An Unexpected Path by Darlene Beck Jacobson

 When my first middle grade book debuted in 2014, I was asked to provide some blurbs for the back cover. I'm sure we've all had to do this for our books. WHEELS OF CHANGE (Creston) is a historical novel set in 1908 Washington DC during the last year of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency.

 In the story, the main character Emily gets invited to the White House and meets TR. (This scene was inspired by my own paternal grandmother who actually did attend a reception at the White House and met TR. 

Around that time, I came across a book review for a debut novel written by Kermit Roosevelt, the great-great grandson of TR. Kermit is a professor of law at University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia. 

Empowered by the phrase "nothing ventured, nothing gained" I located Kermit's faculty email. I sent a message explaining my grandmother's brief connection to his ancestor and wondered if he'd be interested in reading my novel for a possible blurb.

He graciously said yes!  This is what he wrote:

Needless to say, I was delighted that my bold ask met with such a wonderful response.

When the book came out, I sent a second email letting him know I wished to present him with a signed copy as my thank you  for his kindness.

He invited my to come to his office on the U Penn campus. A place I'd never been to except for the awesome Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. (A worthwhile stop if you're ever in the University City section of Philly)


Not only did I get to shake his hand and delight in his office decorated with floor to ceiling books and photos of his famous great great grandfather, he graciously posed for a picture to commemorate the event.

 By taking a path unknown and being open to where it might lead, I shared a once-in-a-lifetime moment I will remember forever. 

Have faith...and don't let the voice that doubts or dismisses an idea or closes a door that could lead to something new stop you.

Follow the unknown path and see where it will lead.

Darlene Beck Jacobson is always peeking through doors and walking on paths she's never been. She enjoys sending out emails to people she's never met in hopes of learning something new. TR is one of her favorite presidents.


  1. Great Story! Sometimes we have to do something we're afraid to do or aren't supposed to do. You never know what might happen. Since his memoirs took place in approximately the same time period and he was interested in the space race with Russia, I took a chance when I wrote my book, Duck and Cover, and asked Homer Hickam if he would read it and write a review. I was ecstatic when he emailed me and said he would. Goes to show, you just never know unless you ask.

    1. That's absolutely true Janet. Thanks for sharing your brave ask! "Nothing ventured...nothing gained..."


Post a Comment