Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson (Guest Post)

I've been anticipating this debut for some time. This time in history was so difficult and
dangerous for so many. This author did a fabulous job in the setting and historical
details  Learn a little more about the time period from the the author's guest post below...

Engraved on the Heart
By Tara Johnson
Inspirational Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 389 Pages
June 1st 2018 by Tyndale House


Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

(Affiliate links included.)

7 Things You Didn't Know About the Civil War
By Tara Johnson

Brother against brother. North against South. We have learned so much about this critical turning point in our nation’s history, yet its truth is far richer and more intriguing than anything we’ve seen in Gone with the Wind. Here are seven things you might not know about the Civil War.

1. Wounds that glowed.

During the 1862 Battle of Shiloh, some soldiers reported seeing glow-in-the-dark wounds. Due to the high number of wounded (over 16,000), many soldiers had to lie in the mud for two days before being treated. A 2001 discovery finally unearthed the source of the mysterious glow. The hypothermia experienced by the wounded made ideal conditions for a bioluminescent bacterium called Photorhabdus luminescens . . . a bacteria that glows in the dark.

2. Women fought on both sides.

It is estimated that over 400 women fought as soldiers in the Civil War. These women cut their hair, donned uniforms, and played the part of young men marching to war. Some were caught. Most were not. The reasons for their enlistments were varied: a few were escaping bad situations at home, others wanted to fight alongside their husbands, and a greater number wanted only to do their part to aid the cause of freedom. Their jobs ranged from scouts, spies, and prison guards to nurses and active combatants.

3. Inventions and innovations.

The number of innovations birthed from the Civil War is staggering. The sewing machine, prosthetic limbs, aerial reconnaissance, the first submarine to sink a war vessel, widespread use of the telegraph, war photography and journalism, the Army ambulance corps, the Minié bullet, the Gatling gun, and medical advances like anesthesia inhalers and facial reconstructions are only a few of the discoveries that paved the way for the technologies we use today.

4. Entertainment could be macabre.

Prison camp Elmira in New York had observation towers specifically constructed for onlookers. People could pay fifteen cents to watch the inmates. Concession stands near the towers sold items like peanuts and lemonade while the prisoners inside starved. In the south, Confederates carved the bones and skulls of dead Yankee soldiers into bowls and goblets, sometimes even selling them on the streets for profit. These horrifying objects were dubbed “Secesh goods.”

5. The conspiracy behind Lincoln’s death.

Most know John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. What most haven’t heard is that a Vigenère cipher table was found among Booth’s possessions after he assassinated the president. This was a secret code used by the Confederate government, specifically Jefferson Davis. This discovery has led conspiracy theorists to believe Davis ordered Lincoln’s assassination, though nothing has ever been proven.

6. Several of our popular holidays originated during the Civil War.

One of the early observances of Memorial Day was a funeral held by freed slaves for Union soldiers who liberated them after the war ended in 1865. Though it was originally called Decoration Day, after World War I the holiday became a day to honor all those who died in service to their country.

The origins of Thanksgiving are even more surprising. It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln issued “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficial Father” during the dark days of the Civil War that celebrating Thanksgiving became a national tradition. During his presidency, George Washington declared a day of thanksgiving, but it didn’t become an annual event. Lincoln’s initial proclamation was so well received, the following year he issued the holiday once again. He did not live to see it celebrated a third time, but the nation carried on the new memorial in his absence. Another interesting note: It was the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, who urged Lincoln to issue the original proclamation. Some believed her motive for doing so stemmed from her fiery patriotism. Others believed it was because she saw the advantageous benefits Godey’s would reap from sales when printing fashion and recipes for such a holiday. Either way, Lincoln listened, and we are still enjoying the benefits today.

7. Female spies were amazing. 

Sneaky females know how to get a message to the person they want. In the 1860s, females had a distinct advantage. They knew a man would face serious repercussions if he were to touch a female without just cause. Female spies used every trick in their arsenal to do their jobs. I included several of these deceptions in my debut novel, Engraved on the Heart. The heroine, Keziah, was created using aspects from several spies during the Civil War, like Elizabeth Van Lew and Rose O’Neal Greenhow. They would tuck paper messages inside their pinned-up braids or snoods. They would deliver books to inmates inside prisons and, using sewing needles, would punch out letters that could only be seen when the pages were held up to the light. Cipher codes, sewing sensitive letters and money to the lining of their petticoats, and even tucking messages from military commanders inside the heads of their children’s dolls made these women forces to be reckoned with.

And the stories are still being told.

About the Author

A passionate lover of stories, Tara Johnson uses fiction, nonfiction, song, and laughter to share her testimony of how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled to the expectations of others. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and makes her home in Arkansas with her husband and three children.

Did you know any of those things about the Civil War?

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