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.
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.
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.
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!