Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beside Two Rivers by Rita Gerlach (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Rita Gerlach, author of Beside Two Rivers!

Author Guest Post

A Novel's Place

Place is a source for inspiration.

Place sets the scene.

Place brings the story alive in the writer's mind even before the writing begins.

Place helps the reader visualize the actions in a story and the characters moving through it.

Place provides atmosphere.

Place can become a character in and of itself.

When I think of 'place' in great literature, I think of Tara in Gone With the Wind, Thornfield in Jane Eyre, Manderley in Rebecca. Then there are titles such as Northanger Abbey and Wuthering Heights.You cannot separate these stories from their place.

In a recent interview I was asked what inspired me to write the Daughters of the Potomac Series. I answered,‘It is never ever one thing for me, but a combination of things that inspire the development of a story. But if I were to narrow it down to the barebones, I’d have to say the Potomac River. It is not only beautiful but it rife with history.

On the Virginia side, there is an overlook, and when I visited there and looked down into the deep gorge across to the Maryland Heights, my mind drifted back to the past. So, instead of a person or a historical event being the inspiration for this series, I found it in a place where the water flows placid over boulders and joins with the Shenandoah nestled between the lush hills where three states meet.

I have been asked if I visited England in order to write the scenes that take place there. I would love to have said I had hopped on a plane and flew over to Cornwall and Derbyshire. Instead, I used Google maps and moved the little yellow man down onto roads. I traveled through them, explored the valleys and coastlines, the villages and towns, until I felt I had been there. Hurrah for technology.

To see photos of the places I’ve used in my novels, please visit my website and blog.

About The Author

Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with both American and English settings. Her new historical series for Abingdon Press entitled Daughters of the Potomac was launched in February 2012, with Before the Scarlet Dawn, book 1, followed by Beside Two Rivers, and Beyond the Valley to be released in February 2013. In 2009, Abingdon Press released Surrender the Wind, which gained four and five star reviews.

Rita Gerlach's Beside Two Rivers Virtual Book Tour Page On Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Book Review

Beside Two Rivers by Rita Gerlach
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback - 336 pages / Kindle - 521 KB / Nook - 479 KB
ISBN: 1426714157
Genre: Christian Historical Romance Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Beside Two Rivers

BUY THE SERIES: Daughters of the Potomac: Before the Scarlet Dawn (Book 1), Beside Two Rivers (Book 2) & Beyond the Valley (Book 3) (release date: Feb 2013)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

Darcy’s story and the sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn.

A tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again. From the banks of the Potomac to the misty moors of England, Darcy follows a path where the secrets of the past slowly rise to the surface in this dramatic saga that began in Before the Scarlet Dawn. She meets Ethan Brennan, an aspiring English horse breeder, who embraces her independent spirit and marvels at the simplicity of her faith. Ethan and Darcy fall in love, but are kept apart by a promise to another and a sworn oath to a dying woman whose long-hidden secret threatens Darcy 's and Ethan 's lives.

Eliza Morgan’s daughter seeks to unravel a lifetime of memories and the absence of her parents, unaware that the young Englishman who loves her holds the answers. Her search takes her far from her beloved home along the Potomac, to a manor house in faraway England.

Will she discover the secrets of the past and be reunited with the most important people in her life? Will Hayward and Eliza find peace and reconciliation? Will Darcy’s faith sustain her to make the difficult choices, and will love endure?

Book Excerpt:

The Potomac Heights, Maryland


She’d been warned not to venture far from the house, nor go near the river, nor climb the dark shale bluffs above it. But Darcy Morgan had inherited an adventurous spirit that could not be bridled. It had been her favorite place to retreat since the age of nine, when she had discovered it one morning while trekking with her cousins over the ridge that shadowed the Potomac River.

Bathed in sunlight, she stood at the bluff’s edge and gazed down at the water like she had one hundred times before. She looked at the sky. Pink and pearled, speckled with white summer clouds, it looked heaven-like in the glow of a golden dusk.

