~ About the Book ~
The War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?
Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?
The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: #1 Keystone Legacy series
Release date: 12 April 2018
~ Excerpt ~
There he was—his little brother ran down the highway with shirttails flapping in the breeze. Connor faced forward again, mentally kicking himself. I should have known better about Adam. Silently cursing himself for not thinking this whole plan through, especially in light of his brother, Connor resumed his brisk pace, increasing it to a light run.
Connor felt a hand clamp on his shoulder just then and reeled backward, almost falling to the ground. He planted his feet, folded his arms, and stared his little brother down.
“Well? Are you here to take me back to Ma and Da or just run home and nark on me? Because I can still outrun you, you know.” Connor didn’t feel in any charity or patience towards Adam at this particular moment—a moment that reminded him too much of their boyhood when Adam would tattletale and spoil his fun. His feet were itching to get to town straightaway before the sun rose much higher in the sky.
Adam raised his head, gulping one last breath with such a fierce glare that Connor squirmed. “Is that really what you…never mind. The answer is no, to both of your questions. Much as I want to simply caution you, I know I can’t.”
Connor ripped the hat from his head and slapped it on the dirt road in frustration. “Why can’t I be on my way then? I’m sick and tired of you always tagging along behind me.” Showing me up to Ma and Da too, what with your pious attitude.
Adam moved to speak first, bending to pick up Connor’s hat from the road, before returning it to him. “I didn’t come to stop you. I’m coming with you.”
Connor slipped the hat Adam had returned to him back onto his head and tugged it to the side. This changed everything. And of course his conscience decided to kick him in the gut. It was one thing to knowingly stick out his neck and enlist for however long the conflict endured, but it was entirely another to risk his little brother’s life.
A protective instinct toward his brother warred within Connor’s heart while still he longed to enlist. Standing over Adam, he tried to discern any deceitful motives in his brother’s declaration to enlist alongside him, but all he found was sincere eagerness in Adam’s boyish face. Connor’s heart squeezed at this, but he shoved it aside and clapped Adam on the shoulder. “Well then, let’s make haste.”
The steeples and chimneys of Chambersburg came into view as they walked toward town, and Connor’s heart began to pound in his ears even as Adam marched alongside him, a small grin on his sleep-marked face.
No longer would Connor be a mere farmer’s son, working against the stubborn earth in search of meager profit. He would be fighting for something of worth.
The Union—and his future.
~ Review ~
I think my heart has been shocked into numbness—or a state of disbelief; I’m not sure which. That’s the only possible reason I wasn’t balling my eyes out at the end of this book. I will, however, be stalking the author until the sequel to this novel is released!
This story easily draws you into both the physical and emotional challenges faced by its characters as war breaks out between the states, and it does so while bringing together opposing sides of the social spectrum: the family of an Irish immigrant farmer, and the family of a well-respected lawyer. I loved the different perspectives this brought to the story and appreciated the depth and breadth it gave to the challenges the characters faced.
Meghan M. Gorecki did an excellent job portraying the realities of life both at home and on the front, bringing realism to the story without becoming overly graphic. It’s obvious she knows this period of history well, and you get a great sense of both the conflict and the marching and waiting that the soldiers endured, but it’s her passion for humanity that shines through—the knowledge that every person, no matter the colour of their uniform, was someone’s father, son, or sweetheart; that everyone is a loser in war, in so many different ways, and yet there is hope and beauty amid the heartache, like a beautiful courtship by letter.
If you’re a historical fiction lover, this series is definitely for you—more so if you love the Civil War era. But be warned, there is more to come. And you will definitely want it sooner rather than later once you’ve reached the last page!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Meghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction about what God can make beautiful from the ashes of history, and hearts. A lover and avid studier of people, times gone by, and fiction, she has been writing since childhood and now houses her books under Northern Belle Publishing. Coffee and red lipstick color her days as a redhead from a box, alongside her treasured tribe of family and friends in her beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.