Before the Scarlet Dawn, Daughters of the Potomac Series #1   -     By: Rita Gerlach
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Before the Scarlet Dawn, Daughters of the Potomac Series #1

Abingdon Press / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

In 1775, Hayward Morgan, a young gentleman destined to inherit his father's estate in Derbyshire, England, captures the heart of the local vicar's daughter, Eliza Bloome. Her dark beauty and spirited ways are not enough to win him, due to her station in life.

Circumstances throw Eliza in Hayward's path, and they flee to America to escape the family conflicts. But as war looms, it's a temporary reprieve. Hayward joins the revolutionary forces and what follows is a struggle for survival, a test of faith, and the quest to find lasting love in an unforgiving wilderness.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1426714149
ISBN-13: 9781426714146
Availability: In Stock
Series: Daughters of the Potomac

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Publisher's Description

In 1775, Hayward Morgan, a young gentleman destined to inherit his father’s estate in Derbyshire, England, captures the heart of the local vicar’s daughter, Eliza Bloome. Her dark beauty and spirited ways are not enough to win him, due to her station in life. Circumstances throw Eliza in Hayward’s path, and they flee to America to escape the family conflicts. But as war looms, it's a temporary reprieve. Hayward joins the revolutionary forces and what follows is a struggle for survival, a test of faith, and the quest to find lasting love in an unforgiving wilderness. "Gerlach's novel is an immensely emotional read with surprising twists I never anticipated." - FreshFiction.com "Ms. Gerlach's unique literary prose has once again captured my heart with a stirring tale of love and loss, desperation and hope during one of the most uncertain times in American History--the Revolutionary War. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!" - MaryLu Tyndall, author of Surrender the Dawn "Filled with true-to-life characters whose struggles will linger with readers long after the last page is turned, Before the Scarlet Dawn is a memorable story of Revolutionary War-era England and America." - Amanda Cabot, author of Summer of Promise "Rita Gerlach has written a colorful historical with a feisty heroine on a search for survival, romance, and a place to belong." Cynthia Hickey, author of the Summer Meadows mysteries "A stirring story of love and its consequences, Before the Scarlet Dawn will draw you in from the start and not let you go again." - Roseanna M. White, author of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland and Jewel of Persia "While reading Before the Scarlet Dawn, you'll travel back in time--and from England to Maryland--without ever leaving your easy chair! This is a big, beautiful, well-told story of love, faith, and the struggles of war that changed lives...and  hearts. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!" Loree Lough, best-selling author of more than 80 award-winning books, including reader favorite From Ashes to Honor "I fell into this book, thinking I'd escaped into a typical historical romance, but as I followed Eliza Bloome through heartache, sin, guilt and grief, followed by a questioning of her faith, I couldn't read it without taking a good look at my own mistakes, my own conceptions about love and romance and how faith can sometimes lead you to some very unusual places." - Julie L. Cannon, author of Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes, 'Mater Biscuit, and Twang.

Author Bio

Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs.In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Her genre - Inspirational Historical Romance / Drama. Visit Rita's website at ritagerlach.blogspot.com.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Rita Gerlach's Before the Scarlet Dawn starts with two characters seemingly similar to Jane Austen's romantic characters, but it soon becomes clear that the story revolves around one woman's search for love after marriage. At the start, Eliza thinks she has found that love with Hayward, who marries her despite his family's objections. The two both possess strong wills and somewhat secret admiration for each other. The readers hope along with Eliza that Hayward will fall deeply in love with the heroine, but as Eliza's story develops and changes, it focuses more on sin, loss, and redemption and less on romance.

After moving to America with her new husband, Eliza faces a constant test of faith. Her husband leaves to fight in the Revolutionary War, and her strong and helpful neighbor attempts to seduce her. Eliza never loses sight of God and His role in events, but often loses sight of herself. As the psalmist writes, "Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins" (Psalm 25:18).

Eliza captivates readers with her hardships and struggles. Her unpredictable circumstances make for a character with a relatable and heart-wrenching journey. Gerlach's writing and characters are addicting. She writes with a convicting and convincing nature.

