Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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      It’s been such a crazy-busy, crazy-fun week that I almost missed a week of A-Z! But never fear, the letter C is here.C as in chicken and waffles, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles to be exact.My daughter turned eleven this week, and to celebrate we spent a couple days in Atlanta with her Mamaw doing girlie stuff, like eating yummy food (because only girls […]
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      Back Cover Blurb:Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal--and danger.  Can the only man she’s ever loved rescue her before it’s too late?Mallory Hammond is determined not to let her boyfriend, parents, or anyone else get in the way of her #1 goal--to save a life.  She had that chance when she was a tee […]
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      Welcome to the September clash!!Five new books for your bookshelf this month! From suspense to humor, these books are the newest addition to CBA. Which one lands at the top of your to-be-read pile? Based on what you see below, please choose the book that grabs you--the one you'd read first. Cast your vote below and help bring one book to the top of the […]
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  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Archive for the ‘History – American Revolution’ Category

Colonial American Thanksgiving

Posted by elainemcooper on November 23, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

(This Thanksgiving blog ran last year at Reflections; HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all!)

When we sit down at our Thanksgiving meal this month, we’ll be recreating a celebration that is as old as our country: sharing food with loved ones while thanking the God Who has provided the abundance.

While we understand that the First Thanksgiving was celebrated here by the Mayflower survivors along with the Indians that had helped them, the first official proclamation that was decreed to celebrate such a holiday was in 1777. It was a recommendation to the thirteen states by the Continental Congress to set aside December 18th that year as a “solemn thanksgiving” to celebrate the first major victory for the Continental troops in the American Revolution: the Battle of Saratoga.

The Battle of Saratoga has significant interest for my own family since one of my ancestors was a soldier there. But he was not on the American side—he was a British Redcoat. After surrendering to the Americans, he escaped the line of prisoners and somehow made his way to Massachusetts and into the life and heart of my fourth great-grandmother. *SIGH* L’amour!

This family story was the inspiration for my Deer Run Saga that begins in 1777 with The Road to Deer Run. There is an elaborate Thanksgiving meal scene in this novel as well as in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run. An 1800 Thanksgiving dinner makes an appearance in Book 3, The Legacy of Deer Run.

Some may wonder why such detail was afforded this holiday in my novels set in Massachusetts, while Christmas is barely mentioned. The reason is simple: Thanksgiving was the major holiday in the northern colonies, with Christmas considered nothing more special than a workday. According to Jack Larkin in his book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, “The Puritan founders of New England and the Quaker settlers of Pennsylvania had deliberately abolished (holidays) as unscriptural.”

But Thanksgiving was begun as a way to give thanks to God for His provision. It usually began with attending church services in the morning, followed by an elaborate feast in the afternoon. The food for this meal was prepared for weeks in advance.

Since the individual state governors chose their own date to celebrate the holiday, it was theoretically possible for some family members—if they lived in close proximity—to celebrate multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends across state borders. The dates chosen could be anywhere from October to December, according to Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Chicken was most commonly served, said Picard, as it was readily available in the barnyard. And the oldest woman in the home had the honor of slicing the fowl for dinner.

Pies were made well in advance of the holiday and stored and became frozen in dresser drawers in unheated rooms.

“I like the idea of pulling out a dresser drawer for, say, a clean pair of socks, and finding mince pies,” said Picard, tongue in cheek.

Indeed!

Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour with Elaine Marie Cooper

Posted by elainemcooper on November 12, 2012

Merry Christmas, dear readers! I am thrilled to be a part of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, where we promote the books that we hope will bless you.

This blog post will tell you about my Deer Run Saga, a historical romance series that focuses on two generations of a family in New England, beginning in the American Revolution. The first two books in this series have received numerous awards, including the nomination of The Road to Deer Run as Finalist in the 2011 Grace Awards contest. I am delighted and honored to introduce you to my three books:

The Road to Deer Run (Book 1)
British soldier Daniel Lowe has been captured after being wounded at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He escapes from his captors and hides in the woods to die, only to be rescued by Mary Thomsen, an American farmwoman.

