I’m so excited to welcome friend, fellow author, and critique partner, Cynthia Roemer back to Romancing History today. Cynthia’s latest novel, Beyond These War-Torn Lands, releases next Tuesday, August 3rd and I know y’all are gonna love Drew and Caroline’s story as much as I did!
As you can imagine, writing historical romance requires an author to delve into the time period—the clothes, speech patterns, foods, tools, and events of the era in which they write. Today Cynthia is going to share some of the behind-the-scenes research she did to bring her Civil War novel to life on the page.
And, Cynthia is giving away a signed, print copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, too! So make sure to see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post and leave a comment!
When I decided to write a Civil War novel, I knew I was in for a lot of research. I’m not sure how I settled on The Battle of Monocacy Junction to start the novel off (timing, placement), but I soon found myself engrossed in learning about this lesser-known battle along the Monocacy River in Maryland. This battle, though a loss for the Union, turned out to be an ultimate victory for the men in blue.
The day-long battle began early in the morning of July 9, 1864 and lasted well into the evening. General Lew Wallace commanded the Union troops, while General Jubal Early led the Confederates. The two sides volleyed back and forth throughout the scorching heat until they landed smackdab in the cornfields and yards of some of the neighboring residents—the Best family, Thomas family, and Worthington family.
Several of the residents, such as six-year-old Glenn Worthington and his older brother Henry, hunkered in their cellars watching the battle through cracks in the walls. Glenn later wrote an account of the experience in his book, Fighting for Time.
Waves of skirmishes ended with Wallace’s men fleeing, leaving a horde of dead and wounded in their wake. The Confederate army had intended to storm Washington and take over the city. However, the delay at Monocacy Junction allowed the Union time to send for reinforcements and spare their Capital a takeover. Therefore, the battle at Monocacy became known as The Battle That Saved Washington.
As I was delving into my research, our hostess, Kelly Goshorn, and I had just become friends and critique partners. When I found out she lived within an hour of the very battle I was researching, and that the site had been preserved for visitors, I was ecstatic! Though Kelly hadn’t visited the site herself, she graciously offered to house me if I was able to make the trip out. I had high hopes of doing so and then … the Pandemic hit.
Followed by a cancer diagnosis.
Between the two unexpected challenges, I knew I would be unable to make the trip. But thank the Lord for carrying me through my health ordeal and for all the wonderful online resources available. Via the internet, I was able to access so much information about the National Battlefield at Monocacy Junction, among other historical events and people that found their way into my novel, Beyond These War-Torn Lands. Kelly proved a help as well, for she had visited some of the sites included in the book.
In the opening scene of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, my hero, Sergeant Andrew (Drew) Gallagher, is injured at the Battle of Monocacy Junction and would have become a casualty of war had my heroine, Caroline Dunbar not happened upon him while on her way to aid wounded Confederates at her neighbors—the Worthington and Thomas families.
How I relished weaving my characters into history during one of America’s most challenging and fascinating eras. I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to discover, but I assure you, Drew and Caroline have quite a journey ahead of them before their happily ever after!
**One other historical tidbit I found in my research. If you’ve read or seen the movie, Ben Hur, you might find it interesting that it was written by none other than the retired Union General Lew Wallace!!
About the Book
The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?
While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.
After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin.
Beyond These War-Torn Lands is available on Amazon
About the Author
Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational, bestselling author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the mid-1800’s prairie and Civil War era. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon bestseller, Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, a 2020 Selah Award winning novel.
Cynthia writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of almost thirty years. They have two grown sons and a daughter-in-love. When she isn’t writing or researching, Cynthia can be found hiking, biking, gardening, reading, or riding sidesaddle with her husband in the combine or on their motorcycle. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. To learn more about Cynthia and writing journey, sign up for her author newsletter or visit her online at: her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, or GoodReads.
This giveaway is now closed!
Congrats to Lila, the winner of the signed copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands!
Cynthia is giving away one signed print copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, tell us what your favorite period of American history is to read about and why.
I love History! Time-period-wise varies for me, because I love reading about traumatic things that have happened in History (sounds bad, I know!!). Things like the Oregon Trail, slavery, the Civil War, packhorse librarians, new settlements in US history, WW2, Vietnam, Spanish flu outbreak, etc. If it’s something I can learn, but yet keeps me captivated in reading, I’ll read it!
Hi LVB, Welcome to Romancing History! Isn’t fun to learn something really cool about history like the pack horse librarians? Thanks for visiting today!
