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Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the…
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Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1

by Rita Gerlach

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Terrific, want more!! ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
I purchased this on my Kindle because I have a review coming up for the second in this series and the Type "A" in me felt I needed to read the first book in the series to be able to give it an adequate review. I am now anxious to read the next one in the series.

I think my favorite genre is historical fiction, but this time period (Revolutionary War) is not one I read often. After traveling to Philadelphia and seeing Independence Hall you would think I would have been more interested in this time-period, but usually WWI and WWII eras seem to get my attention. Even though this book didn't go into a lot of detail about the war, there was still a lot of attention given to the setting, the way people related to each other and their fears during this time in our history. I found the different social classes and their expectations very interesting. I was also drawn to the servants in the story and how even though they were considered like family, there was a definite difference in their societal level.

The beginning of this story involved Eliza and her attraction to Hayward. Hayward and Eliza get married and flee England to move to a home along the Potomac. Then the story focuses on Eliza. Hayward goes off to war....for 6 years....with no communication back to his wife....AT ALL! I had a really hard time grasping this concept. She was to wait for him and attend to his home, expecting his to return at any moment....for 6 years. I can tell you, I am not sure I would have survived during this time period or put up with that from my husband. The author painted a very clear picture of the struggles Eliza went through, both physically and mentally. I felt her pain, anguish, and frustration throughout the story. Even though Eliza made some choices that changed her life forever, I'm sure I would have done the same thing in her situation.

Hayward returns home from war a different man, as many soldiers do. But, in this story the unthinkable happens and because of the time period and how women were treated, he was able to get away with it. The shock of his actions and the pain Eliza suffered are what is drawing me to the next in the series, BESIDE TWO RIVERS. I must know what happens next.

This book is classified as Inspirational Historical Fiction. In the story, Eliza's father was a vicar (priest) and so her faith is very evident throughout the story. Scriptures are often referenced and Eliza must rely on her faith in God to get through her struggles. I saw it as a natural part of the story and not overpowering in any way. I appreciated that Eliza turned to prayer and Scripture when in doubt of her path in life.

If you are looking to start a new series, I recommend you read this one. Watch for my review of BESIDE TWO RIVERS, published in September 2012, to be posted by the end of the month. You won't have to wait long for the third in the series to come out, as BEYOND THE VALLEY will arrive in February 2013. ( )
  Staciele | Nov 5, 2012 |
Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach
Pages: 327
Release Date: February 1st, 2012
Date Read: 2012, April 15th-17th
Received: ARC via NetGalley
Rating: 2/5 stars
Recommended to: 14+

SUMMARY -
Eliza's father, a man of humble means, has just passed away, leaving Eliza with no house or money, just the clothes on her back and the housemaid. In an effort to find work, she is reunited with the man she once loved as a girl, and who she still loves as a woman. When she offers to go with him to America as his bride, he refuses... But soon changes his mind for a daring journey in the night. Can they brave through the storms of life in a new country where Eliza must face trial after trial?

MY THOUGHTS -
"This is great, this is great, this is...ahhhh... Nevermind." I'm SO bummed out about this book! It just...flopped. It had loads of potential but did not live up to any sort of goodness.

CHARACTER NOTES -
Oh, Eliza. Why? WHY?! I just don't understand. I really liked you...and now I just don't know what to think. Eliza is one of those characters who just...deteriorated. At least for me. I just couldn't respect any of the decisions she made after she heard the Terrible Awful News. Not even just her lack of judgement - but that lie she told to Hayward about it? GOLLY, so bad. I felt like her relationship with God didn't really go anywhere either. She went through so much hardship but there were no profound faith revelations or anything.

And Hayward... Holy SMOKES - if I ever met that man, I would need someone to restrain me and remind me that murder will land me in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Fiona and the rest were okay, I guess. They served their purposes but were not well-developed.

STORY NOTES -
What. The. Heck. HAAAAPPPPEEEENNNNEEED?! Okay, so I'm all for sad books. A few (The Idiot, Before I Fall, Mockingjay) are my all-time favorites and I read and read and read and cry and cry and cry.

But cruel? Like hardcore cruel, backstabbing, with what did NOT feel like a redemptive ending? Ummm, not okay with me. Hayward was a full-on cruel, cold-hearted jerk who did horrible things.

I honestly don't remember much else of the story, except Eliza's fall into depression so deep she totally went out of character, and the end where all I could think was, "Why? This is not redemptive." It does not have to be happy - just...redeeming. It was so hard. And sad. And CRUEL. And stupid and unrealistic, if I may say so myself.

