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Follow the Dawn

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Anna Emory grew up the invisible, shy younger sister, and she prefers it that way. But when her father attempts to arrange an unsavory marriage, Anna learns that courage is sometimes found in adversity. Then she meets a boy and his father struggling in their relationship, and they tip her quiet world upside down.

Captain Mathieu Tudder has run from responsibility, entrusting his young son’s care to another and devoting his Sea Beggar ship to the Dutch Revolution. After that cause fails, Tudder returns to England for the son he left behind. But his son seems to have given his heart to a unknown and quiet lady—a woman who reminds him of all he’s ever loved and lost.

Will these two hearts—the battle-scarred and the broken—ever find true freedom?

304 pages, Paperback

Published February 7, 2020

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About the author

Rachelle Rea Cobb

8 books290 followers
Rachelle is a freelance editor, an author of six books, and voracious reader. If you're looking for her, check the bookstore. In 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero and they live happily ever after in a fixer-upper by the sea. She's a fan of chai and lemonade (though definitely not together). Find her at https://RachelleReaCobb.com

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 41 books416 followers
February 6, 2020
Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback
Age Appropriate For: 13 and up for mild romance and mild verbal abuse
Best for Ages: 15 and up

I’ve been very honored to read Cobb’s books for a long time now. I knew that she had something special from the first time I read a daft of one of her stories. I adored the Steadfast Love Series and I was very excited to hear about this book, which is related but stands alone. I had high expectations going into this book, but those expectations were surpassed. This book is amazing!

Once again, Cobb brings her lyrical writing to this story. Her style reminds me some of Rosanna White, yet it is very much her own. It’s beautiful to read and make you want to gush over every page. The descriptions are vivid and the emotions spill out of the book directly into your heart.

Anna and Tudder both are such dynamic characters with real struggles. Anna has panic attacks and has trouble speaking sometimes. Tudder is impatient and has a bit of a temper. Yet, they both also love God and allow Him to work in their lives. As they grow over the course of the story, it was like a personal victory because I felt like they were my friends.

The story is hard to describe, it isn’t very suspenseful, but it also makes you want to keep flipping pages. There isn’t a lot of kissing or physical attraction described, yet the romance pulls at your heart and makes you cheer. I really felt like I entered these characters victories and sorrows with them.

I highly recommend this book to those who love sweet romance stories, historical fiction novels, and those that would like to see their favorite characters for the Steadfast Love Series again.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All the opinions are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Abigayle Claire.
Author 9 books222 followers
September 29, 2020
This was very well-written historically, had a well-crafted plot, loveable characters with unique flaws and struggles, and strong themes that made for a powerful message. For any lovers of historical fiction, characters trying to heal from past hurts, or a good romance ... this is a book for you.
Profile Image for Rebekah Morris.
Author 105 books224 followers
March 2, 2020
This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I didn’t find out until the end that there were other stories in this “series” but that was okay. This book is just fine as a stand alone.
I don’t usually read many books set in this time period, but I really enjoyed this one. It brought back to mind the biographies I had read years ago.

Each characters became alive as I read. Everyone from the adults to the little ones were living in this story. I felt for Anna and wanted to help her, but was glad she had others who stepped in since I couldn’t. Tudder was someone I liked right away even if he was a bit rough at first. I could understand him and feel his struggle. I really liked the relationship between the couples in this story, and the pictures of what a godly father looks like

There were a few times when I got confused about where something happened because the movement to a new place was not really clear, but that only happened a few times.

This is clearly a Christian story and it was clean. There is some verbal abuse in it, but not much.
I would recommend this and look forward to reading another book by this author.
Profile Image for Angie Thompson.
Author 32 books1,079 followers
March 31, 2021
Okay, so...somehow I didn't know (or forgot) that this story is connected to a different series--which explains the is-this-really-a-standalone feeling that I got while reading it. You know, where this story is self-contained but some of the minor characters have backstories that are way too complicated and generally irrelevant to the plot to be anything but major characters in their own story? Yeah, one of those. ;) So now I'm kind of conflicted--part of me regrets not having read the series first, and the rest is reminding me that I don't really mind spoilers of the yes-they-get-their-happily-ever-after kind. But rest assured that I have absolutely added the entirety of the Steadfast Love series to my list! :D (Oh, and for the record, loved all of said minor characters and am fully prepared to fall even more in love with them in their own books!)

