Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

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A Case of Mistaken Identity

Most history buffs are familiar with Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America. But did you know about the other Jefferson Davis during the Civil War?

Jefferson C. Davis was a regular officer for the Union Army and is most noted for killing a superior officer in 1862. Davis served with distinction during the Mexican-American war and was held in high regard when the Civil War erupted. His leadership in early battles like Pea Ridge in Arkansas saw Davis quickly promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

News of the shooting was covered in newspapers throughout the North and South.

Not long after, in September 1862, he was assigned to General William “Bull” Nelson in Louisville, Kentucky. Nelson grew increasingly dissatisfied with Davis’ performance and allegedly insulted him in front of fellow officers. A boisterous argument ensued and shortly thereafter. Witness claim that Nelson slapped Davis. Davis demanded an apology from his commanding officer and when one was not forth coming, he borrowed a pistol from a friend and fatally shot General Nelson. Davis did not try to escape and was temporarily taken into custody but was released in October of 1862 with his paperwork citing a lack of  available officers to hold a proper trial. Davis walked away and returned to duty as if nothing ever happened.

Mistaken Identify

About a year later, during the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, Davis’s shared name finally caused confusion on the battlefield. One evening, near Horseshoe Ridge, skirmishes between the Union and Confederate armies continued as the light of day drew dim. That’s when the Union’s 21st Ohio volunteer regiment noticed a large group of men advancing toward them. While most assumed they were Union reinforcements a few were suspicious and one soldier called out seeking identification. The returning reply was “Jeff Davis’ troops.” The Federals, now feeling assured that the approaching men were fellow Union soldiers, were shocked when guns were suddenly pointed at them and they were ordered to surrender by the 7th Regiment Florida infantry.

And that’s how a simple case of mistaken identity caused a portion of the Union’s 21st Ohio regiment to surrender during a conflict the Confederates would eventually win.

Your turn: Do you know a story of mistaken identity? If so, please share in the comments below.

 

7 Little Known Facts from America’s Early Years

As a history buff, I love a good story or an interestingly odd fact from the past. Here are seven snippets I’ve discovered about life in 17th and 18th century America!

1) Wall Street, or “de Waalstraat” in the original Dutch, received its name in 1644, when a wall was constructed around lower Manhattan to protect cattle from marauding Indians. During the 17th century, Wall street was also a market for slave trading and the site of Federal Hall, the city’s first government center.

2) Margaret James, of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was the first person convicted of witchcraft in America. She was executed on June 15, 1648, nearly 50 years before the beginning of the Salem witch trials.

3) The first Bible printed in America was printed in 1663—in the Algonquin language. John Eliot, a pastor in Roxbury, Massachusetts, learned the dialect in the hopes of developing a written language to evangelize the Algonquin people. The book, which became known as “Eliot’s Indian Bible,” took more than ten years to translate into the Natick dialect of the Algonquin people. Eliot was assisted by John Sassmon, a member of the local tribe, whose ability to speak and write English proved invaluable to the project.

4) For wearing silk clothes, which were above their station, thirty young men were arrested in 1675 in New England. Thirty-eight women were arrested  for the same offense in Connecticut.

5) The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was inspired by a Puritan law against adultery passed in 1695. The law required people convicted of the offense to wear a letter “A” on a conspicuous part of their clothing for the remainder of their lives. Adulterers were also liable to receive a severe whipping of forty lashes and were required to sit on the gallows with chains about their necks for at least an hour. Harsh as these penalties were, only a few years earlier the punishment for adultery was execution.

6) In 17th and 18th century America, it was customary to provide funeral guests with gifts such as a black scarf, a pair of black gloves,  or a mourning ring. One Boston minister noted that he possessed several hundred rings and pairs of black gloves. During the Revolutionary War the custom of giving scarves and gloves was abandoned since the items could no longer be imported. Instead, people began using black armbands as a sign of mourning.

