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written by Carole Duff

Wisdom Builds Her House is the true story of a woman who comes face-to-face with her past when she reads the journal of her husband’s deceased daughter, a girl she never met. Curiosity leads to self-inquiry and haunting parallels between Carole and Gretchen: inexplicable disruptions from when they were five; mental illness episodes starting at sixteen; troubles in college; rejection in love—secrets hiding in their closets. While building a new house in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, Carole reads the journals, which lead her to uncover the never-spoken truth about the violent crime from her childhood, all resulting in a crisis of faith. 

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Meet the Author

Carole Duff is an award-winning veteran teacher, accomplished presenter, serious flutist, avid naturalist, and writer of narrative nonfiction. She posts weekly to her long-standing blog Notes from Vanaprastha, and has written for Brevity blog, Mockingbird, Streetlight Magazine, The Perennial Gen now The Sage Forum, for which she is a regular contributor, and other publications. Carole lives in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, writer K.A. Kenny, and two, large overly-friendly dogs.

Press Kit


Format: Paperback, E-book

Pages:  222

ISBN PB: 978-1-962416-04-7

ISBN EB: 978-1-962416-05-4

Release Date: 8/20/2024


“The second half of life often finds us dismantling parts of what we worked so hard to build in the first half. Carole Duff’s deeply personal writing invites readers into that uncomfortable, disorienting process as she excavates her family history, explores the searing journals of her husband’s late daughter, and builds a house and new life after a busy, fulfilling career. Carole’s newfound faith guides her as she reflects deeply on her past’s prologue in order to move into a place of healing: a house that has now become in every sense of the word a home.”

– Michelle Van Loon, author of 7 books including Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife


“In this beautifully crafted memoir full of rich, sensory imagery, Carole Duff takes readers with her on her dangerous yet healing journey of growth and faith in her maturing season. This book will speak tenderly to those building a second marriage, those seeking purpose after closing the book of a long career, and those wrestling with shame and God’s gentle whisper to ‘leave it.’” 

– Afton Rorvik, author of Living Connected: an Introvert’s Guide to Friendship and Storm Sisters: Friends through All Seasons 


Wisdom Builds Her House is a captivating memoir that delves into the profound themes of searching, and finding, grace, mercy, and wisdom. Written with heartfelt sincerity, Carole Duff takes us on an inspiring and deeply personal odyssey through her life’s most profound moments, revealing a narrative filled with spiritual awakening and transformative experiences.”

– Lisa St. John, author of Swallowing Stones


“A moving story of family trauma, childhood secrets, and the author’s attempt to reconcile faith with her deeply ingrained expectations of perfection. Duff invites the reader on her truth seeking and as witness to the building of her literal and spiritual house.”

– Karen DeBonis, author of Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived


“An ambitious and triumphant debut. Duff weaves multiple threads—from building a house to marrying again to discovering the journals of a stepdaughter she never met—to weave a story of secrets and guilt and ultimate forgiveness. It is a story of leaps of faith and second chances, and it will fill your heart up to the brim.”

– Sharon Harrigan, author of Playing the Dynamite and Half

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