“Before the Scarlet Dawn” by Rita Gerlach

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.

 Amazon.com Product Page: http://www.amazon.com/Before-Scarlet-Dawn-Daughters-Potomac/dp/1426714149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316199659&sr=8-1

I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher using the NetGalley system.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.