7) Poor Richard’s Almanack was a yearly publication by Benjamin Franklin who wrote under the pseudonym of “Poor Richard.” The publication circulated continually from 1732 to 1758 with print runs over 10,000 per year, and contained a mixture of household hints, puzzles seasonal weather forecasts and “other amusements.” Poor Richard’s Almanack was also known for witty phrases, some of which you might recognize today.

  • “He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.”
  • “Men & Melons are hard to know.”
  • “God works wonders now & then; Behold! A Lawyer an honest Man!”
  • “Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.”
  • “Fish & Visitors stink in 3 days.”
  • “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”

Your turn. Which of these historical tidbits tickled your fancy?

Author Interview & Giveaway with Misty M. Beller

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Misty M. Beller to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Misty online. Misty was one of the earliest authors to read my first couple of chapters “when I thought” the manuscript was ready for publication. She gave me invaluable advice that we laugh about now like “you should have your H&H (hero & heroine) meet before chapter nine! LOL!

Misty writes romantic mountain stories set on the 1800s frontier woven with the truth of God’s love. Her most recent novel, A Warriors Heart, released August 31st, and is the first book in her Brides of Laurent series, her second with Bethany House Publishers. Before we chat with Misty, here’s a little bit about Misty and her new book.


About Misty

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

You can find Misty on her website, BookBub, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Facebook.


About the Book

Her heart longs for peace, but peace won’t keep them safe.

Brielle Durand is still haunted by the massacre that killed her mother a dozen years before. Vowing to never let it happen again, she’s risen to be the key defender for her people’s peace-loving French settlement living in hidden caves in the Canadian Rockies. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret home, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. But now, what to do with this man who insists he can be trusted?

Hoping to escape past regrets, Evan MacManus ventured into the unknown, assigned to discover if the northern mountains contain an explosive mineral that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on his promise to his government or take a risk on where his heart is leading him? Either choice will cause harm to someone.

Brielle and Evan must reconcile the warring in their hearts to have any hope of finding peace for their peoples.

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Interview with Misty M. Beller

Fast Five

  1. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Definitely Colin Firth! I grew up memorizing the BBC version. I’ll admit that parts of the 2005 version are slightly more accurate to the book, but Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy to me.
  2. Dogs or Cats? Depends on the day and which of the animals has been bad lately, but usually dogs. 
  3. Dark or Milk chocolate? Either! Both!
  4. Kindle, Audiobook, or Paperback? Definitely audiobook.  I don’t get to sit still and read very often.
  5. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music. Such a great classic!

Author Q & A

RH: I’m very happy to tell you that you answered #1 above correctly. It would  have been an embarrassingly poor start to our conversation otherwise. (LOL!) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write?

MB: I’ve always been an avid reader, but didn’t attempt to write my first real book until 2013. Though that first book was supposed to be a one-time check-off on the bucket list, I realized I really love writing! I’m currently working on book #32. All are Christian historical romance, and most are set in the Rocky Mountains. I realized early on I love those adventurous stories in remote settings with strong heroines and mountain man heroes.

RH: Wow, 32 books? I can’t even….I’m not sure I’ve read them all but I know I’ve read most of them and enjoy your rugged mountain heroes! Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

MB: Oh boy. It seems like my life stays in the unusual category these days! I’m a wife and mom of four kiddos, with one more unexpected little one on the way (she’ll be joining us in November). We just moved last week to the family farm, and it’s wonderful to be back within walking distance of Grandma’s house and all the cousins. We’re in temporary quarters though. Until our permanent home is ready, all six of us (and soon to be seven) are tucked in an RV. Definite bonding time!

RH: Seven people in one RV? That’s not quirky, it’s crazy! LOL! I hope that there are no delays finishing your home. Writing historical romance in a cancel culture world can be very challenging. Have you been tempted to shy away from specific time periods or plotlines out of concern that that the subject matter might offend readers?

