Engraved on the Heart

Engraved on the Heart

by Tara Johnson


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Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496428318
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 576,080
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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April 12, 1861 savannah, Georgia

Don't jail. Tonight of all nights, don't fail.

Keziah Montgomery placed her gloved fingers into the waiting hand of the man smiling at her with confident expectation.

Taking a shallow breath against the corset threatening to crush her ribs in its unyielding grip, she willed her fluttering stomach to calm and allowed Mr. Watson to lead her onto the crowded dance floor. A colorful array of bright silks and lace flurried around her in circles. The thick, sticky air carried the weight of pomade and a nauseating mixture of shaving soaps and rice powder. The din of chatter and polite laughter choked her dizzying thoughts.

From across the room, she caught Mother's penetrating stare. Elsie Montgomery had been adamant Keziah be at her best. No one must know her shamefUl secret. The sooner she marry, the better ... before her future husband realized what her parents were so desperate to keep hidden.

Looking up, she smiled into the youthful face of Tate Watson as he cupped his warm hand against her waist, keeping the proper distance between them as the musicians struck up the opening strains of "The Scenes of Our Childhood." She noted the golden stubble lining his jaw, his brown eyes bright. A flush of heat crept up her neck.

She blinked away the grit filming her vision. It was late into the festivities and the night seemed to drag. Still, she maintained her pasted-on smile and allowed him to sweep her through the whirling couples and blurring faces. If only it weren't so warm.

Mr. Watson's lips moved, but it took her several moments to focus on what he was saying. "Are you enjoying the ball?" "Yes. The Ballingers throw an exquisite party."

"Indeed, although I fear all the talk of impending war may have dampened the festivities to a degree."

She nodded demurely, though she'd never admit conversing about the possibility of war was far more interesting than being forced to make polite niceties to the elite of Savannah's upper echelon. Her mother would faint if she allowed her tongue to spill the unladylike sentiment.

"If war is declared, will you go?"

His eyes glinted, his bearing stiff as he circled her past potted palms, pulling her into the thick of the dancers. "Without hesitation. It's my sacred calling and duty to defend the freedoms Mr. Lincoln is attempting to rip from our way of life. No man worth his salt would dare flee his duty."

Keziah pressed her lips tight, unwilling to say anything further, knowing if she did, she would be unable to stop. The issues did not seem so starkly cut to her. Instead, she smiled and nodded again, praying her mother could understand the depths of her desire to please. Keziah would not mortify her. Not again.

The room suddenly dipped and twisted. Her breath thinned. Stay upright. Focus. Blinking hard, she realized Mr. Watson was asking her something, though she didn't understand what. Alarm flooded her, followed by a frisson of something indefinable tingling up her spine.

No, God. Please, no. Not here. What will Mother think?

The prayer had hardly crossed her thoughts before she plunged into the abyss, the spinning colors collapsing into merciful blackness.

Micah Greyson scoured the crowded ballroom as he sipped the too-sweet punch. He didn't belong.

Since returning home to Savannah from medical school in Philadelphia, he felt distant, removed. He had thought to open a practice and wanted to live near Mother. He owed her much. But now? He couldn't shake the unease gnawing his middle. The feeling was odd and altogether unsettling. Not just because there were new faces, nor because old classmates and neighbors had moved away. This was something else. As if society's values were different. The perspective on human life and dignity had altered.

No, Savannah hadn't changed. It was him. Too many abolitionist rallies. He'd seen and heard far too much to leave Philadelphia unchanged and unaffected. He felt as if he'd just awakened from a long, hazy dream, suddenly aware of how different life could be, only to find himself sucked back into the foggy nightmare once more.

And what to do with the knowledge of who he was in the midst of it all? He would never belong. Could never belong again.

He took another pull of his punch, rolling the syrupy taste of cherries over his tongue, and sighed. Some men feared death; others feared losing their loved ones. His fear was entirely different. He must not grow callous and indifferent to the plight of those suffering around him.

The raucous laughter of a man to his left grated his nerves. Placing the half-empty glass on a tray with a soft clink, he scowled. It was a mistake to have come. He'd only done so at his friend's pleading. Oliver was bursting to talk war with the other men, not to mention dance with the young debutantes. His friend could be quite convincing. But Micah was charmed by none of it. The music seemed at odds with his mood, the air too suffocating.

He had turned to make his apologies to the hostess when a muffled cry rang out from the cluster of dancers clogging the floor. A male voice shouted amid the din.

