Laura L. Valenti’s Books

New Arrival: Las Palomitas

Las Palomitas book

Las Palomitas—the story of a disillusioned American college student who inadvertently stumbles into a civil war in Central America, where he falls in love, stays too long, learning the bittersweet truth of life in the grown-up world of love, war, and politics while living in paradise.

To read the fascinating back story of how and why this book came to be please click here.

Las Palomitas is available for $25 + $5 shipping

Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice

The Choice is the story of an Ozarks county sheriff and the Salvadoran woman who comes to his town to run the Christian mission there. Sheriff Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios quickly find their lives intertwined with a feral child, an old murder-suicide case and those who are making meth in clandestine labs in the county. As Sheriff Harper also struggles with his own personal battles, including the shooting death of his wife the year before, he comes to understand that part of the life of service he loves, is learning to accept both his own choices and those made by others.

“Themes of loss and betrayal then, finally hope and love are at the heart of this gritty tale about the raw edge of life in today’s changing Ozarks…a tale that can hold a reader to the end, in part because the book reflects Laura Valenti’s own years in the service of the local sheriff’s office. There’s an authentic feel to the characters and their environment, whether it’s a local drunk, a middle-of-the-night call or the sheriff’s relationship with his hard-working staff. Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is a good read. It’s a compelling yarn about subjects and a world, unlike our own, where even though the worst can happen, the bad guys get their due and justice is served.” –Susan Kirkpatrick, former editor, Ozarks Magazine

Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is a true-to-life narrative of a county sheriff in the rural Ozarks. Here strength comes from adversity. In her well-told story of Sheriff Dale Harper, Laura Valenti captures not only his style of compassionate law enforcement, but his personal tragedy and spiritual growth and understanding, as his involvement in new problems helps him solve a murder-suicide from the past.” –Ellen Gray Massey, author of over 25 Ozarks books, including Brothers, Blue and Gray.

“Laura Valenti tells a tale that comes from real life experience–as a jailer who has seen the horrors of meth, a volunteer at a local shelter and a woman of deep faith in an Ozarks town not unlike Serenity. Her characters are like family and friends, and she makes us care deeply about them, from the first page to the last. I hope The Choice is only the first of many such tales, perhaps some that will bring us back to Serenity.”–Linda Leicht, former religion editor Springfield News-Leader

Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping + tax for Missouri residents.

Between the Star and the Cross: The Election

Return to the Ozarks town of Serenity in Between the Star and the Cross: The Election, in this sequel to the original Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice, with Sheriff Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios. As he fights to win a tough re-election campaign, the sheriff also works to solve new murders in his town and other situations that also threaten his job. They include an imposter posing as a law enforcement officer and a possible unknown terrorist, both of whom are roaming free in Crossland County. Meanwhile, Milagro reminds Sheriff Harper that prayer and the peace of God represent a real presence in 21st century life in Crossland County. A difficult election, puzzling murders and a friendship that is growing ever closer between Dale Harper and Milagro Palacios makes this new story one you won’t be able to put down easily.

Between the Star and the Cross: The Election is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping + tax for Missouri residents.


Between the Star and the Cross: The Promise

In The Promise, Laura Valenti’s third and final installment in her Between the Star and the Cross series, Sheriff Dale Harper once again fights to balance professional and personal challenges in his efforts to protect and serve the residents of the Ozark town of Serenity. Cattle rustling is still a 21 st century problem in rural communities and Serenity is no exception. Meanwhile, Sheriff Harper must confront his own life-changing decisions. As his feelings grow ever stronger for Milagro Palacios, the local Christian mission director, he finds this lovely Salvadoran lady is caught up in her own personal struggles. Between the Star and the Cross: The Promise delivers a fast-paced story that never loses touch with the hearts of those who live to serve.

And readers share their views:

You kept me up two nights in a row…LATE! I couldn’t quit reading!” Brad G.
“Just purchased your ‘Between the Star and the Cross’ books at Bennett Spring and read them all. I couldn’t put them down.” Jesse H.
“I finished your latest book, ‘The Promise’ and it was really, really good. I love that kind of book. I couldn’t stop reading!” Judy D.

As an Ozark freelance writer and author, Laura L. Valenti has written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She is a ten year veteran of the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department, including three years as their jail administrator. She is the author of seven novels, including the Sheriff Dale Harper series, Between the Star and the Cross and historical novels about Bennett Spring State Park, The Heart of the Spring series. Laura and her husband, Warren live near Bennett Spring, Missouri. Her books are available at various Lebanon, Missouri locations as well as and this website ( Also available as an ebook.