MB: This is a really interesting question, and definitely one that’s affected me, though I haven’t really shared my thoughts with readers. I don’t generally like to shy away from settings or characters because of the way our culture views them today. I love history and try to stay as true to the setting as I can. I also firmly believe that no group of people should be judged as a whole on their general reputation. People are individuals, and there are good and bad in every race and time period. I work hard to portray that clearly through my characters.

However, I’ve definitely experienced situations recently where my books portraying certain races aren’t accepted by some of publishing’s gatekeepers, either because I’m not the same race as the characters, or because there’s so much hesitation about how today’s culture would view them. It’s sad that the push to be more “fair” has created the opposite effect so many times.

RH: I really like what you said about good and being found in all races. I think I’d add in all individuals. We see historical figures being discredited for their positive contributions because of beliefs or actions that weren’t uncommon in their era. That doesn’t mean we should excuse it, but we also can’t judge people by modern sensibilities that didn’t exist when they lived. I better move on or I’ll be permanently on my soap box! What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

MB: Hmm… Maybe the dialogue. Growing up, my older brother was my best friend, and he’s kind a quiet guy. I find that I draw many of my male character traits from him.

RH: I think dialogue is tough. I have a critique partner that is great at pointing out dialogue she thinks doesn’t ring true. Setting is as important to story as character development and plot. You’ve written 32 books all set in the Rocky Mountains. What about these rugged and somewhat untamed peaks has captured your imagination? Is this a frequent travel destination for your family or perhaps somewhere you’d like to retire?

MB: There’s something about the mountains, especially the Rockies, that really speaks to my soul. The majesty of them is inspiring and seems to draw me closer to God. There’s a quote in A Warrior’s Heart that kind of sums up what I have trouble describing sometimes.

RH: Although I’ve only seen the fringe of the Rockies at Pike’s Peak, Colorado, I also love the mountains! You are a successful self-published and traditionally published author. Do you have a favorite character, book, or series among your titles?

MB: Oh, boy. That’s almost like trying to pick a favorite kid. There are a few that stand out, like Leah and Gideon from The Lady and the Mountain Man (book 1 in The Mountain Series). Also, Simeon and Emma from This Treacherous Journey (book 6 in that same series. But now I’m feeling bad that I haven’t mentioned all the others. Each character and book and series are so unique and special to me in different ways.

RH: That was kind of mean of me to make you choose, wasn’t it? I have to say I’m rather fond of Caleb Jackson from Courage in the Mountain Wilderness (Book #4 in your Call of the Rockies series). What was the inspiration behind your latest release, A Warrior’s Heart?

MB: Several different things, but the main idea came when I was listening to a historical podcast a few years ago that talked about the Vikings and the female warriors who would sometimes gain fame among them. As the hosts talked about the first Viking raids to North America, I started thinking… “What if one of those groups went farther west than any of us thought? What if they found the Canadian Rockies and lived there in a hidden community for centuries?” The thought took hold, and little by little, the idea for the Brides of Laurent series came to life. I eventually changed the village to be a French settlement named Laurent.

RH:I love how ideas come out of nowhere and stir in your imagination. Can you relay a historical tidbit that you learned while researching A Warrior’s Heart?

MB: The explosion I refer to in the book is similar to an atomic bomb, though probably not that large. Even before the War of 1812, scientists were learning the unusual radioactive capabilities of the mineral they called Pitchblende, which we know today as Urananite. While they didn’t have the official names for what the mineral could do, the way the radioactive crystals would glow in the dark made it fascinating, even for the elite who wore Pitchblende crystals as glow-in-the-dark jewels.

RH: That’s fascinating. I’ve never heard about that before. Do you have a favorite quote from A Warrior’s Heart you’d like to share?

MB: There are a few that jump out. Which one is your favorite?

