A Rebel in My House, Book excerpt from A Rebel in My House, Catherine Castle's Wednesday Writers blog series, Christian romance, civil war romance, Gettysburg Museum, Inspirational historical romance, Pickett's Charge, Sandra Merville Hart
Today Sandra Merville Hart is guest posting on Wednesday Writers talking about her newest Inspirational Historical Romance, A Rebel in My House. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Civil War history. Sandra put me in the middle of the battle, made me feel the anguish of the soldiers and the civilians, and even caused me to weep at one point. It’s a novel of love and sacrifice during one of our country’s most famous Civil War battles. So, without any further delay, I’ll let her tell you the story behind A Rebel in My House. Welcome, Sandra!
Something drew me yet again to Gettysburg. I knew there was a story waiting for me. My husband and I walked the battlefields. Ideas stirred when I found Tennessee troops with the brigade who began the fighting on the first day. Nothing solidified so I kept digging. I visited the museums. I discovered fascinating history at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum. Surely my story touched this place. After spending several hours exploring the museum and surroundings, no ideas came. I trudged on.
I explored Gettysburg museums, spending hours at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, Gettysburg Museum of History, Gettysburg Railroad Station, General Lee’s Headquarters Museum, and The David Wills House where President Lincoln stayed. I learned captivating facts at the Jennie Wade House, Shriver House Museum, and “The Women of Gettysburg Tour,” an evening walking tour.
Ideas strengthened. My husband and I walked the town’s streets around the “Diamond” or the town square where the women and children suffered through a nightmare from which they didn’t awaken for many months. Then we spent another afternoon and evening at the battlefield.
Three Tennessee regiments fought the beginning battle on July 1st. They didn’t fight again until they joined in Pickett’s Charge.
The sun sank low on the horizon as I stood alone on Cemetery Ridge. The expansive field crossed by Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, captured my imagination. Though the land is peaceful once more, it still tells a story. My imagination soared while the sun disappeared.
I had to tell what the townspeople endured. What if a Gettysburg woman fell in love with a Confederate soldier? What if they both made promises to loved ones? Some promises are impossible to keep …
I reluctantly left the ridge because I had a story to write.
A Rebel in My House
By Sandra Merville Hart
When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.
Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.
Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?
Friday, June 26, 1863
Two miles outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Running feet on the dirt road outside quickened Sarah Hubbard’s heartbeat. Her fingers stiffened on her sewing machine and her back straightened.
Were they coming? Every conversation these days centered on the Confederate soldiers crossing into southern Pennsylvania.
“Miz Hubbard. Miz Hubbard, please let us in!”
Not soldiers but friends. Sarah’s body sagged at Elsie Craig’s voice, but why did she yell? Sarah dropped the gingham dress she’d been sewing and ran to throw open the front door. Alarmed at the fear lining Elsie’s dark face and eyes as she clutched the hand of her four-year-old daughter, Mae, Sarah scanned the horizon for Confederate soldiers. “Hurry inside.”
Elsie needed no second bidding. She guided Mae over the threshold and closed the door. “Miz Hubbard, you gotta hide us.” Her tall, thin body leaned against the door. “The Rebs are in town gathering up all the colored folks they can find. Someone said they’ll be taking them south as slaves and that they’re warning folks not to hide us.”
Sarah gasped. “Why do such a terrible thing?”
“Don’t make sense, does it? Some of us have lived in Gettysburg for years. Others like me have always been free, but it don’t seem to matter to the Southern army.” A long loaf of bread peeked out among jars and clothing in a well-laden basket Elsie set on the rug. She dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around her trembling child. “I had to leave my house and most of my possessions, but I’ve got the most important thing right here.” She looked up at Sarah as she patted Mae’s shoulder. “Last week my Sam left for Pine Hill, the settlement up near Biglerville. With it being two miles off the main road to Carlisle, the Rebs won’t find him there. Sam never expected the army to come after women and children or he’d never have left us. I miss him something fierce. We’ll go to him when the soldiers get out of town.”
Tears etched tracks in a smudge on Mae’s cheek, tugging at Sarah’s heart as much as Elsie’s wide eyes and trembling hands. Sarah rushed to an open window and pushed aside the curtain a few inches. The Pennsylvania governor, Andrew Curtin, had declared a state of emergency two weeks earlier and called for local militia. Where was their help?
Want to read more? You can get Sandra’s book at Amazon
About the Author:
Sandra Merville Hart, Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com, loves to find unusual or little-known facts in her historical research to use in her stories. Her debut Civil War romance, A Stranger On My Land, was an IRCA Finalist 2015. Her second Civil War romance novel, A Rebel in My House, is set during the Battle of Gettysburg. It released on July 15, 2017. Visit Sandra on her blog at https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.
Sandra’s Blog, Historical Nibbles: https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/
Sandra’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Merville-Hart/e/B00OBSJ3PU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0