Before Scarlet Dawn leaves readers wanting more. Gerlach closes her story with Eliza's redemption, but there are other characters to wonder about, including the two characters that Gerlach will feature in her two sequels in the Daughters of the Potomac trilogy. The sequels will tie up loose ends surrounding a certain characters that Eliza and readers are forced to leave in God's hands at the end of Before the Scarlet Dawn. Eliza's faith ultimately leads her true redemption and love. Although moral convictions will temporarily keep her from what many would define as a happy ending, she puts her trust in God's providence, inspiring readers to understand the meaning of Christ's forgiveness and to follow Him through every storm, for He will "never leave you, nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Harmony Wheeler, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Publisher's Weekly

Gerlach (Surrender the Wind) opens the Daughters of the Potomac series with a tale set mostly in Revolutionary War Maryland. The strong-willed and Scarlett O’Hara–like Eliza Bloome, a vicar’s daughter, sets her bonnet for Hayward Morgan, who seeks a wife as part of his dream to prosper in Maryland. Eliza boldly offers herself and, though her social station is below Hayward’s, he is ambitious enough, and finds her attractive enough, to marry her. That is quick prelude to action that unfolds in America during the revolution. Hayward joins the colonial forces and then disappears, and Eliza is left to raise their daughter amid the dangers of life that include hostile Indians and a too-interested male neighbor. A complex plot knot pitches the characters into grief and uncertainty, leaving plenty of loose ends. Gerlach plots well, but her characters’ emotions are not explored very deeply. The prose can be shopworn (“Was it the cry of her soul that had been borne on the wind?”). Still, enough readers of inspirational romance will be reeled in to the next book in the series. Agent: Diana Flegal, Hartline Literary Agency. (Feb.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

4.1 Stars Out Of 5
4.1 out of 5
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(3)
(1)
(1)
Quality:
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
Value:
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
83%
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  1. Army Mom
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    February 11, 2013
    Army Mom
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3

    Honestly I'm not really sure how I felt about this book.
    Bad things, were there were several spelling errors and in one place the paragraph repeated itself. There is just no excuse for that many mistakes.
    Ok now for the book itself. While it wasn't your typical happy every after ending, I personally thought it ended well, and the reason was because it ended realistically. To have it end any other way I feel would have taken Hayward out of character.
    Eliza, like most of us have typical idea of what love looks like. She based her opinions on a "worlds view" of love and while I truly think that she loved Hayward, she failed to see that his idea of love was conditional and when she couldn't live up to that she was rejected. It wasn't until the end that she finds the kind of love that God gives us which is unconditional love. And sometimes God gives us back the people/things that we have lost, back usually not in a way that we would expect.
    As far as the ending goes, I personally didn't have a issue with it, but I can see where other people could. It could have been a bit clearer.
    I would have really like to give this a four star, but with all the spelling and editing mistakes, I do have to give it only a three star. I hope the next book is better edited.

  2. Kathi Macias
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Love, love, LOVE this book!
    October 7, 2012
    Kathi Macias
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    As a busy author/speaker myself, I almost never have time to read for pleasure, but I'm so glad I made time to read Before the Scarlet Dawn. By the time I was done, I was thrilled to realize book two, Beside Two Rivers, had just released, and I ordered and read it immediately. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first book. I am now anxiously awaiting the next installment. Great stories, believable characters, beautiful narrative!

  3. Wendy
    Dundee, Scotland
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Historical Fiction
    September 17, 2012
    Wendy
    Dundee, Scotland
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4

    Before the Scarlet Dawn is the first in a Trilogy and it is apparent at the end that the next book in the trilogy needs to be read in order for you to get the whole story. This is the only reason I have given this 4 rather than 5 stars. The story itself is definitely worth 5 stars. I loved the feisty heroine Eliza, who after losing both her father and brother in the same day, marries Hayward and moves out to the colonies with him. Her husband on the other hand can appear quite arrogant. However, this makes him appear all the more real. The story is well written, you really get the sense of America at the time, and how the American war of Independance impacted on ordinary people. You also get to know a lot about the English class system, which seemed to continue free and unfettered in America. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy and hearing some more of their story.