As his festering wound heals, his gratitude to the woman who saved him transforms into love. But as an enemy soldier, he is endangering Mary, as well as her widowed mother and little sister.

As he desperately tries to hide his identity, he is faced with numerous obstacles: exposure by the local Patriots, an attack by a British deserter intent on assaulting Mary; and his worst nemesis, the American soldier who loves Mary and figures out who Daniel really is.

The Road to Deer Run won Honorable Mention in Romance at the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival, Finalist in Religious Fiction at the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and won Best Romantic Excerpt in the online contest, Clash of the Titles.

What makes The Road to Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
For readers looking for well-researched historical fiction, they should consider this novel filled with romance as well as action and adventure. As the first book of the saga, it sets the scene for the series, which readers repeatedly tell me keeps them up late at night with the intensity of the plot. And the love story amidst the spiritual growth in the characters will draw readers into the tale of Daniel and Mary. A perfect read while cuddling with your Christmas sweetheart—or dreaming of finding a sweetheart under your tree!

The Promise of Deer Run (Book 2)

America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still plague the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run.

Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns, suffering from the memories of war that haunt him in the night, has withdrawn to a life of isolation. He still awaits his father who never returned from the war—a mystery that haunts him.

He is brought out of his self-imposed exile by a near-tragedy in the woods that brings him face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.

But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790 and filled with rich detail of the era, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

The Promise of Deer Run won Best Romance at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a Finalist in Religious Fiction for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year contest.

What makes The Promise of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
This is the perfect book for anyone that has a loved one that suffers from war-related post-traumatic stress. The healing and spiritual growth that occurs in the characters of Nathaniel and Sarah will bring inspiration to those seeking hope when the world seems dark. And the romance? It will set the heart fluttering! There is a surprise Christmas story in this book as well. Be sure to have your tissues handy. :)

The Legacy of Deer Run (Book 3)

In the year 1800, Danny Lowe makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of Susannah, a young woman who seems so far above his station in life that he cannot win her.

She fights her own war against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, Susannah is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming.

Love is the not the only entanglement. The nation’s enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are being forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?

Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.

Janet Perez Eckles, author of Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, says, “Each scene and episode sings with heart-tugging emotion, thought-provoking insights and lasting messages of hardship and pain turned to healing, forgiveness and triumph.”

What makes The Legacy of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting? This novel focusing on the next generation of the Lowe family is the perfect conclusion for the series. But don’t assume that only romance is found in between these pages. This tale is filled with intrigue and tension, as well as unresolved situations in the Lowe family that lead to unexpected events for the family. This story is filled with forgiveness and redemption when it seems that none can be found. And my readers describe the romance as “sizzling!” I hope that this entire series can find it’s way to your Christmas wish list as you learn so much about the early days of America.

* * * * *

The Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour runs through to December 22nd. Don’t forget to check out all the other authors on the tour. Below is a link telling you who all the authors on the tour are and what dates they will be on their own blog sharing about their novels.

http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Praying for a blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all my readers!!!

Elaine Marie Cooper is a writer of historical fiction as well as devotions and freelance stories for magazines. You can read one of her devotions in Edie Melson’s Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home. Look for her upcoming historical romance story called “The Tea Set” in I Choose You, a Christmas anthology releasing in Dec. 2012 through OakTara Publishers.

Posted in Author Marketing, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Writing Challenge: Group Anthology

Posted by elainemcooper on November 9, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

I have done all kinds of writing—novels, short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, blogging, devotions—you name it and my pen has likely visited that format. But this week, I participated in a brand new venture: A group anthology.

As a writer of Colonial American fiction, I belong to a group known as Colonial American Christian Writers. About two dozen writers interested in Early America participate in this group, where we share research, support, and enthusiasm for each other’s work. Our fearless leader, Carrie Fancett Pagels, has also started a blog called Colonial Quills, which features a variety of posts including virtual tea parties for book launches (sorry, you must provide your own tea!), research info, and other pieces of interesting facts with that consistent theme of Early America. I love participating with this great group of ladies. You may have even read some of their novels. ;-)

This year our creative Carrie came up with an idea that has apparently been her dream for sometime: An anthology of chapters from several different authors who are following the same central story line with recurring characters. Talk about both intriguing and challenging. At first I thought, “How fun!” but then I panicked.

