A Heartbeat Away by Dionne Moore

About A Heartbeat Away: 

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 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?

Meet Dionne:

Dionne Moore is a historical romance author who resides in South Central PA with her family, surrounded by the beautiful Cumberland Valley and lots of fun, historically rich locations. She is a weekly contributor to "The Borrowed Book", a blog for book-lovers and "Cozy Mystery Magazine", for all things cozy mystery. 

My Take on A Heartbeat Away:

I have seen these books that look like quilts... called Quilts of Love, Every Quilt Has a Story. I have wanted to read them-- I LOVE QUILTS.  Sorry, didn't mean to yell, but I do love quilts. I love the fabric, the patterns, the prints, the colors. I love the stories behind them and the hands that made them and stories about them real or imagined.

So, when I was offered a copy of this book to review, I snatched it up.  Now, I will say, I was a little worried that it would be ANOTHER Amish book... I have nothing against the Amish or Amish genre... in fact, I read (and enjoy) a lot of Amish books. BUT, I was thrilled to see that this was not an Amish book, but a historical book set during the Civil War of our own country.  

This is the first book I've read by author Dionne Moore, but it won't be the last!! I thoroughly "enjoyed" going back to Civil War-torn Sharpsburg, Maryland and the Battle of Antietam.  No, I didn't enjoy the actual battles scenes and smells, but just learning, through the story, about the Battle of Antietam (I had to look up where Sharpsburg was!! No, I didn't learn very much in history class in school.)  Dionne does a great job setting the scene... the sights, the smells, the feelings.  I honestly felt like I was there in several instances in the book.  I also loved that it was written more from a "Union-lover" point of view.  Being a Southerner by birth, I have ALWAYS heard stories from the South's point of view.  

Dionne has wonderfully woven a story of hurt and disappointment, fear and bravery, hope and love.  Beth Bumgartner is escaping the pain of her recent past of disappointment in God and man by becoming a nurse. It's the one thing she can do with her injured leg that will never be whole again.  When she goes to live with her grandmother, she is determined to become a nurse and help others, but as the battles worsen and they are called to help the enemy, she's not so sure she's ready to stay around.  In the times of her resting, she pulls out a package sent with her by her mother... to remind her of home.  Inside, is the key, not only to her home, but to her spiritual healing.

Joe, an injured Southern soldier, finds himself in the care of Beth and her grandmother Gerta.  He is horribly injured in the right arm and knows that most military doctors would have just sawn the arm off.  As he goes in and out of delirium, he keeps getting snatches of memories-- his brother Ben, 3 black slaves, a beautiful woman and pain.  As he heals physically, he tries to sort out the hows and whys of his current state.  Most of all, he knows he must figure out what has happened to his brother Ben.  Only then can he move on with his life.

Can Joe's faith and the package Beth's mom sent help Beth to overcome her past and the pain caused there?

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read.  It's a great addition to your library or the church library or even you local library.  

AHeartbeatAway - Medium from S. Dionne Moore on Vimeo.