When War Reaches Clarissa’s Back Door, the Trustworthy Become Even Fewer. Journey into Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, of 1863 where Clarissa Avery Ross lives a full life. By day she is the daughter of a respectable shoemaker being courted by seminary student Kyle Forrester. But by night she is a conductor on the Underground Railroad, working with a mysterious man called Liberty. She would like to share her work with Kyle, but he refuses to enlist when the war breaks out. How can she remain true to a man being labeled a coward? When the war comes to her back door in an epic battle, the greatest challenges to her faith and love are yet to come.
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Saturday night, early December 1860 Adams County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Five miles north of Gettysburg
It was so black she could not see her hand even if she held it so close it touched her face.
To the left and right she could not even pick out the trees on either side of the forest path.
It did not matter.
Overhead, where tree branches were not closing together to form a canopy, she could see the stars burning and recognized every one of them — she knew the constellations well and where the North Star blazed, no matter what season of the year it was.
Under her boots was the deer trail she had walked many times, day and night, so how dark it was did not concern her — her feet knew the way, and she never had a misstep. Even if her eyes had been blinded and her legs shackled, she would not have lost her sense of direction. The path to freedom was carved in her heart.
No snow on the trail, but the cold bit. Never mind. They were dressed for it.
"Mizz Clarissa," whispered a woman behind her. "Ain't we ought to have got there yet?"
But the whisper was too loud.
Clarissa turned swiftly.
"Hush!" Her whisper was low but sharp as a musket shot. "It is only another mile. But this is the most dangerous stretch. Slave catchers are aware the Underground Railroad has a track that runs through this region. Not another word. If you must talk, talk to God in your soul."
Dark as it was, she could just make out the five faces behind her: two older women, two children, and one young man. She felt their fear. But she also sensed the courage that would not let the fear overtake them. Doubting they could see the smile that was famous with friends and acquaintances, she let it part her lips anyway.
"'Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,'" she recited softly, "'and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.'"
She could barely see their faces in the pitch dark, but she felt the smiles form that matched her own.
"Amen," said the two women and the young man together.
Clarissa resumed her cautious but persistent pace along the trail.
She had not gone more than seven steps before someone seized her and yanked her off the path.
Her wide-brimmed hat flew off her head and into the trees.
A hand clamped over her mouth.
Startled and frightened, she still managed to fight back by biting down as hard as she could on the hand and delivering a strong kick to her attacker's knee. He grunted in pain, and she felt his leg buckle. Thrusting a hand under the ragged men's coat she was wearing, which was three sizes too large, she gripped the butt of the revolver tucked under the wide leather belt that held up her men's pants, also three sizes too large, and began to tug it free, cocking back the hammer.
But a large hand closed over hers and practically crushed it. She screamed her agony into the flesh of the hand over her mouth and was unable to push the revolver into her assailant's stomach or squeeze the trigger.
"For an itty-bitty scrap of nothing," hissed a man's voice in her ear, "you sure put up a heck of a fight, little missy. Now stop struggling and be still before I take your head off."
She screamed into his hand, this time in rage and fury, bit into his flesh even harder, and kicked his knee twice more, so that his leg gave way and they both crashed to the earth.
Trying to roll over and scratch out his eyes, she was prevented from doing so by two things — the man's hand closed over her nose as well as her mouth and began to choke out her breath. And he whispered several Bible verses quickly into her ear.
"'How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.'"
Clarissa immediately went rigid.
It was the night's password for the Underground Railroad.
Either her attacker was a slave catcher who had learned the password, which was entirely possible, or he was an operator with the Railroad who was doing what he was doing because of an emergency. Not entirely sure what he was or wasn't, but needing to breathe again, Clarissa ceased struggling, and he gradually loosened his hand so that she could take in air.
But her left hand slipped slowly toward a bayonet tucked away in a concealed scabbard in her boot, a men's boot that, unlike her clothing, actually fit her perfectly because her father, a shoemaker in Gettysburg, had made them just for her.
"Walk your ten thousand miles to freedom," he'd told her the day he gifted her with the sturdy black boots, "and, God willing, take ten thousand souls with you, my girl."
Now her attacker was pointing her Navy Six revolver at the five people she had been guiding through the forest.
"Get into the woods," he growled in a low voice.