How was I going to do this?

The first thing that had to be established was the year and location. It turned out to be in the South (I write about New England) and set in 1753 (a year I had not yet researched).

Gulp! What did I get myself into??

Well, it turned out to be a challenge but really enjoyable. I was already used to researching history, so I just had to search out information about the particular time and place. In doing so, I found some treasure chests of information. I, personally, learned more about the important role (then) Major George Washington had in the initiation of the French and Indian War. He was all of twenty-one years old at the time.

With Carrie setting up the central location in a fort called “Providence,” she introduced her characters that would be recurring in the chapters that each of us writers would add to the anthology. It has been a cooperative and amazing effort and I hope that this innovative work blesses our readers!

The first segment written by Carrie ran on Monday, November 5, and subsequent chapters will run every Monday through the holidays. If you’d like to read the first segment, here is the link: Part One of “A Forted Frontier Holiday.”

If you sign up for the Colonial Quills blog, the chapters will be e-mailed directly to your in-box and you will not miss a single episode.

Click here for the page at Colonial Quills with the schedule, including titles of chapters and the authors.

Hope you enjoy our group’s effort to produce Colonial Quills’ first ever Christmas anthology!

Posted in Authors, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

On This Day in 1774—The Formation of the Minute Men

Posted by elainemcooper on October 26, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Statue memorializing the Minute Men in Concord, MA

On this day in 1774, the patriot group known as the Minute Men was formed in Massachusetts. It was a desperate move by a group of determined colonists. By joining this fighting force, these Americans knew they risked their lives. If they did not join, they risked losing their freedoms.

War was coming in 1774 and most of the citizens of Massachusetts knew it.

The Sons of Liberty, a radical group of rebels conspiring against British authority in Boston, had tossed tax-laden tea into the harbor the previous December. Patriot leaders were holding secret meetings throughout the Bay Colony. Rumors were rampant that the British were seeking out supplies of armaments and gunpowder. Tension was everywhere.

There was already a trained militia in Massachusetts, but some of their officers were British sympathizers known as Tories. That would never do if patriots were pushed to insurrection. And the pushing was dangerously close to a political precipice.

So on October 26, 1774, the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts formed their own unit—a band of fighting men that would be prepared. These Minute Men were established with known patriot leaders throughout the colony.

Every town gathered their able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 to meet three times a week to practice drills in preparation for war. Each town—and there were dozens of small towns around Massachusetts—trained on their own, but there was a network of communication from Charlestown to the west of Boston throughout the countryside. The towns were ready for war—and that battle cry came on April 19, 1775 when Paul Revere came racing on his horse down Concord Road from Charlestown with that famous message: “To arms! The regulars are coming!”

The mighty British Army (a thousand strong) marched through the night from Boston to Concord. Their mission? Find and confiscate a supply of arms and gunpowder that intelligence had told them were hidden in Concord.

Church bells tolled the news to awaken slumbering soldiers that had not already heard the cry of Paul Revere. It was what the Minute Men had prepared for. By the end of that day, a band of some 2,000 strong patriots had turned out to show the British that the Americans were serious about wanting freedom from British tyranny.

As the bleary-eyed Minute Man oiled their muskets and bid their families farewell, no one knew the full ramifications of this midnight call. It was the beginning of the eight-year-long American Revolution.

In a letter to General Harvey in London dated April 20, 1775, Lord Hugh Percy, British Brigadier General involved in the attack against the Minute Men on April 19, wrote this:

“Whoever looks upon them (the colonists) as an irregular mob will find himself much mistaken. They have men amongst them who know very well what they are about, having been employed as Rangers against the Indians and Canadians;…You may depend upon it that as the Rebels have now had time to prepare, they are determined to go through with it, nor will the insurrection turn out so despicable as it is perhaps imagined at home. For my part, I never believed, I confess, that they would have attacked the King’s troops, or have had the perseverance I found in them yesterday.” (History of the Town of Arlington, Massachusetts by Benjamin and William Butter)

It was preparation that made all the difference; seeing the potential danger ahead and being ready to defend against the enemy.

