Sneak Peek Wednesday: Come This Way by Michelle Schlicher

Come This Way
by Michelle Schlicher
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Oct. 21, 2016
Genre: Fiction

A hiking and outdoor enthusiast, fifty-year-old Fern Conrad can’t imagine spending her time doing anything else, much to the dismay of her daughter, Colby.

Kara Dawson, a twenty-five-year-old student therapist, has shut life out to focus on her sister’s illness. That is, until a chance meeting pushes her to confront the possibilities—by letting go and moving forward.

Eighty-three-year-old Nettie Campbell heals in the hospital while facing the consequences of her actions. Can she repair relationships and forge new bonds as she comes to terms with the truth?

Come This Way is an emotional, honest look into the lives of women who are discovering their own strength. It is a story about difficult choices and the people around us who help us find our way.





Colby Conrad looked up from the small map she was holding. Ahead, her mother, Fern, fiddled with her phone, an old, clunky thing with two cracks running through the middle of the screen.“Any luck?” Colby asked, letting her backpack slide off her shoulders and fall to the ground with a thud.

Fern shook her head, then looked up to the sky.

They were surrounded on all sides by trees, dense forestry that had, earlier in the day, looked majestic. Now, she found it frightening, imposing. The trees loomed over them, seeming larger than they had just a short time ago. Colby followed her mother’s gaze, watching the clouds stretch out across the sky. If only she were a bird, she thought. She could fly up high above the trees and find out which way they needed to go.

This impromptu trip had been her mother’s idea, a way for them to bond after the huge fight they’d had a few weeks ago when Colby had announced she’d be following her boyfriend to New York. Colby had gone along with it because that’s what you did when Fern suggested something. She had to admit she’d partly agreed out of guilt.

“You’ve only known him six months!” Fern had yelled through the phone after Colby had relayed the news. They’d insulted each other several times before Fern had hung up, exasperated.

Now here they were, five hours into their hike and completely lost. Colby let the word sink in. Lost. She sunk down next to her backpack and opened the front zipper. She didn’t have much in her pack, but she was grateful now that she’d had enough sense to bring one at all. Reaching into it, she felt around for her phone. It didn’t take long to locate. She pulled it out and looked at the front screen, hers clean and smooth, though she used it much more than Fern used hers. No bars. No service. Looking at it, she almost felt angry at the small device. This morning the phone had held no power. She used it as she used anything else, with ease and the expectation that it would fulfill its purpose. Now, it was the one thing linking her to the rest of the world and it wouldn’t work. Now, it held all the power in the world.

Colby put the phone away. “I thought you knew these trails like the back of your hand.”

Sighing, Fern sat down on a nearby rock, resting her elbows on her knees. At fifty years old, she wasn’t as spry as she used to be, but she always kept moving. No matter how much her joints might ache, she didn’t slow down. Ever. “I’m pretty familiar with most of them,” She paused, stealing a glance at her daughter. “This one? Not so much. I wanted to try something new with you.”

“Well, that turned out great, didn’t it?”

Fern didn’t respond. Instead, she took out her water bottle and shook it. The sound of the water splashing inside comforted her, but didn’t stop her from pulling on the lid and peering inside. “How much water do you have left?”

“Almost all of it. I wasn’t that thirsty this morning.”

“Good. Mine’s almost full, too.” She put the lid back on and looked up at her daughter. “At least we don’t have to worry about that for the time being.”

“You don’t think we’re going to be out here long, do you? I mean, people hike this trail all the time, right? We’ll hear someone eventually.” Colby studied her mom, looking for some sort of reassurance. “We will hear someone, won’t we?” she asked again. “Mom?”

The look on Fern’s face gave Colby her answer.

“So we’re stuck out here?”

“It’s not a popular hiking path. That’s why I picked it. I figured we’d be able to talk easier. Get everything out in the open without worrying about other hikers all around us.”

Colby looked over her shoulder. “Wasn’t there at least a path we were following?”

“Yes. And I thought we were following it.”

“When did you realize we weren’t?”

“I guess not long after lunch. I realized I’d stopped seeing any markers.”

“Can’t we just turn around and retrace our steps?”

“It’s not that simple, Colby. We could have been walking at a diagonal. We could’ve veered off enough that even if we turn around here, we might still end up miles away from our car.”

“But we could hit a road or something.”

“Or not,” Fern said, standing up again.

“What do you suggest we do, then?” Colby asked, narrowing her eyes at her mother. “You’re the seasoned hiker.”

“I’m sorry, Colby,” was all Fern said. She turned away and blinked back a few tears. What had she been thinking? When it came to hiking, she was usually obsessive in her preparation. But this time had been different. She’d let herself become distracted by the possibility of losing Colby, her only daughter, to the east coast.

Fern stood up again, taking in their surroundings and stretching out her leg, rotating her ankle in a circle, hearing a quiet crack as she did so. Sometime between Colby’s high school graduation and now, she had aged. Not enough for anybody else to notice, but enough that she noticed. It had thrown her. She didn’t like feeling anything less than her best.

Fern lived for the outdoors. She’d hiked since before she could remember. As a girl, she’d raided her father’s stash of hiking maps and begged him to take her along. She’d learned to prepare for hikes from Matthew Beardsley. He had been more than just her parent. He’d served as her first guide, her teacher. He’d showed her the value of nature, the worth in getting your hands dirty. It had been a wonderful upbringing, one that she’d wanted to replicate for Colby.

“Come this way,” Fern said, gesturing to her daughter.

“Are you sure?”

Fern shrugged, knowing Colby was too old now to skirt around the truth. And anyway, she needed to know the predicament they were in. “No. But we’ve got to keep moving.”



Meet the author…

MICHELLE SCHLICHER is the author of the novels The Blue Jay, Gracie’s Song and Come This Way. She lives outside of Des Moines with her husband, two children, two fluffy dogs and a cat that followed her home to become a prince.

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11 Thoughts on “Sneak Peek Wednesday: Come This Way by Michelle Schlicher

  1. Looks interesting

  2. This sounds like a really interesting book. Hugs…

  3. What an adorable – original cover!

    For What It’s Worth

  4. This sounds like a thought provoking read.

  5. Sounds good and I like the excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Thanks for sharing – I hadn’t heard of this one. I like that it focuses on women on different generations.


  7. That sounds like a very interesting book.

  8. That doesn’t sound like something I would personally enjoy. However, I am very intrigued by this cover, I think it’s very peculiar! Here’s my WoW, and I’m a new follower via Bloglovin!

  9. This doesn’t sound like my typical read but sounds good!! 🙂

  10. Oh this looks interesting. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

  11. I know a few who would probably enjoy that 🙂

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