  • She studied him with a hostility he’d certainly not earned. He was the one who’d been shot, by saints. It was high time he regained the upper hand, even if his own were still bound.
  • With his kiss, he made a promise to her. No matter what happened, he would keep her safe. He would defend this woman who spent her life defending those around her. Even if that meant protecting her from himself and the mission he was beginning to loathe.
  • He raised his face to the heavens and clamped his jaw shut to keep from shouting at God. Brielle was out in the storm, probably dying, and God wanted him to do nothing except pray? Lord, have you lost your senses?

RH: I’m a romantic at heart so I definitely like the second quote best. Gives me goosebumps. What are you working on now?

MB: Book 3 in the series! The heroine is Charlotte, Brielle’s younger sister, and it’s been so much fun getting to know this grown-up spunky version of her!

RH: Well, that will be something to look forward, too. I had so much fun chatting with you, Misty. I can’t believe we haven’t done this sooner. Thanks for visiting with my readers today and best wishes for success with your new book release!


Giveaway**

**This giveawy is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Cherie J!

Misty has graciously offered a copy of any one of her previous books to one Romancing History visitor—Winner’s Choice! To enter, tell us which of the quotes above from A Warrior’s Heart is the most intriguing to you.

**Giveaway ends midnight, September 15th, 2021.

 

Why I Write Historical Romance

When folks find out I’m an author the next question I’m asked is usually, “What do you write?” And when I respond, “historical romance,” the reaction is often a mixed bag. Many folks get hives at the thought of all those names and dates they had to memorize in high school. I’m assuming since you subscribe to this blog, that you’re not in that category.

I suppose the simple answer would be, I write what I love. But, the questions remains, why history?

Considering my high school American history teacher, Mr. Beard, rarely spoke to us, opting instead to give us worksheet after worksheet with the occasional historical film tossed in to mix it up, it’s a wonder I enjoy the subject. Not only that, I actually have my B.S. Social Studies Education from Messiah College and my M.Ed. in History Education from Penn State. Despite Mr. Beard’s attempt to make me loathe his class, I’ve only become more passionate about the subject.

As Long as I Can Remember, I’ve Loved History

 

Vintage Photo Collage–© Marsia16 Dreamstime.com

But I suspect my love for history began fermenting as a child when I tuned in each week to share the joys and struggles of the Walton family during the Great Depression or to watch Laura’s adventures on Little House on the Prairie. I slept in my night cap, had a slate and chalk to play school with, and even pretended to tote my lunch in a tin pail. When mom wasn’t looking, I donned my yellow, calico bonnet and sat on the back of the couch pretending it was the seat of our Conestoga wagon as we crossed the prairie through the Dakota Territory.

I’ve always enjoyed my paternal grandfather’s stories about our ancestors. He could regale us for hours with poems from his childhood or tales of life growing up on the Criste farm in Cresson, Pennsylvania. I remember staring wide-eyed when I’d learned that my maternal ancestors had been fur trappers and whisky runners on the Pennsylvania frontier during the French and Indian War. I loved the pictures of my father smiling proudly in his WWII naval uniform as well as the hats, spats and gloved hands in my grandparents wedding photos. From hat pins to war medals to my  mother’s worn and faded WWII ration book, I was captivated.

Dean Butler and Melissa Gilbert as Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls from NBC’s Little House on the Prairie

Then one September night in 1979, Laura Ingalls peered lovingly into Almanzo Wilder’s eyes and called him “Manly” and I’d discovered something new—historical romance. However, it wasn’t until my sister introduced me to Love Comes Softly, nearly twenty-five years later, that I knew Christian historical romance existed as a genre. Not only did I devour the entire LCS series, but everything that Janette Oke had written. I quickly moved on to other authors and before long found myself lost in their story worlds.

It’s been a love affair ever since.

It seems as though I’ve always been wondering, always dreaming about what it might have been like to live “back then” whenever “then” might have been. Inspired by my youngest son, I decided to tinker with storytelling myself. It wasn’t long before my secret hobby became a God-given passion.

