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Customer Reviews for Abingdon Press Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook

Abingdon Press Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook

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.

Average Customer Rating:
4.13 out of 5
4.1
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19 out of 2383%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Review 1 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:February 11, 2013
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Army Mom
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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.
-1point
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Review 2 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Historical Fiction

Date:September 17, 2012
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Wendy
Location:Dundee, Scotland
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Before the Scarlet Dawn is the first in a Trilogy and it is apparent at the end that the next book in the trilogy needs to be read in order for you to get the whole story. This is the only reason I have given this 4 rather than 5 stars. The story itself is definitely worth 5 stars. I loved the feisty heroine Eliza, who after losing both her father and brother in the same day, marries Hayward and moves out to the colonies with him. Her husband on the other hand can appear quite arrogant. However, this makes him appear all the more real. The story is well written, you really get the sense of America at the time, and how the American war of Independance impacted on ordinary people. You also get to know a lot about the English class system, which seemed to continue free and unfettered in America. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy and hearing some more of their story.
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love, love, LOVE this book!

Date:October 7, 2012
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Kathi Macias
Location:Southern California
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 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!
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Revolutionary History

Date:August 22, 2012
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Anonymous
Location:Willows, CA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The year is 1775. There's this pretty girl, see, the daughter of a vicar in England, Eliza Bloome. Respectable, but not exactly an heiress. Then there's this guy she's had a thing for since childhood--Hayward Morgan. Son of landed gentry. They've got a lady picked out for him, Lilith Marsden.
Well, Hayward is all in favor of Lilith. But he's also in favor of living in America. He has a piece of land and a home there. And Lilith? Well, frankly, she'd love to marry him. IF he'd stay in England on his father's property. She has no interest in the colonies. She refuses to marry him and go so far away.
Eliza accidentally hears the conversation between the two and Lilith's refusal to go with Hayward. When Hayward discovers Eliza sitting in the darkness in the same hallway, she tells him Lilith is not worthy of him. That if Lilith loved him she would go anywhere with him.
Boldly, Eliza tells him she loves him and he should marry her, that she would go with him anywhere.
And thus begins her journey to Virginia. She's plunged into colonial life at the beginning of the Revolution with a man who doesn't love her, among colonial women who disdain her, and in the midst of wild Indians and wilder weather. And a neighbor who admires her too much.
How will she overcome? There are some obstacles almost insurmountable.
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Epic Story During the American Revolution

Date:August 2, 2012
Customer Avatar
Annette
Location:Texas
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Before I begin this review I must tell you I became involved in this epic story. I've read many fiction books, but it is rare for me to become entangled in one. I began reading this book on Tuesday afternoon, 336 pages later I finished at two o'clock in the afternoon on Wednesday. I could not put this book down until I'd read the last sentence. Of course now I have to wait until October to find out how my beloved characters will proceed in their tale.
Eliza Bloome age twenty-one is the daughter of Vicar Matthias Bloome. They live in Darbyshire, England. The time period is 1775. Matthias is ill and expected to not live long. Eliza's only sibling Stephen is far-away at Fort Erie, New York. Their mother died when Eliza was young. A Mr. Langbourne wishes to marry Eliza, promising her wealth and a lifestyle of ease. Eliza considers this proposal because she wonders what will become of her after her father's death. Hayward Morgan is a handsome and proud man. He is independent, stoic, and demands respect. He has bought property and a home in an American Colony. While he is back in England he and Eliza become reacquainted. Eliza makes a bold decision. A decision she bases on faith. A decision that will have long-term consequences.
Eliza is a person that stands firm in decisions she feels strongly about. She wants to marry for love. Yet, she is young and inexperienced, and at a moment in her life when she is left reeling from grief, she chooses what appears to be best. I believe when we are young we make more decisions based on our emotion, and less on our what our mind tells us. I know I've been guilty of this.
She is both lovely on the exterior and lovely in her inner person. Although not all people (men) are interested in her inner person. She is unprepared for the magnetic appeal she has on some people.
She laughs off what other's say of her, yet deep down she is hurt and troubled.
Eliza is hard-working, intelligent, loving, kind, respectful.
As bold as she is at times in speaking her mind, she respects maybe to a point of allowing inappropriate behavior.
She is a heroine in that when life's piercing arrows dart at her, she clings to the One that is her Creator and Savior.
Hayward Morgan is a proud man. He is defiant in his pride. He is stoic. He is reserved and is intolerant.
I had a difficult time with his character throughout all of the story. I just don't like him. Yet, I care about what happens to him. It is marvelous when an author can create an unlikable character and yet the reader cares what happens to him!
Characters are probably the most important aspect for me in a good story. Yes, the theme and setting is important, but the characters are the icing on the cake.
I loved the history of the Revolutionary War in America. I loved the author presenting the feelings of the families of those that were in the war.
Often I was moved by the mood of the story, and by the use of words that stirred my heart.
I loved the symbolism used in this story.
For example:
"Besides, I want to feel the grass beneath my feet...our grass. It is how it should be...at least for today. Say you understand." page 92
Eliza was feeling in the green grass a newness, a beginning, a growth in this new life. We are shown through this image her hopes and dreams. We see a freshness of youth and of possibilities.
Yes, I loved loved loved this book!
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Disapointing

