Book Review: The Ebony Cloak by April W. Gardner

About the Book

In the wilds of 1816 Florida, a beautiful slave is free game for depraved men. But for an honorable man, she is a military objective, an asset to be protected, a love that should never be pursued.

The Ebony Cloak by April W. GardnerMilly’s pale skin provides her with special privileges, but every luxury comes with a command. And Milly is done yielding. On the run, she can pass for white only as long as no one demands she lower her hood. But there’s hope. It lies in the Floridas in a refuge commanded by an army of runaways. Negro Fort. The first sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. But the U.S. Army is keen on the fort’s conquest, and when it accomplishes the unthinkable, Milly must decide whether life is worth fighting for.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters, all the while being forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh. The same who, in a storm of flame and blood, ripped out Phillip’s heart and took her for himself.

And then came Milly…

While musket balls fly, a war of another sort rages inside Phillip—perpetuate a crumbling dream or pursue the forbidden; follow orders or follow his heart.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

Y’all!!!! Just go buy this series. Seriously. Love and war, prejudice and duty, people of all sizes, shapes, and colors… this story is a historical fiction lover’s dream!

Phillip Bailey is haunted day and night by his past horrors and heartache. Although I sometimes questioned his motives and character in previous books, the significant time spent in his perspective during this story won me over! I most admire Phillip’s integrity and courage.

Milly is a beautiful, strong, and intelligent woman. She has suffered terror and sorrow few can comprehend yet Milly remains compassionate and steadfast. Her backstory breaks my reader-heart but Milly’s endurance and attitude make me so proud of her.

While Totka, Copper Woman, and the rest of the McGirth family continue to play important roles in this saga, the addition of some exceptional secondary characters enhances this great adventure. The Ebony Cloak is a splendid expedition! This series has earned a place among my all time favorites!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON FAITHFULLY BOOKISH.

 

About the Author

April W. GardnerA military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

Read more in April W. Gardner’s author interview

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Also Available


 
goodreads
| amazon
book 1 review | book 2 review

REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

Book Spotlight: Bitter Eyes No More by April W. Gardner

Hi, reader friends! Today’s featured book is straight from my tbr and I have to say, I am eager to find out what happens when yet another culture is thrown into the mix as the Creek County Saga continues.

 

About the Book

A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.

Bitter Eyes No More by April W. GardnerSpanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.

Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child’s father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name—simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.

Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…

goodreads | amazon

 

About the Author

April W. GardnerA military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

website | facebook | twitter

 

Giveaway

Hop on over to goodreads for a chance to win one of five autographed paperback copies of Bitter Eyes No More.
Enter here… giveaway ends June 30!

 

Spotlight post by Beth Erin

Book Review: The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

War, captivity, hunger that will not be denied. And a blackberry moon with enough pull to endure the test of time.

The Red Feather by April W. GardnerFrontierswoman Adela McGirth has never feared her neighbors, the Creek Indians, but a suspicious encounter with a steely-eyed warrior shakes her confidence. As dreaded, a skirmish with the natives sends her family fleeing into a hastily constructed fort. But no picket is strong enough to hold off a party of warriors who fear nothing but the loss of their ancient ways.

Totka Lawe, a Red Stick bound by honor to preserve his heritage, will do what he must to expel the whites from Muscogee soil. But in the midst of battle, he is assigned to protect those he’s expected to hate and kill. One of whom is the copper-haired woman who has haunted his thoughts since that strange night under the blackberry moon. The war was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a gentle warrior’s spirit he cannot resist.

But what woman would have a warrior whose blood-soaked hands destroyed her life? Then again…does she have a choice?

Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

Dances with Wolves meets The Last of the Mohicans with a splash of The Colonel’s Lady and oh the warm fuzzies as I read this book, y’all! There are precious few things I enjoy more than a thoroughly researched historical novel. Native Americans are some of my favorite people groups to learn about and the strength of their spirit is awe inspiring.

At first glance, Adela McGirth is a simple, carefree, middle daughter of an Alabama territory family. Her faith carries her through trials and tragedy, revealing a fierce and feisty young frontier woman ready and able to stand up for herself and her loved ones. Adela lives out her faith and chooses to literally love her enemies even in the most trying circumstances.