As to this story, I really loved Anna and the way her heart had stayed so compassionate through all her troubles. Watching her with the children was especially heartwarming. <3<3<3 Though I did want to shake her (just a little) at times when she wouldn't tell anyone what she was thinking and feeling. Not talking about the times she literally couldn't talk, of course--just the ones where she decided not to. ;)

And then Tudder--wow. There were times and ways in which he was entirely predictable and then others where he was refreshingly different. :) His heart to reconnect with his son and have a relationship with him based on love and not just commands was so beautiful. <3 And the way he saw Anna's weaknesses and immediately went to protection rather than disdain...mmmm, yeah. I could do with some more heroes like this. ;)

I was pretty unsure for a while how the plot was going to end up, and I found my heart in my throat a few times when everything I wanted for them seemed to be teetering in the balance, but I did love the way it wrapped up. There was only one plot point that kind of puzzled me: But overall, I really did love this story and will need to read the connected series soon!

4.5 stars

Content--mentions of girls running away to escape arranged marriages; mentions of war, battles, and atrocities (not graphic); mentions of tensions and war between Catholics and Protestants; some disrespectful/disobedient behavior from a child (corrected); mentions of murder and deaths (not graphic); some mental/emotional abuse by a parent
Profile Image for Tarissa.
1,378 reviews84 followers
February 8, 2020
"Who would ever wish to love a girl so hesitant to speak, so afraid that sometimes she struggled to breathe?"

This story was written for me. (And for you too, dear reader. But I'm here to talk about me...)

Anna. A quiet girl. Keeping in the background, never center stage. Industrious. Observant. A bit back-handed with polite conversation. I relished in being able to watch her peaceful strength grow, transforming her into an even more beautiful woman.

Her father, Lord Emory, has always treated Anna with anger and insults. Now he has created his final malevolent plan to get Anna off his hands: marrying her off to a suitor of his choice. An arranged marriage to a strange man she's never met.

So Anna does the only thing she knows to do. Follow in the footsteps of sister Margried, who had to leave in the night to escape their father's plans for her. Anna heads out in secret towards the one person in the world who truly cherishes her: Margried. Off to Godfrey Estate goes Anna, seeking sistership, and finding more love waiting for than she imagined that she could.

Unbeknownst to her, Captain Tudder is seeking Godfrey Estate as well, for reasons of his own. Tudder's life at sea keeps him distanced from the small bit of family he still has, and he simply desires a happy reunion with his only son. The love between father and son may just blossom when an extra dose of love is added to their little family.

Many times while reading 'Follow the Dawn', I felt tears overwhelming my eyes, as I felt Anna's pains and her joys; when, in the little moments, she would find her safety and shelter, I felt it too, like I was "home" (metaphorically, because in reality I was already home, curled up with this book in my favorite reading chair -- heehee!). But what a wonderful storyteller that Rachelle Rea Cobb is, to make me discover and experience the entire gamut of emotions while reading her novel.

What I also love is how Christian integrity and spiritual encouragement is built right into the story. I am truly impressed by the women who live together at Godfrey Estate come together every afternoon for Bible devotions, to share studying His word from the family's only Bible. This group action spoke volumes to me! We're talking about the mid-16th century here, and I doubt that most womenfolk of the time did this type of Biblical devotion. But I love that such dedication to the Lord (like this one example) is found in Rachelle's book. There is other spiritual content that I found encouraging too. This is exactly the kind of book that makes me love the Christian fiction genre, but this one supersedes most.

'Follow the Dawn' can be read as a standalone novel, but the storyline is all the richer if you've already followed along with the characters in the Steadfast Love trilogy.
Profile Image for Tiffany Reed Briley.
10 reviews30 followers
February 12, 2020
ONLY READ THIS BOOK IF you have time to get completely sucked in. You’ll be unable to put it down.

