Abigail's Journey : A Note from Judith Bronte
The Inspiration Behind "Abigail's Journey"
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Daniel was a half-starved, scared little dog, afraid of everyone and everything. And yet, he took a strange liking to me from the very first day my family and I adopted him into our home. Daniel would follow me everywhere he could, and no matter how much attention I gave him, he could always soak in more. I had met a lot of dogs, but this one was different.

For the first week or two, Daniel craved love and attention on a constant basis. However, as he settled in, the little dog began to change. He took to sleeping beside my pillow at night, and enjoyed being the first to wake me in the morning with his pink tongue and exuberant wagging tail. He started barking, which, apparently for Chihuahuas, they do much of. As he continued to eat on a regular basis, his health improved, and so did his coat. The coarse fur that had initially caused me allergic reactions, was now soft and shiny. Daniel no longer fought depression, but only needed a few minutes of attention every day to remind him that he was still loved and wanted.

Daniel was a Chihuahua-mix who had been abused and abandoned by his previous owner. His ribs and bones easily showed through a coarse coat, and his tail often remained between his legs. Daniel didn't know how to play, and though he was small enough to be a lapdog, he wouldn't sit on my lap unless coaxed. He wasn't used to being held or petted, and he had bouts of depression. I hadn't thought dogs were capable of depression, but Daniel proved me wrong. It was as if he were recalling bad memories, and needed to be comforted before a panic attack set in.

Though Daniel went on to become a happy little dog, he still couldn't quite get the hang of what it meant to play.

Until Daniel, I had never known what it was like to live with the effects of an abusive past. Even though he was only an animal, I learned a lot from his behavior, and it started me to thinking. Curious, I began to research the effects of abuse in humans.

At the time, I was contemplating a sequel to "Journey of the Heart," and I already knew that I wanted it to be the love story of the daughter of the two leading characters. But the man she would fall in love with, remained elusive. All the while, Daniel was following me around, until everyone began to call him my "little shadow."

I think God must have sighed in relief when I finally realized that His solution was, quite literally, staring me in the face! My image of Abigail's character was one of confidence and strength-- a young woman who had never known the pain of not being loved. What if I paired her with someone like Daniel? The startling contrasts between the two characters intrigued me.

Not long after, I began writing "Abigail's Journey." Jake Murphy was introduced to Abigail Johannes and the effects were somewhat amusing. Abby wasn't a romantic, and Jake couldn't stand to be touched, so in Abby's words, they were "perfect for each other." But love has a way of complicating even the simplest of motives, and soon my young couple were treading on ground that neither of them had anticipated.

God knowingly sent a little stray dog, and it led me to the story you've just read. Daniel has since passed away, but I'll always be grateful for the inspiration that he was to "Abigail's Journey."

"And [Jake] said, Blessed be the LORD God... Who hath not left [me] destitute... of His mercy and His truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me... [to the Johanneses]."
~ Genesis 24:27 ~

end of book

After finishing Abigail's Journey (and while I was writing AJ, as well), I was swamped by Terry's admirers, pleading with me to give him a family of his own. I also wanted Terry to have a chance at love, so the third novel in the Journey series is all for him. You can read Terry's Journey here.

You can download a free PDF of Abigail, by right-clicking this link. (PDF is a 2.5 MB file.)

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One of my longtime readers, Myra Valcourt, has created a Facebook group just for you! "The Works of Judith Bronte" offers a forum to discuss the stories and characters, and a way to get to know other readers. I hope to see you there!