The same is true in our spiritual walk—anticipating battles and always being ready to defend our faith. Being Minute Men (and women!), ready to arm ourselves with the sword of the spirit, His Holy Word.

“In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1Peter 3:15-16 NIV)

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“Courage, New Hampshire,” Episode 4: Ambition

Posted by elainemcooper on October 5, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Watching Episode 4 of Courage, New Hampshire confirmed my suspicions: This series just keeps getting better.

James Patrick Riley

In this installment entitled “Ambition,” the characters keep transforming and growing along with the intensity of the plot. It is well written, insightful and filled with facts of Early American history that I fact-checked out of curiosity. I needn’t have bothered. Writer and series creator James Patrick Riley has done his homework and his accurate dramatization shines.

At the start of Episode 4, we are brought back to where Episode 3 ended, with a bumbling and devious Reverend Silence Laud trying to explain his attempted assault on a young woman. She happens to be the niece of justice of the peace, Silas Rhodes (James Patrick Riley). There are too many witnesses to the pastor’s unseemly behavior for him to get away with the crime. But before the lustful wolf can receive punishment, Laud (brilliantly played by Donal Thoms-Cappello) shrewdly taunts representatives of the law in Courage. Laud knows full well that his connections with Governor Wentworth (and thus with the King of England) place him in a position of power that causes uncertainty in the men attempting to carry out justice. Although the Americans are preparing for an insurgency in the colonies, each step along the way to all-out rebellion is fraught with indecision and concern. They have more than their own lives at stake, as the safety of their families weighs heavily on them. They know all too well that what the reverend has viciously reminded them is true: The crown can bring the entire British Army and Navy against the colonies. The citizens would be at the king’s mercy.

In the meantime, lawyer Abraham Foxe (Allen Marsh) continues to straddle the fence on the issue of revolution vs. loyalty to the king. He tries to see both sides and cannot commit to one or the other. His inability to dedicate himself to the patriot cause is challenged by Rhodes’ daughter, Sally (Mallory Drazin), who confronts him with the fact that he is “a kind man—too kind.” She adds, “There are some devils in this world who will only use your patience against you.”

This story commandeered my attention with its depiction of the uncertainties of pre-Revolutionary New England and the tensions that built up over several years that led to war between the colonies and England. In Episode 4 of Courage, New Hampshire, the numerous and angry disagreements between the local representatives of the crown and the citizens of Courage, culminate in a meeting between the Governor himself and the New Hampshire militia gathering for training day in Portsmouth. In observing the hundreds of colonial militiamen showing their force of arms, the governor is confronted with the reality of the situation: the growing rebellion is stronger than he ever imagined.

There were so many highlights of this episode that it is difficult to know where to begin. The acting was superb overall with stellar performances by Napoleon Ryan (Governor Wentworth) and Jim Tavare as the incredibly evil kings’ man, Bill Krepps.

Once again Rotem Moav has provided an unforgettable soundtrack that befits every mood, whether tender or tension-filled.

Drew Ganyer, Director of Photography, has outdone himself with his use of illumination. A scene where a barn door opens, enveloping the reverend being held prisoner in a shroud of dust-filled light, is pure movie-making artistry.

While this is an independent series by Colony Bay Productions, its quality can stand up against the best in the industry. “Bravo” and “Huzzah!” to all involved.

The numerous storylines in Courage, New Hampshire are unresolved. This viewer is ready for the rest of the series.

Although I am now an Affiliate of Colony Bay Productions, I am not posting my personal affiliate link to purchase DVD’s at Reflections In Hindsight. Nor was I required to post a positive review. I am truly excited to now be a small part of promoting this wonderful series that helps illuminate the beginnings of our nation. In these days of uncertainty in our country, it is a wise man or woman who seeks an understanding of our past, to gain perspective on our present, as we pray for our future.