Between the Star and the Cross: The promise will be available for $14.95 + $4 shipping

The Heart of the Spring

In her first Bennett Spring historical novel, Laura L. Valenti shares the story of eighteen year old, Becky Darling who is thrilled with her first job at the Brice Inn in the real town of Brice, Missouri in 1924. When she learns that Bennett Spring may become Missouri’s first state park, it sounds like real progress to her until she discovers her beloved father is working hard against the idea. Life during that Prohibition summer is further complicated by her older brother’s involvement in illegal moonshine, the impending birth of a new brother or sister and the surprise arrival of a state senator and his handsome aide. Becky can’t help but wonder if life at Bennett Spring will ever be carefree again.

“Fishing, moonshining, distrust of outsiders, beauty of nature, importance of family and a romance are all intermingled in The Heart of the Spring, Laura Valenti’s well-crafted and exciting novel about the beginning of Missouri’s first state park, Bennett Spring.” –Ellen Gray Massey, editor and author of over 25 Missouri Ozarks books, including Brothers, Blue and Gray

The Heart of the Spring is available at this site for $14.95 + $4 shipping via PayPal + state tax for Missouri residents.

The Heart of the Spring Lives On

In the first Bennett Spring sequel, The Heart of the Spring Lives On, Ben Darling, who was raised at Bennett Spring, is a new deputy for the sheriff’s department. On a visit to his family’s home, he finds a young woman disguised as a man, working in the CCC, the Depression-era work force that built the many features we still know and love today at Bennett Spring State Park in rural southwest Missouri. While Ben grapples with bank robbers and the other challenges of his job, Jessica scrambles to guard her secrets, including her true identity. Ben discovers that Jessica’s real talents include rescuing those she loves and he soon hopes to be counted amongst them. Set in 1935, 11 years after the original The Heart of the Spring, this next chapter in the development of the beloved park, follows Ben Darling as he struggles to find his way with a new job in the changing world of the 1930s Depression as Bennett Spring becomes a real state park.

The Heart of the Spring Lives On is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping + state sales tax for Missouri residents.

The Heart of the Spring Comes Home

In the third book in the Bennett Spring series, set in 1946, Esther Darling, born in 1924 when the famous park was founded, is a Navy nurse, recently returned to Bennett Spring from World War II. Like so many others, she is struggling to pick up the pieces of her life but her best friend from childhood, Alice is missing. And now her father has received a letter saying their beloved Bennett Spring Church of God which is abandoned and in disrepair, may be seized by the state. As Esther grapples with issues from the past as well as an uncertain future, she comes to find that the love and security she has always depended on is to be found right here at home at Bennett Spring. Once again, this story of the past bears true to Bennett Spring’s original history while recounting it all through the eyes of the Darling family and characters already known and loved in the first two books. Come back to Bennett Spring through The Heart of the Spring Comes Home so that even if you can’t visit our lovely park as often as you would like, you can take a bit of its peace and beauty with you, wherever you go.

The Heart of the Spring Comes Home is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping and handling + tax for Missouri residents.

The Heart of the Spring Everlasting

The Heart of the Spring Everlasting, the fourth in this series, picks up the legacy of the Darling Family at Bennett Spring in 1967 as Tabby Darling Shine wakes up in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco to discover California dreamin’ is not what she thought it would be. Coming home, she quickly finds herself caught up in the building of the new Catholic Sportsman’s Chapel just outside the famous park. Life gets complicated when her family takes in a Cuban refugee and a childhood friend returns from Vietnam in a wheelchair. As America grapples with these issues, the residents of Bennett Spring must do the same.

The Heart of the Spring Everlasting is available for $14.95 + $4 shipping

Ozark Meth: A Journey of Destruction and Deliverance

Ozark Meth: A Journey of Destruction and Deliverance, originally published in 2006, is an insightful examination of the lives of 30 methamphetamine addicts in sustained recovery, according to Dr. Mary F. Holley, Founder/Director of Mothers Against Methamphetamine and author of Crystal Meth: They Call It Ice. These southwest Missouri residents told us how they got on, how they got off, and how they stay off meth and what it means to the rest of us.

In this updated 2013 edition, author Laura L. Valenti was able to touch base briefly with several of the original respondents. This new book also features updated information from a doctor’s perspective and a law enforcement point of view.

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