Author's Showcase: Journeys into the Past
March 3, 2012
The past is forever with us, and I have never understood why some can simply forget or ignore the lives lived and lives lost in those generations that came long before us. Thank God for authors like Nancy Brewer and Lana Lynne who have a passion for history and the uncanny talent to weave those long-ago tales into unforgettable novels. I felt that I knew the characters. They became family. But here were the only differences. We did not wear the same clothes. I drove away, and they left on a horse. Every thing else – the worries, the trials, the tribulations, and the triumphs – were all pretty similar.
The Book: Sunbeams at Twilight
The Author: Lana Lynne
The Story: Lieutenant Edward Rigby could not deny the echo of his best friend’s life as he traveled to Washington D.C. Others would consider his arrival as a long delayed homecoming, but home was an illusion to him. The streets were his home from the age of eleven until he met a Harvard student, James Hawkins, when he was nineteen. He lived with the Hawkins family until the war started. The unlikely friends served side-by-side throughout the turmoil until James sustained a paralyzing injury during a battle. Then after the war, Eddie found himself traveling to a fort in Indian Territory as an army corporal under the command of James’s father. His now wheelchair bound friend was at the fort working as a consult on Indian affairs. They were stationed there until orders sent him to Kansas and the Hawkins family returned to the nation’s capital. The haze of events from the telegram bringing him to his friend’s deathbed in 1869 still seemed surreal. He could still see Hallie kneeling in the snow beside his friend’s grave. It was now 1874 and time to move forward. Reconciling with his sister was his first priority. Then, there are promises to keep.
Hallie Price Hawkins still felt and heard James everywhere. She took pride in the achievements of the women taking refuge in the shelter of Hallie’s House. James named the home for her because of her once limited choices and because of her more recent accomplishments. However, becoming his wife was the most unexpected and treasured. Losing him still devastated her heart. She lacked fulfilling only two of her final promises to James. Once she finished the official nursing program in Boston, only the hardest remained.
Lana Lynne reunites readers with beloved characters from her first two novels (Home Always Beckons: A New Sunrise) (Trails of Change: A New Sunset) and introduces an array of intricate new ones in the completion of her post-Civil War trilogy. This novel is a true tapestry of lives joined by the common thread of the life of James Hawkins woven throughout each.
As one reviewer pointed out: Lana Lynne does an exceptional job of researching her historical novels and weaves a realistic tapestry of the times about which she writes. Her descriptions of places give you the feeling that you are standing there in the midst of a scene that’s probably a hundred and fifty years old. Her strength, however, is building strong characters and creating an even stronger relationship between them and the reader. When the book is finished, it is as though the curtain of time has been drawn closed, and an important part of your family only remains to exist in your mind and your imagination. You care about them when reading about them. You know they’re all right, but still you worry about them when the book ends. Lana Lynne has written a historical novel worthy of a five-star review.
The Book: Beyond Sandy Ridge
The Author: Nancy B. Brewer
The Story: This exceptional historical novel is one woman’s journey of survival, a collection of her most intimate desires, and her passion for a man named Joel. Many of those she loved are forever silent. It was for their sake that she found the courage to tell her story.
Says Nancy Brewer, “Ever since I was a little girl, something inside me has yearned for the past. So much so, I often feel misplaced in this modern world. My passion for history is my journey. It is my teacher and my friend.
It leads me to forgotten cemeteries or finds me in the company of those wiser than me. Some speak proud and boast of the past, while others only whisper. We are all tomorrow’s history. Let us make it a story worthy to be told.
“It is my greatest desire that my historical fiction works will encourage all my readers to listen to the voices of long ago, take pride in tier own ancestors’ accomplishments, find strength in their suffering, and learn from the past.
“A glance at the past allows us to see the path clearly ahead.”
Wrote one reviewer: “Beyond Sandy Ridge was as exciting and enticing as Carolina Rain (Nancy Brewer’s last book). I closed my eyes and returned to the 1860s. I love historical fiction. The characters were memorable with wonderful snippets back to Carolina Rain. I am looking forward to book three in the series. Hallmark needs to make these books into a mini-series.”
And another reviewer pointed out. “Beyond Sandy Ridge continues the momentous beginning of ‘Lizzie.’ She was first introduced to me in Carolina Rain. Her personal story leads me from page to page with eager anticipation. While reading, I felt as if I were living her life with her, by her side. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to experience the next adventure. The story is fictitious; however, the historical background on which this story is based is true. Ms. Brewer is a master at leading us through the difficult times before during, and after the War Between the States. This book is expertly written and a pleasure to read. It is an amazing book.”