engraved on the heart

Engraved on the Heart by [Johnson, Tara]

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 chose to review this book for two reasons: 1) I live in the South, and books written from the southern perspective pretty much always intrigue me; and 2) my interest was piqued by the medical issues in the book.

This book left me with mixed feelings, so I’m going to break it all down in categories — which I seldom ever do. So bear with me on this =)

:::Characters:::
Each of the characters were well developed and relatable. This author truly has a gift, I think. I could sympathize with Kizzie, and with Micah, and with Kizzie’s mother, and her young cousin, and Hiriam, and any of the other characters. I appreciated being brought into the world of Savannah, Georgia, into the midst of the war and the food shortages and the hot-headedness through the characters.

:::Writing/Plot:::
I enjoyed this authors style of writing immensely. It was descriptive without being too detailed, passionate without being too dramatic, and the language used was beautiful and complex. The plot itself was a good idea, and, while I didn’t appreciate all of the nuances, it was okay.

:::Setting:::
The charm of historical Savannah was captured beautifully, and the descriptions given about different places, shops, buildings and streets were charming. I laughed at the many mentions of the legendary southern heat and humidity making the characters hot and sticky and sweaty…..’cause that’s life in the south :D

:::History:::
I already mentioned that I had looked forward to reading this because it was a story set in the south — and I am a confederate at heart, as most of you well know. The history of the few battles mentioned, the food shortages, the balls and dancing and clothing were all accurate, from what I have studied. The medical treatments seemed authentic, as well, and from what I have read — which admittedly isn’t much — everything was treated pretty much how it would have been in the 1860’s.

:::What I Didn’t Like:::
For all the things I liked about it, there were several things that irked me as I was reading. The history was….lacking. I kind of felt that one side was given fairly — the north — and the confederates suffered badly. Most people wouldn’t have noticed or cared, but the southern soldiers seemed to be portrayed negatively, the southern women were portrayed as flighty and flirtatious, and the social customs and manners were spoken of in a way that made them seem ridiculous. Granted, the story was about slavery, abolition, and the underground railroad, but it was set in the south and the bulk of the story was told by a southern girl…..so you would think that, with all the upbringing she would have had, she would have merely disagreed with her homeland and her family’s positions on certain issues. Instead, I read a story of a character who seemed to be more of a northern girl who was vacationing down south. Again, most people probably wouldn’t have noticed…..but I did. I also didn’t care for the lack of southern charm. The setting was charming enough, it’s true, but the people themselves, while feeling authentic, lacked the southern charm of yesteryear.

Another thing I didn’t care for was the relationship between Kizzie and Micah. Y’all know that I am a big proponent of working together and building a relationship based on doing things to get to know the other person, rather than feelings. Granted, feelings will come, but I’m not really fond of “feeling-like-I’m-falling-in-love” relationships. I thought, from the description, that these two would be working together to free the slaves, and emotions would follow…..but it was more of a relationship based on feelings, than actually getting to know someone through hard work. Nothing inappropriate, and the reader sees the true character of each through the narration, but I’m not sure the other character really had a chance of seeing the other’s character before being thrown together in the end. If that even makes any sense at all :D

This was a book I would recommend for older readers, due to violence with the bounty hunters and the whole slavery issue. There is a rather violent part involving Kizzie and her brother, and there are two deaths that you “see”. Details aren’t really given, but it happens, nonetheless.

In all, I give this book 3.5 stars, and I would be willing to give this author another go-round =)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn’t required to write a favourable review. All thoughts are my own.

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