journey Into Light

The Christmas Daughter:
A Marienstadt Story
(Marienstadt Stories Book 2)

Return to Marienstadt! For readers who loved the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Marienstadt in Kathleen Valentine's The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt, her new novel, The Christmas Daughter, offers a welcome return. For those who have never visited Marienstadt, The Christmas Daughter is a warm and charming introduction. In this novel readers will meet the rambunctious Wilde family. Years ago Kit and Boone Wilde were Marienstadt's favorite bad boys. All the girls thought them heart-throbs and all the boys wanted to be part of their motorcycle club, The Pilgrims. But when the club came to a sudden, tragic end Kit and Boone roared out of Marienstadt on their Harleys vowing never to return. 

Now twenty years have passed and their father, Big Zach, dies leaving their mother, Minnie Werner Wilde, to run the Wilde Hotel and Tavern on her own. Boone leaves the Montana cattle ranch where he works to help Minnie put things in order but once in Marienstadt he decides to build a new life. He renews his friendships with his cousin, Chief of Police Henry Werner, and his high school girlfriend, Stella Loeffler. Boone takes over the management of the family business and begins a flirtation with Marienstadt's new pediatrician, Dr. Grace Winter. 

Then, during a New Year's Eve party, Boone gets a phone call from an old girlfriend, who is dying. She tells Boone that he has a twelve-year-old daughter who is about to be motherless. Charity is a small, under-nourished girl, who has been neglected most of her life and is afraid of almost everything. It is up to tough-guy Boone to help this child he never knew learn about family and trust—while he learns about unconditional love. 

The Bucktail Cap in the Trunk:
More Secrets of Marienstadt
(Marienstadt Stories Book 3)

Return to the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands that readers fell in love with in The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt and The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story. In these thirteen stories you will once again walk the streets of Marienstadt where Chief of Police Henry Werner keeps things safe -- and interesting. Visit Lola’s Strudel Shop, Gretchen’s Calico Cuckoo Quilting Fabrics and Supplies, The Wilde Hotel and Tavern, and Opelt’s Wood. This time the citizens of Marienstadt make discoveries that lead them into secrets of the past and stories about the town’s founders. An old quilt in the attic of a renovated mansion tells the tale of one of the first Irish citizens, who came to build the railroad, then decided to take a wife. Mulligan Wolfe unearths an ancient journal hidden in his fireplace that leads him to discover the truth about one of Marienstadt’s most misunderstood citizens. Blaise Hanes recounts a time-worn legend about lost gold, sending Peeper on a mission to find it. In the title story Oliver unpacks a dilapidated trunk that contains a Union soldier’s cap decorated with a bucktail. With the help of Gretchen’s Uncle Ulysses he learns the story of four orphaned brothers who came from Germany and grew into men who fought in the Civil War as part of Kane’s Rifles, the 42nd Pennsylvania Regiment -- the famous Bucktails.

1. Treeing 
2. The Kissing Tree 
3. The Memory Quilt of Lacey Mulhearn 
4. Continental Divides 
5. The Rhubarb Epidemic 
6. The Last Time I Saw Paris 
7. Candy Dippold and the Mail Pouch Barn 
8. Hexe-Woman 
9. Father Nick and the Hodag 
10. A Mystery in Porcupine Run 
11. Peeper’s Treasure Hunt 
12. The Wilds 
13. The Bucktail Cap in the Trunk 

The Legend: A Marienstadt Story
(Marienstadt Stories Book 4)

The Legend continues the story of the Wilde family from The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story. Boone Wilde's life is busy as he continues to run the hotel and tavern his parents started, raise his daughter, Charity, who is now fourteen, and romance Dr. Grace Winter. Then on a snowy winter morning his brother Kit returns to Marienstadt to enlist Boone's help. Kit tells him about Sultan, a magnificent Friesian stallion, that was removed from the Kentucky horse stables where Kit works. Sultan belonged to a woman named Amelia and for three years she has been searching for him. With the help of a motorcycle club called Durga's Dogs, whose mission it is to rescue fight dogs, Kit has a lead to Sultan's whereabouts, but he has to hurry before the horse is sent to slaughter. This is a story about failure, last chances, redemption, and the love between brothers.