This is one of the most beautiful novels I’ve read in a long time. The characters are enchanting and the author instantly knits your heart to them. My heart was invested in the first chapter.

The flow of the entire novel keeps you wanting to turn the pages and entwines your heart tightly into the story.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I am expecting to see it as a best seller.
Profile Image for Yannick Tricia.
192 reviews26 followers
April 5, 2020
Anna is an introvert young woman living with her father a fervent Catholic and a man very strict. Her elder sister Margried have left the house about 3 years ago to avoid a marriage with an older man,she didn’t like. As she disobeyed her father he doesn’t want to hear from her anymore.

Anna find herself in the same situation and flee from her father’s house to her sister who is now married.
There she will meet her nephew, her sister’s friends but also Titus a young boy they take care of.

A deep friendship settle between Titus and Anna until Titus Father Captain Tudder arrived in England at the end of the Dutch Revolution to see his son.
Captain Tudder wants to renew his ties with his son. While making effort to gain his son’s attention he is drawn to Anna despite her shyness, the pain she hides inside and he is willing to help her face her fears.

Anna seems fearful, fragile but in the same time she is capable to show some courage like when she left her father or when she will have to confront him at the end. Living with her sister and her familly allowed her to see what real love is, to grow as a woman and be brave.

It is a good book, I like Anna’s story especially her growth as a woman and her bravery at the end.
9 reviews
February 3, 2020
SUCH a beautiful story either to stand alone or as the companion to the "Sound of Diamonds" series.
Profile Image for Brittany .
2,298 reviews148 followers
February 8, 2020
Follow the Dawn was a fantastic book! It was an intriguing tale suitable for both adult and young adult readers. The fear and panic that Anna experienced quite frequently in her life was palpable while reading this story. At first, I was occasionally frustrated by her overreactions to things that occurred, however, I began to see that this physical reaction to the emotional hurt she experienced growing up was something that she would have to learn to overcome. I loved seeing her heal and begin to realize that not every man was like her father. I especially liked seeing the connection that began to build with Tudder. He was such a wonderful character, burdened by guilt, yet looking to start anew with his son.

It was fun to catch up with the characters from the Steadfast Love series! If you haven’t read that series yet, don’t worry, Follow the Dawn will still be easy to read and enjoy. However, I definitely recommend that exciting series, as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

You can read this review on my blog:
Profile Image for Mikayla.
955 reviews
June 26, 2021
This is the best book yet by Rachelle. O.o

Honestly, this was the best. I squealed when I figured out it was about Tudder, and I was not disappointed. He was great. Anna was just about the most amazing main character. I cannot even remember the last time I read a book about a quiet main character where it was written as something she needs to overcome. I love that Anna embraced her quiet side while learning to speak for herself more. It was amazing.

I could gush about this book all day. Just do yourself a favor and go read it.

2021>> Just as good the second time around. <3
Profile Image for Gretchen Louise.
331 reviews120 followers
February 1, 2020
Anna's timidity drew me to her immediately. Her struggle to breathe when overcome with anxiety made me hold my breath. But then, I watched as she took a deep breath, put on courage, and faced her fears.

