Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe. When the British invade the Mohawk Valley and her father and brother don’t return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them.
She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help? Rachel reluctantly takes in a badly wounded British officer. But how long can her sense of Christian duty repress her hatred for his scarlet coat?
Passages of Scripture and fleeting images of society are all Andrew Wyndham recalls after he awakens to the log walls of his gentle prison. Even his name eludes him. Rachel Garnet insists he is a captain in the British army. He mourns the loss of his memory, but how can he hope to remember war when his “enemy” is capturing his heart?
Andrew’s injuries are severe, his memory slow to return, and the secret of his existence too perilous to ignore. As Rachel nurses him back to health, his hidden scarlet coat threatens to expose the deeds of her merciful heart, and Andrew is forced to face a harrowing decision—Stay hidden and risk losing the woman he loves or turn himself in and risk losing his life.
~ Excerpt ~
Rachel sat back in the chair, her hands clasping the bowl. “You’re certain you don’t remember anything at all?”
“Not a thing. It is as though everything before I woke is obscured behind a dense fog. At least for my mind, that is.” Something seemed to occur to him, and he reached up to gingerly touch the cloth binding his head. “Have I struck my head on something?”
“As far as I know you must have hit it against a stone when you fell.”
The man closed his eyes for several moments, a pained expression distorting his features. “This head of mine fails to do me any good whatsoever. Could you please tell everything you know about me? What exactly occurred?”
It was easier to organize her thoughts without looking at him. She stared down at the bowl. “You’re from England—a soldier…an officer.” Even as the words were formed, they felt strange on her lips. “There was a battle not far from here and you were wounded. Your leg was. That was four days ago.”
He glanced up. Shades of brown circled his pupils, merging with and darkening the green of his irises. “How did I come to be here?”
Rachel struggled to keep her thoughts from returning to that day—the gruesome images which hadn’t ceased haunting her. “We found you.”
“The American Colonies,” he stated absently, rubbing the back of his knuckles against his short whiskers. He paused as his gaze sought hers. “Is that where we are?”
“No. These are the United States of America.”
“United States of America.” He squinted at her. “I have the most peculiar feeling, a little unsettling…but my mind is completely absent of details. Who are you in connection to me?”
“I am…” She blew out her breath. “To put it bluntly, you attacked this valley.”
“You and other British officers led hundreds of Tories and almost a thousand Iroquois against us. Thankfully, the Lord preserved us.” Thoughts of Pa ached in her chest. “Most of us.”
“Then I am your enemy?” The man swallowed, the cleft between his eyes deepening. “If that be so, why am I here?”
“My mother raised me a Christian. We couldn’t leave you there to die when you were no longer a threat.” She stood, smoothing out her skirts with her free hand. “If you want the truth, we didn’t expect you to live through the night. Unfortunately, you did.”
“Unfortunately?” Then he nodded. “I understand.” Drained from the effort of speaking, his eyes grew heavy, as did his voice. A muscle danced in his cheek. “I apologize I could not have been more cooperative.”
Rachel returned to the potatoes that still needed to be chopped. Something in his last comment refused to leave her. There had been a depth to his voice—almost as though he’d meant every word.
~ My Review ~
Is there anything that says TENSION quite like opposing political loyalties? And I’m not talking about the 2016 US Presidential Election, either! When countries are at war, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that the people shooting at your father and brother are actually human beings too. That’s almost the case when Rachel Garnet hears the groans of a dying man on the eerily quiet battlefield, but at the last minute, she convinces her brother, Joseph, that they can’t leave him there to die like a dog. The Bible says to do good to those who hate you. And so they bring him to their home, intending to let him die in peace.
Except, he doesn’t die.
The tension simmers and builds beautifully throughout this novel as the British soldier, whom we later learn is Andrew Wyndham, makes his slow recovery. He doesn’t remember who he is or what he was doing, but as his recovery progresses, Rachel and her brother are faced with the fact that they are now harbouring an enemy soldier. Things become even more complicated as Andrew’s memory slowly returns, and he and Rachel find their feelings for one another developing beyond the relationship of patient and nurse. If anyone discovers Andrew’s presence, Rachel and Joseph could be branded traitors, but what will happen to Andrew if they turn him over as a prisoner of war?
This is a thoroughly engaging read, especially for historical fiction/romance lovers, and the last quarter of the book, in particular, kept my eyes riveted to the pages. Although there were times when I felt the author hasn’t quite settled into her natural ‘voice’ yet, the writing was beautifully expressive. I look forward to reading more from Angela Couch in the future.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Release date: 27 January 2017
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
~About the Author ~
Angela K Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada with her “hero” and three munchkins.