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

Love drove them to a new land. Now, a war for freedom threatens all they hold dear.

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

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,

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
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
4.2 out Of 5
(4.2 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Salinas, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A deeply moving historical novel.
    January 26, 2015
    Debbie Wilder
    Salinas, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The development of the characters in this book is excellent. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning. I wanted so badly to see everything work out well for Eliza Bloome. She has such a strong faith and has so many hardships to face throughout the story. Multiple times I felt as if my heart was going to break for all that she had to deal with.

    She is a very realistic character in that as time progressed she faltered in her decision making and in her belief that she had made correct choices. Even when we make questionable choices God doesnt leave us and we can hold on to that fact. This is something that Eliza works through as she struggles with her self-doubts. If we are at all truthful with ourselves we would each admit to doubting our decisions at times.

    I am looking forward to reading the other 2 books in this series and seeing what type of characters Rita Garlach creates for them.
  2. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    Compelling story but is this really Christian?
    November 1, 2014
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    Before the Scarlet Dawn is an intriguing and gripping story, although the novel did seem to require additional editing to correct some errors, particularly in the earlier parts of the book. I cannot recommend this book as "Christian" fiction since Jesus Christ is never once mentioned, nor is having a relationship with Christ even suggested. Yes, Eliza and others at times pray and recite Bible versus, but no one seems to ever be concerned about growing in their Christian faith or be concerned with the salvation of others. The vicar's daughter no less falls in love with and marries a proud, arrogant, cold hearted, class conscious, cruel though handsome man who decidedly does not know the Lord. Eliza faithfully prays for Hayward's health and safety, as she should. and yearns to have him tell her that he loves her. She should have been praying for his salvation. If her character some how never realizes that his behavior really stems from his lack of spiritual life, this should have some how been mentioned as one of her short comings if this book is to be "Christian." This could have been a 5 star book for quality and value had the same story identified the spiritual issues at play. Hayward's unchecked comment to Darcy that good people go to heaven and bad people who sin go to hell completely ignores sinners being saved by grace through faith, with each of us guilty of being sinners. Had the story included statements that upheld the basic tenets of Christianity, the quality and value of this novel would have soared. The ending is unrealistic for a secular work and questionable for a Christian novel, though at least satisfying in that Eliza will be provided for.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Before the Scarlet Dawn.
    October 10, 2014
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I could hardly lay this book down it was so interesting. I am looking forward to the other 2 titles in this series.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
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