Author of Adventure and Romance
A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller!!
"This heartfelt drama delivers tension, passion, hope and fear...
This is one for the keeper shelf."
4 1/2 stars, Romantic Times"
"In Secrets & Sacrifices, Diane Wylie gives the reader a well-written and
haunting tale filled with tragedy, triumph, and the enduring power of love."
New York Times Bestselling Author of Highland Lover.
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SECRETS AND SACRIFICES
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Editor: Dawn Carrington
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee
Excerpt from "Secrets and Sacrifices"
Charlotte “Charlie” Garrett crouched behind the big boulder, swallowed the lump of fear in her throat, and waited. All snipers had been ordered to come before the advance of the main body of the regiment and pick off any Yankees that they could. The moment of truth had arrived. Since disguising herself as a young man to join the Twenty-Fifth Virginia Infantry and follow her husband, Joshua, into war, Charlotte had never shot a man. She was now a sharpshooter for the regiment, having been recognized for her ability with the Springfield rifle she clutched tightly in her hands. From where she was hidden she could see Clarence, the older man who had taken her under his wing, and a few of the other soldiers selected for this job. Clarence was lying on the ground behind a huge log and two of the younger snipers were up in the gnarled oak trees that stood like sentinels overlooking the ground below. The others were invisible through the falling snow.
The weather had gotten progressively worse up in the mountains and the soldiers had been growing more and more discontent. The Confederates held this part of the Allegheny Mountains and were to defend Staunton-Reidsburg Pike. Now the troops were under attack from Union forces who hoped to take the summit from them.
Just the idea that all of those men were counting on her and the rest of the sharpshooters to draw the enemy out from behind their artillery, made her stomach feel as though it were full of nervous butterflies.
Taking off her spectacles, she took a good look down at the valley while she polished the smudged glass ovals on her shirt. No bluecoats were visible at the moment. Charlie’s stomach twitched. Where were the damn Yankees? Smoke belched out of the slightly raised tree line. The artillery units were operating from the cover of the remaining forest. But there was no one in sight to shoot.
All of the time spent drilling and marching and being bored had not prepared her in the least for the mind-numbing terror that began to claw its way up her spine. Today something was going to change…her life was going to change…history was going to change. Two armies were going to clash and people were going to die just like they had already died in the time since Fort Sumter and Bull Run and this whole mess started.
Oh, God! She was starting to tremble at the very idea that she was here doing this! How she had wished now that she had not agreed to join the snipers. She came to find out that most of the other foot soldiers didn’t much like the snipers. Jeers of “sneak and murderer” were sometimes directed toward her group. The soldiers that fought out in plain sight didn’t appreciate the skill of those who perched in trees or behind rocks to pick off their unsuspecting targets. Many considered them to be coddled or even cowardly when the snipers were allowed to shoot behind cover when the others marched headlong into battle.
It would have been so much easier to stay with her husband. It would have been so much easier to be beside him, standing with his comforting presence to draw strength from. He seemed to have gotten over the rage she had seen him display on that practice field when he recognized her despite the baggy uniform, dirty slouch hat, short hair, and glasses.
All during training camp in Virginia Charlie had managed to avoid direct contact with Josh. They were in the same company and, with Josh’s natural ability to cultivate new friends, she knew that it would only be a matter of time before he made the rounds of the entire regiment and knew each one of them by name.
She had carefully studied the actions and habits of the men around her and had gotten very adept at burping, spitting, and scratching when the time seemed right. By acting like a man, dressing like a man, and keeping her hat pulled low, Charlie had so far managed to avoid detection. Even Clarence, who kept a close eye on his “adopted” son, had not picked up on her gender. Fortunately, he respected her need for privacy whenever she could get it.
On the day that things changed, she had lined up with the rest of the troops on the practice field as usual. After five weeks of training, it was their last day before they were moving out to join up with the other Confederates and march off to war.
Standing beside Clarence at attention, Charlie waited for the officers to give orders. She remembered looking around, searching for Josh. He was somewhere in the ranks of soldiers gathered on this muddy field.
“At ease men,” Captain Weaver yelled. Then he moved closer to the rank and file. “Tomorrow we march to our destiny, gentlemen. May we all conduct ourselves with the honor, dignity, and heart that the South requires. We must rise above the oppression of the Federal government and, with your help, we will persevere.”
