This is the emotional conclusion of Angela Couch’s Hearts at War Series, one which definitely had me crying happy tears at the end. I’ve never seen a series wrapped up so well and so honestly. Post American Revolution culture didn’t immediately let bygones be bygones. And honestly, even in today’s culture it isn’t realistic, even if it is painted as such in so many books. That is what I love about this story. You see a realistic look at relationships of people who lived and fought on opposite sides. The struggle to come to terms with each other. The struggle to love someone who believes differently than you. Beliefs so different, it was possible to have fought on opposite sides of the battle line. If you haven’t read the other three stories, it is possible to read this one as a stand alone, but you’ll have a great more appreciation for the story if you have. You can check out my review for the other books here: The Scarlet Coat, The Patriot and the Loyalist, and The Tory’s Daughter.
Genre: Historical Romance – Post American Revolution, Mohawk Valley
Overview of Plot:
The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger.
Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing.
With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her.
Favorite Character and Why:
I really loved Myles. His strong adherence to his beliefs, desire to find his family, and struggle to do what’s “right” by Nora really just made him into such a real character.
What I liked:
As always, I love the complex relationships. People who stood on opposite sides of the war (literally) had to come to terms with how they moved forward in this new country. Some decisions were hard but great, others had you yelling at Angela Couch for allowing to happen, but acknowledging the truth of that part of history. (Sorry no spoilers.)
Who would like this:
Those who love the complexities of relationships borne out wartime divisions, stories of hidden identities, and love stories which undergo tension and growth, developing both people into better characters.
*I was provided a copy of this book by the author/publisher. The above opinion is my own and by no means was influenced.*
Fascinated by history and in love with creating fiction, Angela K Couch has been lost in writing novels most of her life. As a passionate believer in Christ, she can’t help her faith from permeating the stories she tells. Often her martial arts training, love of horses, and appreciation for good romance sneaks in there as well.
Sometimes as readers and writers, it is interesting and even helpful to hear from other published authors. Yesterday, you were able to read my review for Angela’s newest release, out this week, The Scarlet Coat. Today, Angela has graciously agreed to join my blog for an interview.
Once you have enjoyed the post, please join her Facebook Release Party. The actual party begins on Thursday, January 27th from 10 AM – 6 PM UTC-07 time (or 12PM to 8PM EST for those who were like me and went, huh?), but you can go ahead and check out a bit about the party and GIVEAWAYS!!! Wahoo!
Welcome, Angela! and thank you so much for agreeing to my quirky author interview. I’ve split my questions into two categories today: Questions about the Story and Questions about Writing.
Questions about The Scarlet Coat
How long have you wanted to write this story?
Not too long. I actually wrote this story as soon as I came up with the idea almost nine years ago! This is one of my first complete manuscripts. But it looked a lot different back then. The original was written in first-person and completely from the heroin’s point of view.
What do you love about The Scarlet Coat? Do you have a favorite scene?
I must say I love him. I loved writing the British officer who can’t remember who he is. I loved (once I added his point of view) letting him discover himself more honestly than he’d ever let himself before. My favorite scene is when his pride gets in the way of his good sense and he tries to leave before he’s able.
Were there any scenes you edited out of this book? Any of them you care to share?
The whole last quarter of the book was completely rewritten when I went back to it a couple years ago. I don’t know what to say about the old end, though, without giving away too much of the new one. 😉
Which character did you identify with most?
Fine, I’ll admit it, Rachel and I share a lot in common. Maybe not in the first draft, but when I went back to this story, I decided I could give one of my heroine’s some of my personality. That’s when she started digging out the huge stump in the garden (I had one in my back yard, too.)
Your cover is beautiful. What was the cover design process like for you? Did you get to have any input?
Thank you! My publisher took care of all that. There were two little things they changed on my suggestion, but otherwise, they did a great job.
What is your biggest hope for your readers as they devour your book?
First, I do hope they devour it…or at least really enjoy it. But as they read, I do hope there moments where they contemplate their own relationship with God and consider His love for each of us.
Questions about Writing:
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe in needing to step back and do more research—whether that consists of real research into the era, or a long hot bath or walk to get the imagination flowing again. At least that’s what works for me.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. Sometimes the story is so exciting and it comes with such ease that energy flows through you. And other times it’s like pulling teeth and drains the life out of you. Thankfully the first is slightly more prevalent. 😉
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Other than buying a laptop that wouldn’t die and dump chunks of a story, my ACFW membership was worth its weight in gold. The resources, contacts, and friends I have made are priceless. Every success I’ve had as a writer can be linked directly to American Christian Fiction Writers.
What did the road to publishing look like for you?
I got my first nibble from a publisher back in 2009, just before I got engaged to my husband. They wanted to publish my book, (a different one) but when they ran the numbers they couldn’t fit it in the 2010 season. In 2011 they closed their doors. I got married and had a baby and didn’t do much writing for about 4 years. Then I felt strongly I needed to get back to work. Only now, I had a 2 year-old and a 9 month-old mama’s girl. I took an evening class in creative writing once a week for a semester and joined ACFW. That next summer I entered my first short story contest and was a finalist. The following (2015) summer, I entered two short story contests and won both! A couple months later I heard back from a small publisher offering me a contract for Her Blue-eyed Brave, (which will hopefully be released in the next year.) A month later I was given the contract for The Scarlet Coat and its sequel, The Patriot and the Loyalist. That has grown to a four book series that I am super excited about!
How have you seen God through writing your novels?
There are moments when I look back on what I just wrote and realize I’m not that good. When the book and characters take me in a direction I’d never imagined or they say something that even gives me pause for thought…that’s when I know I’m not the only one moving my fingers across the keys.
My last but not least question, what advice would you give writer’s just beginning their journey?
Don’t do it alone! There are so many other writers out there who can help you on this journey, and who you can help. There is strength, knowledge, and resources in community. Plus a lot of commiseration and celebration during the highs and lows that come with this business.
Thank you again, Angela, for taking the time for this interview. Readers, don’t forget to join Angela’s Facebook Release Party! I hope to see you there! If you have any questions you want to ask Angela, post them below and I will pass them on and post her answer.
SQUEE!!!! I just finished reading Angela’s latest and I have to shout, I LOVED IT!!!!! SQUEE!!! (Imagine Crystal dancing in circles with the book clutched to her chest.)
If you made it past all my squealing, then it will come as no surprise that The Scarlet Coat is my absolute favorite book from Angela Couch so far!
My favorite part of studying the Revolutionary and Civil Wars is the relationship struggles caused by family, friends, and neighbors taking opposing sides. The Scarlet Coat was the best representation I have seen of the relational side of war.
You immediately become attached to the characters, rooting Rachel on in her disagreements with her brother. Swooning at the restrained moments of affection and love. Shouting “No!” at all the twists and turns.
I loved how I didn’t believe the troubles Rachel, Andrew, Joseph, and Daniel could get any worse but they DID! Talk about throwing your characters under the bus! I held my breath for the entire last half of the book! Wow, I just used way too many exclamation points. I promise to calm down… some. There were so many unexpected plot twists that I didn’t see coming.
The Scarlet Coat releases on February 1st, but you can go ahead and preorder it at the links below. I highly recommend doing it. I received and Advanced Reader Copy, and boy am I glad I didn’t have to wait! Now I must wait with baited breath to follow the next journey in April.
Come back tomorrow for an interview with the amazing Angela!
“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.”