Hi all! It is a blessing to bring Cynthia Roemer back today to introduce to you her hero of Beyond Wounded Hearts, Luke Gallagher. I’ve known Cynthia for a long time now, and it has been a blessing to watch her walk through writing and a continuing cancer journey. She is a woman who always glorifies and points back to God. I highly recommend all of her books (which you can check out through the link in her bio at the end) and pray you will get to be an encouragement to her. (Prayers for her cancer journey are always welcomed too!).
So before I introduce you to Luke, let me introduce you to Beyond Wounded Hearts.
They were North and South ~ Faithful and Faithless
After suffering disabling burns during the fall of Richmond, Adelaide Hanover awakens in a hospital alone and destitute, escalating her already stanch hatred for Yankees. When the Union soldier who freed her from the rubble begins paying her visits, she wants nothing to do with him … or his faith. Yet, his persistent kindness penetrates her resolve and forges a much-needed friendship. But after a dangerous man threatens Addie, she flees Richmond, intent on solving the mystery to her aunt’s dying wish before he does. Haunted by a tragic failure in his past, Corporal Luke Gallagher takes Adelaide’s plight on as his own. Though his strong beliefs collide with his growing feelings for her, he offers his family’s home as a place to convalesce. Adelaide’s initial rejection, followed by her sudden willingness to accept his benevolence, hints there’s more to the decision than a mere change of heart. When trouble follows her, endangering her safety, as well as his family’s, Luke must lay his life and his convictions on the line to save them.
Now for our interview with Luke.
CC: I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my readers, Luke. Would you mind telling them a little bit about yourself?
LG: Hi. I’m Luke Gallagher. I’m what Cynthia Roemer calls “the hero”, though it’s hard for me to consider myself a hero. I’m more a simple man of faith who makes his living from the soil. Right now, though, I’m a Union soldier just itching to get home.
CC: I find it’s the everyday man who is my favorite hero. So let’s start with diving deep. Don’t hate me, but . . . What is your biggest struggle? Your biggest fear?
LG: Whoa. I’d have to say my biggest struggle is dealing with guilt. When I was younger, I had this friend named Jacob, you see. We were best buds from the time we could romp together in the woods or pull girl’s pigtails at school. We shared everything. Everything but faith.
When I was eleven, I became a Christian. I took seriously my relationship with the Lord. But somehow, I never got around to sharing that with Jacob. He came from a different sort of family than me–one on the wilder side. I figured he’d laugh at me, so I kept my faith to myself.
Then one day, when we were thirteen, Jacob had this crazy notion of building a raft and floating it down the river. I wasn’t keen on the idea. Especially since the river was running high from recent rains. But I went along with the idea. Once we had the raft built, we shoved it in, poles in hand. We figured we could stick close to the banks and dock a mile or two downstream. What we didn’t know was just how strong the current was.
The raft wasn’t strong enough to withstand the push of the river. It busted into pieces within a few hundred feet of where we’d shoved off. I found a branch to grab onto, but Jacob was swept further downstream. Him being a poor swimmer, he was sucked under and drown.
I shouldered the guilt of his passing for years to come. But mostly, I blamed myself for his soul being lost. I should have shared my faith with him when I had the chance. So I guess my biggest fear became thinking God wouldn’t accept me because I’d failed to do His bidding.
CC: Yikes! That is a heavy burden to bear. So what did you do? How did your feelings of guilt and fear impact your life?
LG: At first, I bottled those feelings inside. But, the older I got, I figured if I was ever going to be able to look Jesus in the eye when my day came, I’d better start sharing my faith to make up for my mistake. So I started being intentional about telling others about Jesus. When I joined the Union army, I even gave my sergeant a few not so gentle nudges. And eventually a wayward Confederate soldier. But Adelaide Hanover was my biggest challenge. She held such bitterness in her heart toward God, blamed him for all her struggles. I sent up a lot of prayers on her behalf.
It took my mother’s wisdom to finally bring me to my senses and help me realize I could never work my way into God’s good graces. Jesus paid the price for my sins. There is nothing I could ever do to earn a place in Heaven by my own merits.
CC: That’s a lesson we all can learn from. Tell me more about Adelaide Hanover. Who is she? Why was she so bitter toward God?
LG: I met Adelaide while in Richmond during the Union takeover. My men and I discovered her buried beneath the rubble of a burned building. She was alive, but barely. I carried her to the closest hospital, fearing the worst. Her arms and hands were badly burned. But I was soon to learn her heart was even more scarred.
She’d been through a lot–the loss of her father and brothers, her home, and now her injuries. When I dropped by to see her, I didn’t expect a warm reception, but I was a bit taken aback by her obvious resentment. I figured her being a Southern gal, she wouldn’t take to a Yankee, but I hadn’t figured on her being so opposed to my faith. At one point, she ordered me to leave and never return. I lost sleep over that encounter. By my third or fourth visit, I’d become pretty attached to her. And I didn’t want another person I cared about to suffer Jacob’s fate.
CC: I’m guessing Adelaide softened at some point. What turned things around?
LG: I’m not rightly sure, other than God must have answered my prayers. One day she just welcomed me back. She still got her dander up when I mentioned God, and her intolerance for Yankees hadn’t changed much, but she seemed to soften a bit toward me. Maybe out of pure lonesomeness. She was pretty alone. I think she sort of missed my company.
But that didn’t make her more apt to go along with my offer to help her convalesce. (chuckle) She must have thought me loony to make such a suggestion. In fact, I sort of thought so myself.
CC: Oh? What did you propose?
LG: The hospital she was at was closing, and she had no one to tend to her care, so I suggested she go stay with my mother and sister in New York. That idea went over like a lead balloon. She wanted no part in staying under a Yankee roof.
But, once again, I credit the Lord for softening her heart. Well, there was also this fellow named Simon that kept threatening her. He might have had a hand in her change of mind. Anyhow, she went, and God used that time with my family to speak godly truths into her heart. By the time I returned home from the war, she’d lost her hardened shell. But her troubles weren’t over, and neither were mine.
CC: Hmm. Well, now. That opens a whole new can of worms, so to speak. Shall we leave that for readers to discover on their own by reading your story?
LG: Definitely. All I’ll say is the Lord indeed works in mysterious ways. I never would have dreamed what He had in store.
So readers, I encourage you to go and pick up Beyond Wounded Hearts by Cynthia Roemer. You won’t regret it. In the comments, leave some encouragement for Cynthia so that we can bless her as much as she has been a blessing to me.
Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational, award-winning author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the mid-1800’s prairie and Civil War era. It’s her prayer that her stories will both entertain and encourage readers in their faith. She resides with her husband on their family farm in central Illinois. They have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and one spoiled cat. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com