To purchase Episodes 1 through 4, visit their site here.

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Author Rita Gerlach’s New Release, “Beside Two Rivers”

Posted by elainemcooper on September 28, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

BESIDE TWO RIVERS by Rita Gerlach

Book 2 in the ‘Daughters of the Potomac Series’ published by Abingdon Press, October 2012.
The sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn.

From the banks of the Potomac to the misty moors of England comes a tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again.

I am delighted to interview my friend and fellow member of Colonial American Christian Writers, Rita Gerlach. This week we are celebrating her latest release, Beside Two Rivers. She has graciously consented to answer a few questions that I believe will offer you a unique glimpse into the mind and heart of a very special author. Welcome, Rita!

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Since I was old enough to hold a book in my hands, I wanted to tell stories. I first knew I wanted to write novels as a career back in the early 90s. Something sparked within me, something ignited, when my cousin, a famous romance writer, gave me one of her books at a family reunion. I first wrote a novella. I had a lot to learn about the craft and worked at it for several years.

The most significant thing in my journey to publication was learning to be patient and persistent. I had to get to the place where I trusted God implicitly with my work, whatever His plan. I wrote about my journey and the miracle it was the day I contacted Barbara Scott, then acquisitions editor at Abingdon Press. For writers that are struggling and feel discouraged, and for readers who are curious, please read Perseverance, Patience, and Humility under the link ‘For Writers’.

http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com/p/encouragement-for-writers.html

How did you choose your genre?

Beginning in childhood, I would be riveted to old black and white movies when they would come on television. Some of the films that influenced me were Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Frenchman’s Creek, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Jamaica Inn. Later on Masterpiece Theater stirred my passion for historicals with Poldark, and everything Jane Austen. I read all these novels and so the seeds were sown into my heart at an early age. In all these novels I saw faith, but they went deeper into the human heart, into the hardships people faced no matter how high or low they were.

If you could visit one era in history, which one would it be?

Such a hard decision. I would love to visit the Hope Valley, Derbyshire England, during the Regency period. I would also love to see the Potomac River in the Colonial era. It would be amazing to see how it looked in a time when there were not paved roads, cars, airplanes, or trains. However, I think I would find life a little easier in England than in the wilderness of Maryland where life was a fight for survival.

Who would you say has been the most influential in your writing and why?

Authors that have influenced me are Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Winston Graham, and American novelist Mary Johnston. For some, their writing is old fashioned. That’s what I love about their books. Their stories have ‘meat on the bones’ and go deep into the hearts of their characters.

How has your faith influenced your writing?

I came to the conclusion a few years ago that I had to put my writing career into God’s hands and accept whatever plan He had for my life. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had roadblocks along the way. Rejection is one thing writers have to grow a tough skin against, and we all know how rejection can discourage and immobilize people. I finally came to the place where I looked at rejections as stepping stones leading to the right door. I am thankful, oh so thankful, for what God has done for me, including the doors that closed. I tell people, no matter what their calling in life is, let go and let God. That way you will be at peace, and when rejections come you’ll take a step forward, not backward.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I hope readers will enjoy this series, and find a little respite in them from our crazy world. I would like them to know that the series is more like a trilogy.

I’ve been asked to categorize my fiction. My books are not formula romances. They are what I like to call Inspirational Historical Dramas. You will find romance, but you will also find stories about relationships between people, stories about forgiveness, redemption, faith, and loyalty. Each character has good points, but they are also flawed human beings that make mistakes and fall hard, and at some point struggle through the adversity, dust themselves off and move on.

While writing the Daughters of the Potomac Series, I realized forgiving and being forgiven can change lives for the better, and how much harm can come out of a heart that refuses to forgive. There are so many people walking around today with that weight on their shoulders. Perhaps someone reading this interview has this burden. My prayer for them is that they cast it upon Him that is able to carry it.

Thank you, Rita! You are a blessing and an awesome writer!

What are reviewers saying about Beside Two Rivers?