With a touch of history, a delightful sprinkling of romance, and a recurring theme of the Fatherhood of God, Follow the Dawn will be enjoyed by fans of George MacDonald, Michael Philips, and Judith Pella, to name a few.
Profile Image for Nancy.
360 reviews27 followers
February 20, 2020
I was very happy to get another book written by this author. And it did not disappoint. It is filled with a quiet, yet courageous main character Anna and how she’s seeking her freedom and avoidance of an arranged marriage. Her father is not a nice man and allowing him to choose her husband is not her ideal. So she runs away to her sister, who we know from previous books in the series. There she meets a young boy and they connect. His father returns and is vying for his son to accept him after he left him in the care of a friend while he was fighting in the Reformation. Along the way he sees why his son is taken with Anna. I enjoyed this book and seeing characters from the previous books as well. Definitely recommend it. I received a copy of this book from the author. All views stated here are my own.
Profile Image for Courtney Clark.
577 reviews100 followers
February 8, 2020
Follow the Dawn is a sweet YA historical romance! Fans of Rachelle's previous books will be happy to revisit the setting and see cameos of beloved characters. Full review to come with Rachelle's blog tour next week!
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,164 reviews90 followers
March 6, 2020
This was a gorgeous novel of Elizabethan England. It takes place in castles and a Dutch sea-beggar ship called Rich Soul.
Quote: Dawn reached pink and rusty gold hues into the blackened sky as I watched. The blackness lightened until the promise of mercy’s light shone and prophesied a beautiful sunrise.
Ms. Cobb has captured the flavor of the time through beautiful prose.
She has captured my heart as well with her timid, stuttering heroine, Lady Anna Emory. Anna longs to be loved by her widowed father but she flees because he wants to marry her off. She steals away at night to join her sister who resides at Godfrey Estate, where she feels more at home with the children there than the adults. She befriends Titus Tudder, an eight year old ward of Lord Dirk.
Dutch Captain Matheu Tudder has lost the war with Spain and limps to Godfrey Estate in England where he has left his son, Titus, for protection. Widowed Tudder has a longing, too. He wants to re-connect with his son after a two year absence.
This story is so much more than a sweet, budding romance between Anna and Tudder; It is a personal account of how the Reformation affected families in England. And it shows how strong a faith the characters have.
For a more complete back story, this author has written several books containing the story of Margried, sister of Anna, her friend Gwyneth and the band of friends Dirk, Ian, Cade and Tudder.
If you like Medieval settings with a great love story, this book is for you.
*I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Hope Bolinger.
Author 23 books279 followers
December 27, 2019
Through a finesse of description and with a cast of sometimes flawed but loveable characters, Cobb brings us a story of love amidst heartbreak and tragedy. Placed in an unusual but refreshing time period and setting, Follow the Dawn explores the true meaning of family, friendship, loss, and restoration. It's refreshing to see a romance that knows its stakes, but still leaves readers feeling satisfied from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 1 book132 followers
December 28, 2019
It was such a privilege to read this novel in advance and the ending is perfect.

Through elegant prose and relatable characters, Cobb seamlessly weaves events from the 16th century into a timeless story of love, loss and second chances.

Highly recommend for those who love sweet historical romances.
Profile Image for Katja Labonté.
Author 19 books192 followers
December 6, 2021
4 stars & 4/10 hearts. For some reason I thought this was a New England story. I really need to pay more attention to synopses, I know. For some reason the cover misled me. I guess I should quit judging books by their covers, hm? Anyways. In case you also are confused, this is set in England during the Dutch Revolution… a few years before the Pilgrims and New England. Once I figured that out, I found it a really great time period to write about! It’s quite rare, but it’s an era I really like.

I liked the characters. Dick and Cade were wonderful fathers and husbands. Ian was really nice too. I liked Tudder too, and related to him in some of his struggles and feeling not enough. He was a great dad and a really good wooer, too! Margried, Susan, and Gwyneth were lovely mothers, wives, and female characters. The villains were VERY good villains. I really liked Anna. I related a lot to her fear, and especially to her panic attacks and inability to breathe. Her arc was really good (so was Tudder’s, but Anna’s was my favourite). I loved the plot, and the message of the book… The romance was really sweet too (although personally I didn’t agree with the hugging and touching).

Somehow, I didn’t love this book. And I can’t put my finger on why. It’s really good. But it left me slightly disappointed… dissatisfied. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps because I feel it could be a little better than it is… perhaps because I expected more of it. I don’t know. I did find that there was too great a mix of modern and old-fashioned words, and that rattled me. I also think my misconception of the book made it hard for me to enjoy the book as it was. Regardless, I think it was really good, and I’m eager to reread it and enjoy it more this time.

