Her Rebel Heart (Love Inspired Historical)

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9780373828982: Her Rebel Heart (Love Inspired Historical)

There was a time when Julia Stanton's fondest wish was to be Samuel Ward's wife. But that was before the war. As pro-Confederacy sentiments clash with the Union troops occupying Baltimore, fear and suspicion turn friends to foes. Julia chooses the Confederacy?Samuel does not. And his decision is one she's sure she'll never forgive.

Samuel would gladly give his life for Julia. Still, he cannot go against the certainty he feels that slavery is wrong?even after his beliefs cost him Julia's love. Yet as they work to comfort a city in turmoil, Samuel prays God's guidance will lead them to common ground. For where there is courage and faith, two divided hearts may come together once more.?

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About the Author:

Shannon Farrington is a former teacher with family ties to both sides of the Civil War.  She and her husband have been married for nearly 20 years, have two children, and are active members in both their church and community.

When Shannon isn't researching or writing, you can find her knitting, gardening or participating in living history reenactments.  She and her family live in Maryland.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Baltimore, Maryland 1861

Samuel Ward watched the rising sun and wondered why he had even bothered to go to bed the night before. He hadn't slept, nor had he expected to. How could he when the woman to whom he'd pledged his love and devotion had broken his heart?

Julia's words sliced through his mind.

You are a coward. I will not marry you.

He raked his fingers through his reddish-brown hair, trying to comprehend such a declaration. Just a few weeks ago, they'd been happy and in love. Their future had seemed secure. But the bloody conflict that had divided the nation into North and South had divided Sam and Julia, as well. The final straw had come last night when word had spread that Federal troops were in the process of occupying Baltimore. Angry and frightened, Julia had wanted him to say that he'd support the Confederacy and drive the Northern troops out of their home. But he could not say it. He could not support States' Rights. And that was something she could not accept.

The hole in his heart was vast but as a history and rhetoric teacher at the Rolland Park Men's Seminary, he had a duty to perform. He picked up his watch and gathered his books. He knew the campus would be in an uproar because of what was happening in the city. He prayed for wisdom.

Help me, Lord. Help me follow Your path.

When Sam arrived at the seminary the halls were filled with talk.

"That army is going to arrest anyone with Southern sympathy."

"Those that had it left town last night."

"They won't be the last to leave. You can be certain of that."

Sam walked into his classroom. He stopped briefly to glance at the painting of Francis Scott Key, which hung prominently above the blackboard. The father of the "Star Spangled Banner" had once been caught between two opposing armies. Samuel couldn't help but wonder if Fort McHenry would once again be the center of rockets' red glare.

One month ago, Confederate forces had fired upon Fort Sumter. President Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the rebellion. When Northern troops tried to pass through Baltimore en route to Washington they clashed with pro-secession citizens. Rioting commenced. The soldiers opened fire. People were killed.

His country was at war. So was his family.

He took out his books. When his students filed in he called the roll. Five were missing. He stared at the empty chairs, rumors of their departure circulating around him.

"They rode to Carroll County last night," one student volunteered.

"They packed their haversacks with foodstuffs and took their pistols."

"They will be in Virginia before the week is through."

Julia's brother Edward was a member of the Maryland Guard. He and many other men from the state militia had gone south last night. Sam wondered if his students would fall under Edward's leadership. He prayed that wherever they were this morning that God would protect them.

The remaining men in the classroom wore faces of uncertainty. All they wished to discuss was the army that had invaded Baltimore. They were just as divided as the city. Some were for the occupation.

"Life will get back to normal now because of this show of force."

Others were not so sure. "What do you think General Butler's true intentions are?" one of the men asked.

Sam drew in a deep breath, wanting to remain calm and unaffected by it all, or at least show as much to his students. The last thing they needed was a teacher stirring up their concerns by airing his own fears. But his anxiety over Edward's safety and his despair over the loss of Julia's love made it hard to sound optimistic.

"I should hope that his intentions are as he stated in his proclamation, to '...enforce respect and obedience to the laws.'"

The notice from the Union General had been printed in the local papers that morning. Anyone who could get their hands on one had read it.

For months now the newspapers had been reporting on Maryland's possible political future. The state legislature swung one month toward Federal sovereignty and then unfettered States' Rights the next. Now Maryland's position had been determined for her. She would be kept in the Union by force.

"We have much to attend to today," he said, trying to keep the political discussion limited. "Please open your books to chapter four."