Beside Two Rivers is much more than the sequel to Rita Gerlach’s popular Before the Scarlet Dawn. It’s the heart-rending story of true love threatened by secrets and deceit, of family torn apart by tragedy, and most of all, of the redeeming power of love and faith. Filled with vivid descriptions of life along the Potomac and rural England during the late 18th century, this is a story that will linger in readers’ memories.” – Amanda Cabot, author of Summer of Promise and Christmas Roses

Beside Two Rivers stirred me like no other book has. Rita Gerlach has an epic style to her writing that is guaranteed to sweep you away to another place and time. With a deeply emotional storyline, characters of uncommon depth, heart-throbbing romance, and the boundless love of family lost and regained, this is truly a magnificent novel!” – MaryLu Tyndall, author of the Surrender to Destiny Series and Veil of Pearls

“What do you get when you combine authentic history, picturesque settings, dynamic characters and a feels-like-you’re-there storyline? You get a Rita Gerlach novel, and in Beside Two Rivers, book two in her Daughters of the Potomac series, she delivers all that and more. My advice to readers: Make room for this one on your “keepers shelf.” My advice to Rita: save space on your “awards wall,” because this tale is sure to earn a bunch!” – Loree Lough, best-selling author of more than 85 award-winning books, including Honor Redeemed, book two in the First Responders series

Author Bio

Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She 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.

Beginning February 1, 2012, her series ‘Daughters of the Potomac’ was released. Titles are:

Before the Scarlet Dawn

Beside Two Rivers

Beyond the Valley

Her other titles are,

Surrender the Wind

The Rebel’s Pledge

Thorns In Eden & The Everlasting Mountains (to be reissued ~ Spring 2013)

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Beside-Two-Rivers-Daughters-Potomac/dp/1426714157/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331908206&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beside-two-rivers-rita-gerlach/1111755938?ean=9781426714153

Christianbooks :  http://www.christianbook.com/beside-two-rivers-daughters-the-potomac/rita-gerlach/9781426714153/pd/714152?item_code=WW&netp_id=978809&event=ESRCN&view=details

In Christianbooks.com buy books 1 & 2 in a set. http://www.christianbook.com/daughters-the-potomac-volumes-1-and/rita-gerlach/pd/415415?item_code=WW&netp_id=985140&event=ESRCN&view=details

Side Note: Book 3 in the series, ‘Beyond the Valley’, will be released February, 2013, and is available for preorder.

Rita’s Website: http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com

Posted in Author Spotlight, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nathan Hale, Hero of the American Revolution

Posted by elainemcooper on September 21, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Nathan Hale Statue in New York City

Some people live a very long life without making much of an impact on the world. Others live a short life—and yet are remembered for centuries after their death. Such is the legacy of Nathan Hale.

And on this 236th anniversary of the hanging of this young patriot during the American Revolution, I will honor his legacy once more. It never ceases to amaze me that this brave man caught spying for the Americans behind British enemy lines was a mere twenty-one years old at the time of his execution.

Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut in 1755, the sixth child in a family of twelve. His father Richard was a successful farmer who was able to send two of his sons—Nathan and Enoch—to Yale University. Nathan graduated at the age of eighteen. While Enoch went into the ministry, Nathan chose teaching as his profession. He was an instructor at the one room schoolhouse in East Haddam, Connecticut, for five months, working from 7 AM to 9 PM each day. He had a class of both boys and girls, ranging in age from six years to eighteen years of age.

When offered a position at a larger school in New London, Connecticut, Nathan had to teach boys and girls separately. His day then began at 5 AM to 7 AM teaching the young ladies, while the rest of the day he was instructing young men.

According to friends and students, Nathan was extremely likeable, kind, intelligent, athletic, and “so handsome.” He seemed to have everything to live for. Yet when revolution stirred the colonies, Nathan bid his saddened students farewell, and joined the militia. He was given the commission of lieutenant in 1775, and by 1776 was named a captain.

