With the love of her husband, Ralph, and the support of her family, Leann Clark Wade overcomes the hardships a new bride faces in post Civil War Missouri
Follow Your Heart is an inspirational historical novel with elements of romance, strong family values, and faith. The novel takes place in Cuba, Missouri, a small farming community about eighty miles southwest of St. Louis, and the surrounding area during 1869 through 1871.
Times are difficult for rural families after the Civil War. Much of the land is left unsuitable for farming, crops are destroyed, and prices for produce are low. Needed supplies are difficult to obtain, but Leann and Ralph are in love and ready to marry after waiting two long years for her father's approval. As a young bride, Leann faces the realities of married life and the difficulty of coping with her new life. She experiences loneliness and depression on their isolated farm that is now her home.
Leann is from a large fun-loving family with her parents and siblings a constant source of companionship. She misses them and hates being alone in the cabin while Ralph is outside with his farm work and livestock. Her prayer to have a large family like the one in which she was raised seems unanswered when she loses a baby by miscarriage during the first year of marriage.
Ralph Wade is happy and content after his marriage to the love of his life, Leann. He understands her desire to have a large family and agrees they need several children of both sexes to fill their home. He wants to help Leann overcome the loneliness she experiences but doesn’t know how. Ralph is a believer, but takes very little time to nurture his relationship with the Lord. Other things, such as his farm and his wife, come before God.
Unable to cope with the depression caused by the loss of her child, Leann leaves Ralph and returns to her parents’ home. Ralph is broken hearted and seeks counseling from the local pastor.
Ralph goes to Leann and asks her to come home, but she refuses. She is not ready to return to the isolated farm. Leann’s father asks Ralph to give her more time for healing, and she will come home in her own time. Ralph consents with a heavy heart. Under her parent's gentle care, Leann begins to heal emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
John Clark, Leann's father, and Leann visit her brother, Tom. Tom tells them about a very sick couple with a baby who are homesteading close to his farm. Tom takes Leann to visit the couple, and they find the husband, Ray Moore, grieving for his wife who died the night before. Leann takes care of the baby girl, Katy. After the funeral, Ray asks Leann to care for Katy until he can get back on his feet. She consents and decides to go home to Ralph and take the baby. Ray vanishes from the area leaving Katy with Leann for an undetermined amount of time.
Sonny, Ralph’s brother who served with the Confederate forces during the Civil War and secretly loves Leann, becomes a successful St. Louis businessman. He travels to New Orleans on a regular basis. Sonny brings a baby boy from the city who is abandoned by his mother to Leann and Ralph and asks them to adopt the baby. Sonny hires Joan Smith, a New Orleans prostitute, to help take the baby to Cuba. Joan plans to stay in Cuba, start a business, and make a new life.
Leann and Ralph take the baby boy into their home and realize the Lord works in mysterious ways. Although they have no natural-born children, He added two children to their home through unusual circumstances.
About the Author
Brenda B Taylor and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas. Brenda stays busy working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She enjoys writing historical fiction about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people, traveling for research and pleasure, photography, and spending time with family and friends.