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.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beyond The Valley 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 Beyond The Valley!

Author Guest Post

Evolution of a Book Series
By: Rita Gerlach

Three years ago, after I had signed a contract with Abingdon Press for my stand-alone novel 'Surrender the Wind', I sat down at my computer and wrote three words.

Winter came early.

In my mind's eye a heroine by the name of Darcy Morgan appeared in the year 1778, the setting—the Maryland wilderness. I titled the novel Beside Two Rivers. In my notebook I wrote: the place—along the Potomac River in Maryland. Time—the Revolutionary War era.

When I had enough chapters to submit to my editor, I sent them off. She called me and said as is she could not accept it. The writing was good, the narrative strong, but something wasn’t right. I knew I had to trust her, and explore the story deeper.

It was enlightening to have such a conversation over this book with my editor. But even more amazing were the revelations that unfolded one morning while I was in the shower. It hit me like the water suddenly going to freeze mode. I had written a good portion of Darcy's story in Beside Two Rivers. But I realized I had to write her mother Eliza's story. And then! I had to write Sarah's story. The series Daughters of the Potomac was born in my heart.

Once the idea for the series took shape, I had questions.

Who are these heroines?

What are their backstories?

What do they look like?

What are their beliefs, their goals?

What do they want?

How did their childhood affect their lives?

What does love mean to them?

Eliza, Darcy, and Sarah became to me persons who once lived, breathed, and walked this earth. Each began to take form in my imagination. I wrote a proposal and sent it to my editor. She accepted the proposal enthusiastically. I will not deny how challenging it has been to write these books, with each woman’s story meshing with the others. But with any challenge, there is joy in accomplishing the task.

The Genre:
These books are not in the category of 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. The stories are about forgiveness, redemption, loyalty, and the power of love. 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 with the help of those that love them.

The Daughters of the Potomas series, (Before the Scarlet Dawn, Beside Two Rivers, and Beyond the Valley) is now available from your preferred bookstores and online!

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. She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Her genre - Inspirational Historical Romance / Drama.

Beyond The Valley by Rita Gerlach ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Book Review

Beyond The Valley by Rita Gerlach
Book 3: The Daughters of the Potomac series
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 336 pages / Kindle - 827 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1426714165
Genre: Christian Historical Romance 

BUY THE BOOK: Beyond The Valley

BUY THE SERIES: The Daughters of the Potomac series
Book 1: Before the Scarlet Dawn
Book 2: Beside Two Rivers
Book 3: Beyond The Valley

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:

When Sarah Carr's husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and now widowed, she reaches out to Jamie's family for help, but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude. Sarah's new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family's whirlwind of secrets, while she hopes the young doctor she loves with will bring her freedom.

Book Excerpt:

Lem Locke’s house stood on a green plain of ground above the rugged cliffs of Hell’s Mouth in St. Ives Bay. Far below, the sea thundered against sheer cliffs. Gulls screeched and flew in circles against the sky. Gray peppered stones made the old dwelling cold, the windows dark and uninviting. The door, also gray due to weathering and a lack of paint had a wrought iron handle and a rope knocker that dangled from a rusty hook, the end a ball of jute. Sarah could not help but wonder if the dreary house reflected the people within it.

Drawing in a deep breath, she trudged up the path and approached the door. She hoped Mary would see her from the window and rush out to greet her. But it wasn’t until she raised the knocker and let it fall that her sister-in-law appeared. The same height as Sarah, Mary stood beneath the lintel slim as a reed. She looked older since Sarah had last seen her. Her hair, partially tucked up beneath a white cap, hung straight around her ears and temples. Her mouth, lined by a hard life, looked drawn with worry.

A look of surprise sprung over Mary’s face. “Sarah? What are you doing here?” She looked down the road. “Where is my brother?”

“Hello, Mary. May I come inside? I must speak with you.”

Mary stepped back and waved her in. “Oh, please tell me he did not leave you and you have come to us for help. I will be very put out if he did.”

A lump swelled in Sarah’s throat. “Yes, he has left me. But not in the way you think.”

My Book Review:

When seventeen year old Sarah Carr's husband Jamie drowns while trying to salvage items from a shipwreck off of England's Cornish coast, she finds herself a pregnant widow with no means to support herself. Seeking support from her husband's sister Mary and husband Lem, Sarah is an unwanted burden in their house. Her brother-in-law devises a ruthless plan to betray Sarah with a stranger who promises her work, only to kidnap her and force her on a ship bound for the American Colonies to be sold as an indentured servant. Arriving in Potomac, Sarah is sold as an indentured servant to the Woodhouse family. Sarah gets through the heartache and hardship with her unwavering faith, and finds herself falling in love with Alex Hutton, a young country doctor. When Dr. Hutton declares his love for Sarah and tries to purchase her freedom, Sarah is once again sold off to another family and loses contact with Alex. Enduring endless trials and tribulations, Sarah's strong faith keeps her hope alive of reuniting with her beloved Dr. Hutton.

In Beyond The Valley, the third installment of The Daughters of the Potomac series, author Rita Gerlach weaves another poignant tale of inspiration, faith and love, that magically transports the reader back to the scenic Potomac River area of Maryland during the Revolutionary War era.

Written in the third person narrative, the story focuses on the journey of Sarah Carr, who was introduced to the reader in the first book of the series, Before the Scarlet Dawn. This is a wonderful story that follows the trials and tribulations that young Sarah endures from England to the American Colonies, while maintaining unwavering faith and hope.

With a mixture of drama, suspense and romance, Beyond The Valley has enough riveting twist and turns that will keep the reader captivated. The author masterfully weaves an emotional tale while adding heartwarming messages of inspiration and wisdom through Sarah's remarkable faith, strength and ability to overcome adversity. I have always been a history buff, and I think that the author's rich description of the Revolutionary War era setting was simply phenomenal, it transports the reader back to that time period in our nation's history.

Beyond The Valley is the third book in the amazing The Daughters of Potomac series. While each book can be a stand alone read, to enjoy the beauty of this phenomenal Christian Historical Romance series, I would recommend reading the books in order. Christian and Historical fiction fans, this series is a must read!



  1. Kathleen,

    Thank you for reading and reviewing my novel, 'Beyond the Valley' and sharing about it on your blog. I am so glad you enjoyed it and that you enjoyed the entire series. Have a nice spring!

    Rita Gerlach

    1. Hi Rita! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I loved reading this wonderful series, and look forward to reading more of your books. :)