Beginning in 1840 Different Hearts parallels the lives of Sophia and Ezra
Born with limited rights, Sophia struggles against societal norms. Conceived in rape Native American Ezra is an indentured-servant owned until his twenty-fifth birthday.
The two meet and fall passionately in love. However, circumstances, prejudices, and personal guilt forbid their union.
In the span of two decades, shared spiritual values transcend time and culture taking Sophia and Ezra on a journey from bondage to freedom.
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Loved the wealth of detail: historical facts well researched, settings vividly described, and characters that were so well drawn and so interesting. A satisfying and enjoyable work of historical fiction.
Different Hearts is a great read. The historical background has been well researched and the characters are true to their times. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good book by the fireplace on a cold night. I hope the author provides us with a sequel.
Written like a textbook, the author gives good history in it. I loved the story line, always surprising me. I enjoyed this book very much.
Different Hearts is American historical fiction with a romantic storyline. That bad things can happen for good reasons seems to play out as the characters emerge from backgrounds of violence, prejudice and misunderstanding to fulfill their destinies and grow as this country grows. E. B. Sullivan's writing style is in keeping with the times and historical events in which the characters lived. This is an enjoyable read that provides an exciting peek into the world in which the pioneers of our country struggled and triumphed.
As a child Sophia is resented by her mother and it is love for her brother Dylan that sustains her. As she grows, Sophia learns to accept her circumstances and is prepared to work hard and let others take the credit, content to know she is doing right. Her one act of rebellion leaves her pregnant and rather than disgrace her family, Sophia sets off to start a new life where she is not known.
Ezra is the child of an Indian slave who was raped. He never knew his mother but is raised alongside the master's son. When a young widow, heavy with child, moves into a shack on a neighboring plot of land, Ezra finds himself drawn to Sophia's courage and kindness. As the months pass their friendship blossoms but Ezra fears declaring his love would make Sophia the target for racial attacks and he cares too much to risk that happening.
"Different Hearts" is a rich and engrossing read. Ms Sullivan's descriptions are a delight, with a deft touch she summons up the everyday privations and hardships of a country in the grip of civil war. But this is not a depressing read, far from it, the integrity and warmth of the characters brings joy to the page as we are shown how the real treasure is in the human spirit and small acts of kindness can mean so much.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Different Hearts": from characters I cared about, to evocative descriptions and a sweeping plot, this book has everything I look for in a satisfying and absorbing read.
As a Californian with roots in the east coast, I particularly enjoyed the settings for the historical romance DIFFERENT HEARTS. The author, E.B. Sullivan meticulously researched the time period from the 1840s through the Civil War, focusing on the California foothills and Newport, Rhode Island. With a deft hand, she constructed the era in believable ways, weaving in precise details, from clothing to politics to landscape and speech patterns.
For the first part of the book, we follow two disparate story lines, one in Newport, Rhode lsland, and the other in California. But when fate brings one of the characters west, the sweeping plot flows in a seamless path toward the satisfying conclusion. E.B Sullivan has created an engaging read with strong characters and marvelous historical details. The story will stay with you after you've finished.
To be honest, Different Hearts is the first historical fiction novel I've had the pleasure of reviewing. I was initially drawn to the story when I read an excerpt posted on-line by Elizabeth Sullivan. Her editing was flawless, and her command of the language was far above the norm. I simply had to read more, so I emailed Elizabeth to ask if I could review her book. I'm glad I did.
The story begins in 1840 and covers the dark Civil War period of American history. The focus is on the events that befall the affluent Enraghty family in Newport, Rhode Island, and the offspring of a Miwok Indian slave girl named Hannah in California. On the East Coast, Sophia Enraghty is born an unwelcome arrival because she is not male. In California, Ezra is born of Hannah, who is owned by Jordan and Claudia Rawlings. As fate would have it, Claudia gives birth to a son on the same day Ezra is born. Because Hannah dies shortly after childbirth, Jordan brings Ezra into his home, and makes him the personal slave of his new son, Matthew.
From the outset, it is clear Elizabeth Sullivan did her homework. Her enthralling descriptions of the way of life for the two families transported my mind to a time where modern conveniences did not exist. Yet, despite the hardships that were part of life, especially for the Miwok slaves, the people themselves were not much different from those you might meet today.
Ezra and Matthew grow up together. Both are loved by Claudia Rawlings, almost as twins, but Jordon treats the two vastly different. Ezra is a slave; Matthew is Jordon's son. A similar situation exists in the Enraghty family. Sophia's elder sister receives all her mother's attention, and her younger brother, Dylan, is raised by his father. Just as Ezra learns everything in parallel with Matthew, Sophia learns everything in parallel with Dylan. The Civil War soon impacts both families. To avoid disgrace, Sophia travels to California where she meets Ezra, who has grown to be an honorable man among men. Despite societal taboos, the two develop feelings for each other.
I won't provide more details of the story; I don't want to spoil it. What I will say is that Elizabeth Sullivan brings the reader into the lives of each of her characters with such finesse and clarity that one can almost see the dust on the table in Sophia's cabin, and smell the flowers in the field. The story is developed around real events of the day: the naval and land battles during the war, the gold rush, the freeing of the slaves and the hardships of the day. Reading the book is like living in that time.
There is also enlightenment. Freeing the slaves in southern states that seceded from the Union did not free the slaves elsewhere, and did not change the slave status of the Indians in California. As the story develops, both Ezra and Sophia must deal with their own enslavement, whether real or imposed by the values and attitudes of society (white women did NOT marry Indians, slaves or ex-slaves). The interplay of the townspeople with Ezra and Sophia is so captivating that, by the time I finished reading the story, it wasn't clear to me whether the part of the title "From bondage to Freedom" applied to Ezra ... or to Sophia.
Different Hearts, From Bondage to Freedom is a fantastic five-star read that will touch every heart. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The novel is meticulously edited, carefully researched and extremely well-written. I whole-heartedly recommend it.