A Favourite Quote: “Yet it was not for me to determine his safety; I was powerless to protect him. What I could do was be present.”
A Favourite Beautiful Quote: “Sunlight crept in through the window, brightening the room, having finally tamed the night sky to fully claim the expanse for the day. How fitting that such an occurrence repeated itself each and every morn. Each night the blackness wrested the sky from the light. Each morning the light came to claim it once again. Over and over, a continual struggle that had played out over the centuries since time began.”
A Favourite Humorous Quote: “What could I say without a stutter? ‘I am sorry you thought I was the nursemaid.’ That hardly seemed appropriate. ‘I understand how I might have given you that impression.’ The man had entered the nursery and found me there. Then, when he had attempted to have an intelligent conversation with me, I had proven anything but capable of the task.”
Profile Image for Kaitlin Covel.
Author 1 book132 followers
December 24, 2019
Follow the Dawn brings the Reformation to life in this heart-warming tale of redemption and second chances. An asthmatic heroine and widower hero cultivate a sweet romance, echoing the love of their Heavenly Father as He redeems their pasts and restores their futures. Fans of Rachelle Rea Cobb’s Steadfast Love series will devour this endearing story.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 25 books523 followers
February 16, 2020
This is a sweet romance without getting too uncomfortable with romance scenes. I had read the first two books of Rachelle's trilogy, so I "knew" the characters from there. If I had read the third book and finished that series, it probably would have helped me connect to the characters a little more, but I think it can be read as a stand-alone without having read the full Steadfast Love series.
Profile Image for Miranda Atchley.
Author 12 books43 followers
February 14, 2020
A tender romance unfolds against the backdrop of a tumultuous chapter in English history as two wounded hearts are offered a second change.

I had the pleasure of reading Rachelle’s Steadfast Love series a few years ago and found it to be a lovely story. To my knowledge, there isn’t a bevy of fiction written about this specific period in time, particularly in the Christian market, and I think that’s a shame. It’s a very interesting chapter and lends a nice thematic backdrop to romance novels. Rachelle Rea Cobb brings this era to life with a skilled hand.

I loved Anna. She was such a sweet heroine who I immediately felt endeared to. It’s refreshing to see a heroine who isn’t perfect, yet is bold all the same. Reading about her fleeing her father’s overbearing control was not unlike reading of England’s freedom fight threaded throughout the story.

Tudder was a good balance to Anna. He’s strong and a bit rough around the edges, but he’s a teddy bear with a heart of gold. It was also nice to see some of the characters from the Steadfast Love series make an appearance.

Follow the Dawn is a well-crafted romance that fans of inspirational historical fiction won’t want to miss!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Many thanks to the author and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book.
Profile Image for Suzie Waltner.
Author 8 books119 followers
February 12, 2020
Follow the Dream is here, and Anna and Tudder’s story was worth the wait. Those who have read Rachelle Rea Cobb previously will enjoy catching up with characters from her previous books. Yet, if you’ve not read any of her books, you won’t at all be lost.

Anna is quiet and unnoticed by most. Her uncertainty, fear, pain, and desires are written well throughout Follow the Dawn. I couldn’t help but cheer for this quiet young woman who is loved by children and others yet is unloved by the one person she wishes it from most.

I adored that Tudder noticed Anna almost from the beginning (even when he thought she was someone beneath her station). And his desire to be with his son is touching.

All of the elements of Follow the Dawn are subtle, but it works. There’s a little bit of suspense as we wait with Anna. The romance is light and developed through the emotions of Tudder and Anna instead of physical contact. The character development is top-notch and the writing pulled me in and engaged me throughout the story.

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for C.F.E. Black.
Author 8 books403 followers
December 29, 2019
Rich and poignant, Follow the Dawn captures the bravery of true love and the beauty of second chances. A masterful tale with characters as deep as the seas they sail, this book is not to be missed. For any who needs a reminder that the past does not chain the future, read this book.
Profile Image for Anne Mateer.
Author 10 books272 followers
December 31, 2019
Follow the Dawn rides the waves of a tumultuous period of history amidst the churning brokenness of two people held captive by past failures. A beautiful story of redemptive and affirming love.
Profile Image for Alexa.
657 reviews35 followers
April 5, 2020
Follow the Dawn is different from the Steadfast Love books in that there’s a lot less outside plot going on. Steadfast Love occurs with a backdrop of war, fire, murder mysteries, very deadly legal accusations, and very, very narrow escapes (not necessarily of the legal variety). Follow the Dawn, on the other hand, happens after all that is over. So, certainly, were still dealing with the aftermath, but overall, this story is much more character-centric, with more internal and interpersonal conflict than external conflict (which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just different if you’ve read the previous books).