SUMMING IT UP -
The word I've been saying over and over again. Cruel. I feel bad giving this kind of review but this book really got to me - in a bad way -ad on vacation no less!

For the Parents -
A few adult situations referenced to. No details. Some minor curse words. Recommended 14+. Actually, not recommended at all, but...if you must... ( )
  yearningtoread | Jul 9, 2012 |
For once I have read a book that I could not predict how it would end. Usually once a story presents itself you can kinda of figure out the logistics of how it will end but not in Before The Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach.

In this wonderful historical novel set in the 1775 first in Derbyshire, England we find our main character Eliza Bloome who is caring for her ailing father, the vicar of the church there. While he lays dying he receives a letter from a man named Mr. Langbourne, who wishes to marry Eliza so that she will not fall into poverty once he passes away. However Eliza wishes to marry for love only not for financial security. So when he father passes away, she is given one week to vacate the church property and find other living arrangements.

While riding through the country side one day, she happens upon a childhood friend, Hayward Morgan, the son of a wealthy family and wonders if perhaps he is interested in marriage. When he tells her he is not but that she might find work among his family's household in Havendale, she decides to try to find work there otherwise she will be homeless.

Upon arriving in Havendale, she overhears Hayward proposes to a well-to-do lady named Lilith Marsden who has her eyes set on Hayward's future inheritance, but when she learns that the marriage will involve leaving England and heading for property he has acquired in Maryland, she refuses. Now Eliza offers Hayward one more opportunity to propose marriage and move with him to Maryland to which he accepts, under the condition that Eliza understands, he does not love her.

Moving to River Run in the Maryland, Eliza and her maid, Fiona will have to endure the life of learning to live in frontier, but as long as Eliza has Hayward, she is convinced God will show Hayward's heart that love is possible. Only now that the Revolutionary War draws near, Hayward's only desire is to fight against the British even if it means leaving his wife to fend for herself. Will Eliza ever truly find love or will God have a different answer in mind for her prayers?

I received Before The Scarlet Dawn compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and LOVED it. I couldn't put it down til I knew how it would end and I believe, I have to wait for the next book. I was not disappointed that Eliza's conflict was not resolved and for once applaud the author who takes a great storyline, and carefully takes the reader by the hand and walks through it with them, not rushing to come to a hasty conclusion. This is the reason why I love this book. It's completely unpredictable at some points and that kept me entertained and engaged. I'm not sure I could deal with all life handed Eliza in this story and she has more strength that I could ever imagine. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and anxiously wait her sequel to this story. This is the first book in the Daughters of the Potomac Series! ( )
  ReviewsFromTheHeart | Mar 13, 2012 |
The Dame's "Sneak-Preview~Pre-Released" Review:

(To Be Released in February, 2012)

I'm not ashamed to admit I cried all through this novel. It reminded me so much of "Gone With the Wind," and many of the best in historical, American fiction. The thing that set this one apart from ordinary historical novels published today was its purity of writing and the base of honor it conveyed. How refreshing it was to read a book about the finest qualities of a woman, wife, mother and friend. I know we are out there today, and it was so touching to read us praised in historical literature!

A story written about a young daughter of a rector in England who marries the disinherited son of an aristocrat, joins him in the colonies of Maryland to build a life, and experiences the hardships that accompany the American Revolution; this novel is more about the heart's blood and feelings of its protagonist Eliza than anything.

I laughed at Eliza's spunk and determination. But, I spent a lot of time feeling her strength, and acknowledging the powerful love for her husband and family she fought to keep. When her children were ripped from her, it was like reading one of the classics...so beautifully rendered and such an ability to strike at our hearts, Ms Gerlach has. She can weld a pen like a warrior as an author!



This is a must read for anyone with a woman's heart. It speaks to the finest qualities in women; love, courage, steadfastness, creativity and spirituality. It will remind you to "remember the plain path" and to take it back "home."

I loved this book more than I can say. So refreshing. A surprise read for me, and one I simply took a chance on. So glad I did.

Rita Gerlach has two more books in this series which will be following. The second one called, "Beside Two Rivers," is in production. And, Rita is writing her third in the series. I can't wait!

Learn more about her and her books at: http://www.ritagerlach.blogspot.com

5 clear as the night stars

Deborah/TheBookishDame´╗┐ ( )
  BookishDame | Nov 20, 2011 |
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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.… (more)

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