- Title: Before the Scarlet Dawn
- Author: Rita Gerlach
- Series: Daughters of the Potomac, Book 1
- Genre(s): Historical, Inspirational (this is NOT a romance!)
- Publisher: Abingdon Press, February 2012
- Source: Free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley ($9.99 ebook)
- Length: 326 pages
- Trope(s): Angst, Big Misunderstanding
- Quick blurb: Young English couple make a home in 1770s Virginia.
- Quick review: This didn’t work for me AT ALL.
- Grade: D
Ugh. About halfway through, I found myself thinking “This isn’t working for me on any level.” And then it got worse. Which means that this review will be incoherent, because I don’t want to have to read the book again to find examples of everything I didn’t like.
I was so intrigued by the colonial setting promised in the blurb, but it played out like a strange conglomeration of Gone with the Wind, The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre.
I found the heroine to be wildly inconsistent, veering from naive preacher’s daughter to vain seductress to proto-feminist to groveling martyr. I *never* understood her motivations.
The general consensus among other reviewers is that the heroine’s husband – who is NOT a hero by any means – is a complete and utter tool. But what annoyed me even more than his despicable deceit near the end was that NO ONE ever called Hayward out for his own significant role in contributing to Eliza’s “moment of weakness.”
AND the death of a major character in the book was tossed away in a single sentence from a stock character who appeared in only that one scene.
Ugh. I struggled to finish this, and the other book I have by this author (a Kindle freebie) is going to the bottom of the TBR queue.