Yes! It’s so fun to learn history while I write and read. You’ve got a great list there. Thanks for stopping by to enter. I hope you’ll enjoy all the history woven into Beyond These War-Torn Lands!
My favorite time period is the 1870s.
Hi Jodie, Reconstruction is pretty interesting as well. The war is over and the railroad is making the west more open than ever before. Thanks for visiting today!
Hi Jodie! Yes! Lots of expanding west. A perfect time period for your westerns! Thanks for stopping by.
I like the American Revolution and Civil War! I’m thankful I didn’t have to live through either though!
Hi Joan, You’re comment about not living through either of those time periods cracked me up! Hubby is always saying I like reading about Laura Ingalls but I’d never make if I had to live then. LOL!
My favorite period of history is the settling of this country right up to and after WW2. I love to read about the settling of the American west.
Hi Vivian, You’re a girl after my own heart. I love it all! Thanks for visiting today.
Hi Joan! Great to see you here. I agree. Those times are fun to read about, but not so fun to live through. =)
Both the War of Independence and the Civil War are fascinating time periods to read. Defining periods in a nations history.
Hi Mary, Welcome to Romancing History!You are exactly right about both of those being defining periods in our history. Thanks for visiting the blog and commenting.
I agree, Mary. Thanks for stopping by to enter.
I enjoy Regency books, as Jane Austen is my favorite author. 😉
Hi Lila, Welcome to Romancing History. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan myself and love to read Regency books as well. Thanks for commenting!
Hi Lila! I read Pride & Prejudice in high school and it made a big impression on me. =) Thanks for sharing!
I enjoy reading about the civil war after reading Gone wirh rh e Wind and also seeing the movie. I think it fascinates me because it was fought in our country.
Hi Rory, Excellent point! I live super close to many of the battlefields and love to visit and learn about what happened there. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!
Hi Rory! Yes. The Civil War truly is a fascinating era to read about and study. Thanks for stopping by to enter. I hope you enjoy Beyond These War-Torn Lands!
I love WW II and before to read. Your book sounds so interesting.
Thanks, Cherie! I hope you’re blessed by it should you have the chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Cherie, I don’t care for reading much past WW2 either, Cherie. Thanks for visiting Romancing History today and leaving a comment.
I homeschooled all my children, and we loved the Civil War History. My husband is a CW buff, but I never go into it until we studied in in school. Now we have a plethora of books and movies. Beyond These War-torn Lands sounds amazing!
Hi Jody, Welcome to Romancing History! It really is fascinating. I kinda wish my husband and I had gotten into reenacting but that ship has sailed since now I write and he’s into theater. BTWTL is really good. Drew is one of my favorite heroes. I know you’ll love the story!
Hi Jody! I hadn’t studied the Civil War much either early on, but have always wanted to know more. I’ve really enjoyed delving into the history and hope to visit some of the sights someday. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by to enter. Good for you for homeschooling! =)
I honestly don’t HAVE a favorite period because it’s all so rich. Every family who set out on the Oregon Trail has a story. Every family who sent a son to fight in the Civil War, be they blue or gray, has a story. Every doughboy in World War I has a story and every GI or sailor in World War II has a story. These are the times that changed the course of history, but this was accomplished by individuals working as one.
My father served in World War II. He went because it was the right thing to do. He didn’t see combat, he worked in code-breaking, and when he came home he never talked about it that much. He didn’t join the VFW or Legion, he didn’t squeeze into his old uniform and march in parades. But after he passed, we found that he had saved EVERYTHING — notes, memos, photos, news clippings, and the original copy of the announcement coming off the wire of VE Day. He knew he was part of something momentous. This is why I write historical.
Kelly, thanks as always for hosting and letting me rant.
Hi Kathy, I love this! You should come do a guest post on why you write/love historical fiction! I love that your dad saved everything! My dad also served.Signed up as soon as he graduated high school in 1943. He passed when I was 13 and I never really got the chance to find out what it was like for him or if he’d even talk about it. Like your dad, he didn’t see combat but due to his aptitude, he taught the tail gunners in the navy fighter planes. which is pretty cool considering his age. I do have my mom’s WW2 ration book which I think is the coolest thing ever. She talked often about life on the home front. Thanks for ranting, uh, I mean visiting today! LOL!
Your dad taught tail gunners? Very cool, Kelly! My husband and I toured the Wings of Freedom WWII planes a couple summers ago. I’m fascinated by all the history. So intriguing!
What a wonderful story, Kathy. A great kick-off for a novel! =) Thanks for stopping by to share!
