Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson – Book Review, Preview

Posted July 5, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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“Will you tell my mom?” little Zach asked me for the fourth or fifth time, bouncing up and down, giving me a beguiling grin. When he was the first one to follow my instructions to the Sunday school class, I told the three-year-old I would let his parents know because I was so pleased. The next time he did something well, the question was repeated, then again. And again.

I realized that this darling, sunshiny boy has a hard path ahead of him. He has the same affliction I do. He is a people-pleaser. While this is a good thing in some ways, it can be very dangerous.

The Bible tells us that we should obey God, not man. He is the only one we should seek to please. His approval should be sufficient.

Yet I struggle at times. Worry about what people will think. Will they still like me? I like to think that my love for the Lord always trumps my desire to please others, but I am afraid that is not always the case.

What would happen if I was faced with not only a situation where I might displease someone but where the consequences of my actions could result in my imprisonment or death?

How about you?

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson – Book Review, Preview

Engraved on the Heart

by Tara Johnson

Published by Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date June 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Georgia Civil War Era - US - 1849-1865
Written for: Adults
Pages: 400


Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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After having her eyes opened to the plight of the slaves, Keziah found herself in a conundrum. Helping the slaves would endanger herself and her family. And, if her family ever found out, they would most likely consider it treason, especially with her brother fighting the Yankees. I found myself wondering if I would have the courage to make the choices she did.

Micah was a noble hero. He could have lived a much easier life but chose to sacrifice for those in need. The way he had always loved Keziah was very sweet, as was the way he tried to protect her and help her in every way he could.

While there were elements of romance, there was more suspense and conflict. An arranged marriage to a much older (and despicable) man, Keziah’s epilepsy, a cousin who came at the worst possible time, deception, fear, death, and ultimately hope fill the pages.

I loved the way the author related the story of this dark era in such a way that it was not dark. It was appropriately somber yet with faith and hope intermingled with the struggles.  It was heartwarming and a pleasure to read.

Preview of Engraved on the Heart

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About Tara Johnson

Tara Johnson is an author, speaker and passionate lover of stories. She loves to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled as a people-pleasing preacher’s kid.

From the time she was young and watched Gone with the Wind with her mother for the first time, the Civil War intrigued her. That fascination grew into all aspects of American history and the brave people and stories who made up its vibrant past.

She says, “History is crammed full of larger-than-life characters. Doc Holliday, Annie Oakley, Helen Keller, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass are just a few examples of flawed, wounded humans who battled their demons with vibrant determination and left an indelible mark on the pages of history. I suppose that’s why people are so fascinating. No matter the era, we all battle the same wounds. Abandonment, abusive fathers, overprotective mothers, loss, grief, rejection, addiction, crippling anxiety, loneliness, or the yearning for unconditional love, to name a few. We all battle the same junk and have to decide whether to fight or cave. Run or stand. Cry or smile. That’s what great characters do. They are a reflection of our struggles, our own wounds. Our own need. And, when written well, they remind us Who we need to turn to for healing.”

Tara has written articles for Plain Truth magazine and has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio and Enduring Word radio. Tara is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband Todd live in Arkansas and the Lord has blessed them with five children:  Bethany, Callie, Nate, as well as Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane who are with Jesus.

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