Mottle-winged caddis flies danced in hordes at the brink and Darcy paused to study them. How could such delicate wings flit so high without turning to dust in the breeze? It caressed her face, blew back her dark hair and eased through her cotton dress. She breathed deep the scent of wild honeysuckle that traveled with it. Drowsy warmth hung everywhere, while the birds sang evening vespers.

With closed eyes, Darcy listened to the water tumble over the boulders and rocks below. Stretching out her arms, she turned in a circle and soaked in the majesty of creation.

“Darcy . . . Darcy Morgan . . . Where are you, you adventuresome pixie?”

Turning she spied her uncle, William Breese, as he lumbered along the ridge toward her. With caution, he stepped over rocks, between roots of great trees, a barrel-chested man with stocky legs. His eyes were pale green against his swarthy face, his head framed in a nimbus of white hair. Darcy’s father, Hayward Morgan, had been his half-brother, and Darcy wondered if her father’s eyes had been like her uncle’s, for she could not remember his face. Breathless, her uncle glanced up to see her, and she skipped down the path toward him.

My Book Review:

Can the secrets from the past lead to love and forgiveness?

In the second book of the Daughters of the Potomac series: Beside Two Rivers, the story picks where it left off in book one, Before the Scarlet Dawn, where the reader is reintroduced to Eliza and Hayward Morgan's daughter Darcy, who is now twenty years old. Set in the post Revolutionary War period of 1797, in Potomac Heights, Maryland, Darcy has been living with the Breese family: Uncle Will, Aunt Mari and their five daughters, since her father had left her as a small child to live with them. Darcy remembers very little of her early childhood, and the mysterious disappearance of her parents. She has always been curious about her parents, and has many unanswered questions as to why they had left her behind with the Breese family. While exploring the Potomac riverbank, Darcy falls in the river and gets swept by the strong river current, only to be rescued by a handsome young Englishman, Ethan Brennan. Ethan is an English horse breeder, who has come to Maryland on a secretive dual mission: to purchase a stallion; and a long-hidden secret that he has regarding Darcy that he cannot reveal. Darcy and Ethan fall in love with each other, but when Ethan returns to England, Darcy is left brokenhearted. Soon Darcy receives a letter from her grandmother Morgan in England, who beckons her to visit which leads Darcy on a journey that will reveal mystery and secrets of her past ... and may even provide her a chance to rekindle her love with Ethan ... Beside Two Rivers is the story of the romance between Darcy Morgan and Ethan Brennan ... it is a story about love found, lost and second chances ... it is about secrets, forgiveness and redemption.

Beside Two Rivers is a poignant continuation of an epic historical saga that takes the reader on a journey in the post Revolutionary War period of 1797 Maryland and England. Written in the third person narrative, author Rita Gerlach weaves a tale full of mystery, intrigue, drama and romance that sweeps the reader into the lives of Darcy Morgan and Ethan Brennan. Rich in details and vivid descriptions of the lush scenic settings and historical time period, the story flows seamlessly across the pond and engages the reader to follow along on Darcy's journey of a lifetime.

This historical romance captivated me from the start, the bond of friendship and love that Darcy and Ethan shared is emotionally charged and passionate as their relationship develops, only to be tested by the long held secret that Ethan has promised not to reveal. As Darcy learns about her family's mysterious secrets and past, the reader is drawn into the intriguing and dramatic twists and turns that Darcy encounters.

With characters who are complex; dialogue and interactions that are engaging; and a historical romantic storyline that transports the reader back to a genteel colonial time period; Besides Two Rivers is a compelling and powerfully emotional story of love, faith, hope, and forgiveness, that will keep the readers spellbound, wanting more, and anxiously awaiting for the story to continue in Beyond the Valley, the third book in the Daughters of the Potomac series. 

Beside Two Rivers is the second book in the Daughters of the Potomac series. While this book can stand alone, I would suggest reading the series in sequence in order for the reader to follow the seamless flow of the storyline.


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