While I love dragging my family to museums and battlefields, I fully acknowledge I wouldn’t truly want to live then (although a short stint on a historical reality show might be cool to try). Writing historical romance allows me to ponder bygone eras and visit all those place I wonder about — a medieval castle, Civil War battlefields, a Regency estate, or a wagon train on the Oregon trail — all from the comfort of my twenty-first century home.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed

Congratulations to our winner, June Jacobs.

I’m giving away a paper copy of Homefront Heroines to one Romancing History reader. Homefront Heroines is a WWII novella collection from Johnnie Alexander, Amanda Barratt, Lauaralee Bliss, and Rita Gerlach. To enter, tell me your favorite historical site, museum, or battlefield in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, September 8, 2021.**

Frontier Secrets & A Giveaway

About the Book

Christian Historical Romance

Paperback & eBook, 288 Pages

Released August 24, 2021, Love Inspired Historical


A woman seeking a new future.

A cowboy with a shadowed past.

Untamed Wyoming is nothing like polished, restrictive Chicago—that’s why Ellie Marshall likes it. On her uncle’s ranch, she’s free. Free to practice her calling in medicine. Free to finally connect with her uncle. Free to explore her feelings for mysterious cowboy Rhett Callaway. In this strange place, Rhett is her constant—the one she trusts to help and protect her…especially when sinister machinations on the ranch come to light.

But will Rhett’s murky past drive him away just when Ellie needs him most?

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     CBD

 


Excerpt, Frontier Secrets

“I never asked where you grew up.”

He kept his eyes averted as he continued to work. “Are you asking now?”

“Yes.”

“We live around Cheyenne until I was eight. Then we moved southeast.” Backing away, Rhett peered at the sky. “It’s late. I need to return you to the ranch before your uncle worries.”

He needed to? His choice of words struck her, reminding her that she now lived in a different place where people took the law into their own hands. If her uncle believed for one moment that Rhett had insulted her, he wouldn’t hesitate to string up his newest worker.

“Let’s hurry, then.” Ellie leaped down from the back of the wagon. And soon they were on their way. But for the remainder of the drive, she couldn’t help but think she knew so little about the man seated next to her. Yes, he was courageous, strong and a hard worker, but what did she really know about him?

What secrets did he carry that he was unwilling—or unable—to share?


About the Author

What do you get when you cross an army brat, a police record and an opera singer? You would get Anna Zogg. She has been surrounded by those in the military (father, four siblings, husband, and son), she was an exchange student in Denmark (when police records were mandatory) and she trained as a vocal major in college. With such a diverse background, she couldn’t help but become a writer.

Anna has long been fascinated by the west–ranch life, horses and the tough men and women who tamed it. Ever drawn to her Native American roots, she and her husband settled in the Pacific Northwest. They love majestic mountains, vast oceans, high deserts and towering pines.

Website     GoodReads     BookBub     Facebook     Instagram


 Giveaway**

**This Giveaway is now closed.**

Congratulations to our winner, Perrianne Askew!!

I’m giving away a print copy of Frontier Secrets to one lucky Romancing History winner. To enter comment below and tell me what you think Rhett’s secret might be? (If you actually know, don’t tell us!)
**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, September 1st.**

Coming Home to Mercy & a Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Books


About the Book

Christian Historical Romance

Paperback & ebook, 251 Pages

August 17, 2021 by Scrivenings Press LLC

 

A society woman leaves her comfortable lifestyle so that she can help her daughter adjust to the arrival of twin sons in a small town where the courageous doctor teaches her about taking risks.

Wealthy and sociable Margaret Millerson has always thought of her brother’s Chicago mansion as her home. But when she receives the telephone call that her daughter has given birth to twins three weeks ahead of the expected due date, Margaret must leave her comfortable home, her family, and her friends to travel out of state. While she is helping her daughter care for the infants, Margaret becomes reacquainted with the town’s doctor, Matthew Kaldenberg.

