Love Stays True by Martha Rogers
So many of today’s books are filled with action, suspense, nail-biting terror, page turning frenzy, a gazillion sub-plots and details, twists and turns to keep us guessing that we barely have time to breathe, eat, and sleep because we don’t want to put the book down for even a moment. Then suddenly the story is over, leaving us gasping for breath and reluctant for it to all end. We may think, “Oh my, what a ride!” I’ve read many books like that. Sometimes I want t go back and re-read the tale because I was sure I must had missed something. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy reading them from time to time. They are great for an adrenaline rush or a change of pace.
I also enjoy reading a variety of story lines in a variety of settings, times, and paces. For example, some stories specialize in providing a historical background with details that place us right into a genuine timeline. Some tales take time to explore a person’s character by allowing them to work through a series of obstacles. Perhaps the character development is entirely internalized. There are some famous pieces of literature where there is no action at all. The development is entirely driven by the character’s internal musings. “Love Stays True” by Martha Rogers has wonderful historical realism for its setting, and the two types of character development I just mentioned.
This story is a leisurely stroll down a country lane lined with fragrant shrubs and trees on a warm sunny day. It is a pleasant cooling breeze on a lazy afternoon in the garden. It is derived from actual events that occurred to two people of the author’s ancestry. Sallie Dyer and Manfred Whiteman were real flesh and blood persons. The author found her inspiration in letters exchanged by the two young people while they experienced the events told in the story during the War Between the States.
Manfred and his brother Edwin were taken prisoner in battle in Tennessee and transported to a prison in Maryland for several months in the cold of winter. They slept on the chilly floors and ate the meager rations given them surrounded by many of their compatriots. In an effort not to dwell on their unsavory situation, Manfred and Edwin encouraged each other and kept their faith in God strong. The day the war ended, those left in the prisons were released. The story of the brothers’ journey home began. With no means of transportation they set out to walk the distance from Maryland to Louisiana by foot. Their adventures in the subsequent weeks were both heart-warming and sobering as we catch glimpses of post war destruction throughout the South.
Sallie Dyer and her sister Hannah were frightened when Union soldiers attacked their small town in Louisiana. While their father and brothers stayed to help defend their home and village, the rest of the family was forced to flee to their grandparents’ home in a village a short distance away. By this time Sallie had not heard from Manfred for nearly a year. She wondered if he would ever return to her. After the army left, her father and brothers began repairs on their home. Her mother tried to keep the girls from dwelling on the frightening conflict by involving them in a variety of projects. Nevertheless, Sallie experienced troubling dreams and even nightmares that reflected how difficult it was for her to reconcile her faith in God with the horrors of war. How would Manfred feel when he discovered the troubling truth about her that she must tell him when he does return?
Martha Rogers has successfully created an opportunity for her readers to get a glimpse into the heart of the everyday man and woman of the South as they picked up the pieces of their lives and livelihood in the aftermath of war and devastation. While we draw closer to Manfred and Sallie, we witness their transformation from young idealists to mature adults ready to face the world together. If you enjoy historical fiction and character driven stories, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this series. I’m looking forward to book two when it comes out.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by The Booketeria website which serves Charisma House Publishers (Realm Publishing). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.