Date:June 12, 2012
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Reesy
Location:Texas
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
It is my personal opinion that if I'm going to read a fictional book, I would very much like a happy ending. I know this is a series, but I was still very disapointed with the ending of this book. I felt so sad for the herione. Hopefully the next book has a happier story for her! I probably won't be reading the next book of this series, because of the sad ending.
0points
1of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Revolutionary War Tale of Heartache/ Forgiveness

Date:June 6, 2012
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Barb
Location:Virginia
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The Revolutionary War era is one that is an excellent setting for a tale of lives torn apart by war and sacrifice on Freedom's altar. This story is fraught with a range of emotional experiences from anticipation of a new home in a new land, to desertion of love for what was considered a higher calling, to sin, brokenness and unforgiveness.
The heroine is a likeable one whose strong will and determination proved her worthy of life in a new world; her full heart of faith and loyalty made her a woman to believe in. Unfortunately, the main male characters are all of much weaker character. Eliza's determination on one hand and her absolute surrender to her demanding husband on the other for years just did not seem to quite "click", if you will.
Some of the story is a bit too contrived and circumstances too implausible for the vast distances and poor communication of the time--too many coincidences that didn't seem as though they could possibly have occurred.
God's forgiveness was rather sublimated to the background in light of man's lack thereof. But Eliza's inner loveliness and the dedication of her old servant mother figure, Fiona, give the novel a sweet flavor that wins the day.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Good Read

Date:June 5, 2012
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Eileen Mullins
Location:Lakewood, CO
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I love novels with historical content. This was a good one.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 9 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Rich historical detail and compelling story

Date:June 11, 2012
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Dori
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I have never written a review of a book before, or contacted an author, but I was so taken with Ms. Gerlach's book, I had to say something. I love historical fiction, American historical fiction, and I'd gotten so tired of stories set during and after the Civil War. There are so many of them. I was really interested in reading more about the Revolutionary War, and I finally found it with this author. I was not disappointed at all. The historical detail is meticulous and rich, and the story was amazing. I felt connected with the characters and couldn't put the book down until I was done! I am very happy to see that this book is the first in a trilogy and that Ms. Gerlach has other stand-alone books as well.
One thing I do want to say is that I read the Publishers Weekly review of this book, and I have to disagree with their comparison of Eliza Bloome to Scarlett O'Hara. What? Scarlet was a selfish, spoiled, manipulative young woman, while Eliza Bloome has such a beautiful Christian, giving, generous spirit. Completely different characters. Don't know why they thought that.
Anyway, Ms. Gerlach is my new 100% favorite author, I'm planning on snatching up everything she has written, and I look forward to her books that are forthcoming.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

