Book Review: Beyond the Valley By Rita Gerlach

Daughters of the Potomac #3

By: Rita Gerlach

Published: February 1, 2013

When Sarah Carr’s husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and now widowed, she reaches out to Jamie’s family for help, but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude. Sarah’s new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family’s whirlwind of secrets, while she hopes the young doctor she loves with will bring her freedom.

I am bringing you this review as part of the BEYOND THE VALLEY Blog Tour sponsored by Pump Up Your Book.  I reviewed the first two books in this series as well.  You can find my reviews for them by clicking the titles, BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN and BESIDE TWO RIVERS.

This third book in the series focuses on Sarah who we first meet in BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN. We only know pieces of her life-story from that story and this book goes back to Sarah’s life as she is newly married and living in England.  We learn her horrific history that brings her to America and eventually to Eliza and Hayward’s home which is where BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN picks up.  Even though this is Sarah’s story, I do think you would be able to understand so much more of her and Eliza’s time together if you read those books first.  But, this could also very easily stand alone.
BEYOND THE VALLEY moves quickly and is a fast read, mostly because you want to know what is going to happen to Sarah.  Just when it seems nothing else can go wrong and it can’t get any worse, you find yourself reading about yet another setback in Sarah’s life.  But, what amazed me was Sarah’s unwavering faith in God.  That is something I have found in each of these three books, the character’s strong faith.  Each one of the books features strong women and difficulties in their lives.  Each one of them never once loses their faith or blames God for not hearing their prayers.  I think these books could be inspirational to someone who is also struggling in their life.
Even though this book is set in the 1700’s and deals with the idea of slavery and servants, I could still identify with the fears, hopes, and attitudes of the women featured in all three of these books.  Each of the women  were determined to fight for their family, for their faith, and for their lives.  I truly rooted for each one of them all the way through and Sarah was no exception.  Through all of her obstacles, she made the best of the situation and that alone, gave me hope that good would come of her struggles.
I did think that maybe Sarah’s numerous struggles were a bit too much.  How much can happen to one woman in one story?   I also wondered if BEYOND THE VALLEY would have been better as the second in the series rather than the third. 
I must say, of the three books in the series, this one has my favorite cover.  I think it represents the image of Sarah that I have had in my mind from the first book and the bright colors draw you to it.  
Without giving anything away, I will say that I was pleased with the ending and certainly enjoyed the book and the series.  
Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.  Check out Rita at her website, or like her on Facebook, HERE.

I was provided with a copy of the book in order to review it.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.  

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