Eternity Between Us
“This tale brings a turbulent time to life with nuance and sensitivity.”
JOCELYN GREEN, award-winning author of the Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War series
“An unnatural thunder rumbled through the air, carrying with it not thoughts of rain but of smoke and trepidation…”
After being forced to use a pistol against invaders, Evelyn Mapleton is no longer the timid girl her extended family expects. The more her aunt and cousin resent her new independence, the more Evelyn is determined she’ll make her missing father proud by taking up his cause and aiding Confederate soldiers–even if she has to outmaneuver the Yankees guarding her home to do it.
Samuel Flynn’s life is consumed with two priorities: learning to become a proper guardian for the young orphans he’s adopted and obtaining his physicians license. When his final testing sends him to a Federal Army field hospital, the last thing he expects is to be entranced by a mysterious woman. But when Evelyn’s misguided exploits put her life in danger, will he risk everything he’s worked for to save a woman he thinks is his enemy?
Based on first-hand accounts from the Civil War and with a strong romantic thread, this is a tale of faith, espionage, hope, and courage historical fiction fans won’t want to miss.
Guest Post from Stephenia H. McGee
When I first started researching for Eternity Between Us, I began with first-hand accounts. I find it fascinating to see not only what the history books tell us, but also the personal thoughts of people who lived through those days. In the book, my heroine serves as a nursing volunteer. In order to get a good idea of what that would be like, I turned to Louisa May Alcott and her publication of Hospital Sketches.
Before she wrote Little Women, Alcott served as a nurse at the Union Hospital at Germantown, Washington 1862. Hospital Sketches was based on the letters she sent home during that time, and it made for excellent insight to the harrowing days of Civil War nursing.
Her letters were so interesting that they were published in the newspaper, where they attracted a lot of attention. I also found them quite intriguing, and they gave me a lot of ideas on what early Civil War hospitals would have been like. Evelyn’s first day at nursing is based on the thoughts and experiences Louisa records. Alcott brought the strenuous and unnerving conditions to life, and really helped me understand what a young woman at that time might feel in the midst of her first day of duty.
You’ll see Evelyn’s experience in the story, which mirrors many of Alcott’s thoughts during her own first hours.
Excerpt from Eternity Between Us
Evelyn situated herself at the head of a row of beds that extended the length of the great hall from one end to the other. Each row contained tidy beds with sheets tucked in nicely, the white cotton waiting to be soiled with the mud and crusted blood of hundreds of wounded men. She took her place and stood stiffly, hoping her presence appeared calmer than the waves of inner turmoil tossing her about like a ship in a disgruntled ocean.
She had no business here. How could she think to care for any of these? She didn’t know what to do. What if she made one worse or he died under her care?
A shiver ran along her spine. She was inadequate. Completely and utterly inadequate.
There was no time for such self-doubt, however, as rows of carts outside continued to unload their sad cargo at the door.
For a fleeting moment, the unpatriotic wish that she could just return home bubbled to the surface, causing Evelyn to pointedly have to extinguish it. These men were in dire need of any care they could receive, and her lack of training did not have to hinder her willingness.
A woman hurried by, dipping a wide brush into a bowl and flinging droplets of water all around the floor and at the foot of each bed. The cloying scent of some kind of cologne mingled with sickness and blood in a paltry attempt to mask the odors that no sweetness could disperse. Instead, the abnormal combination only succeeded in further twisting Evelyn’s stomach.
Her feet remained rooted to the floor, her gaze locked on the soldiers as they flowed through the propped open doors. Some came on stretchers, others were merely cradled in hearty men’s arms. Those who fared best staggered in on crude crutches, some dragging useless limbs.
Unmoored by a desire to help, even if she didn’t rightly know how, Evelyn drifted between them as they fell haphazardly into the beds, her senses raw with the swelling pain that clouded the room as thick as invisible smoke. To her left, one man lay still and silent as a soldier draped a covering over his face and gave a name and rank to be recorded.
Orderlies soon clogged the inflow, insisting that each man dutifully be recorded before he could seek his rest and examination. Doctors pointed men in one direction or another, quickly assessing injuries and directing them to various locations. The beds near the front filled quickly as groaning men settled weary frames. And still on they came, until the hall was full of wounded humanity. Those able to stand began to lean up against and then slide down the walls into huddled forms gathered along the fringes of the ward like the unraveling edges of a beaten rug.
Evelyn turned as a stretcher pushed up against her, aghast to see the man upon it had lost his arm at the elbow, the remaining limb a mass of bloodied flesh and bone. Her heart hammered so rapidly she thought she might faint. The back of her throat began to burn, and the urge to run pumped through her veins, begging her to bolt.
No. She must cork these feelings. She was here to work, not worry or weep.
Stephenia McGee is a wife, mother of two very active little boys, author, and lover of all things historical. Stephenia currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and sons where she writes stories of faith, redemption and life steeped in southern culture.
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Book Review by Bree Herron
This book gave me the shivers in the best way possible. It drew me in, taking me to the fields, to the noise, the gun fire, the cries (even when the battles were not in the setting, the Civil War comes to life for me). It is as though the past was echoing and coming to life within the pages of this book. I loved the characters and the setting, the strength and faith that were portrayed in each chapter.
Evelyn the name alone means so much to me, it was my grandmother’s name and I thought the world of her. Evelyn in this book was one tough cookie. She wasn’t a southern belle without a cause, she had to step up and be strong. She faced things that even in modern day, many couldn’t imagine seeing. Her personality is delightful, engaging and one that made her someone to befriend. Samuel is a kind soul with a lot on his plate. I think it was unique to have him having orphan’s to love and care for. But his work that was part of the war was nothing less than vivid in my mind.
Overall, this story will leave you shook. It is stunning and vivid in details. The characters alone take the story and hoist it above the war history. The research is superb and well written into this novel. I couldn’t put it down, I couldn’t want to re-read a book more than this one.
**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
Reader Giveaway: Prize package includes: 1 signed paperback of Eternity Between Us, “I love God, coffee & Christian Fiction” book cover coffee mug, 1 ebook (reader’s choice), Her Place in Time audible audiobook, $25 amazon gift card, and a few southern goodies in celebration of the release of Eternity Between Us! (US address only) Find out all the details and enter to WIN at Eternity Between Us Tour Giveaway.
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