"Is there a physician here?"

He stepped forward, eyeing the crush of people who had stopped moving. They swarmed around someone who had fallen. Man or woman? He couldn't tell. There was too much commotion. Too many people.

He shouted, "I'm a physician! Make way."

The crowd parted slowly to reveal a young man leaning over an unconscious woman crumpled on the glistening waxed floor. Pushing past the mob, he frowned.

"Please, give the poor woman some air."

As he knelt down to assess her condition, he sucked in a breath at the lovely form tangled in a swirl of blue silk, observing the way her fingers twitched sporadically, the soft muscles of her throat knotting as her head thrashed. His gaze landed on her face and his heart gave an odd lurch.

He couldn't believe it. After all these years. He cradled her head gently, stroking the soft skin of her cheek, and prayed.

Kizzie Montgomery.

Micah tugged Kizzie's slight weight closer to his chest as he struggled to carry her up the stairs of the Ballinger mansion, her voluminous skirts and hoops making his progress difficult. The murmurs of shock rippling through the room faded away as he followed the hostess to a guest bedroom.

"Here. This room should serve."

Mrs. Ballinger pushed aside the heavy door and hastened to light a lamp as he laid Kizzie on the green-and-gold brocade-covered bed. He pressed his fingers to her slender neck, monitoring the thrum of her pulse. Steady.

"How can I be of help?" The concerned matron twisted her hands, looking out of place as a nursemaid in her glittering beads and filmy lavender gown. Lines deepened around her eyes.

"Could I trouble you for some clean cloths and a pitcher of cool water?"

With a nod, she breathed, "Of course. I'll send Minnie up straightaway."

"Thank you."

He smoothed Kizzie's strawberry-blonde curls away from her temples, her skin pale but warm. A slight spray of freckles on her delicate nose stood out in stark contrast to her creamy skin. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully. No more twitches or convulsions.

"Doctor, may I be so bold as to ask —" the hostess swallowed, still lingering in the room — "what malady has befallen this woman?"

Easing one of Kizzie's eyelids open, he nodded in satisfaction when the pupil in the center of her eye shrank against the light of the lamp. "I won't be sure until I've examined her more thoroughly, but I believe she's had an epileptic attack."

Mrs. Ballinger clucked her tongue. "The falling sickness."

"Yes, I believe so."

The poised woman held herself aloof as if unsure what to do. "Well, I'll fetch Minnie. She should be up shortly."

Micah barely heard himself murmur a response before leaning over Kizzie once more, admiring her long lashes, high cheekbones, and full lips. She was more beautiful than he remembered.

Beautiful and unconscious.

Troubled, he took her pulse again. Steady.

His breath froze when he saw her eyelids twitch, her lashes fluttering before her eyes opened, the walnut-and-cinnamon colors he remembered flaming to life yet filled with confusion. Her fingers roved over the silk of her bodice until he captured them between his own. He smiled and tried to keep his voice soft and calm, aware that she would be unlikely to remember this moment tomorrow.

"Kizzie, it's Micah Greyson. Do you remember me?"

She blinked and licked her lips. "Micah? From school?"

Nodding, he smiled. "From school."

Her chest rose and fell, her gaze flickering across his face. "What happened? Where am I?"

Micah squeezed her fingers, kept his voice soothing. "You're at the Ballinger house. You were dancing and collapsed."

Her eyes widened as a shadow of awareness crept over her face. "Was it ... ?" She choked against the words forming. This had happened to her before.

"Yes. Epileptic attack."

She looked away. Her chin trembled. "Leave me, please."

"I'm a physician now. Please let me help you."

"There's nothing you can do. No one can."

"That's not true. Why, just last ye —"

She sucked in a tight breath. "No. Mother. She must have seen it." With a groan, she squeezed her eyes shut but did not release his hand. "She'll be mortified."

Micah frowned. "You can't help what happened."

Kizzie focused on his face, a sadness flickering in her expression. "My parents believe differently."

Cruel. Ignorant. Shaming their daughter for an ailment she had no control over? He ground his teeth as she relaxed against the soft down of the bed. Her eyelids drooped.

A murmur escaped her. "So tired."

"That's normal. Rest. I'll be right here."

Eyes sliding shut, she sighed softly, causing his heart to give an odd fillip. "Thank you ... Micah ..."