In September of that year, General George Washington was desperate to infiltrate the enemy camp in New York City to glean valuable British intelligence. Frustrated by the numbers of British-sympathizing Tories in that city, General Washington sent out a plea for a spy from an elite group of troops in which Nathan was a member. The request was met with silence at their meeting—until a late-arriving Nathan Hale, pale from a recent illness, stepped forward to offer his services.

One of his fellow militia who was an old college friend, tried to dissuade him. Nathan replied, “I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.”

Nathan managed to get behind enemy lines and gather valuable information for the Continental Army. He wrote these secret reports in Latin and hid the notes in his shoe. But before he could return this intelligence to General Washington, Nathan was captured by the British. He was subsequently sentenced to the gallows and was hung on September 22, 1776.

According to the Essex Journal, February 13, 1777, these remarks were noted about Nathan Hale: “At the gallows, (he) made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, he told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defense of his injured, bleeding country.”

From the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, May 17, 1781, Nathan reportedly said, “I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.”

Statements written by a British officer who was present at the execution indicate that Nathan Hale requested a Bible, but was refused. Asked by the officer in charge of the execution to state his dying speech and confession, Nathan Hale replied, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

The loss of this twenty-one-year-old patriot stands out as a hallmark of bravery in the fight for freedom. May his courage always be an inspiration for lovers of liberty.

For more interesting information about Nathan Hale, visit:

http://www.connecticutsar.org/patriots/hale_nathan.htm

http://www.nathanhalesociety.org/index.htm

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

1776 Submarine Attack

Posted by elainemcooper on September 7, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Replica of the Turtle

On this date in 1776, the United States launched its first submarine attack.

Wait a minute, you say. This blogger must have typed the wrong date.

No, indeed. It was not a slip of the fingers, but an amazing piece of Revolutionary War history that still makes me shake my head in amazement.

It all began with a Yale undergrad named David Bushnell. Weak in body yet strong in mind, Bushnell began building underwater mines. He took it one step further by building a method to deliver the mines: an eight-foot-long submersible that was christened the Turtle for its shape. The odd-looking device could only be operated by one person who had to drive and navigate the hand-powered craft, while delivering the mine to its intended target. It was not an easy task.

Bushnell donated the Turtle to the patriot cause after war with Britain broke out in 1775. His physical frailty rendered him unable to operate the submarine, so Ezra Lee became the pilot. He steered the Turtle craft, completely unnoticed, to the 64-gun HMS Eagle sitting in New York harbor on September 7, 1776. Lee observed British seamen on the deck but the sub went undetected. The plan called for Lee to attach the mine to the hull of the British ship and would have, except for one problem: His boring tools could not penetrate the layer of iron sheathing. Lee retreated in his secret craft, but the bomb exploded nearby, causing no damage to either the Turtle or the Eagle.

The mission failed, but the patriot cause decided to try again, this time against British ships on the Hudson River. Each attempt was unsuccessful, largely owing to the lack of skill of each operator. Bushnell was the most knowledgeable, but couldn’t take command. During the Battle of Fort Lee, the ship transporting the submarine was sunk by the British. The Turtle was recovered but its final fate remains a mystery, according to the Navy Department Library.

Though the primitive sub never carried out a mission to completion, George Washington was so impressed by Bushnell’s creative skills, that the Army General gave him a commission as Army engineer. Bushnell’s genius then devised drifting mines that actually did damage to British ships, including the destruction of the British frigate, Cereberus. Bushnell became commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers after the war.

The Turtle was a revolutionary development, but its success was partly thwarted by the expectation that one man could carry out the many and diverse functions of the complex invention.

George Washington, in 1785, wrote to Thomas Jefferson about the Turtle: “I then thought, and still think, that it was an effort of genius.”

* * *

As fascinating as the story of David Bushnell and the Turtle is, I find the reason this first submarine failed the most intriguing of all: the boring tools could not penetrate the iron sheathing of the British ship.

It draws me immediately to a spiritual application in putting on the armor of God to withstand against the enemy. Ephesians 6 always reminds me to protect myself from the secret wiles of the evil one—unexpected attacks that seem to come out of nowhere:

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV)

May the Lord strengthen us all to withstand attacks from the enemy with a shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God.”

