Beautiful Pepper Fitzpatrick Brown’s heart is broken when her husband, Michael, is killed on the bloody battlefield at Manassas. One of the first casualties of the Civil War, Michael’s death has left Pepper raising three small boys on her own—and trying to live without the man she believed she’d grow old with. Honoring Michael’s memory, she volunteers at the MacDougall Army Hospital in the Bronx, doing whatever she can to help the wounded.
The drab existence of handsome Colonel Elijah Williams, head surgeon at the Army hospital, has narrowed to nothing but the bloody war and the horrendous wounds he treats day after day. He carries a secret—a nightmare that holds him in its gory grip each time he falls asleep, reminding him of what awaits him in his waking hours. But when Pepper Brown walks into his life, everything changes—for both of them.
Is Elijah ready to take on a ready-made family and the responsibilities that come with it? Can Pepper let go of her grief and embrace love once again? In a war-torn country that has suffered so much loss, Elijah and Pepper might stand a fighting chance at finding happiness together if they can save what’s left of their hearts.
Here's an excerpt:
With a child holding tightly to each hand, Pepper walked slowly through the large, peaceful cemetery until she came to the gray stone marker for her husband. Both seven- year-old Matthew and five-year-old Mark carried a colorful bouquet of flowers to adorn the grave. Pepper knelt while the boys deposited their flowers, then put an arm around each silent, somber boy.
“There’s no need to be quiet. Tell your papa hello,” she encouraged them, and gave a gentle shove to each boy, propelling them toward the marker.
“Hello, Papa,” Matthew stared at the marker blankly as he spoke.
“Hello, Papa,” Mark followed his brother’s actions, although Pepper noticed he had reached for Matthew’s hand before he spoke.
“What do you want to talk to your papa about today? Do you want to tell him what you miss most about him?”
“I miss riding piggyback,” Mark whispered. “I just miss him.” Matthew’s eyes welled up with tears.
Pepper put her arm around Matthew and brushed a kiss on his temple. Her chin trembled as she did so. “So do I. Your papa was a very good man, and I don’t want either of you to ever forget him. Your baby brother was born after your papa died, and he won’t have any memories to hold on to. So it’s up to the two of you to explain to Luke, when he’s able to understand, how wonderful your father was.”
Matthew’s tears spilled over and cascaded down his cheeks. “I don’t remember anymore what Papa looked like.”
Pepper sighed softly and brought her hand to her heart. She was having trouble remembering, too. She guessed memories faded over time in order to allow the living to move forward. But the knowledge of why they faded didn’t make it any easier.
Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the United States in search of great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it in America on a covered wagon headed west or in Regency England. Her Cotillion Ball Series features the nine children from an upscale New York family prior to and during the Civil War. A regular contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After section, her books have been featured in the column on ten separate occasions. Becky loves to hear from her readers firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com
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FROM PEGLEG TO PROSTHETICS
There were many challenges involved when I started writing A Widow’s Salvation. I’ve never married or had children, and I had a hard time making my female character, a widow with three boys, a strong woman. (I hear many of you laughing right now.) Many conversations occurred between myself and mothers who had experienced the difficult yet rewarding job of raising children. When I realized Pepper may not have been the feisty suffragette her sisters presented to the world, it was her inner strength that I focused on. One of the ways I did that was to have Pepper try to help wounded soldiers from the Civil War, many of whom had lost limbs. She volunteered her time at the local Army hospital and saw the need for prosthetic devices for the many wounded who had lost an arm or leg and spent their days wondering how they could ever be anything more than a burden to their loved ones.
While we’ve all heard stories about Pegleg Pete and Captain Hook and their prosthetics, I had no idea such devices had been uncovered as far back at 950 BC! Obviously, these were crude devices at best. It wasn’t until the Civil War in the 1860s that advances in prosthetics began to emerge.
The huge number of amputations that were being done to save lives of the soldiers forced America to focus on the betterment of prosthetic devices for their soldiers. James Hanger was one of the first amputees of this war and took it upon himself to fashion a limb from whittled barrel staves. This crude device was transformed and advancements in the way prosthetics fit and worked happened in rapid succession due to great need from the Civil War. Pepper took it upon herself to have her ideas turned into a working prosthetic leg and helped a young farmer from Kentucky learn how to walk again. He thought his life was over, and it took a mother with a steely backbone to whip him into shape and forge a future for himself. Because of the success of this man, her work was able to continue. My story is pure fiction, but it is based on facts, as the Civil War unfortunately prompted the evolution of the use of prosthetic devices.
When I see the men and women who have lost legs due to war or other tragedy using today’s high-tech computerized prosthetics to run marathons, I am in awe of how far this industry has come. And thanks to my many conversations with mothers, I now understand how strong a mother’s hand has to be. Writing this book was a revelation, both from a historical perspective and from my own perspective on how difficult and rewarding it is to raise a child.
Today Becky is giving away a copy of The Widow's Salvation and another e-Book from her Cotillion series. Just enter the Rafflecopter and leave a comment. Don't forget your email.