Review: Love’s Fortress, by Jennifer Uhlarik

OVERVIEW

book cover

A Love Story From the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family

Walk through Doors to the Past via a series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t ignore the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it connects to her father’s life?

MY REVIEW

Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher and JustRead Publicity Tours, the opinions below are my own.

When I’m in Florida, there’s one place I usually must visit: St Augustine. It doesn’t matter what season it is, there’s something about the old streets, the buildings, and the sight of the shrimping boats on the water. And, of course, there’s the Castillo de San Marcos which was formerly known as Fort Marion. But if I learned about ledger art and the Indians who created it while imprisoned there when I was touring it, well, I guess I’d forgotten. Jennifer Uhlarik has taken historical facts and created a novel around them, with characters real, inspired by historical figures, and entirely made up.

I’ve made no secret that I adore history and historical fiction, but I enjoyed the modern-day tale in Love’s Fortress more than the historical one. Perhaps it was because of my own situation, but Dani’s story resonated with me. Too often, we only hear one side of a situation and are reluctant to contemplate even the thought that there could be another. Narratives on both side of the time slip speak to complicated family relationships and secrets that should never have been kept.

But Jennifer Uhlarik created some great characters to surround Dani, including the very interesting Matty. He’s almost worthy of an entire book to himself. Love’s Fortress was a light read. At first. Before my heart dropped due to a tragic event in the narrative. I had to stay up past my bedtime to see how both timelines concluded and, all I can say is, be prepared for a mix of happy and sad.

RATING

Rating: 5 out of 5.

BOOK INFORMATION

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Publication Date: 01 March 2022

Book Information

Hey, I committed to posting about Love’s Fortress as part of a Takeover Tour scheduled for this week for JustRead Publicity Tours. Owing to a family situation, I had to read and schedule this post in advance. But, if you shoot along to JustRead’s website, I’ll bet you’ll find a landing page for the tour. And I wouldn’t be surprised if my friends at JustReads have a sweet little giveaway going on in conjunction with the tour. Why not click on the graphic and find out?

JENNIFER UHLARIK

author photo

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

Jennifer Uhlarik’s’s website

THE SETTING

grass courtyard surrounded by stone walls

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city in what is now the United States. It was founded by the Spanish, who built the Castillo de San Marcos, and controlled by them for over 200 years. The British controlled it for 20 years. The Spanish then regained the city before ceding it to the United States in 1822. At that time the fort became known as Fort Marion, which is the name it goes by in the 1875 narrative Love’s Fortress.

The Castillo de San Marcos is now owned and operated by the National Park Service. On the website, you can learn the names of the Plains Indians imprisoned there, as well as see a photograph of some of the prisoners and an example of ledger art.

Castillo de San Marcos NPS website

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