Still, the beginning was exciting to me, especially since I got to see my old favorites again! I literally squealed when Gwyn came on the scene and I almost fell out of my chair when Dirk popped up. Not that anything particularly crazy was going on or that I was necessarily surprised to see them, I was just so happy they were there (so I guess that tells you the kind of characters this woman can write: powerful, memorable, real-feeling people who stick with you for literal years). Once I started the story, I kind of just wanted to devour it, I was so sucked in by the characters’ inner conflicts and the outer conflicts these could spark.

I did think that the middle dragged a bit, but as the ending came together and the climax rose into view, there were some wonderful twists that set my fangirl heart a-flurry! I was glued to the book for the last several chapters, just speedreading as fast as my eyes could soak in the letters, because I NEEDED TO KNOW how this all ended!

It ended good. No spoilers here, but it was super sweet, super satisfying, and I would love to see more with these characters.

If you'd like to read more of my thoughts on this book, you can find the full review on Verbosity Reviews.
37 reviews
April 24, 2020
This historical romance is set in a beautiful world reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel. Are you a fan of romantic tension, slow buildup to an emotional climax, and a gradual love-story that unfolds like a blossoming flower? Then this is the book for you! It is a pleasantly easy read, that delivers on all the emotional story beats that make the genre of Christian romance such a delight! The historical backdrop of the Reformation enriches the world, but doesn’t distract from the core of the story: learning to love and trust again. And this book’s message of redemption and second chances really resonated with me, and is relevant no matter what the time period!

*Content Disclosure:
The content is very clean, but the story does contain the following:

Sexual/Relationship Content: Sex is very lightly implied/joked about, but only between married couples.

Thematic Content: themes like emotional and mental abuse, escaping controlling parents, arranged marriages, death, and having faith in the face of trials are all present. Alcohol is also present, but only as wine drunk by adults of age for the time period.

*(Note, this disclosure is based off of my background and bias from a Christian worldview. As this is just my personal opinion, it is not intended in any way to negatively reflect on the author, publisher, or anyone else who worked on this book. This is simply to provide transparency about content and let you, the reader, decide if you are comfortable with reading the book or not.)

If this sounds like the perfect romance for you, give it a read!
July 6, 2020
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I was excited when I first heard about this YA historical. In fact, so excited (even though I'd not read anything by this author before) that I'd entered a giveaway for it, forgot I'd entered, purchased it, then found out I'd won the giveaway. I promptly emailed the author and let her know that I'd already purchased so someone else could benefit from a free book. But after reading this, I would gladly own two copies.

This book was so well-written. The characters and depth of emotion was so engaging that it was hard for me to pull away. I am always looking for clean, YA historicals (and right now there are so few that do not cross over to the fantasy genre). Not only was it refreshing to find one, but one that I can highly recommend. I

Now to go find this author's other books because I want to read about the other characters she refers to. And to recommend everywhere. Putting this one on my re-read list too.
1,324 reviews10 followers
February 14, 2020
Rachelle is a very talented author. I love her voice and writing style, it easily pulls me into the story and keeps me there.
The fun part of this story was meeting characters from her previous series and seeing how they are doing and where they are.
I could relate to Anna every well. Her being tongue-tied and better able to speak to children is something I deal with. When I am teaching I am much different then when I am one on one with someone, or even in a small group.
The slow build and tense romance between Tudder and Anna was wonderfully done and held my attention.
As I read I kept thinking something is going to have happen with Anna’s father, he is going to come and try to take her back. If that happened or not will be for you to find out when you read this book 🙂

A copy of this book was given to me by the author. All opinions are my own.
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