A Heartbeat Away
By S. Dionne Moore
Abingdon Press, May 2013
About the Book
When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.
Her mother’s mysterious goodbye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights. But as she sews each block, she realizes that there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her.
Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt’s message to its greatest test. But can betrayal be forgiven?
This was a sweet love story set during the Civil War. I tend to be a sucker for war love stories. This one had a bit more gore than a like to read about, though. I have a weak stomach. All the stuff about stench and lice was realistic I’m sure, but . . . ew. But I did like the way the characters interacted. I appreciated how loyal people were when they had seen sacrifice for people on either side of the war.
Poor Joe was sick for what seemed like forever. I thought it was sweet how he helped Beth heal by believing in her. She had rejection issues, and because of an injury when she was younger, the man she was in love with as a youth no longer wanted her. Joe saw beauty in her that made his former southern belle seem selfish and petty.
A Heartbeat Away had the typical “wounded soldier from the other side of the war falls in love with the woman caring for him while he’s feverish and at death’s door” theme, so there were no surprises. One of them had to be angry with God and the other encouraged letting go of the hurt.
I didn’t see how the quilt played a part in her emotional healing. I must have missed the connection. The story was pretty good, just not amazing.
Healing Hearts . . . fiction making an impact on real lives
New titles releasing in 2013: Collette’s Crusade, Learning to Trust, Somebody Help Me,
Her Innocence, and Serena’s Something