A chorus of whoops and catcalls had erupted all around and swelled to a thunderous noise. Charlie couldn’t help but smile and join in the celebration. Clarence had clapped her on the back hard, almost knocking her over.
“Hear that, lad? We’s gonna wup them Yankees, we is gonna wup ‘em and send them running with their tails ‘tween their legs.” He grinned at her from under his grizzled, scraggly beard.
“We sure are, Clarence, we sure are!”
Suddenly the trumpet blew and they all settled down and snapped to attention again.
Captain Weaver was trying to speak again. “Everyone has done a bang-up job these past weeks. Some of you have never handled a rifle before while others have obviously been hunting many times and know exactly how to handle a gun. One such young man has proven himself to be such a good shot that he will be part of the sharpshooters in our regiment. Charlie Garrett, please step forward!”
She came forward, turned and locked eyes with Josh in the crowd. That was the heart-stopping moment when her husband had seen her, really looked closely at her.
The thunderous cloud that appeared on Josh’s face the moment he realized the real identity of “Charlie” Garrett was obvious to her, even yards away from him. When she saw him reaching for his powder charges and preparing to load his rifle, terror had swept through her. Why was he doing that? He glared angrily at the soldiers all around him as he worked. Thank goodness for the other Augusta County boys. They had seen Josh’s strange reaction, encircled him immediately and Billy Kaufman, the largest man in the regiment, took Josh’s gun away with one massive hand. He passed the rifle to Ned Hagan, another local man, then pinned Josh’s arms to his sides. Charlie had run away as soon as she had been able to escape.
Joshua had avoided her after that incident as they marched into the Alleghany mountains, which was fine with Charlie since she needed time to think and to be prepared for whatever reaction he would have. Then, this morning, he just walked up to the cookfire, introduced himself as her cousin and they had walked off to talk.
Together they had walked away from the rows and rows of dingy white tents and smoky campfires, past the lines of horses and wagons being unloaded, and away from thousands of troops preparing for the day. Josh led the way, both soldiers eating corn cakes and sipping coffee as they went.
“We might see fighting today from what I heard,” Josh said as soon as they were out of earshot. “You need to go tell Captain Weaver that you’re my wife and that you joined up without my permission or knowledge. I’ll give you my wages and you can buy passage home.”
She looked up at him then, startled by his blunt command and immediately upset that he had not considered for a moment what she wanted or even why she was here. Tears sprang to her eyes and she quickened the pace, leading him down a ravine and into a group of bushes where they might have a little privacy. They had been far enough away from the camp that the sounds of the army were no longer heard.
“Stop, Charlie.” Josh’s hand had landed on her shoulder gently, but firmly. “You heard what I said, but I will not be the one telling the Captain anything. You will.”
“Oh, no, I won’t.” She crossed her arms over her chest and faced him squarely, planted her feet apart and raised her chin. Clenching her jaw, she gave him her best stubborn glare. Usually he would huff and blow and bluster before he gave into what she wanted. She had been ready to wait him out again. Only he didn’t bluster and blow. He didn’t even huff. Not once. He just looked at her with such a sad expression that she had been thoroughly confused. This had not been the reaction she expected.
His hand had come up toward her face and she had flinched involuntarily. Josh’s woeful expression deepened. “Charlie, oh my darling, is that what you think of me now?” He dropped his hand. “Do you think that I would raise my hand in anger to the woman I love? Though it seems plain that you no longer love me.”
“What? Why do you say that, Josh? I only joined this army because I love you. That is the only reason I am here.”
“If you love me, why are you sleeping with all these strange men?”
Reviews for Secrets and Sacrifices
"SECRETS AND SACRIFICES is a moving and tumultuous Civil War tale that lingers with the reader long after the story ends. Powerful!"
Morag McKendrick Pippin
BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN, BLOOD MOON OVER BENGAL
This heartfelt drama delivers tension, passion, hope and fear. The heroine begins in the guise of a boy but grows into a passionate, caring woman who meets her soul mate after losing her husband. The research is meticulous, and a grand cast of characters leaps off the page. This is one for the keeper shelf.
