Sunday, October 25, 2020

Mercy's Refuge By Rita Gerlach

Mercy's Refuge
by Rita Gerlach
Publisher: Indie
ISBN: 979-8684517587

I honestly don't exactly know how I was blessed by seeing Rita posting on Facebook so much about her newest book that was releasing. It has been so fascinating learning about the people and the time period surrounding the Mayflower's voyage. What was even more fun was learning Rita doesn't live too far from me! She not only sent me the ebook version of Mercy's Refuge, she also sent me a paperback along with a handmade, gorgeous bookmark and two informational post cards!

Summary:

A young woman’s journey to the New World.

Inspired by William Bradford's 'Of Plymouth Plantation’, Mercy's Refuge is a sweeping historical novel of romance and adventure in the year 1620. Mercy McCrea, orphaned as a child and raised by her aging grandparents, lives in poverty. The only thing keeping her and her family from starvation is to work as a kitchen servant for a rich nobleman.

When catastrophe strikes and Mercy’s life is in danger, she flees England for her uncle’s farm in Holland. There she meets Caleb, a carpenter, and finds refuge among the Separatists who fled the wrath of the English King. Beginning in Ipswich, a North Sea port town in Suffolk, England, the novel takes the reader on a voyage across the English Channel to Holland, and then aboard the Mayflower.

When Mercy and Caleb face the dangers of the sea, their faith and love for each other is strengthened by the strong bonds of a people whose courage forged a nation.

My Review:

After learning so much about the people of the Mayflower, I had high expectations of Mercy's Refuge. I have to say, I wasn't disappointed! It was not at all what I expected, but so much more. While Mercy wasn't actually on the Mayflower, she was like our fly on the wall when they finally had their voyage.

What I wasn't expecting, but thoroughly loved was Mercy's story leading up to the journey. Rita's writing brought me smack dab into the time period of 1620. The way they spoke, the expectation of Mercy to submit to her grandparents, and how those of the lower class were treated were wonderfully done.

There was so much to love about Mercy. She wanted to honor her grandparents, who were her caretakers, but she also wanted to help them to not live so desperately. I understood her desire and it isn't surprising her grandfather was right in his assessment of how things would go serving at Lord Glenmont's home. I also appreciated her heart towards her family and her friends. While she would have times of being afraid or uncertain, she relied deeply on her faith and had a propensity to find the positive. She was such a great example of how to have peace and joy in the midst of hardship and uncertainty.

One of my favorite characters of the book is Martin. He's not in it much, but shows up throughout the story. I like him because he exemplifies true friendship. While Mercy conveys to him she's not the gal for him, he's still a devoted friend and stays that way to the end of the story.

I also really enjoyed Mercy and Caleb's meeting and their sweet relationship. While we all know that men can be cads, I love reading male characters who embody being a gentleman. Neither of these two had it easy to start with, to say the least!

The faith element was deeply rooted in this story and is seen through the characters. After reading the story, I understand more as to why they left England and then Holland. Nothing like a bit of history lesson in the book you're reading. :)

I look forward to reading more of Rita's books and here's to hoping for more stories based on true events!

About the Author:

Rita Gerlach lives in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. 

"Romantic historical fiction that has an inspirational bent, is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love," she says. "The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite from a stressful world and give them hope."

In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Her genre - Inspirational Historical Romance / Drama.

Rita incorporates into her newer fiction what she learned through her journey --- courage, faith, and the precious gift of family and friendship.

Visit Rita's website at http://ritagerlach.wordpress.com/

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