From the first time he sees her, Totka Lawe is both enchanted and befuddled by the copper-haired woman. He is torn between his duty to preserve his heritage and the growing desire he has to make Copper Woman his own. Totka is frustrated by the obstacle of her faith yet he remains honorable and patient.

April Gardner has captured the beautiful contrast between the beliefs, traditions, and history of the frontiersman and those of their Muscogee neighbors. This story captured my heart and transported me to that tumultuous time in our history. I am a BIG FAN now and I can’t wait to read more!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON FAITHFULLY BOOKISH

About the Author

April W. GardnerA military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children, and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

Book Spotlight: The Sacred Writings by April W. Gardner

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!!

Thanks for stopping by today. I’m happy to share a new book spotlight, The Sacred Writings, by April W. Gardner. This is part two in Beneath the Blackberry Moon. Let’s get started!

About the Book

Big Warrior Totka Hadjo enters his toughest battles yet—the fight for love, the invasion of fear, and the inescapable ashes of each.

The war has ended, and now, Totka Hadjo must endure eleven moons and twenty-six sleeps without his beloved Copper Woman. But he has a two-fold task to keep him occupied: establish a lodge deserving of her and challenge her Jesus Creator to a vision, to prove his existence.

Totka leaves the white settlements with Copper Woman’s holy book, an object with medicine strong enough to keep at bay the hounding ghosts of his unavenged ancestors. But the sacred writings cannot restrain the Bluecoat who has returned from the dead, the one who first owned her heart. From the far reaches of the Muscogee Confederacy, Totka is powerless to stop the onslaught of events that conspires to take his beloved from him forever.

Leaping Waters, Totka’s old passion, is a constant presence he cannot escape, but she might be able to unlock the spiritual mysteries found in the holy book’s talking leaves. While he wades through the confusing symbols, the Choctaws, his ancient enemy, are determined to seize prime Muscogee hunting lands. In the process, they aggravate wounds that might never heal and expose him to a truth too bitter to swallow.

Denial and revenge go down much easier.

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.

She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Connect and follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Author Interview: April W. Gardner

Happy Monday, y’all! Wait to you see who’s chatting with us today! That’s right, April W. Gardner, historical romance author. She’s going to be talking about her novel, The Red Feather. Be sure to check out her other books on the Diverse Books recommendation page AND Beth Erin will be sharing her review of The Red Feather, later this week. Let’s get started!


About the Book

theredfeatherOn a moonless night in 1813, Adela McGirth encounters a set of wolves and the steely eyed warrior who slays them, searing himself on her heart. When he returns, it’s with a brand of a different sort—the flaming arrow that destroys her life.

In the copper-haired captive, Totka Lawe finds the other half of his spirit. He vows he would die ten deaths to protect her, and he would kill any who tried to steal her away. With bluecoat soldiers pursuing him, a jealous cousin pursuing her, and the woman herself pursuing home, that vow stands a serious chance of being called into action.

In the first of this three-part, inspirational story, award-winning author April W Gardner brings to vibrant life an obscure event and the noble people who once dominated the Southeast but are now forgotten.

Purchase at: Amazon    Add to: Goodreads


About the Author

aprilwgardnerAPRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.

She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

Connect and follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining us to talk about The Red Feather, part 1 in the Beneath the Blackberry Moon saga. I’m tickled pink that you’ve chosen to focus on Native Americans in this book. Care to share a little about the tribe Totka Lawe is part of?

April: Sure! But before I dive into that, thank you for having me, and thank you for this blog. It’s more needful today than ever before, and I’m honored both to have been invited and to write diverse characters.

Totka is Muscogee, or Creek as his people were first called by the British. For over a hundred years, the Muscogees were the dominate people group in our Southeast. They ruled from the East Coast to present-day Alabama and beyond. When they migrated into the area, they were smart conquerors and incorporated the tribes they overtook into themselves and, over time, created the Creek Confederacy. It was so mighty that President George Washington treated it with the same respect he did the European nations.