I could not find enjoyment in this read

Date:May 14, 2012
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Faye
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
A dramactic tale that left me with mixed feelings.
Eliza and her new husband face the hardships of breaking ties in England and making a new life for themselves in America. But tragedy and heart-break are not far behind them, threatening their marriage.
This wasn't exactily what I was expecting. I was told that this was not a romance, but more of a historical. In my opinion it was alot more like an unending soap opera of emotions, and heartache that would make a good TV mini-series, but not necessarily a gritty historical.
Hayward and Eliza both made their mistakes and suffered the consequences, there were often times when I didn't understand why they did what they did, or rather they took their actions to the extreme or not far enough. I never came to ever really like Eliza, as a character or a person, and Hayward became just horrid! I think he was mentally unstable or something. I did sympathize with their situations, though.
My favorite character was Mr. Brennan, because right from the start I felt that I had a strong sense of who he was and what kind of man he was, and I liked that he'd been through hard times yet came out stronger for it, and he had many admirable qualities to him.
Overall, I did not enjoy this book. And for the most part I think it just frustrated me. I just never felt like I could really connect with the main characters, even though I wanted to. It's not like I expected them to be perfect and honestly I liked that they were deeply flawed, but at times I felt that their reactions were just not realistic. So I guess you could say that this one wasn't for me. I know lots of other people who loved this book, but for me this just wasn't something that I could find enjoyment in reading. Thanks.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
0points
1of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

First in this series

Date:May 7, 2012
Customer Avatar
Irene
Location:United States
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This book is the first in a new series called Daughters of the Potomac. The year is 1775 and the story follows Eliza Bloome. Her life is changed when she and Hayward Morgan decide they must go to America to get away from a troubling situation in England.
The story does not end in this book. This series is one that continues from one book to another. That is not to say you will not enjoy the story but just know going into it that the story is not over when the book is. The story itself flows well and the characters are all intriguing. The circumstances in the book vary and even include the Revolutionary War.
I did have some issues with the book and that is why I only gave it a 4/5 stars. The main character, Eliza is confusing. She says one thing and then turns around and does different then what she said. She is not a well-developed character. The character is not one I could get behind and cheer for, which is important when that character is the main one the story is about! Still the story kept me entertained and I will be reading the next book in the series to see what happens with all the characters.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Outstanding story line and characters.

Date:April 11, 2012
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Big Mom
Location:Ingleside, IL
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I can't wait for the next book in the series. My heart went out to Eliza at her realization that Hayward was an absolutely cruel man whose true character was shown at the end.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

WWI story

Date:April 10, 2012
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Janna Ryan
Location:North Platte, NE
Age:35-44
Gender:female
I was so excited about this book because it is set in the American Revolution and there aren't a lot of books written about that time period (unlike WWII). So I dove in with great anticipation and was introduced to an amazing character in Eliza. She is the kind of person that I would love to have as a friend and she shows that in the friendships she develops throughout the book. My issue was that I didn't like her husband... at all. I tried, but I just couldn't. That may have been the point but he didn't deserve her - at all. And then when the story could have been ripe in forgiveness and redemption, it wasn't and left me really disappointed. Rita Gerlach has an incredible gift for settings and characters - this particular storyline just didn't do anything for me personally, but I know others out there will probably love it.
-1point
0of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This book causes sleep loss until you've read all

