K. Chase's Reviews > Before the Scarlet Dawn

Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach
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's review
Feb 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read from November 19 to December 08, 2011

This is the first book of Rita's I've read and I can't wait to read her next novel in the Daughters of the Potomac series.. In fact, I'm anxious to finish the story because this book will leave you HANGING. The story begins with a young English woman, Eliza, whose life circumstances are so altered, she agrees to marry a man, Hayward Morgan, who has made it clear this marriage is for convenience. They move to pre-American Revolution America to begin their lives as husband and wife. Then it goes south from there.

I enjoyed how the character Eliza tugged at my heartstrings. Here you have a woman who is completely devoted to a man who doesn't love her and it reminded me of the character Anne Elliot in BBC's Persuasion who said, "...women love longest when all hope is gone." So true in Eliza's case. Through her husband's coldness, his leaving her to go to war, Rita has crafted scenes where Eliza goes from utter happiness and hope to depression and despair.

And Hayward. I've already told Rita this, but I don't think I've ever had such a strong burning desire to hate a character. But don't worry, this is a good thing. Rita has created a man who is torn between his growing feelings for his wife, and his upbringing which has taught him to deny those feelings...those very feelings he longed for from his own parents. Yet, the story is open for his redemption. But will Rita redeem him? Is this character redeemable? What am I going to do while I wait for book two?

Beautiful descriptions made me feel like I was in Maryland (and not living just a few miles from the border) when it was rough, rugged, and barely untamed. Each scene is part of a roller coaster ride of emotions that will have you craving more even after the final word. The dialogue was smart, realistic, and depending on who was talking, I was screaming my displeasure. At one point, I was even rooting for the "other guy," not Eliza's husband. Is that wrong? HAHA.

Pick up Before the Scarlet Dawn. You won't be disappointed.

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