A raucous shout shook the floor under his feet. The crowd downstairs yelled and whooped. The glass globe of the oil lamp rattled. What was happening?

As the tumult below settled into a humming din, he watched the gentle rise and fall of her breath beneath her limp hand. Who could have imagined he'd run into her here, his first social gathering since returning? The one girl who'd managed to capture his heart as a boy.

Not that she would ever know. He wouldn't tell her. Couldn't tell anyone. They could never be together. He'd thought by now, with distance and the passing of time, the youthful feelings would have abated, but seeing her again had caused every old memory, every one of her sweet smiles, every dream, to roar back to life with frightening speed.

The bedroom door squeaked open as a petite woman with graying blonde hair and a stricken expression crossed the threshold.

He straightened, releasing Kizzie's hand. "Dr. Micah Greyson, ma'am."

Rushing to her side, the matron leaned over Kizzie and stroked her forehead before glancing toward him as if he were little more than a nuisance.

"Elsie Montgomery. I'm Keziah's mother. It took me several minutes to escape the melee."

"I heard the shouts. What happened?"

She straightened, her face somber.

"What we've known was imminent, Dr. Greyson. Fortunately for my daughter, her ... illness —" Micah noted the distaste that pinched Mrs. Montgomery's mouth — "is the least of everyone's concern now."


Sighing deeply, the older woman furrowed her brow into deep lines. "War, Doctor. War has begun."


Excerpted from "Engraved on the Heart"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tara Johnson.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, 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.

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Sarah Sundin

Engraved on the Heart brings Savannah, Georgia, during the Civil War to life. A book to savor and an author to watch!