"Stay put and don't move," he growled again. "Or I'll shoot every last one of you."
No one moved.
Clarissa remained motionless. Except for her left hand, which was curled around the bayonet.
Harriet Tubman had threatened men twice her size with her revolver. Clarissa reckoned she could do the same thing with the bayonet. She was certain she'd have no problem thrusting it into her assailant's leg. Or even his stomach. It meant saving her passengers' lives, and any one of theirs was worth ten of his.
The blackguard, she seethed.
Or maybe not a blackguard. But she wasn't going to wait much longer to find out. If he was a slave catcher, he'd sell her passengers back into bondage. And skin her alive. She began to count to one hundred.
Lord Jesus, she prayed, if he is an angel from heaven, let me know right quick. If he is an angel from hell, let me dispatch him right quick. Just let me know. Right quick.
Despite the circumstances, she half smiled to herself. She could imagine her mother shaking her head and saying, "And you call that a serious prayer to God Almighty?" And she would reply, "Well, it is mighty serious, ma'am, and it sure isn't a prayer to the mayor of Gettysburg, is it?"
"Stop muttering to yourself." The hand closed tightly over her mouth once again. "Do you want to be killed?"
Her anger boiled up in her. Do you?
Her grip tightened on the bayonet.
And her count reached eighty-seven.
God forgive me, she prayed as she slowly brought the bayonet free of her boot. And God let my hand strike swift and sure.
Ninety-two ... ninety-three ... ninety-four ...
Then everything in her stopped cold.
Men's voices, low but distinct, came along the trail in the direction she and the others had been heading.
She made out two, three, four bodies moving stealthily through the darkness.
Carrying guns and whips and clubs.
"I thought you said Bobby would bring the hounds," grumbled one voice, and the voice was loud.
"That's right, Billy," snapped another man, "tell the whole county we're here. That oughta help us catch those runaways real easy, huh?"
The reply was still grumbly but too low for Clarissa to make out.
The four reached the spot where the man had her pinned in his arms and her passengers crouched in the trees.
"My spy in Gettysburg said they'd be in this forest tonight and pushing for a hiding place north of town," one whispered.
"It's a big forest," another whispered back.
"Not that big. And we got men on the other trails."
"A three-hundred-dollar reward for all five. I can pretty much taste it."
"Taste is all you're gonna get if we don't get the chains on 'em."
"We need those hounds!"
"Shut yer mouth about the hounds! We're the hounds! Now sniff 'em out!"
"I can't believe a little scrap of a girl is capable of running us in circles."
"She ain't no girl. She's the devil. A Yankee's devil."
It was the second time that night Clarissa had been referred to as a "scrap." If she had been free to do so, she would have pounced on all four men and kicked their legs out from under them. Then turned on her attacker and dealt with him as well. All she could do was grit her teeth. And clench her bayonet until she was sure her knuckles were white.
The men lingered nearby for several minutes, arguing among themselves.
Her attacker's revolver, which was her revolver — something else that annoyed her in the moment, doubly annoying because she could not immediately do anything about it — was now pointing at the slave catchers. Which counted for something.
Or maybe not.
He could be a rival slave catcher who wanted the three-hundred-dollar reward all to himself.
Or he might have plans to sell them off for double that.
And then string her up from a tall oak tree as a warning to other do-gooders and slave lovers.
"Standing here ain't helping none." It was the grumbling whisperer again.
"Then let's keep going, smart-mouth. And you can lead the way." A snort. "I hear tell she has a Navy Six. And that she is a devil of a shot to go along with that devil of a heart. Why, Billy, it could be that little scrap of nothing is what'll put you in the ground permanent-like."
Three times she had been called that!
With the grumbler still grumbling and growling, the men continued their creep along the forest path.
A minute went by without Clarissa or her attacker or her passengers moving.
Then the man said, "Let us get the passengers to safety. The catchers don't know it's Prickert's barn. If they did, they'd have men there. I am going to release you, Joshua." He had used Clarissa's secret name. "No screeching or hollering or they'll come back for us. I'm sorry I was so rough. I didn't have time to explain. They were almost on top of us. Are you going to make a fuss?"
Clarissa shook her head.
"All right," the man whispered. "Now please put your bayonet back in your boot."