Summary: Charlotte "Charlie" Garrett follows her husband into battle for the South. After Josh is killed, she continues as a sharpshooter, becoming a better shot than many of the men. One evening she finds a private place to bathe and is discovered and attacked. Captain Daniel Reid, a Confederate doctor, uncovers her disguise when he rescues her.This chance meeting connects the lives of not only Daniel and Charlie but also of their families. He smuggles drugs and supplies from the North and she's involved in the Underground Railroad. There are renewed requests to re-enlist in the conflict and betrayal from someone unexpected.
Donna M. Brown
Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
The Author's Lounge
"A reader must first point out their immediate interests...opening the first page of Secrets and Sacrifices, I was open-minded, but not sure if this was going to be a satisfying piece for me. Boy was I wrong. The historical Civil War accuracies! The stubborn, yet heroic for love, Charlotte "Charlie" Garret! The fascinating story, tugging on the reader's emotional strings like a puppet-master, that rips love from Charlie's soul and then brings it back via an unexpected Confederate surgeon, named Captain Daniel Reid.
Secrets and Sacrifices unfolds with Charlie disguising herself as a man to fight in the Civil War. She wants to be near her husband, Joshua. When he dies, she takes up a reckless abandon and uncaring attitude, seeking revenge as a sharpshooter in the 25th Virginia. A terribly unfortunate rape attempt turns into something more. It leads Charlie to a new love, growing a fond relationship with the surgeon. They share some comforting moments amidst the horror-filled results of Civil War battle.
This is a dazzling romance novel, with incredible characters and detail. It teaches that no matter how heart-breaking a turn in life is, with bitter sweet memories, there can always be hope and better days ahead!"
Reagan Rothe, Author of Misanthropy: Book I: The Tower, Creator of Black Rose Writing
Since her stunning award winning debut novel MY ENEMY, MY LOVE [reprinted as JENNY'S PASSION], this author has impressed me with her richly detailed emotional storytelling talent. She has taken the Civil War, thoroughly researched her facts of battles, conditions and written powerfully complex characters interacting in a powerful tableau to engage the readers emotions. With Charlie you are introduced to a marvelous unforgettable heroine, where the author has the reader feeling her abject grief as she holds the lifeless body of her beloved husband, then details her struggle back to living and finding love once more with the wonderfully honorable and stalwart Dr. Reid and the sacrifices they would make to be together. Woven throughout Wylie describes it all including the blood, the gore, and the shameful inhuman treatment that was faced by all in one of the costliest wars of human suffering and death of one of the most horrific times in the history of America.
This is a stunning and powerful read that I most highly recommend from an author who displays a rare talent and leaves you wanting more.
CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Rating: 5 Shamrocks
Diane M. Wylie’s debut novel, My Enemy, My Love [reprinted as JENNY'S PASSION] was a runaway success. Once again, this author’s solid research and talent for creating a believable, heart-warming romantic tale will transport her many fans back to the foundation of America’s unique spirit in Secrets and Sacrifices. In the name of love, a young woman fought for her country, but the pain and passion of Charlie’s journey will change many lives.
Reviewed by Naomi
Rating: 5 Angels
Diane Wylie is definitely a new author that is headed to the top!
I became an instant fan after reading her first book, ‘My Enemy, My Love’ [reprinted as JENNY'S PASSION], and have anxiously waited for more.
‘Secrets and Sacrifices’, her second book, is just as powerful and entertaining as her first. From the beginning, I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the entire book.
Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Garrett, the heroine, is a gutsy, dare-taking, and determined woman who puts others welfare before her own. She dangerously fights side by side with the soldiers, never once complaining. Her dedication and loyalty to the men she loves motivates her beyond what most women of the period could tolerate. She discovers how difficult and unfair life can be, but it can also unexpectedly give her a second chance, especially with love in the arms of one Captain Daniel Reid.
Diane has a way of instantly connecting the reader to her characters. Her Civil War historical romances are filled with adventure, hardship, and love. She has a magical way of entwining her main characters with the secondary ones, to create a fascinating plot. Diane breathes life into her unforgettable characters and weaves the stories in a refreshing way that totally grabs and sucks you into the worlds she creates. I always feel as if I’m watching a movie while reading Diane’s books. Her love scenes are tender and spicy, filled with deep emotions, while her descriptive writing style hurls the reader right into the action of the Civil War.