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Engraved on the Heart 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perrianne More than 1 year ago
Keziah Montgomery is the typical southern belle in a staunchly confederate home where slaves meet their daily needs and she’s never questioned it. Her childhood friend, Dr. Micah Greyson, was raised in the opposite type of household. His family were abolitionists and considered outcasts in the community. Keziah has a health secret that her family blames her for, and Micah’s own secret completely blew me away. The story is set in Savannah, Georgia, deep in Confederate territory at the birth of the Civil War. This 2019 INSPY short list award winner in the debut category is fantastic! I really enjoyed the way the characters were completely relatable and the author didn’t hesitate to show their flaws. This Civil War historical was set in the heart of Confederate territory. Keziah and Micah were raised so differently that it was truly amazing that they would even give each other a second glance, much less become close school chums from way back. Together they both need to decide if true love is worth the sacrifices they make for freeing slaves. They are also fighting against the clock as her father has demanded that she marry a much older gentlemen who seems to have his eye only on her inheritance. There are plenty of plot twists and things don’t turn out exactly as one might expect. I didn’t find that the storyline was predictable at all and the pace was just right to keep up with the storyline. I am not a history buff, but it seemed to be very well researched. The Underground Railroad is a fascinating subject and the author made it clear just how very dangerous this type of work was. I really enjoyed every aspect of this novel and anxiously await this award-winning author’s newest work, Where Dandelions Bloom, available on July 1, 2019. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Goodreads. 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.”
MsBryant05 More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing debut novel. Engraved on the Heart grabs your attention, from the first paragraph, and doesn't let go. Tara Johnson does an excellent job, of transporting you to Confederate Savannah, at the start of the Civil War, through her detailed descriptions and complex characters. Keziah Montgomery may not be your typical heroine, but she's likable and relatable. It was nice to sit back and watch her grow as the novel progressed. As readers, we aren't always introduced to characters who readily admit their naivete and immediately set about to change. It was so enjoyable, to see Keziah, use her faith in all areas of her life. Whether it was when she was coping with her illness, accepting her role in the Underground Railroad or navigating her tense relationship with her parents, she always turned to her faith for guidance. Keziah's relationship with Micah was sweet and it was interesting to see how it developed. One of my favorite aspects of the story was how Tara Johnson, portrayed the characters of color. They may not have been traditionally educated, however, they were intelligent and written with a great amount of respect. Faith is woven into the story, in a way, that felt natural, not forced. The pacing was just right, with the plot moving along nicely and no one aspect of the story overtaking another. It's been awhile since I've finished a book in two sittings and I enjoyed every bit of it. I will definitely be looking forward to Tara Johnson's novels in the future.
KimPotter More than 1 year ago
Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson is a novel set during the Civil War. Living in Savannah, Georgia during this tumultuous time Keziah Montgomery is not your typical Southern belle. Her dedicated Confederate family cling to their southern roots and she is forced to trail along until a classmate comes back into her life challenging her to think of others. Her prayer becomes, “Lord I want to make a difference. Help me to make a difference.” And her life is changed forever! This story brought the struggles of the Confederate South to life. Would I have had the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of the price? Engraved on the Heart had it all – laughter, romance, tears and at times utter nail-biting suspense. This story is worth numerous reads over and over. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Johnson writes next. “Think about all the good that can come from one person igniting a spark in a single man. One person’s life can touch so many.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Taking place at the start of the Civil War, Keziah (aka Kizzie) unexpectedly finds herself at an abolition meeting and learns of the true horrors behind slavery. Despite her health issues, epilepsy, she lands into the predicament of helping one young slave escape. And then another…and then another. Was it God that sent the initial young boy to start her on this path to fight for freedom? Regardless, Kezzie quickly joins the underground railroad as one of the “stations”, right under her Confederate father’s nose. The lack of sleep from late night runs, the stress of sneaking slaves to freedom as well as the pressure to court and eventually marry, all threaten to set off another fainting spell and epileptic seizure. How will she manage? What happens if she’s struck by one of these fits in the middle of transporting slaves? This is another in a line of historical fiction books I’ve been reading in order to pass them along to a friend. I know she’ll enjoy this one like she has of the others. The writing is well done. The scenes are entertaining and at times nerve-wracking. This would be a good read for vacations or just wanting to relax. I constantly get interrupted by my kids, so it helps to have a book like this that I can put down and pick up without feeling lost. But don’t think that oversimplifies this novel, as there is a twist. Engraved on the Heart is a story with a lot of heart. The reader is transported to a time of turmoil and conflict. Themes of giving God control and trusting in Him to work things for His glory are prevalent. While Keziah wants to control how her body reacts to stress and lack of sleep, she soon learns that she needs to leave such things in God’s hands. Danger, suspense, excitement, as well as love and romance, this is a story sure to entertain readers. I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale in exchange for my honest opinion.
