"...as I read the story, I simply could not put it down until I had devoured
every last word."
Rie McGaha reviewer
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Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Editor: Dawn Carrington
Excerpt from "Lila's Vow"
June 30, 1863
Lila Sutton looked up from her sewing and froze with her needle poised above the cheerful yellow material. A welcome breeze caught the wisps
of damp hair around her face and she sighed with relief. This was why she had moved out to the front porch—to catch a cool breath of air.
A strange noise caught her attention. It was a low, rumbling, almost menacing sound, very odd for the quiet and picturesque town of
Gettysburg. Cocking her head, she stopped the creaking rocking chair to listen more carefully. No, she still couldn’t place the sound.
Three young lads ran by on the dirt road in front of the house chattering excitedly, raising dust clouds as they scuffed the road. Standing, the sewing forgotten in her hands, Lila called to one of the three.
“Harry! Harry Smith! Whatever is going on? Where are you boys off to?”
For just a moment the red-haired boy’s footsteps slowed in automatic response to his schoolteacher’s voice.
“The soldiers are here, Miss Sutton!” Harry ran backward as he yelled to her, his eyes wide with barely contained excitement.
“Which ones, Harry?” Lila’s stomach did a flip-flop of panic. Was it the Confederates? Would they burn and pillage the town?
“Ours! The men in blue, Ma’am.” That was all Harry could stand. His friends were getting away from him. With a tip of his cap, the boy turned and dashed after the other two as quickly as his chubby legs would carry him.
Lila dropped the sewing project and peered down the street. People were coming out of their houses, milling around in groups at the edge of the road.
“Mama, you might want to come and see this,” she called through the open window.
Moving to the edge of the porch, her skirt made gentle swishing sounds that were barely audible over the buzzing of a lazy bumblebee and the mounting swell of excited noises coming from down the road.
Wrapping one arm around the porch post for support, she mopped her perspiring forehead with the other. The hot day seemed to draw her usual vigor from her like it drew the moisture from the slowly browning lawn.
The screen door squeaked open and slammed shut again. Lila’s mother stood beside her, smoothing her gray hair away from her flushed round face with the back of her hands.
“What is it, dear? What is all the excitement about?” Beatrice Sutton leaned out over the porch railing, pushing her glasses up on her nose to get a better look.
“I think the army is here.”
Beatrice gasped and clapped a hand to her mouth. “There will be trouble now!”
“What? Why do you say that, Mama? Do you think they will cause problems in town?”
The noise from the crowds grew louder, and the cloud of dust came closer. A wrinkled, sun-darkened hand closed over hers. Lila smiled at her darling little mother, whose serious face did not smile back. The afternoon sun caught the glass in her spectacles, making her eyes difficult to see in the reflected glare.
“Yes, much unhappiness and sorrow will come with the Boys in Blue. But there will be one special soldier—I had a dream about him—who will change your life…and mine.”
This was quite unusual. Mama was never one to put stock in the unseen world of dreams and imagination. She was a good, God-fearing woman who believed in the power of hard work and prayer. But that was the extent of her involvement with the spiritual world…or so Lila had thought.
She didn’t have time to question her mother further. Clanking metal, jingling bridles, and voices, raised to be heard over the sounds of hoofbeats, got her attention.
The first soldiers to come down the road were the ones on horseback. Despite the wilting heat they wore dark blue jackets with shiny brass buttons, lighter blue trousers with yellow stripes down the legs, gauntlet style leather gloves, and wide-brimmed slouch hats with jaunty white plumes. The fine sleek horses and row after row of splendid cavalrymen filled Lila with a feeling of pride for the grand Union army.
But something about the tall soldier on a copper-colored roan made her look at him more closely as he approached. Maybe it was the big grin on his face or his beautiful horse…or maybe it was the way he was staring at her with those dark eyes that drew her attention. He was quite handsome with his short blond beard and wonderful smile.
The group grew steadily closer until they were directly in front of the Sutton’s small home. The soldier on the roan continued to look in her direction. Then, still smiling broadly, he winked and touched a hand to his hat brim, nodding to her and Mama.
Lila felt the blood rush to her face, making her even hotter than she already was. She was powerless to stop the corners of her mouth from lifting.
The soldier gave her a casual little salute as he passed, the smile never leaving his face. She couldn’t help but stare at him until he was no longer distinguishable from the others. Drawing a deep breath, Lila glanced at her mother. Mama was shaking her head slowly.
“He is the one, Lila.”
“What do you mean?”
“That blond-haired soldier is the one who appeared in my dream. He is the one who will change our lives.”
“Mama, that is silly.” She waved a hand in the direction of the road where row after row of soldiers on foot now passed. “There must be thousands of soldiers here. How can that one make any difference?”
Her mother just gave her an enigmatic, annoying smile and a quick hug. “He is the one. You will see. We will have to be strong in the days to come, Lila.”
Read the riveting story of David and Jenny from "Lila's Vow" in "Jeny's Passion," from Vinspire Publishing.
Reviews for Lila's Vow
This is a wonderful story offering memorable characters, a fast-paced plot and a truly lovely and unforgettable romance that will linger in reader's hearts.
Reviewed by Amy Lignor
Rating: 4 stars
RT Book Reviews Magazine
Having read Jenny’s Passion, the first book in this series, I was anxiously awaiting Lila’s Vow, and hoping the anticipation was worth it. As the mother of a United States Marine who has been to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and was wounded in battle, Ms. Wylie had me at the book’s dedication, but as I read the story, I simply could not put it down until I had devoured every last word.
