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When Rachel Montgomery arrived at the palatial Phillips estate in Hawaii, she was startled to discover that her hostâ€”the handsome Drew Phillipsâ€”had a brother. But that was only the beginning of the surprises and the danger that awaited her on the idyllic islandâ€¦
I knew the horrors of the past four years would haunt me forever, and that I must accept what Iâ€™d seen and heard and go on with my life. But I hadnâ€™t expected ghastly visions to torment me in sleep, to shake me awake with my body bathed in cold perspiration. Night after night it was the same. And I wasnâ€™t certain if I had set sail from San Francisco because I was trying to put as much distance between myself and the painful memories as possible, or if I was running to the man Iâ€™d met mere months ago.
From my shipboard bunk I frowned up at the ceiling. In the past Iâ€™d always known my mind, always known the path I wished to follow. Only then Iâ€™d had a home and a family. Now both were gone, and I felt lost without a foundation upon which to rebuild my life.
"We can change that,â€ Drew Phillips had murmured when heâ€™d proposed to me on our last evening together. That was in the spring of this year, 1865. Now it was November, and I was on my way to be with him and his family. Not to become his bride, though, as he hoped. A part of me wanted to think that maybe one day marriage between us would come to pass. One day when I felt whole again and not just this shell of Rachel Montgomery.
The thought of seeing Drew brought a smile to my lips. How well I remembered his smile, so easy and infectious. It had been a balm to my battered emotions, and even the exhaustion that had gripped me back then seemed to fade in his presence.
Another heavy swell tossed the ship, and I was nearly pitched off my bunk. This wasnâ€™t my first time at sea, and I was used to rough water. But the voyage across the Pacific Ocean had been miserably turbulent, and the handful of other passengers and I on board this merchant steamer had, for the most part, kept to our quarters. For that reason this trip had also been lonely, but that was soon to end. Within the next two hours we would be making port, the journey would be over, and I hoped that in this new land my heart would heal, and my life would once again go forward. Equally important, I hoped--no prayed--the plaguing nightmares would end.
I left the bunk and navigated across the heaving plank floor to the porthole and glanced out. My mind was so intent on Drew that all I really saw was his well-chiseled face. He was handsome beyond compare, but it wasnâ€™t his dark good looks that attracted me. I was drawn by his devil-may-care attitude, his intelligence, and the intriguing shadows Iâ€™d seen flicker across his features on two or three occasions when he thought I wasnâ€™t looking. There was more to Drew Phillips than met the eye. At times Iâ€™d had the strange feeling he was harboring a deep, dark secret. In all likelihood, though, the shadows were reflections of the profound sorrow he and I had shared with scores of other Americans.
Weâ€™d met in a makeshift Union Army field hospital during General Shermanâ€™s march across Georgia. While under the generalâ€™s command, Drew had suffered a near-mortal wound from a Rebel blast. For two days heâ€™d drifted in and out of consciousness. I was cleansing and re-dressing his wounds when heâ€™d at last come around. Heâ€™d gazed up at me; wonder struck, and whispered "Angel.â€ For a disoriented moment he must have thought he had passed to the great beyond. In my work-stained clothing and with smudges of fatigue beneath my eyes, I didnâ€™t see how I could have been mistaken for an angel.
Irene Pascoe lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband. She has three grown children and two grandsons. She enjoys the outdoors, tending her flower gardens, figuring out new computer programs, and having fun with family and friends.
Irene and her husband love to travel and have had the good fortune to see much of America as well as many distant countries. The majority of her books are set in places she and her husband have visited. Their next journey is a transatlantic cruise to Lisbon, Portugal.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 319
Paper Weight (lb): 5.4
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