  4. Willows, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Revolutionary History
    August 22, 2012
    Willows, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4

    The year is 1775. There's this pretty girl, see, the daughter of a vicar in England, Eliza Bloome. Respectable, but not exactly an heiress. Then there's this guy she's had a thing for since childhood--Hayward Morgan. Son of landed gentry. They've got a lady picked out for him, Lilith Marsden.
    Well, Hayward is all in favor of Lilith. But he's also in favor of living in America. He has a piece of land and a home there. And Lilith? Well, frankly, she'd love to marry him. IF he'd stay in England on his father's property. She has no interest in the colonies. She refuses to marry him and go so far away.
    Eliza accidentally hears the conversation between the two and Lilith's refusal to go with Hayward. When Hayward discovers Eliza sitting in the darkness in the same hallway, she tells him Lilith is not worthy of him. That if Lilith loved him she would go anywhere with him.
    Boldly, Eliza tells him she loves him and he should marry her, that she would go with him anywhere.
    And thus begins her journey to Virginia. She's plunged into colonial life at the beginning of the Revolution with a man who doesn't love her, among colonial women who disdain her, and in the midst of wild Indians and wilder weather. And a neighbor who admires her too much.
    How will she overcome? There are some obstacles almost insurmountable.

  5. Annette
    Texas
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Epic Story During the American Revolution
    August 2, 2012
    Annette
    Texas
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Before I begin this review I must tell you I became involved in this epic story. I've read many fiction books, but it is rare for me to become entangled in one. I began reading this book on Tuesday afternoon, 336 pages later I finished at two o'clock in the afternoon on Wednesday. I could not put this book down until I'd read the last sentence. Of course now I have to wait until October to find out how my beloved characters will proceed in their tale.

    Eliza Bloome age twenty-one is the daughter of Vicar Matthias Bloome. They live in Darbyshire, England. The time period is 1775. Matthias is ill and expected to not live long. Eliza's only sibling Stephen is far-away at Fort Erie, New York. Their mother died when Eliza was young. A Mr. Langbourne wishes to marry Eliza, promising her wealth and a lifestyle of ease. Eliza considers this proposal because she wonders what will become of her after her father's death. Hayward Morgan is a handsome and proud man. He is independent, stoic, and demands respect. He has bought property and a home in an American Colony. While he is back in England he and Eliza become reacquainted. Eliza makes a bold decision. A decision she bases on faith. A decision that will have long-term consequences.

    Eliza is a person that stands firm in decisions she feels strongly about. She wants to marry for love. Yet, she is young and inexperienced, and at a moment in her life when she is left reeling from grief, she chooses what appears to be best. I believe when we are young we make more decisions based on our emotion, and less on our what our mind tells us. I know I've been guilty of this.
    She is both lovely on the exterior and lovely in her inner person. Although not all people (men) are interested in her inner person. She is unprepared for the magnetic appeal she has on some people.
    She laughs off what other's say of her, yet deep down she is hurt and troubled.
    Eliza is hard-working, intelligent, loving, kind, respectful.
    As bold as she is at times in speaking her mind, she respects maybe to a point of allowing inappropriate behavior.
    She is a heroine in that when life's piercing arrows dart at her, she clings to the One that is her Creator and Savior.

    Hayward Morgan is a proud man. He is defiant in his pride. He is stoic. He is reserved and is intolerant.
    I had a difficult time with his character throughout all of the story. I just don't like him. Yet, I care about what happens to him. It is marvelous when an author can create an unlikable character and yet the reader cares what happens to him!

    Characters are probably the most important aspect for me in a good story. Yes, the theme and setting is important, but the characters are the icing on the cake.

    I loved the history of the Revolutionary War in America. I loved the author presenting the feelings of the families of those that were in the war.

    Often I was moved by the mood of the story, and by the use of words that stirred my heart.

    I loved the symbolism used in this story.
    For example:
    "Besides, I want to feel the grass beneath my feet...our grass. It is how it should be...at least for today. Say you understand." page 92
    Eliza was feeling in the green grass a newness, a beginning, a growth in this new life. We are shown through this image her hopes and dreams. We see a freshness of youth and of possibilities.

    Yes, I loved loved loved this book!

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