ReadingwithErin More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Tyndale for the free physical copy "I said mother forbade it. I didn't say I would obey." Keziah is a young woman expected to get married and continue on the family legacy during the civil war. One problem with this is that she has epilepsy and at this point in time it was considered to be shameful and an extreme weakness so was kept secret. Her parents also tried to keep her from doing almost everything that she enjoys and instead just want her to sit there and be pretty. With her parents trying to marry her off and almost all eligible young men fighting, Keziah doesn't have a lot of options. This leads to an arranged marriage proposal that makes most of this book a little dicey when it comes to Keziah's personal life. We also get to see things from Dr. Grayson's point of view who is a childhood friend of Keziah. Grayson has been gone for a few years getting his education, and with his father having been for the union and John Brown he's not exactly welcome in town. Overall I really liked this book. I cannot recommend this book enough and I feel like it did a pretty good job of showing both sides of the war and how it affected everyone. From the food shortages being mentioned to the home guard just storming in and demanding to search places. I also liked how it was shown Keziah really learning about the slaves her family had and her genuinely starting to wonder if they were truly happy. "Contentment was admirable. Or was it resignation? Could it be that the less painful path was to never dream at all?" Keziah is a character that I adored, she is spunky and caring and didn't let society norms stop her from doing what she thinks is right. Keziah doesn't let her Epilepsy stop her from helping others even though it does make the job even more dangerous than it would be. With Keziah's family also being southern sympathizers and her being apart of the Underground railroad a lot of this book is spent on edge with worry of Keziah's family finding out and stopping her or turning her in. Despite that though I loved seeing the underground railroad and how she was able to help so many slaves escape! "You have an awful lot of pluck, you know. Lying and running away, ignoring my letters, choosing instead to let me think you dead or wounded. All while snooping and working for the very same ideals you condemn me for." Dr. Grayson was also a really likable character. I was a little confused by all his secretiveness it came to certain things when talking to Keziah considering the world he showed her. I did really like all that he did to help people during the war and how he kept going no matter the risk for his own life. "Bad things will happen. We cannot save everyone, but we keep fighting. We save those we can. We move forward. We run toward the prize." P.S. Once you've read the book can we please talk about Keziah and the ending of this book because yes!!
Kaitlyn Smith More than 1 year ago
:::Characters::: Each of the characters were well developed and relatable. This author truly has a gift. I could sympathize with Kizzie, with Micah, with Kizzie’s mother, her young cousin, Hiriam, and any of the other characters. I appreciated being brought into the world of Savannah, Georgia, into the midst of the war and the food shortages and the hotheadedness through the characters. :::Writing/Plot::: I enjoyed this authors style of writing immensely. It was descriptive without being too detailed, passionate without being too dramatic, and the language used was beautiful and complex. The plot itself was a good idea, and, while I didn’t appreciate all of the nuances, it was okay. :::Setting::: The charm of historical Savannah was captured beautifully, and the descriptions given about different places, shops, buildings and streets were charming. I laughed at the mentions of the legendary southern heat and humidity making the characters hot, sticky, and sweaty…..’cause that’s life in the south :D :::History::: I had looked forward to reading this because it was a story set in the south — and I am a confederate at heart. The history of the few battles mentioned, the food shortages, the balls and dancing and clothing were all accurate, from what I have studied. The medical treatments seemed authentic, as well, and from what I have read, which admittedly isn’t much, everything was treated pretty much how it would have been in the 1860’s. :::What I Didn’t Like::: For all the things I liked about it, there were several things that irked me as I was reading. The history was….lacking. I kind of felt that one side was given fairly — the north — and the confederates suffered badly. Most people wouldn’t have noticed or cared, but the southern soldiers seemed to be portrayed negatively, the southern women were portrayed as flighty and flirtatious, and the social customs and manners were spoken of in a way that made them seem ridiculous. Granted, the story was about slavery, abolition, and the underground railroad, but it was set in the south and the bulk of the story was told by a southern girl…..so you would think that, with all the upbringing she would have had, she would have merely disagreed with her homeland and her family’s positions on certain issues. Instead, I read a story of a character who seemed to be more of a northern girl who was vacationing down south. Again, most people probably wouldn’t have noticed…..but I did. I also didn’t care for the lack of southern charm. The setting was charming enough, it’s true, but the people themselves, while feeling authentic, lacked the southern charm of yesteryear. Another thing I didn’t care for was the relationship between Kizzie and Micah. I'm a proponent of working together and building a relationship based on doing things, rather than feelings. Granted, feelings will come, but I’m not really fond of “feeling-like-I’m-falling-in-love” relationships. I thought, from the description, that these two would be working together to free the slaves, and emotions would follow…..but it was more of a relationship based on feelings, than actually getting to know someone through hard work. This is a book I would recommend for older readers, due to violence with the bounty hunters and the whole slavery issue. There is a rather violent part involving Kizzie and her brother, and there are two deaths that you “see”. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Engraved on the Heart took me deep into the heart of Savannah, Georgia, into the home of one Keziah Montgomery. Besides her unusual name, she is also a young Southern belle that suffers from epilepsy, at a time when little was understood about that ailment. I liked how the author wove into her story the leanings of her heart to being an abolitionist, yet living with her family who are very pro-slavery. In fact I felt for her as she was little more than a prisoner/slave herself being ruled by her father and at the whims of her family’s reputation and stature in public. The author did a great job of showing how backwards thinking and with little sympathy her family treated her medical condition. They felt as if she was doing this on purpose and absolutely opposed any new ways of dealing with the ailment, no matter the relief it may have brought her. That type of treatment by her own parents really stuck with me. We meet the hero, Dr. Micah Greyson, in the same first few pages we are introduced to Keziah. The story had already established them as past school friends so the torch Micah was carrying for her was already well established in his heart. As Keziah’s eyes are opened to the plight of the slaves and the Underground Railroad, she decides to risk everything she holds dear for a greater purpose. Micah is at once appalled and thrilled at her leanings especially since he has a few secrets he has been carrying around as well. This was a well-rounded story of family drama, secret missions, and a slow burn romance full of danger and strife. I look forward to more work from this new author. I was provided with a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
The stunning cover art of Engraved on the Heart caught my attention, and the blurb intrigued me. The author described life during the tumultuous Civil War so well, and I was quickly drawn into the story by the great characters. Keziah (Kizzie) Montgomery is thought of as a weak invalid, even by her well meaning parents who shield her from life’s hardships. Her dreams of living a normal life seems out of reach until Micah, a former schoolmate and now doctor, reappears in her life. Micah opens Kizzie’s eyes to the hardships of slavery and the quest for freedom, and she begins to share his passion. He offers medical suggestions to improve her condition, however her parents, unyielding Confederates, despise him and shun any medical help he offers. Numerous hardships fall upon Kizzie and her family, including death, sickness, and an unwanted promise to marry (to name a few.) The story has many twists, heartbreaks, and discoveries, and Kizzie’s growth is substantial. Their relationship encounters many obstacles, but faith provides the perfect light to guide them through their darkest moments. This is a wonderful debut for Tara Johnson, and I look forward to more of her work. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TyndaleBlogNetwork.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful cover. This book drew me in just by looking at it. I have never read anything by Tara before but I will gladly do so again. I loved this sneek peek at the Underground Railroad. Keziah’s heart for others was so strong. Micah is a stubborn man who has the some kind heart as Keziah but holds back his own feelings for Keziah. Keziah’s family frustrated me to no end. But the author did a wonderful job developing these characters as well. I would say it was about half way through the book before I felt totally invested but then I couldn’t put it down and had to see how it would all work out. If you like books set int he civil war era I have no doubt you will enjoy this book. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
RubieLee More than 1 year ago
This book is such a good example of why you should read new authors! Tara Johnson wrote an outstanding debut novel with Engraved on the Heart. It has all the essential historical fiction components: an interesting historical subject, a strong heroine, love, and a dashing hero.   I read this book in giant chunks, staying up too late to get just a little bit further.  This novel centers around the beginning of the civil war and the work of the underground railroad. A young lady, Keziah Montgomery, is the daughter of a Confederate family in Savannah. She reunites with an old friend, Dr. Micah Greyson,  who shares her heart and her desire to help enslaved people escape to freedom. Keziah does all that she can to protect their secrets, including agreeing to marry a man of her father's choosing.  There is nothing lacking in this first effort by Tara Jacobs. I can't wait to read her next book that should be out next summer.  If it has been awhile since you tried a new author, this one is for you. I requested a copy of this book from the publisher because I love historical fiction. I was not required to give this book a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated. 
E_Espinoza More than 1 year ago
In her debut novel, Engraved on the Heart, Tara Johnson has authored a captivating story of courage and conviction in the face of hatred and danger. This book is truly an inspiring piece of historical fiction with memorable characters and significant themes that resonate with purpose and meaning. Ms. Johnson’s thoughtful research and careful attention to historical details thoroughly enriches the story with depth and authenticity. The plot flows easily from scene to scene, effortlessly building to an ending that is utterly surprising yet intensely satisfying. The main characters are endearing and unforgettable. Having a genuine vulnerability that makes them wholly relatable and inspiring, they possess the strength and determination to survive and thrive despite the many physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges they face. As the story unfolds, the characters struggle through real, heart-wrenching trials that test their faith exceedingly. Yet, even as the struggles grow darker and more desperate, the light of God’s grace and mercy shines through with purpose, acceptance, hope, and love. Well-written and extremely compelling, this book is perfectly enthralling. Engraved on the Heart is tender, emotionally stirring, and ultimately uplifting. It is a novel that I will not soon forget. The impression it has forged on my thoughts and on my heart is sure to be a lasting one. This novel was enjoyable, thought-provoking, and moving. I recommend it enthusiastically. *I was given a copy of this novel from the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
BethErin More than 1 year ago