Date:April 4, 2012
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Creative Madness Mama
Location:ATOKA, TN
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
When I first started this book as an ARC, I got over 50% in within one reading. Then the sinus stuff happened as well as other book review deadlines and I just never got quite back to it. Well the other night I did not go to sleep, because I was up all night trying for just one more page to see what happens next. First let me tell you I love having Rita Gerlach and her books on my blog, she is one of the reasons I love hosting www.ChristianHistoricalFiction.com (see some posts here: http://creativemadnessmama.com/blog/tag/…) At the beginning of February, she stopped by an answered a few questions as well as shared a book trailer video for Before the Scarlet Dawn. (You can also sneak a peak at the first chapter too.) When I heard that she had this Daughters of the Potomac series coming out I was quite excited.*sigh* When I read Surrender the Wind in August 2009 I was enthralled, enchanted and craving for more from the language and imagery. At that time I felt the book went a little too fast and wanted more detail, but as I said then in 400 pages an author can only provide so much. I loved that book and knowing that was a debut I couldn’t wait to see what might come next. Now, now I know you want my opinion, but wait. In the afternoon, I watched a rented movie from Netflix, it was Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. I had briefly seen previews and was not very interested, but I’m on a Hugh Jackman kick and it was necessary. Oh my. I’ll provide a real review of it later if I can form the words, but in short there was so much to happen, so much to absorb and learn from and experience along with the characters. It was a film that made me cry harder than I have in a while for a movie and afterwards you just have to kinda sit in silence to try to really take in everything. That is how I feel after reading Before the Scarlet Dawn.
While Surrender the Wind had more people and city interaction, outside of the very first introduction chapters Before the Scarlet Dawn takes place in a secluded environment, much as Catherine Richmond’s Spring for Susannah. At first I felt that perhaps this would be similar with a marriage that did not exactly start in love. Let me stop here, I’m quite uncertain how to express myself clearly in this novel and to not give away too many spoilers. I’ll try my hardest not too, but if I give something away I apologize. Now, back to my thoughts… Eliza is the daughter of the village Parson and quite smitten with the local gentry and as a turn of events plays out she is meant to be his wife and they venture to America. Out breaks war and life is thrown into turmoil. Something after another in a realistic and stressful manner seems to take place as the personalities of the characters come out intertwine and clash. Real emotions are shared as the reader gets to peak inside the mind and wonder what would I do in that situation. Such impossible events.
I keep starting a sentence and deleting it to not give things away. While Eliza’s husband Hayward is gone fighting, she is annoyingly (in her opinion and mine) pursued by the bachelor neighbor Halston who is quite useful from time to time. From the shores of England to America and back to England again, there are twists and turns that keep your imagination trying to stay ahead but continuously catching up with the plot. Things change and happen that you really do not know and can hardly guess who the proverbial good guy and bad guy might be. I promise in the end, you’ll be surprised as to how things end. But then at the same time, it’s not over.
Not only do we meet Eliza and share her joys and burdens, but we also come across her daughter Darcy – who I cannot even begin to image how everything is affecting her! – and also a new friend Sarah. Luckily, even though it feels like it ended, there is more in a second book for Darcy’s story (Beside Two Rivers) and then a third to hear of Sarah (Beyond the Valley).
Back to my mention of the film Australia. Before the Scarlet Dawn is about so much, just when you think things are coming to a close and settled you realize you still have several hundred pages left. Then you feel like it could not possibly ever get better or happy ever again and that there is no possible solution or way out of a situation and then you see the light is coming back. Surrender. There is no possible way without God’s love. He is always there, he is there every step of every direction. If he gives it to you, you can handle it but not maybe in the way you expected. This is quite real and fascinating, yet uncomfortable much in the way of Lady of Milkweed Manor. It’s fabulous and keeps you going and enticed. How on earth can anybody stand to wait to read the next book to find out what happens next?
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 15 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Not Your Typical Romance, Coudn't Put It Down!

