Elaine Marie Cooper: Revolutionary War Historical Fiction

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I’ve really enjoyed Elaine’s historical fiction, which grew and flourished from her interest in ancestry.

Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Her latest release (Saratoga Letters) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

She penned the three-book Deer Run Saga and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She freely admits to being a history geek.

Look for her upcoming series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut. The 4-book series is entitled Dawn of America. The first two books are entitled War’s Respite and Love’s Kindling. You can visit her site at www.elainemariecooper.com and connect on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ElaineMarieCooperAuthor

The Deer Run Saga

Road to Deer Run

Author’s note: The year was 1777 and the war has already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a nineteen-year-old colonial woman from Massachusetts. Her brother, Asa is dead — killed by the King’s army, so when she stumbles across a wounded British soldier, her sense of right and wrong is challenged. Should she help a soldier of the enemy who took her brother’s life, or let him die, cold and alone? The war has also broken British soldier Daniel Lowe’s spirit. A severely wounded prisoner of war, he escaped his rebel captors while on a death march to Boston. As the pain in his injured leg worsens, he wonders if the young woman looking down at him is an angel or the enemy. Need and compassion bring these two young lives together, but will the bitterness of war keep them apart? Or can they find their way to love and forgiveness on the Road to Deer Run?

My review: A fascinating story set during the Revolutionary War, inspired by the author’s research into the times and the history of her very own great great great grandfather. Even though Daniel was a British soldier who lost his brother to the war, he ended up marrying the daughter of a colonist from Deer Run, Massachusetts, who also lost a brother in battle. At one point, Daniel was threatened with hanging, but the town was quarantined by a dreaded disease, and the outcome carries a sense of redemption with it. In the back of the book, the author shares which parts of the story are based on facts, and her visit to Massachusetts to see where the history took place.

The Promise of Deer Run

Author’s note: The Year is 1790. The American Revolution has long been over, but the wounds of battle still linger in the hearts and minds of many. A veteran Continental soldier still awaits the return of his missing father, years after the last battle. Haunted by the painful memories of war and scarred from betrayal in love, the young man turns away from faith. The only hope he clings to is that perhaps his father still lives. Then he discovers his hope is shared by a young woman, who understands loss and the longing for a father. As they encounter this unexpected connection, their hearts become drawn together. But jealousy, slander, and misunderstanding ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust-destroying their relationship. Can two souls longing for healing and trust, love again? Can faith-and a family-be restored?

My review: We met Mary and her younger sister Sarah in “The Road to Deer Run.” Mary’s story deepens in this book, and Sarah (whom we met in “stocks” in the first book) blossoms, though with thorns to work through. Soldiers from the Revolutionary War, like James (older brother of Mary and Sarah) and the reclusive Nathaniel, dealt with nightmares from combat, or what we now call post traumatic stress. I appreciate the Author’s Note at the end where she describes what was going on in her own life while writing the book, and some of the background of the story.

Legacy of Deer Run

Author’s note: The year is 1800 and young Daniel Lowe forges weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of Susannah Dobbins who seems so far above his station in life he cannot win her. Susannah fights her own battle against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, she is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming. But the nation’s enemies are afoot, and Daniel finds himself in the cross-hairs. Who are these enemies? When and where will they strike? And who will survive their terrorism? In this final book of the Deer Run saga, Elaine Marie Cooper brings the tale of the Lowe family to a gripping conclusion.

My review: This last book in the Deer Run Saga is just as poignant as the first two, steeping me in history as I was caught up with the characters’ lives. Especially interesting was learning the history behind the Springfield Armory where the author’s ancestor actually had worked, and about the Massachusetts law declaring fornication to be a “crime against chastity.” I’d love to see pictures of the author’s ancestors on whom the Deer Run stories are based.

Fields of the Fatherless

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Author’s note: Fields of the Fatherless is historical fiction based on a true event. Set in Menotomy Village, Massachusetts at the opening of the American Revolution, readers will learn of a little known yet critical battle that took place on April 19, 1775. As seen through the eyes of 18-year-old Betsy Russell, the opening of the war is felt through the women and children trying to survive while the Minutemen fight for independence.

My review: I most enjoy stories based on actual happenings. The author grew up in the town where this history book place in 1775, and walked by a historic house on her way to school. Shocked to later learn what had happened in the town and that house, she did her research, then wove a fine story to share with her readers, which also deals with themes such as having mercy on a wounded enemy. An Afterword is an update of some of the characters, and the Author’s Note gives background details.

Saratoga Letters

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Author’s note: It is 1777. The Battle of Saratoga, a turning point of the Revolutionary War, encourages the American Continental Army with their first great victory. But there seems little to celebrate for one patriotic woman forced to nurse wounded British soldiers right in their war camp. Thrust into deception by a cruel Loyalist uncle, Abigail lies in order to survive, all the while dealing with doubts that challenge her faith. Then …

Two hundred years later, on the anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga, thousands arrive from Europe and the United States to celebrate the event including descendants from the war. One young American, Abby, meets the offspring of a British soldier. When she is threatened, Abby turns to the only person she knows at the event her British ally. Can she trust him with her life? Or will he betray her in the same way loyalist spies betrayed her ancestors? Perhaps letters from long ago will reveal the truth.

My review: Two love stories from–1777 and 1977–connected by wounds from a battle in the Revolutionary War, when that battle was commemorated 200 years later. History buffs and descendants came from all over the United States, and even from England for the celebration. The later story is also a scary mystery, with historic ties to the earlier one. A well-woven tale.

Nonfiction

Bethany’s Calendar

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Author’s note: In January of 2002, Elaine Cooper’s world turned upside down. One minute her 23-year-old daughter, Bethany seemed fine—a happy, brilliant young woman on the verge of a new career. The next she was strapped to a gurney in the local emergency room diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. During the next few months, Elaine used her nursing skills to not only help Bethany battle an unseen enemy, she learned to recognize the hand of God on her daughter’s life. Bethany’s Calendar is a story of fear and faith, commitment and compassion, told with gut-wrenching honesty while sharing unwavering faith in God.

My review: What a poignant memorial for a family who lost their beloved daughter Bethany to cancer, capturing her delight while alive and even as she suffered, and as the whole family watched that lovely life ebb away. Each chapter ends with a “note to self” and a “note to others,” offering comfort from the scriptures and helpful hints that Elaine Cooper, herself a registered nurse, learned while on this unwanted journey of exhaustion and grief. This precious book would be useful to anyone having to navigate through a devastating illness with a loved one, or anyone who knows someone who is. It is also a reminder that, this side of Heaven, even though we experience some of the worst times in life, there are reminders of God’s redemption.

 

3 comments

  1. Civil wars give rise to a literary treasure chest. Not much has yet been made of the Anglo-Boer war here, but stories will doubtless emerge in time. I enjoyed reading your reviews.

    Like

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