I love historical fiction and my period of iterest in American history is from whn this country was first being settles by Europeans until after WW
My favorite period of history for our country and the world is anything before WW2.
Hi Vivian, Welcome back to Romancing History. I’m with you 100%. After WW2 is so modern I lose interest. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Vivian! Thanks for dropping by to comment. I love American history during that time period too! =)
I like to read historic Christian fiction set in most eras, but I think my favorite is settling the Midwest. Maybe that is because I can relate somewhat to that time and p lace. Ancestors of mine were early settlers to Wisconsin. Hmm, some of my ancestors settled in the early colonies also. I still like the mid 1800s better.
Hi Bonnie, thanks for visiting Romancing History today! I think it was the Little House TV show that set my heart a flutter for history. I used to sit on the back of our sofa and pretend it was the seat of a Conestoga Wagon. LOL! Well, I am a self-proclaimed history nerd girl after all! Best of luck in the drawing!Q
I’m with you, my friend! =)
So good to see you here, Bonnie! You know I love that time period and the Midwest! Such a hard time, but people were so full of courage and grit! Love it!
My favorite historical time period to read about is the Civil War. I suppose growing up in the south with the Chickamauga Battlefield five minutes from home developed an interest in that era of history. Your book sounds so interesting, Cynthia and I look forward to reading it. I’m praying for you daily.
Hi Deena, Thanks for stopping by.We just visited the Chikamauga Battlefield in April along with the battlefield in Franklin, TN. Those are the first two battlefields I’ve visited south of Virginia. Good luck in the drawing!
Thank you so much, Deena! I appreciate the prayers. How neat that you lived so close to a Civil War site. That would definitely stir one’s interest! I hope you’ll be blessed by Drew and Caroline’s story!
Historical Christian fiction is my favorite genre to read. My two favorite periods of American history are the Civil War and WWII. These are two key time periods in our American history that drastically shaped our nation. I like reading Historical fiction about these two time periods as it brings history to life in a way I can better understand than a text book. I feel that I can vicariously invest in the characters lives, and experience what it was like to live during this significant times of our nations history.
Beyond These War-Torn Lands sounds like such an intriguing book! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of it!
Hi Alison! I like the way you read. =) Those are two of my favorite time periods to read about as well. Beyond These War-Torn Lands is steeping in history and has characters you can latch onto, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Cynthia, and don’t forget to mention some really twists, too!
Thanks, Kelly! =)
My dad is a retired Marine Corps pilot and served in Vietnam. That is an era that is very sad & challenging to read about, but since he and my Uncle both served during that war, it interests me greatly.
I really enjoy Christian fiction books set in the Civil War time period, and look forward to reading yours!
Hi Traci, Welcome to Romancing History! What a blessing to find you here! There isn’t a lot of Vietnam fiction. Its still stuck in that gap between historical (before 1960) and contemporary. The Civil War is one of my favorite time periods to read and learn about.
Thank you, Traci! I hope you’ll be blessed by it! Yes. The Vietnam War was a sad time in history. I’m glad you have your dad and uncle to help you experience what they went through. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Alison, thanks for stopping by today! I’m not sure there is a period of American history I don’t enjoy reading about but the Civil War era is probably a favorite. I live in Virginia and we are so close to so many battlefields, both large and small. Good luck in the drawing!
One of the reasons I like to read about American History, and the Civil War era is I feel I can understand more about it belatedly, since I grew up in Paraguay, South America, daughter of Christian missionaries, where my parents ministered to the national people, and reached a number of Indian tribes. Because of this, I grew up knowing more about Paraguay’s history, other cultures, and am tri-lingual. So, now that I’ve been in the USA for quite a few years, wife of a minister in Montana, I feel like I have been “catching up” with reading more about American History, which I thoroughly enjoy doing, especially about WWII, as well, since my Dad was a veteran, and was on the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. . . Thanks for the opportunity to enter a giveaway! Would love to win a print copy! To know more about me, or see the cover for my new harp CD, go to: http://www.facebook.com/LualOKrautter
What an interesting background you have, Lual. And I didn’t know you played the harp! Thanks for stopping by to enter and share some of your story. Blessings!
I enjoy World War 2 books and also books centered on the time when trains were the main transportation.
Hi Nicole, Welcome to Romancing History. WW2 is a great era to read about. Thanks for visiting today!
Hi, Nicole! Yes. There is something romantic and nostalgic about trains and that time period! I also enjoy WWII novels. Thanks for stopping by to enter.