I would love for Diane Wylie to continue this series with her previous secondary characters. Daniel’s brother and sister, Brad and Nora, and Daniel’s friend, Major Will Mattingly, definitely need their own love story.
Reviewed by Deborah A. Hymon, from Historical Passions
Ms. Wylie has crafted an amazing novel set during the worst time in United States history. She sweeps you into the battlefields right along with the characters. What stands out about this story is that it is not a fluffy romance novel. It makes you feel the raw emotions of the struggles and sacrifices of the characters. SECRETS AND SACRIFICES is a stunning novel of bravery, hope, and love.
Reviewed by Bonnie-Lass
Rating: 5 Cups
Coffee Time Romance
Secrets and Sacrifices by Diane Wylie is a book that every reader needs to read because of its action, portrayal of innocence taken, and a war that separates so many people be they friends or couples. Not only does the story touch on these ideas, but Diane Wylie does a superb job bringing the history to life with rich dialogue and scenes that seem so real to this reviewer. What readers will discover above all is love that surpasses everything, including a war. Although the book is a historical there are scenes that are somewhat gruesome, realistic, and unimaginable yet they must be read to understand what goes on within the plot and really appreciate it for what it’s worth, a memorable book that will touch any reviewer.
Reviewed by: Lena C.
Rating: 4 Angels
Fallen Angels Reviews
SECRETS AND SACRIFICES is Wylie's second historical novel. Like her first, My ENEMY, MY LOVE [reprinted as JENNY'S PASSION], Wylie expertly brings the reader back in time as she weaves the perfect web of history, lust, and intrigue. Her attention to detail as well as the accurate depiction of the Civil War enables Wylie to draw the reader in and keeps the reader coming back for more. An absolute must-read! SECRETS AND SACRIFICES is a sure winner.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Vido
...Readers will be fascinated by the strength that is demonstrated by the character of Charlie. Charlie fights to do the right thing and protect love ones. When Joshua dies the sadness threatens to overwhelm Charlie. When Charlie finds a reason to go on readers will cheer the effort it takes. Each emotion demonstrated is effective and conveyed strongly to the readers
...Secrets and Sacrifices by Diane Wylie is a creative and wonderfully accurate depiction of the Civil War. Readers will find themselves drawn into the story from the very beginning. This is a story readers will remember and return to read again. I highly recommend it to the readers that enjoy historical romance.
Sensuality rating: Very sensual
Rating: 5 Hearts
The Romance Studio
Charlotte Garrett, known as Charlie by her family and friends, disguised herself as a boy to join the Confederate Army. Charlie followed her husband, Joshua, to war since she could not bear life without him. She was trained as a sharpshooter. Charlie had never shot a man before, but she knows this war is about to change everything. Her life will never be the same.
Captain Daniel Reid is a surgeon for the Confederate Army. All Daniel wants to do is ease the pain and suffering this war has caused. Another comrade named Clarence comes to Daniel for help. A young boy in his unit has suffered the loss of a loved one in the war and seems to be taking it very hard. Daniel is drawn to Charlie immediately. He will be shocked when he discovers Charlie’s secret.
Ms. Wylie has written a wonderful story filled with emotion. As you read this book you will feel like you are reliving life in the south during the Civil War. The emotions that both the Confederates and the Yankees must have felt during the war are described in perfect detail. As you read about the pain and suffering endured you will discover that many secrets and sacrifices were made on both sides. This book will show you that even though the pain and heartache seems more then anyone should have to endure, love can help you to overcome tragedy and become whole again. This book is a keeper.
Reviewed by Sherry
Rating: 5 roses
Charlie has a secret; she has followed her husband into battle. She has learned to be a solider alongside her husband. Because of her skills she has become a sharpshooter...
Captain Daniel Reid is sick of the war, sick of the dying, sick of not having enough medicine to help the wounded...
Enjoyable book. The characters are strong, likable. Charlie had strong beliefs; she also questioned them, which made her grow as the story progressed. Daniel was a true gentleman; he didn’t force himself on Charlie in any way.
Reviewed by Pat.
4 and a half roses