Dr. Matthew Kaldenberg stays busy caring for the health of the citizens of his small town. His profession offers him daily practice in defeating death, his greatest enemy. During the twenty years since losing his own wife and baby in childbirth, Matthew has saved his money for the purchase of a flying machine. But when Matthew takes Margaret for flights on his biplane, he learns that his dreams of rising above the griefs and losses of his past come with a cost. He doesn’t want to lose the trust of the people he cares about most, or the chance at a relationship with Margaret.

Both Matthew and Margaret must make difficult decisions to hold on to the love they have discovered. Will Matthew’s heart recover from sorrow? Will Margaret find her true home?

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Excerpt, Coming Home to Mercy

 

Karen’s mouth hung open at the news.

A grin stretched across Logan’s face. “That’s good news. Congratulations.” He came over and shook Matthew’s hand.

Matthew nodded. At least Logan approved of this venture. Maybe convincing him of the necessity of repairs to the biplane would prove easier than he thought.

“You … you … and the doctor.” Karen had found her voice and now tried to comprehend the facts.

“Yes, my dear,” Margaret answered with a calm confidence.

“Does this mean you are thinking of getting married again?” Karen crossed her arms as a hint of hostility crept into her voice.

Margaret smoothed the bed covers. “We haven’t gotten that far yet. But if we do, I wouldn’t make such a large decision without consulting you and Julia.”

Karen relaxed a tiny degree.

“Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go home and check on the twins.” Logan went to her and settled his hands on her shoulders.

She allowed him to usher her out of the room, leaving Matthew alone with his unpredictable and enchanting patient. He settled on the edge of the bed and took her hands in his.

“What made you change your mind?”

“I feel safe with you. The truth occurred to me as we crouched together on the wing of your plane while we hung onto that tree for dear life.” She laughed softly but then grew serious again. “You’d never let anything dangerous happen to me. You’d do whatever you had to do to protect me. It’s enough for me.” She reached up and smoothed the hair that had long ago fallen over his forehead.


About the Author

 

Michelle De Bruin grew up in Southern Iowa and graduated from Eddyville High School. These beautiful memories of childhood spent on her family’s farm are the inspiration to the setting in the books of the Tomorrow series.

After high school, Michelle received an Associate’s Degree in Office Management from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. She returned to the family farm and later married Tom De Bruin.

Tom and Michelle and their two teenage sons, Mark and John, live in Pella where Michelle works as the Spiritual Services Facilitator for Christian Opportunity Center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and in Religion with a Christian Ministries emphasis from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

In 2015, Michelle began writing and joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) where she discovered that the stories she wrote for fun might actually amount to something. She finished her manuscript for Hope for Tomorrow and eventually found a home for it with a small publisher of Christian fiction.

Characters that bring to life the delights of farm and small town living, whispers of Dutch heritage, and Christian faith make Michelle’s stories distinct.

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Rafflecopter Giveaway

One winner will receive a copy of Coming Home to Mercy (print if US, eBook if outside the US) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally).

ENTER HERE

To Write a Wrong Book Review & Giveaway

About the Book


Title:  To Write a Wrong
Series Info: Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency Book #2
Author: Jen Turano
Genre:Historical Romance

Book Info: (Bethany House Publishers, August 3rd, 2021, 364 pages


Blurb

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

Amazon     B&N     Christian Book


My Thoughts

I’ve been looking forward to the second installment of The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency as soon as I was introduced to Daphne Beekman as a secondary character in the previous book of this series, To Steal a Heart. Daphne is a writer of mysteries who pens her stories as Montague Morland because it was considered quite unseemly for a woman to be a novelist, especially in that genre during the Gilded Age.

Daphne is my kind of heroine. From her typewriter she named Almira (because I name all my cars and other favorite gadgets), to her love of the written word (self-explanatory), not to mention she detests the morning physical fitness routine the inquiry agents are participating in to improve their stamina so they can peruse culprits who might be able to overpower them (I don’t like to sweat). Unlike Daphne, I’m not prone to swooning in the face of danger. Though truth-be-told, I haven’t really been put to the test.  I know the wit and cleverness hiding beneath her timid exterior will endear her to every reader.

