Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CFBA: Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Before The Scarlet Dawn

Abingdon Press (February 2012)


Rita Gerlach


I was drawn to Before the Scarlet Dawn, in part for it's romantic angle, but also for the time period. The American Revoloution doesn't seem to be as common a time period to romantacize, not like the Civil War for example.

The story may begin in England, but soon the couple finds themselves on the bank of the Potomac in Virginia, just south of where so much of the war is being fought. Most of the war action happens behind the scenes and serves mostly as a catalyst or backdrop for Eliza's story. Hayward Morgan abandons his new wife and baby girl shortly after arriving to join the Patriots and fight the Glorious Cause. For five years, Eliza pines for him while caring for their mill with only the help of a couple of servants. She has no one around to protect them other than the bachelor neighbor who is falling in love with Eliza.

I hate spoilers and don't like to ruin a story for anyone, so I won't list any of the big plot twists. But I have to say, the book wasn't what I expected. The story was well written, but I have a hard time saying I enjoyed it. Which makes me feel terrible, because it was a very good book. I find entertainment and enjoyment in love that overcomes all things, in finding hope and happiness at the end of the novel. For me, Eliza's story was a drama that began with the loss of her father and her homeland, followed by every other thing she loved or held dear. Her faith is encouraging as she clings to Jesus through it all, and that was for me the only happy satisfaction to be found. The ending is positive, but not the kind of happy I was hoping for and that in itself was a little bit of a let down.

I freely admit though, had I realized this wasn't truly a romance in the sense I'm accustomed to, I would have read it with different expectations and might have found it less dissatisfying. So I encourage you to check out the book with a more open mind and decide for yourself whether Eliza truly finds her happy ending.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Before The Scarlet Dawn, go HERE.

Watch the book video:


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.

"Romantic historical fiction that has an inspirational bent, is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love," she says. "The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully."

In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Currently she is writing a new historical series for Abingdon Press entitled 'Daughters of the Potomac'. See her 'Novels In Progress' page on her website to learn more.

There are other novels on her list to be published, and a proposal for another book series.

She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. Her family claims that storytelling is their blood, handed down from centuries of Irish storytellers. Rita believes there just may be something to that theory.

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