Beyond the Valley, Daughters of the Potomac Series #3
Well worth the time
Rita is a new author to me. I have heard raves about earlier works,and was eager to delve into her newest, Beyond the Valley. I was enchanted by her imaginative story world, her solid grasp of history, and characters who plummet the heart to the depths of crushing devastation and then raise it again to heights of beautiful redemption.
Sarah Carr is one of the most long suffering heroines I have ever spent time with. Right on the first page tragedy strikes with the death of her husband, and the calamities keep coming right up to the cataclysmic ending--or almost. The surprise at the end, the long awaited hope and rescue from Sarah's worst nightmares, is the driving force that kept me glued to this story. And Ms. Gerlach certainly delivered.
The hero, Dr. Alex Hutton, remains one of the most gallant and devoted of any I have cheered for and loved. Time, distance, and social disparity cannot keep him from seeking Sarah. But the obstacles look so insurmountable it is astonishing that the couple ever find a happily ever after.
This had many lovely moments and even more poignant and emotional ones. Gerlach writes with a lovely simplicity that emphasizes character and story. It is easy to get caught up in the Revolutionary War era, sifting through frontier life along the Potomac. The dangers, sorrows, and unexpected beauty of life in the dense woods and fledgling settlements come to life.
Beyond the Valley is time well spent.
April 11, 2013
History, Drama, Redemption and Romance
Rita Gerlach in her new book, "Beyond The Valley" Book Three in The Daughters of the Potomac Series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Sarah Carr.
From the back cover: Searching for hope on the Maryland frontier.
When Sarah Carr's husband, Jamie, drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn she never expected. When she reaches out to Jamie's family for help, they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude.
Sarah endures the hardships of a sea voyage, the debasement of the slave auction, and loneliness. In despair, she puts her trust in her Savior as her new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family's whirlwind of dangerous secrets. While she copes with new threats, Sarah dares to risk everything for a new love.
I think that Rita Gerlach is an incredibly gifted author. She is able to describe these wonderful scenes where you feel as though you are there watching the event instead of reading about it. I am sorry that this is the last book in this series as I hate to see it end. In "Beyond The Valley" Ms. Gerlach takes us into the life of Sarah Carr who is faced with terrible tragedy in her life yet continues to somehow survive and persevere. Ms. Gerlach makes you care not only for Sarah and her journey but for all the supporting characters as well. Then there are the themes of hope and redemption, that despite the tragedy and hardships God offers new hope and life to those that trust in Him. I have a minor complaint that has nothing to do with Ms. Gerlach's writing. It is just that I feel that there was way too much tragedy in the book for me personally. I guess I just could not handle all that Sarah had to go through. Well done Ms. Gerlach. I look forward to the next series.
If you missed the interview for "Surrender The Wind", a different book from Rita Gerlach, and would like to listen to it and/or interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
April 2, 2013
How many pickles can one young woman get into?
I loved the way Rita wound the thread in Beyond the Valley so skillfully in and around the fabric of the rest of the Daughers of the Potomac Series. Great job!
When her husband tries to salvage goods from a shipwreck on the Cornish coast, Sarah Carr finds herself a widow with a baby on the way and no means of support. Her husband told her if anything ever happened to him she must go to his sister and her husband.
Perhaps not the best advice. The sister is only interested in unpaid help. The sister's husband, however, doesn't want to support not only the widow but also a child, free housekeeping or not. When he commiserates with an acquaintance at a nearby tavern, Mr. Sawyer proposes selling her as a bonded servant in the colonies. A ship just happens to be leaving for America that evening.
In the rough seas of the Atlantic, Sarah loses her baby son when he is born too early. At the mouth of the Potomac, she is sold to the highest bidder. For the first time her impediment--one leg shorter than the other--is actually a blessing. She avoids being sold into the hands of a man who might misuse her and instead becomes the servant of an older woman.
The Woodhouse family has a neighbor who dies in the American Revolution. His brother, Dr. Alex Hutton, arrives to find the widow dying and the twin daughters near starvation. After his sister-in-law dies, Alex visits the Woodhouse family and asks if Sarah can come help him with the children until his aunt arrives.
Ah, yes, you guessed it--they fall in love. This book epitomizes the saying that true love never runs smooth. Woodhouse loses his fortune and sells everything--including Sarah. The man who takes her might have been kind enough, but gets himself killed. And that's just the beginning...
March 20, 2013
Enthralling Historical Fiction!
In Beyond the Valley, author Rita Gerlach has penned another heartpounding, highly emotive, literary masterpiece set against the backdrop of the beautiful Potomac River. The majestic river is surrounded by beautiful, lush forests, a vast array of wildflowers, and colorful mallards skimming along its surface -- but underneath the guise of such peace and beauty lies the threat of dangerous Indians, secret passions, deceit, and treachery.
Our lovely heroine, Sarah Carr, is devastated to learn her young husband has drowned, leaving her with child and no place to turn. Possessing no family of her own she reaches out to her brother in law and his wife for help -- only to be caught up in a web of deceit and lies that turn her life upside down and threaten to destroy her very soul. Unaware of the evil plans devised against her, Sarah goes willingly with a stranger who promises her work, only to find herself kidnapped and taken to the colonies; forced into a life of servitude.
Forced to endure the debasement of the slave auction and hardships of every manner, Sarah meets a handsome young doctor, Alex Hutton -- her only bright spot in life. Because she is a lowly indentured servant, however, her love for him must remain unspoken as Alex's attempt to buy her freedom prove fruitless. Although Sarah's life seems heartbreakingly futile as she moves from one owner to another and a new family's secrets threaten to engulf and destroy her, she still manages to hold on to her unwavering faith in God.
When she is kidnapped by savage Indians and there is no trail left behind for Alex to follow...will his love for Sarah be powerful enough to search for her indefinitely? Or will she be lost to him forever? Will Sarah ever see "beyond the valley" to freedom...and love?
This book was absolutely amazing! I felt myself torn between wanting to read it slowly and savor it, and then not being able to put it down until the heart pounding conclusion! I sound like a broken record, but Ms. Gerlach's use of imagery is second to none and I feel as though I have actually been to the beautiful Potomac through her novels.
Although this is Book 3 in The Daughters of the Potomac series, it can be read as a stand alone, but I would strongly encourage everyone to read all three books in this awesome series. Diverse and courageous, fleshed out characters, an exciting storyline, romance, and a spiritual thread throughout...this book has it all!! And yes, as with all the others I shed a few tears with this one, too. In my opinion, Rita Gerlach is one of the strongest voices in Christian fiction today!
March 13, 2013