Lila’s Vow is an extremely well written novel, but beyond being well written, it is also a story that touches the heart and soul. Ms. Wylie does a wonderful job of weaving the characters’ stories and lives together. I also loved the fact that she brought the love between Jenny and David into this story, which flowed seamlessly from Jenny’s Passion to Lila’s Vow and gave the feeling that this really wasn’t two separate novels, but one incredible account of the lives of real people. The author didn’t leave out Lila’s mother either, and I loved it that she brought romance and marriage to a woman of an age I can really relate to!
Don’t miss this book! And Ms. Wylie, when is the next installment coming? Please tell me there is a third book on the way!
Reviewed by Rie McGaha, Romance Writers Unlimited
Rating: 5 roses
Winner of a Coffee Time Reviewers Recommend Award.
"This award recognizes outstanding writing styles in all book types and genres. Your book has received this award because I feel it is above and beyond a 5 Cup Rating."
"An absolute wonderful book, completely awesome!!!"
"Diane Wylie describes an outstanding tale that has the reader feeling compassion for the characters. With the sudden destruction of lives and homes, along with the smell of blood in the air during the devastating war, she depicts an era that breathes life in the pages. One can feel the trepidation and sorrow, even when the soldiers storm into the people’s homes. Lila’s Vow is a story that moved me with its emotions and in-depth sensations. When I read about Jack and the Andersonville Prison, it reminded me of the time I visited and practically could feel those who had been slain there. This is one extraordinary story that comes highly recommended and should not be missed."
Reviewed by Cherokee
Coffee Time Romance & More
This is an amazing book, the characters are outstanding, and they draw you into their life. Ms Wylie is an excellent writer of the civil war era. This is a story with emotion, a wonderful love story and one that you can not put down. If you are a reader that loves Historical Romance then I highly recommend this book. I could not put the book down and read it one day. You will not want to miss any of Ms. Wylie’s Historical Romances. I know you will not be the least disappointed.
Reviewed by Lynn Fowlston
Diane Wylie has a gift for taking the harsh realities of life in the Civil War and interweaving her characters into the fabric. The battle of Gettysburg, the horrors of Andersonville, the confederate submarine Hunley all become characters under Wylie’s hands. Lila and Jack’s story is compelling, but for me, as wonderful as the love story is, it almost becomes secondary to the history. The Jack’s capture and incarceration in Andersonville and Lila’s stint with the Pinkerton agency show Wylie’s grasp of the many levels of life and experience in this tumultuous time in our country. I particularly enjoyed this story’s exciting and unexpected climax.
Reviewed by Water Lily
Long and Short Reviews
Rating: 5 books
Voted Best Book of the Week
"...Lila's Vow is a fantastic ride through history and a love that would not surrender to the devastations of the most terrible war America has ever known. Ms. Wylie captured the Civil War in vivid detail and I believe I learned some things I did not know before I read this book. Ms. Wylie created a story of great joy and absolute sorrow. I could not put this book down. At times the sorrowful events ripped at my heart and, at others, it soared with the ability of the characters to overcome impossible circumstances. The characters were flawed and beautiful in their strength of purpose and pure grit. Ms. Wylie made me believe in them as if they were breathing people with all the defects and wonderful spirit of humanity. Lila's Vow is an unforgettable story. I look forward to reading about Jack’s friend, David, in her upcoming book, Jenny’s Passion. Bravo Ms. Wylie, Lila's Vow is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time."
Reviewed by Sal
Two Lips Reviews
5 Lips and Reviewers Choice Award
"...LILA’S VOW is a sweetly seducing love story that impeccably weaves into it the grizzly aspects of war with the political scheming of the era. There have been a myriad of stories and movies that have depicted the Battle of Gettysburg, but few really lay bare the devastation that was left in the actual town of Gettysburg. Through Lila’s eyes, the reader is given a privileged view of how beautiful her town once was, and how years and years later, remnants of the devastating battle still lingered.
Arguably the turning point of the Civil War, battles continued to rage on after Gettysburg for another two years. Ms. Wylie nicely emphasizes through Jack traumatic hardships the difficulties of not only being separated from your loved ones, but also the harrowing nature of a war with seemingly no end. Battle scenes are not just about killing rebels or Yankees, it’s also about the dreadful ease of taking a life, and the remorse of a battle’s aftermath. LILA’S VOW reads authentically well, leaving the reader sweetly sated when the happy-ever-after eventually (and thankfully) arrives."
Reviewed by Chris at Romance Junkies
Blue Ribbon Rating 4
"In Lila’s Vow the story continues of a man and woman whose quest for love, honor, and revenge leads to spying, kidnapping and suspense. Hearing that her husband was killed in the battle of Mine Run, Lila was left with nothing but rage and revenge on the Confederacy for taking away her one true love. Devastated over Jack’s purported death Lila was enlisted by the Pinkerton agency to pose as a southern belle and spy on the enemy.
The author whose research into this period of history is second to none, tells the story from both sides as to Jack’s trials and tribulations in the hell-hole of Andersonville prison, to Lila’s careful and dangerous infiltration into the higher echelon of the Confederacy in order to help the Union bring a quick end to this shameful war which pitted brothers against brothers.
With her superb writing skills and exhaustive research, Ms. Wylie sets the stage with vivid imagery of the battles, the pain and the blood, and have you ducking from the cannonballs of the major and minor battles. You’ll see and smell the horror and stench of the confederate prison; and see and feel the joy of a jubilant reunion between two lovers. However, Wylie doesn’t let it end there and continues to up the bar with more edge of the seat adventure.
Bottom line: Ms. Wylie writes a powerhouse of a novel that describes a love like no other and the brave men and women who gave their all for a happy ending. Excellent reading and highly recommended."
Reviewed by Marilyn
Author of Adventure and Romance