Title: Before The Scarlet Dawn
Series: Daughters of the Potomac
Author: Rita Gerlach
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: February 1, 2012
Eliza Bloome just wants one thing, to marry for love. She has slim options considering her father is in the clerical class. Her only options right now are living alone or marrying a man that eyes her for one reason and not a reason she wants. Because of the unwanted attention, she considers her beauty a curse and her class a blessing. Her hope is running out until her childhood crush comes back to her hometown with a desire to move to the Americas for a new start.
Hayward Morgan wants to leave England and start anew in the Colonies, but when his choice for that life denies him, he doesn’t know what to do. Until Eliza offers herself instead. At first he scorns her, then reconsiders and they head off to the Colonies to live a new life. Then the Revolutionary War hits and Hayward feels compelled to join up, even if it means leaving his wife and new child behind.
As the war continues, Eliza just wants Hayward home so she can make him love her. But as circumstances change, she’s forced to make some tough decisions and in the process makes some huge mistakes. Now all she can do is pray that Hayward will be able to forgive her and love her. But what she’s done seems unforgivable and has the potential to destroy her marriage and life.
Can Eliza be able to make Hayward love her or will she live her entire life with one-sided love? Will Hayward forgive her mistake or will he ruin all that they’ve worked together towards? Will Eliza be able to survive in the wilds of America alone without Hayward or will everything fall apart in his absence? Will Eliza’s mistakes catch up with her and ruin her chances for a future or will she learn that she’s not defined by her mistakes?
This book started out okay. I felt that there was potential for a nice romance in the beginning, but sadly, I was deeply disappointed by the direction the author took this book. The cover was awesome, the beginning was okay, the middle was bad, the ending was terrible. That about describes this book. I feel a bit ripped off by what I got with this book. Let me explain why.
To start off, Hayward’s attitude throughout the book can be described by one word: pompous. He feels he’s better than everyone, even his new wife. Not to mention that his calling to war tears him away from his new family for longer than he was married, without a visit or letter in between. Also, when he finds out about Eliza’s disastrous mistake, which I believe he has a right to be livid about, he’s not just mean, but downright cruel about it. I felt it extremely difficult to have any feeling other than resentment for his character.
Also, Eliza is a very wishy washy person. One minute she’s a loving wife, the next she’s arguing with him over something trivial. One minute she’s filled with grief and refusing comfort, the next she’s seeking comfort in someone she shouldn’t. Also, when Hayward finds out about her mistake, which she lied about, she only cares about her daughter not about the end of her marriage or the fact that her husband can’t stand her, just her daughter. I found her character completely unbelievable and completely unrealistic. It definitely was hard to have much sympathy for her.
The “romance” in this book is a pitiful excuse for a romance. All it includes is sex, kissing, and her telling him she loves him. Also, Eliza just keeps using her body to try and garner some love from her husband. It makes the innocent girl who shied away from leering eyes look like a hoax. I think tis entire romance was messed up and is more something you’d read in the mainstream section of the bookstore not the Christian section. It was a complete disappointment for a romance.
The story started out alright. I definitely thought that this was going to be a decent romance, but it quickly downhill and it leaves you feeling empty because you were expecting something that not only didn’t happen but didn’t even come close to happening. I can’t believe that this book was even written and advertised as a romance. Honestly because of the tragic romance of this story, I’m a little hesitant to even read the next two books in this series, but all I can hope is that they end on a more pleasant note.
Though I appreciate what the author was trying to do, to show that God’s love is better than any man’s, I feel like she could’ve done it so much better. Particularly since her main character was so sketchy in not only her choices but her faith as well. I don’t like this book, but I will read the other books in this series, mostly because I have to review them, but much more cautiously. I really hope that this author’s other works are less drama and more romance and much better than this one. I don’t know if I’ll read more from this author outside this series. I guess only time will tell.
Overall, this book was a huge disappointment and I don’t really recommend this book to many people. I recommend this book for those looking for the unconventional book and for those looking for a drama instead of a romance. I don’t recommend this for any reader but the adult or really mature teen reader. I give this book a two out of five.
*I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from the publisher through the netgalley program in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*