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Visit to the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts

Posted by elainemcooper on August 31, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

I don’t know how many times I have visited the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.

For those who slept through history class, this bridge is the location of one of the major battles that occurred on the first day of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775. It is the bridge upon which I have stood many times since childhood, remembering the beginnings of these United States of America. I still pause in amazement at a band of farmers standing up against highly trained British soldiers. It was the beginning of freedom for America.

As many times as I have visited this historic locale, however, my visit this past summer revealed a surprising discovery: There were flowers and flags on the graves of the British soldiers that were killed there. Here is my pictorial blog—as well as the explanation for the memorial tribute for the (then) enemy soldiers.

This view across the river is one of my favorites. It always appears so serene. Was it so calm the morning of April 19, 1775?

Here is the monument to the Minutemen, showing musket in one hand and a plow in the other. These farmers-turned-militia trained for months in advance of the first shots that were heard in nearby Lexington. They were trained to be on call at a minute’s notice.

From this side of the bridge, the militia faced the oncoming British forces on the opposite bank.

Drawing closer to the far side, the American militia fired upon the King’s soldiers, wounding and killing two. To the far right, are the graves where the fallen British were buried.

Unexpected find: Flowers and flags decorating these fallen warriors. Asking a nearby park ranger, he explained that the British Consulate and other groups place these tokens of remembrance for these two men. Fallen warriors are never forgotten.

Here is the inscription on the grave of the British soldiers:

They came three thousand miles and died

To keep the past upon its throne

Unheard beyond the ocean tide

Their English mother made her moan

April 19, 1775

For a great account of the first year of the war, read Victor Brooks’, The Boston Campaign, April 1775 – March 1776

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Sunday Book Review: Johnny Tremain

Posted by elainemcooper on August 5, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

“Johnny Tremain”

When I was very small, I watched the Disney movie version of Johnny Tremain and the single memory that stands out in my mind is the tune from the song, “The Sons of Liberty.”

Now that I am an adult and study the American Revolution for my own historical fiction books, I decided it was time to read the original book called Johnny Tremain written in 1943 by Esther Forbes. I’m so glad that I did.

Although it is considered a novel for young adults, this older adult reader was highly caught up in the story about the young, pompous, and very talented silversmith who had his whole future changed in an instant when a work accident burned his hand. His entire life’s work came to a screeching halt. His transformation from immature braggadocio to patriotic spy was a realistic journey that taught me much about life in Boston just before the American Revolution.

Forbes’ characters are enchanting even when they are annoying, and this reader grew to appreciate all the hard-earned lessons in life that transformed Johnny into a mature, likeable fellow. Highly recommend!

Johnny Tremain won the Newberry Award in 1943.

I give Johnny Tremain: Five out of Five Reflections

About the Author

Esther Forbes (1891-1967) garnered a Newberry Medal and an enduring place in children’s literature with the publication of Johnny Tremain. Her adult novel, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1942.

In an introduction to the 2011 version of Johnny Tremain written by Newberry Honor Winner, Gary D. Schmidt, Forbes was praised for her accomplishment of writing this novel based on her historical research. Forbes battled dyslexia and was, according to Schmidt, “not a novelist.” This book was published in the middle of our country fighting in World War II.

While her novel was set in the year 1775, she was writing with another purpose as well, said Schmidt.

“She is addressing a nation of young readers who are looking about at their nation at war. They know soldiers and sailors and pilots from their cities and neighborhoods, their churches and synagogues, their schools and town businesses—their families—who have died in the fight against the world’s darkest cruelty and oppression…Esther Forbes wants to say, ‘This is why we are fighting. This is what it means to stand against evil.’”

There are several one star reviews for this book at Amazon. As another reviewer who gave Johnny Tremain five stars pointed out, all the bad reviews were posted about the same time, perhaps by “disgruntled teens.”

To purchase Johnny Tremain at Amazon.com, click here. Also available on kindle.

Posted in Book Reviews, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

 
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