Sam tried to continue with his lesson plans but his heart was heavy and his students were distracted. The combination of which did not make for a very engaging time of study. He ended up dismissing the young men early.

"Look after your families," he told them.

The students seemed grateful to go. They rose quickly from their seats and hurried for the door. Their teacher, wishing to join them, moved to pack his books in his satchel. But where could he go? The Stantons, Julia's family, were the closest thing he still had to family. But her words the previous night had made it quite clear that she would not welcome his company any longer. Her words were still ringing in his ears.

You are a coward. I will not marry you.

A knock on the door frame caused him to look up. There in the opening stood Dr. Charles Carter, the dean of students.

"And how are you today, Mr. Ward?" he said evenly as though it were any other spring day.

Sam had only known the man for a short period of time but he had come to respect him. Dr. Carter was a by-the-book disciplinarian but impartial and even-handed, as well.

"Well, sir. And you?"

Dr. Carter smiled a tempered smile. "Oh, well enough." He stepped toward Sam's desk. "How was your class? The attendance in particular, if I may ask."

Sam sighed and gave the man his report.

Dr. Carter nodded silently, as though he had suspected such. "I am afraid to say that this is the case in many classrooms this morning," he said. His eyes swept the empty room then turned back. "Do not be discouraged, young man. The hand of Providence still guides."

Sam appreciated the remark but did not have time to express so.

The dean then asked, "Have you a moment?"

"I do, sir."

"Then would you walk with me?"

"It would be a pleasure, sir. I was headed outside myself." Sam quickly packed his satchel and closed his classroom.

"These old rooms get so musty in the springtime," Dr. Carter remarked. "I much prefer the fresh air."

Sam followed the man to the end of the hall. They descended the large, walnut staircase, crossed the main foyer and stepped out onto the tree-lined campus before Dr. Carter spoke again.

"I couldn't help but notice the small volume on your desk just now. Tell me, Mr. Ward, if you will be so kind, do you find Frederick Douglass's words captivating?"

Heat crept up Sam's neck. His tie and collar seemed a little too tight. He hadn't even been aware that an autobiography of the former Maryland slave was lying on his desk. He must have placed it in his satchel with his other school books that morning.

He had bought the book in Philadelphia during his time at the State Street Teacher's College. It was there he had first been exposed to the true realities of slavery. The more he learned, the more his conviction had grown that he could not support an institution that allowed one man to own another. It was a "state right" he could not condone for anyone's sake. Not even Julia's. Sam wondered where Dr. Carter's inquiry was leading but he answered truthfully.

"I do not find them so much captivating, sir, as I do haunting."

Dr. Carter nodded, though his face gave little indication to what he thought of the admission. "Why is that?" he simply asked.

Sam wished now that he hadn't agreed to this walk. Slavery was a dividing issue. The last thing he wanted was to cause controversy between him and one of his colleagues. But he could not deny the certainty that he felt in his heart. He had no wish to offend, but he wouldn't deny his beliefs. He answered the question carefully.

"We are all created in the image of God," he said. "We should treat each other as God treats us."

Dr. Carter stopped beneath one of the maple trees. He turned to Sam and smiled.

"I, too, share your thoughts," he said.

"You do?"

"Yes. Have you ever met Mr. Douglass?"

"I have. A few months ago."

"You were educated in Philadelphia, yes?"

"That is correct, sir."

They started walking once more, choosing the stone path that led to the library.

"Fine work they are doing in Philadelphia," Dr. Carter said. "Fine work, indeed."

Sam wasn't certain if he was referring to education or something else. He sensed it was the latter.

"I met Mr. Douglass once, myself," Dr. Carter said. "In Boston." He glanced at Sam. "There is fine work going on in Boston, as well."

Sam did not reveal that he had once been there, as well; but by now he was beginning to suspect that Frederick Douglass and the fine work up north were related. Coupled with Dr. Carter's first question, he reckoned that the Dean of Students had sided with the abolitionist cause. He seemed most curious to know what Sam's position was.

"It is fine work," Sam said. "Something I think that there should be more of."

Dr. Carter's eyes practically sparkled with excitement. From his vest pocket he produced a small scrap of paper. He handed it to Sam. "Then perhaps you would be interested in meeting some of my friends."

Sam studied the note. It was an address in the Fell's Point area. "Are your friends engaged in fine work?" he asked, borrowing the phrase.

"They are and they are always looking for God-fearing young men such as you to be part of such."

He was cautiously intrigued. He had met a few abolitionists in Philadelphia. Most of them were kind-hearted, wonderful ...

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