Turano wrote the perfect hero for Daphne as well. Enter Herman Henderson, a well known writer of adventure stories whose private life is rather dull in his opinion—until he meets Daphne. When Herman hires The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to discover who is trying to kill him, Daphne and Herman’s paths become intertwined. Herman wound himself around my heart as soon as he entered the story. He is a quiet, mild-mannered and utterly charming hero who manages to save Daphne from more than one troublesome situation she lands herself in. Herman is a true gentleman that is very worthy of Daphne and the witty banter between the two was engaging and kept me turning the pages.

Like most of Turano’s books, the reader is hit with a subtle yet powerful message about the limited choices women had during the Gilded Age. Several of the female characters, including Daphne, felt powerless against men who believed they could control them. Not family members, but men who insisted on marrying or taking liberties with the ladies, without their consent. Men who thought the ladies should consider themselves lucky to have their attention. I like how Daphne, and the other ladies to a lesser extent, stood up for themselves. They were able to see the facade these men showed the public and refused to be swayed by power, wealth, or position.

As with all Jen Turano books, I smiled, shook my head at the unbelievable antics of her quirky characters, and at times just laughed out loud. To Write a Wrong is another lovely gem in Jen Turano’s crown as the Queen of the Christian historical Rom-Com.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, but wasn’t required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“You’ve annoyed me several times already and we’ve only just met.”

“My nerves seem to become less questionable when I’m in disguise.”

“Honestly, Daphne, maybe I should consider holding these lessons later in the day because clearly your mind is a scary place to visit first thing in the morning.”

“And here’s when I feel compelled to point out that you do indeed possess an adventurous spirit, because racing after a woman is an adventure if there ever was one.”

“…at times she longed to share her love of the written word with someone who loved words as well, someone who wouldn’t mock her for choosing a profession that wasn’t considered acceptable for women…”


About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

She can be found on Facebook, Instagram or visit her on the web . She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.


Giveaway**

**This Giveaway is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Rochelle!

I’m giving away a Kindle copy of To Write a Wrong to one lucky Romancing History visitor. Previously, I’ve asked you about your favorite among Jen’s many noteworthy heroines. This time, let’s chat about those heroes. Who stands out as a favorite for you?

 **This giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, August 18, 2021.**

The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga

Image Courtesy of Library of Congress

Every now and then I stumble on some little footnote of history that absolutely fascinates me. This summer while on vacation, my husband and I toured the Chickamauga Battlefield and learned about a young soldier named Joseph Klem. And, by young, I mean very young. During the Battle of Chicamauga, Klem, who was now known as “Johnny Clem,” was a mere 12 years old.

Our story begins in May of 1861 when little Joseph, age 9, ran away from his home in Ohio to sign up with the Union Army only to find out the Federal Army (3rd Ohio Regiment) wasn’t in the business of  “enlisting infants.” Determined to find his place, Clem approached the commander of the 22nd Michigan and was again rebuffed. Undeterred, Clem tagged after the regiment acting out the role of a drummer boy. His persistence paid off and Clem was allowed to remain with the unit performing various camp duties for which he was paid $13 a month. Since he was not officially enlisted in the Union Army, Clem’s salary was paid collectively by the regiment’s officers.

John Lincoln Clem, Facts

Image courtesy of American History Central

In April of the following year, Clem’s drum was struck by an artillery round during the Battle of Shiloh. This garnered the boy some minor attention from the press who dubbed him “Johnny Shiloh, The Smallest Drummer.” Not long after, Clem was officially enrolled in the Federal Army, received his own pay, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant—the youngest non-commissioned officer in U.S. Army history at the unbelievable age of 12.