Clarissa made a face of acute irritation he could not see and shoved the bayonet back in its scabbard.
"Now I am going to let go of you and climb to my feet. I'd rather not receive another boot to my knee. You kick like a Missouri mule. And we are on the same side, even if I did have to manhandle you. For which I apologize again."
Apologize all you like, Clarissa growled to herself, it won't save you.
"And in case all of that is not enough to assuage your spitfire temper — your reputation precedes you, missy — you should know my code name is Liberty. I'm sure you've heard of me."
Clarissa had indeed been planning a kick to his leg, both of them, when he used his code name.
That can't be! she almost shouted out loud — except his hand was still on her mouth. Liberty runs the whole Railroad to Prickert's barn and Methuselah's tavern. He's guided runaways to New York and the Great Lakes. The Amish in Lancaster know about him. Even Harriet Tubman knows about him. He's ferried passengers across Lake Erie into Canada. He's been shot and whipped.
His hand came off her mouth.
They both got to their feet together.
He was considerably taller than her. Which fit the description she'd heard about him.
He wore the kind of long, heavy coat a sailor shipping out of port in Philadelphia might wear. What they called a peacoat or pilot jacket. Which was also right.
And a black hood covered his head. With two slashes for the eyes and no openings for the nose or mouth. Which also was part of Liberty's look.
He handed back her revolver.
She took it and tucked it in her belt.
And slapped him as hard as she could across the face.
"Don't ever try that on me again, mister!" she snapped, and not in a whisper. "I don't care if Lucifer himself is on the path! Understood?"
"Understood?" Liberty nodded. "I do understand."
She poked around in the undergrowth for her hat, found it, reshaped the brim, and planted it back on a head of tightly pinned-up hair.
"And another thing," she snarled, lowering her voice. "Don't call me an itty-bitty scrap of nothing ever again. I don't care if Harriet Tubman thinks you're the cat's cream and the hero of the commonwealth. I don't. So never call me a scrap again."
She thought she detected a smile under the hood.
Which did nothing to calm her down.
"I assure you I won't," Liberty responded.
He bowed to the five passengers. "I am sorry for my rough-and-ready actions. But you were all in danger of being captured." He glanced at Clarissa. "And one of you was in danger of being flayed alive."
Clarissa narrowed her eyes. "I can take care of myself."
"What are you? All of sixteen?"
She flared up. "None of your business! And I'm nineteen, sir! Nineteen!"
"Are you? With a mop of red hair to go with your temper! It must take a thousand pins to keep it from tumbling down like the walls of Jericho."
Oh, the man infuriated her! Was he capable of doing nothing else but bring the blood to her face and murder to her heart?
"My pins and my hair are also none of your business, sir! And God has taught me how to control my temper!"
"Until tonight," he added.
"Until tonight!" she spat. "And until you!"
Once again she was sure she detected a smile under the hood and wanted to smack him a second time.
But he was beginning to move off quickly through the woods.
"We can't use the trail anymore tonight," he said, looking back over his shoulder at Clarissa and the five runaways. "We may never be able to use it again. Follow me. We'll cut a new path through this scrap of forest and be at Prickert's in less than an hour. You have no objections if I call this part of the forest a scrap, do you, Joshua?"
Clarissa continued to boil. "Be my guest, sir."
She gestured to her five passengers, and the seven of them began to pick their way through the trees.
Ten minutes later it began to snow. For which Clarissa thanked God. Since they were no longer on the path, the slave catchers would not be able to track their footprints in the fresh snowfall. And the snowflakes falling faster and faster would make visibility difficult for their hunters. Especially once she and Liberty had to guide their passengers across open ground. There was the additional hope that if the flurries turned into a storm, it might discourage the slave catchers and make them seek out their lodgings, a warm fire, and a glass of brandy. And bed.
No one spoke. They moved, thought Clarissa, like dark ghosts through a forest that was turning increasingly white. Or like gray wolves. Fast, silent, a mystery to anyone who caught a glimpse of them, and, with her bayonet and revolver, lethal to anyone who got in their way.
She found herself wondering about Liberty as she followed his back through the snowfall and past hundreds of tree trunks. It was an irritating line of thought, but she couldn't help herself. Who was under that hood? Did he carry a gun or knife like she did? Where did he live? What did he do when he wasn't an agent or conductor working the Freedom Train? How many times had he taken baggage right into Canaan or Heaven or the Promised Land — into Canada? How long had he been an operator and a conductor? And how old was he anyway? It bothered her that now he knew her age and she didn't know his. It bothered her that he knew what she looked like (hair pinned up, thank goodness!) but she had no idea what he looked like. In fact, everything about him bothered her. If only she could hear his voice properly she might be able to identify his age or even, if he was a resident of Gettysburg, who he was. But the black hood muffled everything he said.
As if he'd been reading her mind, he glanced back at her through the swirling snowflakes. "I wouldn't trouble myself too much if I were you, Miss Clarissa Avery Ross. If I want you to know who I am, I'll tell you. If I don't, it will be the secret I take to my grave."
Oh, how did he know what I was thinking? And who told him my real name? I could strangle the man! Speaking of graves!
"Don't flatter yourself, sir!" snapped Clarissa, unafraid of how loud her voice was, since the rising wind was even louder. "No man on earth could be farther from my mind. I would prefer to memorize Greek verb conjugations than dwell on any aspect of your unfortunate existence."
"I know Greek," Liberty responded quickly.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania"
Copyright © 2018 Murray Pura.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Civil War story that’s sure to touch your heart. Clarissa is red haired beauty with a temperament to match. She is also a conductor in the Underground Railroad. I love that she is so dedicated to helping people to freedom even though her life is threatened. The author described Gettysburg and the beautiful surrounding area where Clarissa lived that I felt I was there. About halfway through the book I got a huge surprise. No spoilers but oh my I was enthralled. I couldn’t read fast enough. A book with historical facts that made me think more of what the people in this era went through. The scenes of the battle were so realistic. If you like historical fiction and especially the Civil War you need to read this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I was drawn into this book from the first page! The author, Murray Pura, has created a mystery around the Underground Railroad, a romance, and the Revolutionary War battle coming to Gettysburg. Clarissa is a strong, courageous, passionate woman who gives her all to any job presented to her. She is fearless! You'll review history from the Battle of Gettysburg and perhaps, like me, learn some history you didn't know. This is a fabulous historical fiction novel, with intriguing characters and am amazing conclusion to surprise everyone. For me, this is the best book from the My Heart Belongs.... Series. I was give a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
This was an interesting book to read. Murray Pura writes with such historical accuracy it made the storyline believable and his vividly written scenes puts the reader right on the frontlines of the Civil War. Clarissa Avery lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and enjoys the finer things in life coming from a respectable family. She is being courted by Kyle Forrester who is a seminary student . Clarissa has a secret life she lives serving as conductor on the Underground Railroad. Liberty, is a mysterious man that frequently is at Clarissa's side while she transports slaves to safety. It's an extremely dangerous time for anyone who sympathizes with those who want to put an end to slavery. Liberty who chooses to wear a covering over his head prevents his true identity from being known even to Clarissa. As they spar with each other during their many dangerous trips where gunfire can erupt in the dark of night their relationship takes an interesting turn. Clarissa would like to talk about her work with Kyle but feels he isn't doing his part for the cause by staying in the seminary and not signing up to fight in the war. As the story progresses the readers will be introduced to Harriett Tubman which makes the story even more fascinating. The courtship between Clarissa and Kyle continues on until Clarissa decides she cannot tolerate being with a man who is being talked about as being a coward. Their relationship takes a sour turn and Clarissa continues on with her conductor work. It is during one of her many trips during the night that misfortune finds Liberty and Clarissa and Liberty's true identity is revealed. This is a wonderful story! For anyone who enjoys reading about the Underground Railroad this is the story for you and of course there just might be a love story in the making.
Clarissa’s Conflict is an action filled novel. Clarissa is an interesting young woman who is very spirited and opinionated. She has no qualms about vocalizing her thoughts and her feelings, especially when it concerns the issue of slavery. Therefore, she does all she can to help the runaway slaves by becoming involved with the Underground Railroad. With the beginning of the Civil War, Clarissa is especially vocal about a particular young man who does not enlist to fight for freedom for all men. She likes Kyle very much, but that is almost too much to bear. You must read this novel to see how Clarissa’s life becomes involved with the battle of Gettysburg. You will also be surprised at the turn of events in the life of Kyle. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
In Clarissa’s Conflict, we are taken to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the years of December 1860-December 1863. Clarissa was quite a feisty character, impulsive, independent, and the only child of her parents who allowed her escapades. At the beginning of the story we find Clarissa working in the Underground Railroad and dealing with all the dangers that involved. Clarissa does do some maturing as the story progresses, as she deals with the dangers of the Railroad and then the war is on her doorstep and in her town of Gettysburg. Clarissa is a woman ahead of her time. She fights for the freedom of slaves in all that she can do and expects her love, Kyle Forrester to do the same. But though Kyle is against slavery, he goes about things much different than Clarissa. And then we are given a mysterious character by the name of Liberty, who is not only masked and resolute, almost terrifyingly so in his work on the Railroad, but has many secrets hidden that Clarissa is dying to uncover. This story takes the reader from the start of the war, all the way through the battle of Gettysburg and gives us an eyewitness account of what it may have been like to be a young woman watching her town being turned into a battlefield. I have been to Gettysburg and could just imagine that horrible conflict there. Even though Clarissa could be over the top in her character at times, the romance was sweet and fierce, and the battle was a great reminder of thankfulness to those who fought for freedom and the preservation of the United States. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All views and opinions are my own.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author has done a fabulous job of bringing Gettysburg to life. Having visited there many years ago, I found myself trying to remember if I had walked some of those areas so well depicted. The horrors of slavery and the dangers of those willing to help them to freedom were made very real. Tears came unbidden while remembering all those who died especially on the lovely green fields of Gettysburg. May we become more understanding of those that are different on the outside, but still the same as us on the inside. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All impressions and opinions are my own.
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by Murray Pura, is an interesting historical romance that is very well researched and steeped in historical facts about the Underground Railroad and the battle of Gettysburg. The heroine, Clarissa Ross, is the daughter of a shoemaker who must decide who she will give her heart to. Will it be Kyle, a seminary student or Liberty, a fellow worker on the Underground Railroad? This was my least favorite of all of the books that I have read in the “My Heart Belongs…” series because of Clarissa’s attitude and personality. However, I would recommend this book to people that enjoy good historical fiction especially of the Civil War era as Murray Pura’s descriptions of the Underground Railroad and the battles are very well written. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Slaves--Underground Railroad--Conductors--Secret identities. All of these are featured in the beginning pages of this story and the adventure and intrigue never stop. My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania begins in 1860 when Clarissa Ross is a nineteen year old woman secretly involved in helping to lead slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. As her story continus over the next three years, we watch as she struggles with romantic feelings for two very different men and also frets and worries that war may eventually come to her beloved Gettysburg and change it forever. Clarissa was a complicated young lady and I sometimes found myself irritated by her actions. Her red hair was often the excuse that she used for both her impulsiveness and her quick temper but there was also a positive side to her fiery nature. She strongly believed that all men are equal and none should be considered inferior and she never stopped trying to convince others. There aren't many fair maidens who would choose to dress like a man, chew tobacco and go into battle but Clarissa had no reservations in fighting for her beliefs or for the safety of the man that she loved. It is very apparent that author Murray Pura thoroughly researched this part of our United States history and he has been able to weave the facts into a fascinating story. I never realized that the Amish, Mennonites and Quakers often aided the slaves in their journeys to freedom and I had forgotten that those who helped the slaves escape were referred to as conductors and that Moses was the code name for Harriet Tubman, the chief conductor of the Underground Railroad. I love history and this book has offered me a whole new understanding of the many causes that contributed to the Civil War and I've also been given a new insight into the intense suffering of those involved. I have gained a better concept of the Gettysburg Address that President Abraham Lincoln delivered in November 1863 and a deeper appreciation for those stirring words that I memorized many, many years ago! I thoroughly enjoyed My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and Christian romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Wow. This book exhausted me and left my heart pounding! I was intrigued from the start, and it just kept getting better with every chapter. What courage - what spunk! It was Anne of Green Gables and Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Barrett Browning all rolled into one petite but explosive Yankee lass. I have to confess Clarissa Avery Ross wasn't my favorite character at first - she seemed so pugnacious and full of herself. But I love the transformation of her personality as she grows to understand true love and war firsthand. This book was much more than the romance of Clarissa and her handsome Irish beau of many names. It was the story of freedom's bloody and difficult birth after years of prosperity built on the backs of slaves. Murray Pura perfectly captures the zeal that inspired so many to give their all for their vision of what our country should be. And that's the most romantic thing of all. How have I never read this author before?! That is about to change. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Clarissa Avery Ross lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and takes her duties as a conductor for the Underground Railroad very seriously. At nineteen, the feisty redhead is a force to reckon with and bumps heads with a man who runs a route of the Railroad and goes by the code name Liberty. Clarissa’s courter, Kyle Forrester is a seminary student and does not know of Clarissa’s involvement in the Railroad. When war breaks out, Clarissa finds herself drawn to the courageous man named Liberty and disappointed in Kyle’s unwillingness to enlist for the cause. Which man will she choose? When a secret is revealed and the war encroaches at Clarissa’s door, passion and loyalties are ignited and Clarissa must rely on her faith and strength to survive. This historical fiction novel paints a vivid and explosive time in America’s history. The surprise that is revealed during the novel is well done and readers will feel immersed in Clarissa’s world. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Amazing detail of history and the sacrifices and sufferings that go along with war and the underground railroad. The main characters have key parts in what goes on in and around Gettysburg and it affects their lives tremendously. Clarissa definitely has growing up to do and accepting the life God has given her. Kyle has secrets and obligations he must fulfill as he believes God has given him that responsibility. Great depth and gritty emotions that come with the realities of war. This runs you through many emotions from wanting to smack sense into Clarissa to crying at the thought of so many friends lost in the war to cheering at a happy ever after! I received this from Barbour and this is my honest opinion.
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg Pennsylvania by Murray Pura was an excellent historical read that put me in the place of the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman and all. Liberty was an amazing character, as was the main character, Clarissa. I enjoyed the seminary man, Kyle as well. It was an interesting twist of story lines to see where the author was going to take me. I just wanted to keep reading. It’s mysterious; there are feelings of betrayal and intense word pictures of the dangers conductors faced and choices they made while working toward freeing the slaves and the importance of it. A great read! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Ah, Gettysburg. My parents dragged us there as kids. Summertime is hot with no air-conditioning. We did the tour with the cassette tape playing as we drove around. Great memories! As an adult, I can appreciate it so much more. The sacrifice, the bravery, the danger, and ultimately the great loss. I liked the story of Clarissa aiding the escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad, but I had a hard time reconciling her role as the conductor with the over-indulged teenager that she seemed to be. It was simple to figure out the secret identity of the other conductor, Liberty. The fun was waiting to see how Clarissa figured it out. There are some far-fetched situations toward the end of the book. All's fair in love and war, I guess. The book was interesting, fast paced, and easy to read. Kudos to the author. I didn't know the author was a man until after I finished the book. I can usually tell the difference. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa’s Conflict by Murray Pura A great addition to the My Heart Belongs series! I live about 45 minutes from Gettysburg and have been there often, walked the battlefields and visited the visitors’ center so I could picture that area as I read. Murray Pura’s historical details and vivid descriptions enhance my own visits and bring Clarissa and her story to life. Clarissa is a feisty young woman involved in the Underground Railroad and is very out spoken in her opinions. I was surprised that a woman of such a young age would be courageous enough to do the things she was involved in and that her parents would allow it. I admire her strength, courage, the way she held to her beliefs even in the midst of danger and her faith. The mysterious man behind the mask who often accompanies her on one of her “runs” is a hero that is captivating in every way. I love his dedication to a cause he feels is worth any danger to himself. He is brave, strong, honorable and a bit of a mystery which makes him even more noteworthy. A powerful, heartwarming story that will stay with me for sometime.
Author Murray Pura writes a wonderfully researched book of Civil War Gettysburg. If you enjoy historical fiction, give this one a read! The dialogue between Clarissa and the men in her life did feel a bit wordy at times, but speech was different at that time and I understand that. Often the heroine made me shake my head. So bold for a woman of that era but we know they existed. They did indeed work on the Underground Railroad and even put on men’s uniforms to do what had to be accomplished for freedom’s cause. And Clarissa was a spit fire! I think you’ll love her. Full of historical facts, the book was not dull. Pura wove those facts into an intriguing story with well-developed characters. He also described Gettysburg so well that even though I’ve never been there I can see it in my mind. It’s a great way to travel! There are, of course, battle scenes with thorough descriptions but never gratuitous gore. They were written with care, you can tell. I will say that while I expected some romance, I got a bit more than I bargained for. Nothing bad, just a head strong maiden who couldn’t make up her mind and wasn’t afraid to kiss a man. More than one man, in fact. Goodness, what will this woman do next? Read it and find out!
What do I love about Murray Pura's books? He's thorough in his research, and he keeps things moving, moving, moving. I haven't read all of his books, but this one is definitely worth five stars. He's a guy who can write romance without getting repetitious. The novel is set in the pre- and during-Civil War period. I like how his heroine goes from spoiled and feisty to being more mature but still courageous. The hero is pretty much "hero-ing" all the way through. Not quite perfect, but close. The way we like heroes to be. You know. This is one the guys will like too, I'm thinking. Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I received this book free from NetGalley, but my opinions are still my own.
Wow. A beautiful love story during a time of underground railroad and the civil war. Intricate and detailed life of a young woman who was a conductor helping slaves and passionate about life and the war. She reminded me at first a bit like Anne of Green Gables, with her red hair and high spirit. She is a deeply feeling girl. Finding the love of her life was not a simple thing, but deeply romantic. Much of the dialogue was deeply romantic, read like the thoughts of a poet. All that you could want in a historical romance that also gives life to the small town of Gettysburg and also the highly important battle that took place there. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc and the Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Death lies on all sides... Gettysburg. Probably the most famous battle in the Civil War, and, a name that still strikes solemnity and sadness in the heart even now over 150 years later. I've been looking forward to My Heart Belongs In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict for awhile now, first because it is an era not yet covered by the My Heart Belongs In... series, and second because this is the first book in the series written by a guy. I've read one of author Murray Pura's previous historical romances published by Barbour, which I did enjoy, but I do think I might have liked this one a little better. I have to admit that Clarissa's naivete and super-idealism did not endear her to me at first. I did, however, have a sneaking admiration for the elusive and enigmatic Liberty. But as the war came closer and became more real to Clarissa and her idealism became tempered by experience I did find myself starting to like her more and admire her fighting spirit. In many ways I imagine reality was a bit like this, the boys went to war expecting glory and for it to be over by Christmas but as time went on everyone became more weary and even jaded but what they went through. Danger and romance run high in My Heart Belongs In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict as Murray Pura delivers an enjoyable historical romance - with some real twists and turns - against the backdrop of America's greatest conflict. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Murray Pura continues the My Heart Belongs series, all stand-alone novels, with the story of Clarissa in the mid-180s, during the time period surrounding the Civil War. With tales of the Underground Railroad and the battle of Gettysburg, this novel is full of edge-of-the-seat scenes, courageous and heroic characters, and of course, romance. The author has done a great job of drawing the reader into the characters' lives and emotions, expressing the heartfelt fears and anguish of family and friends at home praying for and awaiting news about their loved ones. And illustrating the battles of a war that ended up on their streets, on their doorsteps and eventually changed everything, churches and schools turned into hospitals, the town reduced to burial plots and memorials and even changing the names of favorite landmarks. The book is rich in great historical detail, danger, battles, love, family, and friends and threaded throughout faith in God who can bring strength and comfort through the difficult times of war. It is another engaging addition to the My Heart Belongs series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The adventure that Clarissa takes you on as she goes on her secret missions in helping the slaves. She has such a strong adversity to slavery and must deal with others who do not see how it could be wrong to own slaves can do so with a good conscience. I was disappointed when the book was finished, I would like to know more of her story. Very well written and informative on the historical underground railroad. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Clarissa's Conflict This is an interesting story about Clarissa who lives in Gettysburg, she is a conductor on the Underground Railroad-helping slaves to reach freedom with help from different locations along the railroad. Her family knows she does this and permits her to do it, she has an internal drive, that pushes her to succeed. Kyle is a bible scholar who is attending seminary school. He seems to stand for a lot of things that Clarissa is against. Clarissa has to get her mind around those facts and turns away from his courtship. There is a lot of history in this book, the author has researched it well. I found that it drug along in the middle of the book, took me much longer than normal to read it. The end part of the book flow along nicely. This author will get better and better, as he writes more and more. All in all, a good book. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania This story begins just before the Civil War. The heroine of the story is spunky Carissa Avery Ross. Carissa is a conductor with the Underground Railroad. Dressing as a man she ushers runaway blacks to the next station on the way to freedom. These nightime adventures lead to some interesting encounters. Carissa's parents are aware of her nightime activities and support her in helping others. Carissa finds her attention drawn to seminarian Kyle Forrester. After spending time with Kyle, Carissa becomes more enamored. Carissa is bothered by his lack of service for the North. Also there is the hooded man known as Liberty who threw her to the ground while she was conducting people to a way station. she is angry with Liberty because of his overbearing ways. Carissa finds herself working with Liberty often. So the spunky heroine is conflicted by her feelings for these two men. Who will she turn to? Then the war shows up in their town of Gettysburg and life becomes even more complicated. We see this conflict in her statement, "I can not sort out this country or this war or the prolongation of slavery, and much less can I sort out the affairs of the heart" I really enjoyed the book. The underground railroad section really grabbed my attention and brought me into the story and the characters. I struggled more with the civil war portions. Although having just visited Gettysburg I knew of the land marks that were refered to in the story. Little Round Top, Big Round Top and the ridge that the battles were fought on. I would recommend this book to family and friends. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by Murray Pura is a book about the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg. I was pleased to see a book about Gettysburg, since it is close to where my father was born and we visited several times while on vacation. I loved reading about the Lutherans in the town and the Seminary since my husband’s ancestor was a student there. However, I was not pleased with Clarissa Avery Ross at all. She was petulant and too outspoken for the times, when young ladies were taught to be demure. She was like Scarlet O’Hara on steroids. I could not see her being trusted as a conducter on the Underground Railroad because of her immaturity and rashness. By the time the war got to Gettysburg and Clarissa was thrown into the aftermath of the battle, nursing the wounded, I felt like she had finally grown up. She went about her tasks as it was her Christian Duty, not caring which solders were Rebels and which were Union. Then she actually saw battle and that’s where her stubbornness served her well. Mr. Pura does an exceptional job of describing the battle at Gettysburg. And the scene with Abraham Lincoln dedicating the cemetery was very moving. I remember that memorizing the Gettysburg Address was a requirement in my Junior High days. I wish everyone would be able to recite it. It is important to remember. Thankyou Mr. Pura for bringing this part of our National History to life. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own. * Paula Shreckhise
Clarissa's Conflict - My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was a great portrayal of the Civil War and the conflicting dimensions and how it affected the people and the decisions they made dependent on their beliefs. Clarissa, a daughter of a shoemaker, must make a decision between Kyle, a seminary student, and Liberty, a fellow worker on the Underground Railroad transporting slaves to freedom in the North, even though he keeps his real identity hidden by a hood. The war ends up in her backyard and Clarissa ends up helping in the battle. Will she and the one she loves make it through the war in Gettysburg? I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
"My Heart Belongs in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Clarissa’s Conflict” by Murray Pura, takes place in 1860 near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Nineteen-year-old Clarissa Avery Ross comes from a respected family in Gettysburg where her father is a shoemaker. She is being courted by Kyle Forrester who is a seminary student preparing for the ministry. But appearances can be deceiving as young, petite Clarissa frequently wears a disguise, puts her life on the line, and under the cover of darkness, acts as a conductor in the Underground Railroad. As the War Between the States escalates, Clarissa becomes frustrated as Kyle refuses to enlist and fight for the North, choosing instead to write theological papers for his professors at the seminary. At the same time Clarissa becomes infatuated with her Underground Railroad contact who wears a hood to conceal his identity and is called “Liberty.” Liberty insults and challenges her, yet at the same time keeps her safe and protects her life from the bounty hunters and slave catchers who are determined to find runaway slaves and return them to their owners. Clarissa’s Conflict becomes evident when she becomes drawn to both men, Kyle and Liberty, who each seem to have vastly different reactions to slavery and the war. This story is contains humor and fear, love and hate, confusion and clarity, mystery and surprises. The author weaves the feelings and opinions of both sides of the Civil War into this story, and the reader is given insights into this period of American history that he/she might have previously considered. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it, as I am sure other readers will enjoy it too. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.