Behold the work of a true storyteller - and I don't say that lightly. I come from a long line of storytellers, a near dying craft. I don't mean writers, but ones who draw on the living history around them to weave tales. Seanchaidh - in Gaelic means recorder of tales. They were more that just an entertainer around fireside, they were the keepers of history. Rita Gerlach is the cousin of Nora Roberts - without doubt one of the most successful writers around these days. But Gerlach is a true storyteller who writes from the heart, the soul, from her heritage - she is a Seanchaidh.
As a person who spent my life wrapped up in history, I have repeatedly bemoaned the shabby treatment true historical fiction is getting from mainstream publishers these days. They swear no one is buying it so they don't publish it. Well, how can you buy it if it's not there? Thank goodness for some people not listening to this nonsense. Publish America is giving good writers, true storytellers the chance to write and do it there way. Gerlach is likely a prime example of NYC missing the boat where historical fiction, storytelling is concerned. This is her second book (The Rebel's Pledge and Everlasting Mountains are her other titles) and it's so thrilling to read quality work such as this.
Gerlach has taken true factual history and woven it into a fictional tale in the best tradition of the Seanchaidh. Colonial-born, first generation Englishman, John Nash sought to create a life in the frontiers of Maryland. But as he sees his dream taking shape, the threat of war with England is heavy in the air, propelling him to return to England and his family.
There, he meets Rebecah - the daughter of an Englishman he had encountered in the wilds of Maryland one night - and learns the man since has died. Rebecah has dreams of her own, dreams of adventure, freedom, of love. She's known little outside the isolated English manor where she was raised. After her father's death, she was forced to go live with her Uncle. He is a mean spirited man, who wants Rebecah gone, though she little understands why her presence angers him so. She's been promised in marriage to Sir Cecil Lanley, even so she's drawn to Nash. Emotions are complicated when she learns her father died in a pre-war conflict in the Colonies. Soon she is a pawn in her uncle schemes to slander Nash, hinting he was involved, if not responsible, in her father's death.
As the tensions between Nash and Rebecah's uncle rise, so do the tensions between the two countries, sending Nash back to the Colonies and pending war. Rebecah must chose between the patriot she loves and the man she is promised to marry.
Heads up on this...buy Everlasting Mountains at the same time you buy this. You will thank me for this, because the story continues in Gerlach's third book and you won't want to miss it.
She has a gentle soothing voice that pulls the reader into "seeing" her vivid imagery in the tradition of the ancient storytellers. It so good to read true historical fiction written by someone who loves the craft.
- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Publishamerica Inc (1 September 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592869165
- ISBN-13: 978-1592869169
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 490 g
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