But it wasn’t until September of 1863 that young Johnny came to national attention. During the Battle of Chickamauga, he joined the 22nd Michigan in the defense of Horseshoe Ridge wielding a musket that had been sawed down to his size. As the Rebels surrounded Union forces, a Confederate officer is reported to have shouted at Clem, “Surrender you damned little Yankee devil!” Johnny stood his ground and shot the colonel dead. This demonstration of fortitude earned Clem national recognition and the moniker, “The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga.”

Following the Civil War and a failed attempt to attend West Point, Clem made a personal appeal to President Ulysses S. Grant, his commanding general at Shiloh, for an appointment to the Regular Army. On December 18, 1871, Clem became a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army and in 1903 he attained the rank of Colonel and served as Assistant Quartermaster General. After 55 years, Clem retired from the Army as a Major General in 1916—last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the U.S. Army.

General Clem, The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga, died in San Antonio, Texas on May 13, 1937, exactly 3 months shy of his 86th birthday. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I love nerdy history snippets like this? Had you heard of  The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga before reading this post?

Beyond These War-Torn Lands by Cynthia Roemer & a Giveaway

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.

Here’s why:

The Monocacy River, Maryland

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!

Giveaway**

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.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 4th**

Perilous Beauty

From the Harvard Art Museum collection: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, circa 1750

Unlike the tanned skin I desired in the 1980s, throughout much of history, pale skin was considered the highest standard of beauty. A woman with porcelain skin announced to the world that she came from wealth and privilege and didn’t  have to work in the fields like a common peasant.

However, many who sought a prized alabaster complexion unwittingly poisoned themselves with a lead based make-up paste known as ceruse that was mixed with vinegar. The paste would be applied to their skin in an even layer with a damp cloth. Oftentimes, the paste was mixed with egg whites to make it last longer. Because hygiene regiments weren’t exactly the same standard as today, it would be common for the ceruse paste to remain on a woman’s skin for weeks at a time. The egg whites would stiffen against their skin, so smiling was strictly off limits as the egg white had a tendency to crack.

Beginning in the 1500s, wealthy women used ceruse to lighten their skin. Made with white lead, ceruse was also used in making paint. It was highly toxic to humans and often caused skin irritations and insomnia, the evidence of which would be hidden by, you guessed it, applying more ceruse paste. Women who wore the toxic make-up often suffered from lead poisoning with symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and kidney issues to cardiovascular and nervous system troubles, muscle pain, and even hearing loss. Wearers often lost their eyebrows and compensated by applying fake ones made from moose fur.

Ceruse was still available in France throughout the 1700s. While American women of the same time period also esteemed pale skin, they typically wore less makeup than their European counterparts. There is no evidence that American women applied ceruse to their faces.

Maria Gunning, Countess of Coventry; Wallace Collection London

But ceruse wasn’t the only toxin women of the era applied to their skin. Cinnabar, known today as mercury sulfide, was a pigment used for painting pottery and would be applied to the cheeks as rouge to give women a healthy, rosy appearance. Wearers often suffered neurological disorders, emotional problems, and peeling skin. The latter causing the afflicted to apply even more makeup to cover up the skin irritation.

England’s Queen Elizabeth I used ceruse to hide her facial scars after contracting small pox. Prolonged use of the poisonous paste is generally believed to have caused her death in 1603. Renowned for her beauty, Maria Gunning, the famed countess of Coventry, also wore ceruse regularly. As it gradually ate away at her skin, she wore even more. She died of lead and mercury poisoning in 1760 at the tender age of twenty-seven.

While it can be easy to judge these cosmetic rituals of the past as preposterous, ore even farcical, many people today turn to injections of Botox, botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. Botox paralyses facial muscles to diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Use of these products could cause respiratory failure and death. Some studies show a link between these injected toxins and autoimmune diseases, yet according to industry data, more than 6 million Botox treatments are administered each year.

Perhaps we still haven’t learned our lesson.

Join the conversation: What crazy beauty regimens (hopefully not toxic ones) do you subscribe to?

 

 

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