Today is an exciting day. First, I just finished reading In His Eyes by Stephania McGee. This is a book you need to get your hands on and read! And, it just so happens that the book is on sale for a short time for only $0.99!! Isn’t that awesome? Next, guess who is visiting the blog today?? It’s Ella Whitaker! The very star of In His Eyes. Squee!! Can you tell I’m excited to have her on the blog today? First, I’ll tell you a little about the book.
About the Book
Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.
Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.
It didn’t take but a chapter to get me hooked on this storyline. The scenes where Ella tried to help the woman giving birth just astounded me. And then, to just take the baby and leave like she did, that took a lot of courage. I think that was what instantly drew me to Ella. Her bravery, her courage, and her willingness to do whatever possible to take care of that baby. She was really everything I wanted out of a heroine.
Then the storyline grew even more interesting with Ella pretending to be the “widow” to an officer of the war. What a unique storyline! As Major Westley made his way home I think I was both giddy and nervous for Ella. That is how involved I was with this book – I started feeling for them! That is what makes a good author, someone who can write in a way that pulls me in and connects me to the characters. I felt like I was at Belmont Plantation right along with Ella, Westley, Sibby and the rest.
Perhaps the best part of the story for me was the interactions between Ella and Major Westley. There was this unspoken chemistry and for the life of me I could not figure out why the characters couldn’t see it for themselves. Or maybe they did and chose not to address it! Throughout the book you see glimpses of hope for them getting together and I must say it was the perfect way to write their story. Had they come together too soon, I really think it would have ruined the entire book for me. Ella had a lot of growing to do before she could find herself in a relationship. The dreams that she had were so beautifully written. Hats off to the author for including such a majestic way for God to speak to Ella. It spoke to my heart as well and gave me many great reminders!
All in all, you need to read this book. Today. Right now in fact. May you find beauty in it too. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Interview with Ella Whitaker
Stephanie and Ella together!
Ella, I am so excited to have you on the blog today! Thanks for taking time away from your busy life to talk to us! Let’s get right to the questions. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the only daughter of a Scottish immigrant and a well-born Southern lady. My mother defied her family to marry my father, and they made a life together breeding horses on a farm. After my mother died when I was a girl, my father turned to drinking. When the War Between the States erupted, things only got worse. After my father’s death and the destruction of our farm, I left my home in southern Mississippi to head North to survive. I only made it as far as Washington County, near the Mississippi river. That is where I met my son, and my life took a new turn.
Speaking of which, I cannot believe you saved your son from his dying mother. What was your first thought as you held him in your arms?
As soon as I took hold of my sweet wee one, I knew that though he was not born of my body, he was born of my heart. He was impossible not to love, and I was desperate to make sure that the world did not take from him as it had from me. Yes, from the moment I first held him close, I knew that I would always love him.
After arriving at Belmont, what made you decide that Major Remington was your “husband?
Well, it certainly wasn’t my intention! I ventured to Belmont to locate a wet nurse for the wee one, and saw poor Sibby having a time with a group of Federal soldiers. She said that Major Remington was missing, and this foolish idea sprang forth. But the poor boy was screaming he was so hungry, and so I said the first thing I could think of to get those soldiers off the porch and get the baby inside with Sibby so he could eat.
Be honest, when you first saw Major Remington, what was your reaction?
Terror! This man was supposed to be dead, and here he was standing in the foyer! I could hardly speak, I was so nervous. My, but he was a handsome one, though. Dark hair and the build of a warrior. It was little wonder that the neighbors could scarcely believe I’d married him.
Any secrets about Major Remington that you’d like to share?
Westley likes for people to see him as this hardened soldier, and in many ways he is. But I have seen the man he keeps hidden within. The man that is full of compassion and self-sacrifice.
What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?
I would say my strengths are determination and work ethic. I will do whatever it takes to take care of those I love and I am not afraid of hard work.
I struggle with insecurities and feeling that no matter how hard I try, if things are not perfect then I have failed in some way.
What did God show you during this time in your life?
God wanted me to stop judging myself by how others saw me or even by how I saw myself. He wanted me to see who I truly am to Him, and how when I accepted that truth the rest of my life changed.
And lastly, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
Making sure that my baby boy has a chance at life. I could not stand to see anything happen to him, no matter the circumstances of his birth. I’m proud that I defied my employer and made sure that he was not abandoned.
Spoken like a true mother! Thank you so much for chatting with us today!
About the Author
Winner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year (2012) and author of six Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts and ball gowns, Greek revival homes and horse-drawn carriages, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes. She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys, (accompanied by their two spoiled dogs and mischievous cat) where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and stories steeped in the South.
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