The Story Behind The Green Dress — Liz Tolsma

Today I’m happy to welcome author Liz Tolsma as she shares the story behind The Green Dress.

Becky, the acquisition’s editor at Barbour Publishing and the inspiration for the True Colors Crime series, was the one who found this true crime and asked for someone to write about it. When I started reading what happened to the Robinson family, I couldn’t believe what I read. How could eight members of one family die in the manner in which they did? Why did it take the authorities so long to discover the culprit?

Usually, I try to avoid using historical characters in my books. I’m afraid I’m going to get the characterization wrong and offend my readers. This book, however, left me no choice but to use mostly historical characters. With the exception of the heroine, Harriet Peters, and the hero, Michael Wheaton, and a few minor characters, everyone in the book is drawn from real life. This was a real challenge for me. By reading the transcript of the trial for the villain, I did manage to get an idea of what some of the characters were like. 

There was very little information on this string of crimes. No one has written a full-length book about it. When I searched Wikipedia and several crime blogs, I found a good deal of the information to be incorrect. That meant that I had to fill in a good deal of the details with my imagination. To me, that’s the best part of writing. 

For the spiritual thread, I drew on my own faith walk. With death surrounding her, Harriet is afraid of dying. She isn’t sure she’s good enough to get into heaven. She must walk through the valley of the shadow, put aside her fear, and trust in Christ’s saving work alone.


When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.

As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?


Barnes and Noble:

About Liz:

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a U.S. Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and Pinterest. She is also a regular contributor to the Midwest Almanac blog.





About historythrutheages

I write stories of His Story Through The Ages that offer tales of hope and redemption.

Posted on June 1, 2020, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Lelia “ Lucy” Reynolds

    I’m looking forward to reading this. Liz’s books are so good.

  2. Alicia Haney

    The book sounds amazing, and I Love the cover! Thank you so much for sharing about this book, I will be adding it to my TBR list.

%d bloggers like this: