I'm happy to announce the release of my newest novel 'After the Rain', an Edwardian romance set in 1908-09 America. It's a hefty book, with lots of interesting characters, and a hero and heroine that will win your heart over.
It's been a little over a year since I last posted to Goodreads. I want to thank all of you that have read my novels and posted comments about them. Thank you, also, for the prayers you said for me over the last year while I have gone through treatment for breast cancer. I'm doing very well. Time goes by quickly, and my message to you is to savor as much of it as you can. My journey through this disease has shown me what is most important in life --- a walk with God, love, and family. Those three things brought me through the most harrowing time of my life. God bless each of you.
I'm happy to share my newest book release with you, 'Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains'.
'Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains' is a 2-in-1 collection. You will find love, adventure, and suspense at the start of the American Revolution along the coast of Cornwall and the Maryland frontier.
Here's a little synopsis of what you can expect.
John Nash, has built a new life in the Maryland frontier, and journeys back to England to see his father before the first shots of the Revolution are fired. Rebecah, a young woman who has known little more than the solitude of an isolated manor has lost her father and is now under the control of a domineering patriarch. As their romance unfolds, they become trapped in the schemes of her uncle and immersed in one of the most infamous Indian wars in Colonial history.
As the firebrands of Revolution grow hot, they marry and work together to build their estate, Laurel Hill. Facing a strange new world, Rebecah experiences the prejudice of being English, but finds friendship and acceptance in the wilds of the Maryland frontier. Joy reins at Laurel Hill when she announces she is carrying a child. Nash, known as Jack, is captain of a band of rangers who protect the frontier families from Indian attack. His friendship with Chief Logan has not prevented the Indian War from reaching their peaceful home along the lush hills of the last outpost.
Can he protect his wife from warring Indians and from a man who has no allegiance to any nation, tribe, or creed, wanted for robbery and murder, who has vowed vengeance? In Thorns in Eden and The Everlasting Mountains, love and faith are the sustaining forces that cannot be overtaken by the vines of adversity.
Praise for 'Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains.
Rita Gerlach captures the feel of Colonial America in her sweeping saga, Thorns in Eden. With lush descriptions and well-drawn, captivating characters, Gerlach creates a story I won't soon forget. Jamie Carie, award-winning author of Snow Angel
It was an amazing journey writing The Daughters of the Potomac Series. The Potomac area is one of my favorite spots, and its picturesque beauty inspired me time and time again to write about three courageous women as they faced the harshness of the wilderness in the 18th century.
'Beyond the Valley', the third and final book in the series has been released.
Beyond the Valley is my favorite out of the three. Sarah seemed to resonate with me on so many levels. She is a wife and expectant mother, a loyal friend, a grieving widow. Her faith is shown in a way relevant to the times she lived in, not just a Sunday Christian, but a virtuous woman whose daily walk with God required ultimate trust, though her trials cause her to question.
I hope for those who have read books 1 and 2 in the series will read Beyond the Valley to discover how Sarah came to River Run and the many trials she faced and the love she finds in a compassionate physician, Alex Hutton.
Here is a little bit about the story—
When Sarah’s husband Jamie drowns, her young life if 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 for seven years. She is deceived and taken aboard a ship headed for the Colonies to be sold, bound to unspeakable hardship and forced into the same world she left.
Caught in the talons of servitude, she falls in love with a young conscientious doctor, Alex Hutton, who has arrived in Virginia to care for his widowed sister in law and two young nieces. Called back to serve in Washington’s army, he promises he will return for her, gain her freedom and wed her. Other plans were made for Sarah when her owner finds himself bankrupt and sells her the first chance he gets. She’s taken out into the frontier, captured by Indians, and faces unbearable hardship.
When the mistress of River Run along the Potomac encounters Sarah’s plight after she has escaped, Eliza Morgan pities her, and a way is made for Sarah to remain with her and care for Eliza’s young daughter, Darcy. Revolution has ignited in America, and together they endure many hardships which bring them together in friendship. But when Sarah learns that Zachary Halston, a local landowner, has seduced Eliza, she is troubled about what to do.
Grateful for Eliza’s kindness, Sarah is forever bound to keep silent. She promises Eliza to never reveal the secret that Ilene is Eliza’s child, even at the risk of living a life in shame if her master should ever discover the truth upon his return.
Trapped in Eliza and Hayward’s troubled lives, Sarah flees River Run. Will she make her way back to Alex and freedom as he searches the wilderness for her? Or will her hopes be crushed at the hands of the man who deceived her long ago in Cornwall when she faced destitution?
(Review in RT (Romantic Times) Book Reviews Magazine - 4 stars) Creating characters with intense realism and compassion is one of Gerlach's gifts. Her books typically involve dramatic situations, giving her characters a chance to rise above their adversity. Beyond the Valley is a shining example of that, reminding us that we are never forsaken. This is the third in the Daughters of the Potomac series. Sarah's character was introduced in the first novel, Before the Scarlet Dawn, and now she has her own heart-wrenching story that takes us from England to Virginia and Maryland. The historic setting is vividly descriptive, bringing the story to life, almost becoming a character unto itself. You may shed some tears, but you'll come away with deep contentment and satisfaction of a story well told.
Review in RT Book Reviews Magazine - 4 stars / February 2012 issue.
Creating characters with intense realism and compassion is one of Gerlach's gifts. Her books typically involve dramatic situations, giving her characters a chance to rise above their adversity. Beyond the Valley is a shining example of that, reminding us that we are never forsaken.
This is the third in the Daughters of the Potomac series. Sarah's character was introduced in the first novel, Before the Scarlet Dawn, and now she has her own heart-wrenching story that takes us from England to Virginia and Maryland. The historic setting is vividly descriptive, bringing the story to life, almost becoming a character unto itself.
You may shed some tears, but you'll come away with deep contentment and satisfaction of a story well told.
After a long anticipated wait BESIDE TWO RIVERS the sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn, has been released! Book 2 in the Daughters of the Potomac series.
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.
Vaguely can Darcy Morgan recall the day her father returned home from fighting in the American Revolution. When he discovers his unfaithful wife had borne a child in his absence, the marriage is broken, and Darcy’s quiet childhood along the two rivers was changed forever.
She grows up believing her mother dead and that her father journeyed west to the lands beyond the Blue Ridge. Her indulging Uncle Will, excitable Aunt Mari, and her five female cousins, cannot shield her from thinking of the mother she loved and the father she barely knew, nor can she escape the fleeting images in her memory of the babe Ilene and Ilene’s surrogate mother, Sarah, or the grandmotherly servant, Fiona Goodall.
In this dramatic saga that began with 'Before the Scarlet Dawn', Darcy seeks to unravel a lifetime of memories 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. Soon the secrets of the past slowly rise to the surface. Will she 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 the love she and Ethan share endure?
Beside Two Rivers is the sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn.
"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
"This is the epitome of romance with a flavor of Persuasion. I definitely had a flavor of regency in the wilderness that touched me like no other. Bring in a mix of Jane Austen with a kick of Laura Frantz and I'm on every page. Goodness, just looking back at my thoughts I feel like Rita Gerlach is presenting the best of all my favorite authors on the page! That and with Darcy's wit she even gives me a humor worthy of Mary Connealy. Could it get any better?” - Margaret Chind, CreativeMadnessMama.com
"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
Beside Two Rivers is available in both ebook and paperback in bookstores everywhere. For purchase online.
Today is the promotional kickoff for the October release of book 2 in the Daughters of the Potomac Series, Beside Two Rivers, from Abingdon Press.
To celebrate, I am offering my inspirational historical romance, 'The Rebel's Pledge', for free for Kindle, Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3. It's a swashbuckling romantic adventure that is set in both Colonial Maryland and Restoration period England.
I hope you will download a free copy. It's available for all Kindle apps. And if you don't own a Kindle, you can get Kindle for your PC for free.
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.
I kept writing, and 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. There was nothing wrong with the writing, but something wasn’t right. I knew I had to trust her, and explore the story deeper.
It was enlightening to have such a deep conversation over this book with my dear 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. Thus the series was born in my heart, Daughters of the Potomac.
Once the idea for the series took shape, I had to set aside Beside Two Rivers and begin book 1 Before the Scarlet Dawn.
At the beginning I had questions. Who is Eliza Bloome? Where did she grow up? Who were her parents? What does she look like? What are her beliefs? What does she want?
Eliza began to take form in my imagination. I saw a young woman with raven hair, clear skin, and violet eyes. She is a bit naive when it comes to the ways of the world. She is the daughter of a vicar and lives with him at a small vicarage in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire, England until his death. Her mother died when she was a baby.
Eliza loves God and wants to do the right thing. She believes with all her heart that He is guiding her to the man she longs for. What she wants most is to be loved unconditionally, and to be accepted for her mind and soul, to find a husband who treats her as his equal.
To get this all down on paper, I jotted down these attributes in my notebook for Before the Scarlet Dawn. In writing the story, the best technique for me is writing the scenes out by hand first in the notebook. Writing freehand, for some reason I cannot explain, causes the words to flow out of me. It is raw, unedited prose. Perhaps it has to do with the right side of the brain, the creative side. All I know is this technique is what helps me start and finish a novel.
The story begins its evolution with Eliza sitting at her father's beside late at night. A knock on the door echoes up the staircase. The servant of a local gentleman must speak to Reverend Bloome in private. And what he has to tell launches the story.
Sounds a bit crazy, but I pictured Eliza telling me 'write my story'. She became to me a person who once lived, breathed, and walked this earth. If I could not achieve that, my readers will not connect to her.
So in the evolution of book 1 in the series, I began with characterization. Eliza, being the main character, comes on stage awaiting the inevitable. She then moves on and readers begin to meet the people in her life. Her devoted servant, Fiona Goodall. A suitor named Langbourne who sees winning her as a challenge. An indentured servant named Sarah that puts herself at risk for Eliza. And then the man Eliza loves above all others—Hayward Morgan—proud, wealthy, in search of a stalwart wife. The major players are in place, and the question arises. Will Hayward love Eliza unconditionally? Will he see her as his equal, and be devoted to her no matter how the storms of life rage against them?
My editor 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.
These books are not in the category of formula romances. They are what I like to call Historical Dramas. You will find romance, but you will also find a story 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. So the sugary sweet romances they are not.
Inspirational author Rita Gerlach writes historical romance with the touching honesty of human failings. Before the Scarlet Dawn, book one in the Daughters of the Potomac series, tells the heartbreaking story of Eliza Bloome, a displaced vicar's daughter who defies societal snobbery to follow her heart and begin a new life — with a man far above her station — in America.
Here's the sitch: Having built the beginnings of a fortune in the colonies, Hayward Morgan returns to England to collect a wife. When he rescues the feisty vicar's daughter from men intent on doing her harm, the attraction is instant. But Eliza's place in society isn't remotely equal to his, and his parents would never allow the vicar's daughter to rise to their tier of society through marriage. Therefore, he dismisses the attraction and moves on.
But Eliza cannot. The boy who tormented her as a child has become the man who has stolen her heart. She's sure he will grow to love her, if he can just look past her lack of position.
Hayward soon discovers that finding a wife is more difficult than he expected. No woman of his society is willing to leave England for the relative wilderness of the Colonies — not even for such a desirable match as he.
But Eliza Bloome is more than willing. Convinced she loves Hayward, and about to be evicted from her home, Eliza knows she is the right wife at the right time. When a family argument changes Hayward's circumstances, he finds himself at Eliza's door, ready to accept her unconventional proposal.
America isn't at all what Eliza thought it would be, and Hayward is much more passionate about joining his newfound countrymen in revolution than in letting himself fall in love with his beautiful new wife. As war forces them apart, Eliza must forge a future built on the hope of Hayward's return and eventual love. But in the lapse of that hope, one choice threatens to destroy everything — and everyone — she loves.
Hits & misses: When Hayward Morgan appeared at just the right moment to save the day, I thought I knew how his character's story arc would form. But the author surprised me, building Hayward into a complexly layered hero/villain throughout the course of the book. Something about him rubbed me wrong from the very beginning — and I think that was the author's intent. But it was that little twinge of discomfort (perhaps it was women's intuition?) at the beginning that allowed me to believe the direction his character took later in the novel. Hayward pulled my emotions in every direction. One moment I ached for the pain of his past, the next I really, really despised him for his behavior in the moment.
In the beginning, Eliza is a strong but compassionate soul. But as the story progresses, her feistiness sadly wanes. Blinded by the loneliness of unrequited need, she is willing to do whatever she can to earn Hayward's abiding love. I found Eliza to be, at times, a bit weak in Hayward's presence — and a little too quick to capitulate to the demands of others. Yet, as her situation grew increasingly dark, Eliza's resilience outweighed those surface complaints, allowing her to experience fully human failings.
As Hayward's character develops, arcing first upward, then deeply and darkly down, I found myself biting my lip, hoping he wouldn't do what I thought he might do. But he did — and, even though I expected him to commit some sort of dastardly deed, the dastardliness of it took me by surprise, making those little twinges I had in the beginning shine like spotlights on the worst of his Fitzwilliam Darcy-like leanings. It will be interesting to see how — or if — Gerlach chooses to redeem Hayward in the next books of this series.
The repetition of one particular phrase added a slightly maudlin aroma to the reading and a few journey details stood out as unlikely, but Gerlach's effort toward making her setting atmospheric to the times paid off. Her characters took the expectations of their sexes and stations quite seriously and neither they, nor the situations in which they found themselves, seemed ahead of their time. I may not have respected Eliza entirely, but I believed the way her convictions were damaged by the gradual breaking of her hope. The weakening of her character, and the resulting actions that betrayed both Hayward and her own beliefs, came off as painfully true to her situation and the times.
To read or not to read: Juxtaposing the passion of American Revolutionaries against the restraints of Georgian English society, author Rita Gerlach has created an achingly vivid frame on which to stretch the canvas of her new series. Tracing the painful path a life takes when innocence and love are taken for granted, Before the Scarlet Dawn is an artfully hewn tale of romance tempered by fear — and the hope of love, devastated by war.
A writer, performer and accomplished partaker of dark chocolate, Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. Her reviews can also be found at the blog Edgy Inspirational Romance.
I initially selected this book because I have been reading some other Georgian fiction (set in the 1700s) and wanted to see how this author handled the period. This story is split between England and the Colonies at the time of the American Revolution, and tells the story of a young lady named Eliza.
Eliza has grown up as the vicar’s daughter. Her mother died when she was young, and she has a brother fighting in the King’s Army in the Colonies. When the book opens, her father is very ill and is not expected to live long. She realizes she has to make some decisions about her future, but those are complicated by the fact that has not had a regular suitor, and that she is uncommonly pretty. Her goal is to marry for love, but the person she marries has to be able to see her internal beauty.
One of her suitors is Mr. Langbourne, who is a rather boorish oaf and wants to “mold” her into the proper wife. Another suitor is Heyward Morgan, who cannot see beyond her station, and treats her rather horribly when meeting her again after a number of years. Between the two men, she has to make a decision, as her time is limited before she is evicted from her home.
What follows is a rather dramatic story of life, love, loss, and the hope for forgiveness. There are some characters that are very heartwarming, some you will wish you knew more about (or who lived longer), and some you really can’t stand. However, the book will pull you in and keep you interested. There are parts of the story that my heart broke for Eliza and what she was going through. I started reading it before going to bed, and ended up staying up late finishing it.
This is due to be published February 1, 2012 by Abingdon Press.