This book fills my reader heart with satisfaction. Extraordinary and everyday heroes and heroines rise to the occasion, make difficult choices and do good despite the conflict and turmoil surrounding them. Keziah Montgomery is a painfully shy young woman who seems trapped in a glass tower by her overbearing and perpetually disappointed family members and her embarrassing and misunderstood medical condition. Childhood friend Micah Greyson reenters Keziah's life like a ray of spring sunshine after a long, hard winter. This childhood friends to sweethearts romance and, be still my heart, precious terms of endearment have me walking through a fog of romantic contentedness. What makes this book truly wonderful is the unapologetic representation of Keziah's life experience in the South as she grows from a naive debutant into a courageous young woman. I highly recommend this story and eagerly anticipate this author's future works! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson After having her eyes opened to the plight of the slaves, Keziah found herself in a conundrum. Helping the slaves would endanger herself and her family. And, if her family ever found out, they would most likely consider it treason, especially with her brother fighting the Yankees. I found myself wondering if I would have the courage to make the choices she did. Micah was a noble hero. He could have lived a much easier life but chose to sacrifice for those in need. The way he had always loved Keziah was very sweet, as was the way he tried to protect her and help her in every way he could. While there were elements of romance, there was more suspense and conflict. An arranged marriage to a much older (and despicable) man, Keziah’s epilepsy, a cousin who came at the worst possible time, deception, fear, death, and ultimately hope fill the pages. I loved the way the author related the story of this dark era in such a way that it was not dark. It was appropriately somber yet with faith and hope intermingled with the struggles. It was heartwarming and a pleasure to read. This review was originally posted on AmongTheReads.net. Get a preview of Engraved on the Heart at amongTheReads.net I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
What a great book to get lost in, and it held me to the end, and then I wanted more. The author sets this book in the deep South, Savannah to be exact, and at the cusp of the Civil War, and we put faces to different points of view. We also find our main character, Kezzie suffers from a condition that could have her end up in an institution, and Micah has a father with abolitionist roots, not something either wants during this time in history. This is not a sweet romantic novel, no this is a read that will have you wondering who is going to survive, a book with a lot of facts and action in it, and one that you will be screaming “No” to. I received this book through the Tyndale Blog Network, and was not required to give a positive review.
SarahSundin More than 1 year ago
A truly lovely debut novel. Through the eyes of an unlikely heroine awakening to the injustices of slavery, Engraved on the Heart brings Savannah, Georgia during the Civil War to life. Tara Johnson writes with honesty and compassion, undergirded with solid research. The characters are lovingly drawn, and Keziah’s growth from sheltered weakness to faithful courage is simply radiant. A book to savor and an author to watch!
sesquius More than 1 year ago
The thing that drew me into selecting this book, as always, was the book cover. It intrigued me and beckoned me to learn more about the young girl on the front.  The story starts off with a start, with Keziah "Kezzie" at a ball and collapsing, and very soon afterwards we find out what the illness is that strikes Kezzie at will. It is here at the ball that she meets up with an old childhood friend, Micah who just returned from studying to be a doctor. So nonetheless, it is Micah who tends to her and discovers her secret. Over time, Micah introduces Kezzie to the other world that is happening around her, the slaves that are being sent away from the south via the underground railroad. She becomes involved and soon discovers the trials and troubles that can be brought forth with her involvement. The story is well written and it dives into subjects that I haven't encountered before in a book, that is, within the Christian fiction realm. There were some parts, such as the capture of a fugitive slave at the hands of Peterson that was just a bit too graphic for me. Otherwise, it was a story that weaved it's wave between the antebellum world and the chances that many took to be part of the underground railroad. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review.
KaileyBechtel More than 1 year ago
If I could give this book more stars, I totally would! I absolutely loved it! This debut book from Tara Johnson is excellent! It’s very well written. She had me hooked from the beginning. There is such a positive message in this book. It’s set during a very dark time in U.S. history, but there is a light of hope in this. I love that it had to do with the Underground Railroad. I also love that the theme seems to be that God can use you for His plans even if you think you are too broken to be of any use. I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
KaileyBechtel More than 1 year ago
If I could give this book more stars, I totally would! I absolutely loved it! This debut book from Tara Johnson is excellent! It’s very well written. She had me hooked from the beginning. There is such a positive message in this book. It’s set during a very dark time in U.S. history, but there is a light of hope in this. I love that it had to do with the Underground Railroad. I also love that the theme seems to be that God can use you for His plans even if you think you are too broken to be of any use. I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
Review of ISBN 9781496428318 Rating 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars[ 4 of 5 stars ]5 of 5 stars Shelves read edit Format Paperback edit Status May 22, 2018 – Shelved 2 Show more Review The story line in this book grabbed my attention and my heart within the first thirty pages. Once my heart and mind was engaged, I was pulled through this read in one sitting losing sleep. ( As I’ve heard said, “ Who ever bragged about how much fun or memories the made sleeping.” Sometimes it’s overrated!) I did enjoy the characters we are introduced to in this read. Some with great courage...so much so that it made me wonder what I would do with such circumstances. For Civil War buffs or those interested in the Underground Railroad, this will be a must read. As usual, I find great reads hard to review and not reveal spoilers so just go buy the book! You will not regret it. This novel will touch your heart. Enjoy the quotes! “It’s plain as plain can be, Doc. That pretty little thing has engraved her name on your heart.” ...where man sees limitation, the Almighty gave me a kind family to serve and a sweet girl to watch grow up..” “Whatever God wills He will accomplish. I give myself to Him, however he would have me serve. “ Micah from Engraved on the Heart I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own