Date:February 15, 2012
Customer Avatar
Teresa M
Location:West Columbia, SC
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Rita does an amazing job of creating a story about colonial times and it’s hardships that pull you into it and you will find yourself not wanting to put it down.
Eliza Bloome is a high spirited, beautiful young lady, daughter of a Vicar who has recently died. She has no one left except her servant Fiona, who is more like a mother to her than a servant. Knowing they are to be put out of the vicarage sooner than expected, Eliza and Fiona try to decide what to do. Will Eliza have to accept a marriage proposal from a man she doesn’t love or will she be able to convince a man she has loved since childhood to marry her even when he thinks she is beneath his status in life?
Hayward Morgan has dreamed of making a life for himself in America, it matters nothing to him that his Father is threatening to disown him and give his inheritance to his cousin, if he leaves England. The only thing he needs now is a wife, but his marriage proposal is turned down by a spoiled young lady who refuses to go to the colonies with him. Eliza tells Hayward that she overheard what just transpired and offers to marry him instead. Eliza tell Hayward she has loved him since childhood and promises to make him a good wife but Hayward insults her by saying he would never marry someone beneath him and even though she is very beautiful, he does not love her. Eliza goes home and packs her things and prays for Hayward to change his mind. Will Hayward ever be able to express his love for Eliza or will Eliza always long for his love?
There are many things that await Hayward and Eliza in the Colonies and most are not pleasant. The worst is when Hayward leaves Eliza and their newborn daughter to join the fight for freedom. While he is gone Eliza and Fiona keep things going without much trouble until Eliza is taken by Indians. She is rescued by her very handsome neighbor, Halston, who has tried to get her to return his affections, but Eliza has vowed to remain true to Hayward.
For years there is no word from Hayward until the local minister hears from Hayward’s brother that Hayward was captured and killed. Will Eliza be able to survive this news, or will it devastate her so badly that she makes a terrible life changing mistake? What will happen when she hears that Hayward might be alive and returning home to her? Will Eliza and Hayward be able to continue their life as before?
I must confess there were times while reading this I was quite upset, it has a lot of twists and turns, and an ending I did not expect, but isn't that the sign of a talented writer, when they bring your emotions to the surface and make you walk away wanting to read more of their work? Marvelous job Rita, cannot wait for the sequel to this masterpiece.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 16 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Literary Colonial Women's Fiction

Date:February 3, 2012
Customer Avatar
Carrie
Location:Virginia
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This novel is a subgenre buster if ever I saw one. Overall Rita’s new release is a historical. However, it could also be described as women’s fiction, literary, and colonial as well as European setting, and American Revolution. So perhaps it is a literary colonial women’s fiction with romantic elements. But historical romance readers should be advised this is not a historical romance. (Read some of the other reviews.)
I read this as a PDF file Advance Reader copy that I sent to my Kindle. I was not required to give a positive review.
I have read two other books by Rita and have reviewed one here on OTT-WGH previously – Surrender the Dawn. Rita is a master at scene setting. Her descriptions bring the reader into the story as though they are there with the characters. She does not disappoint in this book, as well, in capturing the feel of countryside England and of colonial Maryland.
Those who enjoy a literary story will find this current book the most so of all of Rita’s stories.
+1point
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Review 17 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An unpredictable ending!

Date:March 13, 2012
Customer Avatar
Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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!
+1point
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Review 18 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Don't bother...

Date:February 22, 2012
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Stephanie
Location:upstate NY
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
In the very first chapter, a man who wants to marry our main character tells her that she’d be a spinster if not for her body (in much crasser terms). Not only was love and lust thoroughly confused right from the start, but the writing was awkward and the characters shallow.
*Spoilers ahead*
I tried to find some good in the book, despite my irritation with both Eliza and Hayward. Eliza just ‘knows’ she ‘loves’ Hayward (didn’t even know who he was, but he’s got money to rescue her from being a governess or maid elsewhere). Throughout the rest of the book, she was a confusing character. One minute, she’s proud, spirited, and spouting off her political and spiritual opinions, and the next, she’s a meek and submissive wife.
Perhaps someone can have all of these qualities, but they didn’t make sense in Eliza. I couldn’t connect with a seemingly spoiled girl, determined to get her way, who was also the most loving and sweet wife, despite her husband’s lack of true love.
Then there’s Hayward. He sees Eliza as beneath him; yet after he turns down HER bold proposal in disgust, he’s on her doorstep in a week, asking her to run away and be married.
The questionable only gets worse once they arrive in America, with neighbor Halston’s overt flirtation in which infidelity becomes the conclusion.
Honestly, I read farther than I should have, but I couldn’t finish the book. I did flip to the last chapter, and it appears that Eliza, sent back to England in anger and shame, is now going to marry (or just live with?!) the new vicar, even though Hayward and baby Darcy are still in America??! It appears to me that adultery was the favorite theme for this author.
If you’re a regular reader of my book reviews, you’ll know exactly how I felt about this book. Don’t even bother with it.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*
-2points
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Review 19 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Serious Colonial Fiction, not Romance

