Strong-willed watercolor artist Amelia York thought she could paint the scenes of her own life – that is until she finds herself responsible for getting her brother, a paralyzed war veteran, home to Iowa and must deal with the moody Army captain God has painted into her life. Captain Braedon McCrae is ruled by honor and a strong sense of duty. Still, the deaths of two people close to him have left him angry at God and vowing to never love again
After a steamboat incident forces Amelia and Braedon to marry, Amelia must decide if she will accept Braedon’s offer of an annulment or keep the sacred vows she made before God. The more Amelia attempts to control her future, the more she muddies the picture, like watercolors in the hand of a child. Can she learn to love, respect, and trust a man she barely knows?
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from JustRead Publicity, the words and opinions below are my own.
“Do you honestly believe a good God would let this happen to me?”
It’s the age-old question asked of Christians: why would a benevolent God allow bad things to happen to good people? And it’s a question asked of Amelia early in the book while she’s attending to an injured Civil War soldier. She attempts to explain that He can use bad things for good, and that’s what happens in the newest novel by Lorna Seilstad.
Eighteen sixty-five saw the bloodiest war on this continent come to an end. But the surrender at Appomattox Court House did not mean an immediate cessation of casualties. President Abraham Lincoln would be assassinated less than a week later, and hundreds of Union soldiers would be killed in a steamboat explosion the same month. This tragedy is the catalyst for bringing Amelia and Braedon together. My heart sunk when I saw the first mention in the novel of the Sultana taking former prisoners of war upriver to their homes.
This is a novel full of contradiction, surprises, and mystery. We have a country that’s been divided for the previous four years; men and women inclined to look at each other with suspicion and disgust for having been on the “other side” of a war which pitted neighbor against neighbor in split states such as Tennessee. Amelia wants to hate Braedon for his Confederate colors, even while admitting to herself that he cuts a fine figure in his uniform coat. The scenes on the steamboat – not the Sultana – are set in opulent surroundings, in contrast to the stark scenes of the military hospitals in Memphis and St. Louis. Our characters mingle with railroad heiresses and their proud mamas, laundry women and freedmen, conscripted soldiers and saboteurs. My only disappointment was that it ended too soon. I wanted to know what happened after they arrived at the York home. Did her family accept this man in rebel uniform?
Watercolors is a new entry in the Mosaic Collection, a series of standalone novels written by Christian women who decided to group together as they explored the world of self-publishing. In my early years of book reviewing, I shied away from self-published titles, preferring to review only books released by established publishing houses. But the world of books has changed so much in the past decade, as has technology, that previously published authors are taking chances, stepping out in faith, and publishing their own works. Watercolors is independently published by Seilstad, under the Feather House Publishing name. Lorna Seilstad’s name is the reason I took a chance with this title, and I’m glad I did.
Publisher: Feather House Publishing
Publication Date: 09 October 2020
Lorna Seilstad’s Website http://www.lornaseilstad.com/