This history is taught in few American schools today. The Creeks and their history have been systematically swept under the rug since 1813 when the nation raged over the massacre at Fort Mims (the setting of The Red Feather). It was the largest massacre of whites by Natives in our history (some estimate 500 dead). The event was horrific, no denying, but I take special care to show both sides of the story. I tell it through the eyes a Muscogee warrior named Totka who simply wants to preserve his land and his culture from encroaching whites. Their method of warfare was a more violent one than Americans were (and are) accustomed to, but they were behaving in accordance with their culture and traditions. However, from that day on, Americans associated the Creek Nation with disgust and began to wipe them from the history books. It’s their forgotten story I long to tell.

Toni: Wow! Now you’ve got me wanting to do a search to learn more! Such an interesting story to tell. And your other character,  Adela McGirth, is Totka Lawe’s captive. Man, oh man, did that get my attention in the blurb. There’s a struggle that appears between one’s past life, present circumstances, and the future. How does Adela handle the pressure?

April: Adela is the other half of the equation, and her story is based on the actual McGirth family. They were rescued from the fort in the heat of the battle and protected by a Muscogee warrior for the duration of the war. The romance is my own invention, which wasn’t easy to do, considering Totka is partly to blame for Adela’s grief. How does she handle it? The only way any person can handle such a thing and come out the stronger for it is through the power of Christ. Apart from His grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I don’t know if it’s possible to survive such a thing emotionally, much less come away loving the enemy. Adela is a strong character to begin with, and though she does emerge from the ordeal bearing emotional scars, she relies heavily on God, staying true to Him and her faith.

Toni: God is amazing! I love to see how His presences changes a person. Now, since we’re all about diversity, I have to ask, how did you develop Totka Lawe’s character without falling into racial stereotypes?

April: With lots of help! My dear expert, Ghost Dancer, is Muscogee. He is passionate about preserving his heritage and has dedicated countless hours to helping me get it right. Without his guidance and the careful eye of another expert and friend, Edna, I probably would have stumbled into more than one racial stereotype.

Toni: How awesome! I love to hear who authors have spoken to in their research. What is it about this time in history that captivates you so?

April: Good question! I grew up hearing that my great-great-something grandfather was Billy (Red Eagle) Weatherford, one of the attacking Creeks who later leapt from a bluff to save his people from the pursuit of General Andrew Jackson. As a young adult, I dug into that story, wished it were told in novel form, and decided to do it myself. My research became an addiction and a love that continues to this day.

Toni: Ah, that makes sense. Family history has a way of weaving into our present. How about some easier questions?
What do you do for fun in your spare time?

April: Um, write? LOL. Other things I enjoy doing are walking my fur-babies (two German Shepherds), visiting historical sites, and reading.

Toni: German Shepherds are such gorgeous animals. How about favorite meal?

April: Anything I don’t have to cook. Ha! But if you’re looking for something specific… I’m a big rice girl. If it has rice, I’m a fan!

Toni: Kindred spirits! I say the same thing and rice is wonderful. Especially with butter and sugar. But I digress. Favorite Christian song?

April: There are a ton of contemporary songs that I adore, but my favorite hymn is “The Love of God” by Frederick Lehman. The third verse is my favorite:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Toni: Beautiful! Last but not least, what’s next for you on your writing journey?

April: Glad you asked! Bitter Eyes No More released February 7. Its tagline is, “A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.” It takes place during the last days of Spanish Florida and depicts the upheaval between the Spanish, Natives, and Bluecoats (American soldiers).

It’s such a new release that my “what’s next” is still at least six months away, but I’m already working on it. The fifth book in the Creek Country Saga is entitled Love the War Woman. Its female lead is a Muscogee woman who is, you guessed it, a warrior. She is bodyguard to Chief Tall Bull who is far too handsome and prestigious to consider loving a roughened woman such as herself. It’s set during the inciting event of the First Seminole War, and because of the rare setting and characterization, it promises to be quite unique!

Toni: It sounds great! I’m looking forward to it and definitely adding your books to my TBR pile. Thank you so much for talking with me today.  I’ve enjoyed it. 🙂 What about you, reader friends? Care to ask April some questions?


Interview conducted by Toni Shiloh