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Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart

About the Book

Book: Byway to Danger

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn’t stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn’t tell him. He’s glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn’t a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?

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My Impressions

Sandra Merville Hart takes us deep into the dangers of the Civil War in Byway to Danger. In Richmond, Meg Brooks, a former Pinkerton, visits with relatives and works in a bakery, but most importantly, looks for intelligence to pass to the North. Her bakery boss, Cade Yancey, is also a Northern sympathizer. Like Meg, he spies for the North. As they grow closer, Meg doesn’t reveal much of her business or history to Cade, thinking what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. Cade is even more tight-lipped about his past and connections. Can they work together to further freedom, or will their secrets drive them apart?

This book is the third of a trio, but stands alone nicely. It started slowly for me. I had a hard time initially becoming invested in the characters. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I was quickly thumbing pages, eager to discover the future of Meg and Cade and others. I set the finished book aside with a satisfied sigh.

My favorite secondary characters were Aunt Trudy and her servants, Clara and Harold. All three are wise, kind, and willing to go out of their way to help others. All had reasons they could have refused to do so.

If you’re looking for a clean, Faith-based historical romance based on Civil War times, I recommend Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart.

I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Hard to say what turns some men into animals, as if they turned their backs on the sense the Good Lord gave them.”

“How can you, a man of few words, know just what to say?” She smiled to lighten the moment. Mournful blue eyes met hers. “Because I lived it.”

“Their relationship felt as if they had waltzed into a courtship without discussing it.”

“And my greatest hope for him is that he learns that he’s cherished by his Savior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I recommend this suspenseful Civil War novel.

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Byway to Danger, Book 3 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, both Cade and Meg—our hero and heroine—are Union spies living in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Meg is also a former Pinkerton spy. One Pinkerton spy was hanged in the spring and three others now sit in Richmond jails.

Meg works as an assistant in Cade’s bakery. The strong, quiet man keeps a secret from Meg to protect her, for he’s a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He provides food, clothing, and a safe place to stay until he’s able to take them on to the next stop several miles outside the city. Cade has done this for years before the Civil War and continues as the war rages, a perilous mission.

Historically, early in the war on May 23, 1861, three men escaped slavery and fled to Fort Monroe. Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend had worked on Confederate fortifications before escaping on a rowboat. They sought the safety of Union soldiers at the fort. The men informed Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler that they escaped from Confederate Colonel Charles K. Mallory of the 115th Virginia Militia.

The next day, Confederate Major John B. Cary arrived at Fort Monroe under a flag of truce. Cary met with Butler and requested he return the enslaved men to Mallory as required by the Fugitive Slave Act.

Butler did some fast thinking. Since the three men had been building fortifications for war, they could be seized as “contraband of war” and didn’t have to be returned. His refusal to return the men was a pivotal decision and sparked a future law that protected fugitives who sought the protection of Union camps.

Dozens of fugitive men, women, and children had joined Baker, Mallory, and Townsend at Fort Monroe within three days. Many others fled to the fort in the following months. “Grand Contraband Camp” was established about three miles from Fort Monroe on the charred remains of Hampton to accommodate the hundreds of fugitives.  It was the nation’s first self-contained black community. By 1865, thousands lived in this camp.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Virginia’s Fort Monroe. (If you love history and have never visited Fort Monroe, I recommend it!) Though I wasn’t certain of my story at the time of my visit, I was so inspired by the fort’s history that I knew it had to be part of my story. And it is!

Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion and Byway to Danger are set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.

Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.

I invite you to read the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusion, and Book 3 Byway to Danger!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Spoken from the Heart, July 22

Bizwings Blog, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Betti Mace, July 25

Book Looks by Lisa, July 25

Texas Book-aholic, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 31

Vicarious Living, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f7f8/byway-to-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Freedom’s Song by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: Freedom’s Song

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Released: October 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Her voice made her a riverboat’s darling–and its prisoner. Now she’s singing her way to freedom in this powerful novel from the bestselling author of The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow.

“[An] enjoyable faith-filled adventure . . . Sawyer’s episodic narrative and rich assortment of characters fighting for freedom provide the story with many twists and unexpected side-plots.”–Publishers Weekly

Indentured servant Fanny Beck has been forced to sing for riverboat passengers since she was a girl. All she wants is to live a quiet, humble life with her family as soon as her seven-year contract is over. However, when she discovers that the captain has no intention of releasing her, she seizes a sudden opportunity to escape–an impulse that leads Fanny to a group of enslaved people who are on their own dangerous quest for liberty. . . .

Widower Walter Kuhn is overwhelmed by his responsibilities to his farm and young daughter, and now his mail-order bride hasn’t arrived. Could a beautiful stranger seeking work be the answer to his prayers? . . .

After the star performer of the River Peacock is presumed drowned, Sloan Kirkpatrick, the riverboat’s captain, sets off to find her replacement. However, his journey will bring him face to face with his own past–and a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be free. . . .

Uplifting, inspiring, and grounded in biblical truth, Freedom’s Song is a story for every reader who has longed for physical, emotional, or spiritual delivery. 

My Impressions

“Just ’cause somethin’ is legal don’t make it right.” Truer words were never spoken. In her new book, Freedom’s Song, Kim Vogel Sawyer has many such pearls of wisdom. This multiplies a book’s value to me.

Travel back to 1860 and land on a riverboat on the Mississippi River. Fanny Beck is a popular concert attraction on the River Peacock. Held against her will, she longs for freedom from Sloane, her unscrupulous manager.

I loved the plot and characters of this book. The novel flows smoothly, albeit with suspense and I found myself often holding my breath. The characters are very relatable, except for maybe Sloane. However, Sawyer paints even her antagonist as multi-dimensional, and I enjoyed seeing the fight between good and evil within a person.

It’s amazing to see how well some people can care for their own needs while callously ignoring those of others. This was true of people back then, and is, unfortunately, still true of people today.

I was disappointed to have to leave some of our new friends before we got a chance to know them well. Sawyer created them so well, I wanted them to remain throughout the novel. However, their leaving enables the next scenario, with more people that I began to love because of their great personalities. I fell in love with toddler Annaliese. And Walter is so much more valuable than he gives himself credit for.

If you like themes of redemption, finding true freedom, and friendship; set against a mid-1800’s America, you will love this novel of faith and suspense.

A Reader’s Guide is included at the conclusion. This follows an epilogue, one of those oh-so-satisfying ending touches.

A copy of this book was provided by Waterbrook-Multnomah. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

Kim Vogel Sawyer has a gentle style that reminds me of Janette Oke.

About the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Kim’s titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different languages. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim’s passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn’t writing, you’ll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or–as time allows–participating in community theater. You can learn more about Kim’s writing and speaking ministries at her website, KimVogelSawyer.com. 

Kim Vogel Sawyer > Series

Kim Vogel Sawyer
33,052 ratings (average 4.09)
71 works

Waiting for Summer's Return
Where the Heart Leads
A Promise for Spring
Fields of Grace
A Hopeful Heart
Courting Miss Amsel
A Whisper of Peace

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