Find a Christian store

<< Go Back

Beyond the Valley, book 3 Daughters of the Potomac series

By Rita Gerlach

Order Now!

(A Sample portion of Chapter 1)


Cornwall, England
Autumn, 1778

Sarah Carr would never look at the sea the same way again, or listen to the waves sweep across the shore while in the embrace of her first love. To draw in the briny air, feel the wind rush through her unbound hair, now spoke of danger and loss. To bask in blue moonlight under the stars and have Jamie point out the constellations became a thing of the past that would never, in her mind, be repeated.
Tonight a hunter’s moon stood behind bands of dark purple clouds as if it were the milky eye of evil. Along the bronzy sand, deep green seaweed entwined with rotting gray driftwood. The scent of salt blew heavy in the air, deepened the sting of tears in her eyes, and tasted bitter on her tongue.
She had pleaded with Jamie not to go down to the shore with the others when they beat on the door and called out that a ship had wrecked in the harbor. But an empty pocket and a growling stomach possessed him to go. She waited for him to return for over an hour, and then bearing the anxiety no longer, Sarah slipped on her worn leather boots and hurried down the to the beach through the tangle of frenzied scavengers in hopes of finding him.
People rushed about her, some with torches, others carrying glowing tin lanterns. There were calls, shouts, over the howl of the wind and the noise of the sea. They carried sacks, barrels, and crates, tossed in the surf and washed ashore, others perilously taken from the sinking vessel. The groan of its timbers caused Sarah to shiver, as she thought of the poor souls trapped aboard. She could make out is black hulk in the moonlight, its main mast shooting up through the boil of waves like a spear.
“Have mercy on those left behind, oh Lord.” She shoved back her tangle of hair and watched the hapless ship going down into the dark depths of an angry sea.
A bonfire threw sparks over the sand. The foamy edge along the surf seemed a ribbon of gold near her feet. The few sailors that had survived looked on, wide-eyed drenched to the bone, shivering in the cold, with no weapons to fend off the looting.
A firm hand moved Sarah back and she gasped. “Come on, girl. This is no place for ye to be.”
She turned to a man in untidy clothes. His wet hair corkscrewed around his ears and hung over his forehead. He turned up his collar against the drizzle and wind. She recognized him as one of the villagers, a fisherman by trade, but did not know his name.
“You must leave this place before it gets too rough, Sarah. We’ll take Jamie to the chapel with the others. Come with me.”
She shook her head at his meaning. “Jamie? Where is he?” she shouted over the blast of wind as she glanced at the chaos around her. “Why must we go to the chapel?”
The man did not answer. Instead he shifted on his feet, frowned, and glanced away. Then, with no answer, he took her by the arm again and led her across the sand. Her hair, the color of burnt umber, floated about her eyes, where the spray of the sea and the surrounding mist blurred her vision.
“Are we gathering there to pray?” she asked. “We need to pray for those poor souls caught in the sea.” She lifted her skirts and stepped unsteady. Her limp made it difficult to navigate the beach.
“Ah, let me help you.” The man threw his arm across her back. “Over this way. Watch your step. Steady now.”
He took her to a place where the rocks made a barrier between the village and the sea. In the fanning orange firelight, Sarah saw bodies stretched out on the sand in a row, their clothes soaked and splattered with sand. Faces were ashen in the torchlight. Their arms crossed over their chests. The worst of her fears exploded into reality. She trembled and felt her knees weaken.
Upon a blanket lay the body of her husband Jamie, his youthful face whiter than the wet shirt that clung to his lifeless body. His eyes were closed. His dark hair soaked and clinging to his throat. Sarah gasped. “Jamie!”
She shivered from the cold wind that shoved against her, that pulsed the waves upon the beach, from the grief that pounded a merciless fist against a breast once content with love, thinking it would last forever.
“No!” She fell beside him, threw her arms across his chest wherein lay a silent heart. “Lord God, do not take him from me. Bring him back!” She shook with weeping, and someone pulled her away.
Four men wrap her lad in the blanket and lifted him. She followed. Her skirts twisted around her limbs as the wind gusts grew stronger. A storm had battered the Cornish coast, and another whisked across sea and land behind it. Within moments clouds smothered the moon and starsthe bonfire and a few lanterns the only lights to guide their steps up to the centuries-old stone church.
To rally her strength, she paused and took in a deep lung-full of air. Instead of relieving her, it stifled with its mix of smoke from the bonfire and the brackish wind. Behind her, she heard the waves break over the rocks, rush over the sand and pebbles, and suck at the shipwreck. A few lights in the cottages afar off glimmered in the darkness. She stumbled, gained her footing, and brushed away the tears that stung her eyes.

(The author skillfully weaves through the exquisitely written pages, the message of hope and freedom and redemption. It's a message the world desperately needs to hear today, that despite tragedy and hard times, new life and hope are right around the corner. Readers will also appreciate the cross-over with other characters from the prior two novels. All in all, Beyond the Valley is a delightful escape of adventure and romance and a sweeping saga of tragedy and hope that you won't want to miss!
MaryLu Tyndall, author of Surrender to Destiny Series.)

Order Now!

<< Go Back

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.