Date:February 10, 2012
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Iola
Location:New Zealand
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Following the death of her father, Eliza Bloome must find a place to live and a livelihood. She seeks work on the Havendale estate nearby, hoping to catch the eye of the handsome Hayward Morgan, recently returned to England from the Maryland colonies.
Eliza and Hayward enter into marriage - one of convenience from Hayward's point of view, but from genuine love from Eliza's. With Hayward being cut off from his inheritance over the marriage, the couple leave immediately for Hayward's estate in Maryland. Eliza longs for Hayward to fall in love with her, but Hayward is a product of his upbringing and believes that love is a weakness that men should not feel.
Soon after their arrival in Maryland, Hayward leaves to support the revolutionary cause leaving Eliza and two servants to manage River Run and cope with war, separation, the threat of Indian raids and a handsome (unmarried) neighbour who falls in love with Eliza.
Eliza is impulsive but has a heart for God and a solid love for her husband and their baby daughter. She often struggles as she is left to face trials and loss without Hayward’s presence or support, and despite almost no communication from him during the years he is away. She is an obedient wife even when faced with situations where obeying was a difficult choice to make, and I admired her for this. But she is not without her faults, and one mistake changes everything.
My problem was that I did not find Hayward to be a likeable character. In the beginning he was proud and arrogant, without any personal faith, and he later added stubborness and unforgiveness to his character traits. He must have had some positive characteristics for Eliza to love him so much, but I never worked out what they were. The male characters were all secondary in that there was little from their point of view, and little character development.
Although the beginning of this story suggests it might be romantic, it is really historical fiction. It is unusual in that the historical attitudes are more accurate than in many books. Unfortunately, these are not the historical attitudes that we admire.
So while I do recommend Before the Scarlet Dawn as a novel worth reading, I must also point out that it is not a sweet and light-hearted Colonial romance. If that is what you want to read, I would suggest A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist.
Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
+2points
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Review 20 for Before the Scarlet Dawn: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1 - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

I Hated and Loved this Book!

Date:February 4, 2012
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Holly Smith
Location:Charleston, SC
Age:25-34
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Before the Scarlet Dawn is a compelling story that is sure to strike a chord with anyone who reads it.
To be honest, I have a "love-hate" feeling for this novel. First of, I have to say that these characters were real. As a result, I want to believe that some of their choices were drastically unbelievable. Yet the unbelievability is the very thing that makes these characters real.
While I struggled to accept the heat-of-the-moment choice that led to the main character's heartache by the end of the story as anything remotely believable, I can truly say that this story paints human nature in a very realistic sense. Again, it's that that very essence that makes these characters real.
I hated the ending. I absolutely hated it! It left me heartbroken and angry. After cooling off for a day, I had to go back and re-read the last portion of the novel again. This time, I could accept the ending. It was truly perfect. It showed redemption and mercy from God.
My initial impression of this novel was that is should only receive three stars. Aside from the fact that I found major choices unbelievable, I didn't like the how the main character didn't put up much of an initial fight for what she wanted. Her actions seemed almost too hopeful, and wishful, and way too trusting in God. She was even too complaint for my taste. While these are great qualities in a real-life person, they aren't ones I want at the outset of a character I'm reading about.
After several days, however, this story, these characters, and the feelings I experienced at the end of my first read, all continued to resonate. Without realizing it, this story had taken up residence in my heart.
This story will make one feel. Much like Liz Curtis Higgs' Lowlands of Scotland series, you are going to feel emotions that you don't like. But, you will feel, and you will feel intensely. For that very reason, this book gets four stars in my eyes. It accomplishes what a book is supposed to do--move the reader. And move me it did.
I do recommend Before the Scarlet Dawn. Just make sure you keep a box of tissues nearby. You'll sure need them. I'm eagerly awaiting the next story in this series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Abingdon Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
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