Spoiler alert! Read this after you've read A Heart Renewed.
A Heart Renewed - Author's Note
It is always a challenge when writing about a difficult subject like what Julia experienced. It breaks my heart to know that this sort of thing happens today—within the borders of the United States and around the world. I chose to write about this because I wanted to share the message that there is still hope after abuse. Jesus really does love you and his heart breaks when his children suffer.
In my dedication, I mentioned the women of Homes of Hope. This organization is dedicated to rescuing young women from the sex slave trade in Fiji. The stories of these rescued women are inspirational. Some of their stories are similar to Julia’s. Some are far darker. Yet, these women are rescued—by people who care enough to help and by a Savior that sees them as precious beautiful pure women. My prayer is that organizations like Homes of Hope will grow and thrive in the coming years increasing their ability to rescue more girls around the world.
On another note, like in my previous book, there are several real historical details included. The Juniper House was a real hotel owned by George Barnard and is cited as being one of the first hotels in Prescott. George Barnard also became the postmaster general following the departure of Reverend Read.
Communication within the Arizona Territory and to points outside of the territory was sporadic, at best, for more than a decade after the territory was formed. Numerous express lines, pony express, and stages won contracts to carry the mail. Some, like Robertson & Parish, only lasted a few months. Others lasted several years. While the La Paz Express is fictional, it is loosely based on the La Paz Express & Saddle Train, among other several other express lines.
The governor’s ball mentioned early in the book did occur on the date cited. Many area citizens were invited to attend the ball in the 2,000 square foot mansion which was four times larger than the average pioneer’s home. The accounts of the first ball mentioned only a handful of women in attendance. Those that were there danced their feet off!
William Hardy was really involved in building a toll road from Hardyville (yes he owned a good bit of that town) to Prescott. While he initially acted as the manager, he eventually owned shares in the toll road company. His associates, Mr. Hobbs, Mr. Franklin, and Mr. Brighton are inventions of my imagination and represent the investors Hardy worked with to build the road. Hardy did end up building a store in Prescott as well.
While Thomas’s character is purely fictional, the places he saw and battles he participated in while a part of the XVI Corps were true. For the Battle of Nashville, I found a few good eye witness accounts that described the slow start of the battle due to heavy fog. The colonels and major generals mentioned by name were real commanders that participated in the events as mentioned in the story.
Much of the information about dispatch riding came from a wonderful firsthand account I found from a young man who served as one in the Civil War. Many of the dispatchers really did bring their own horses with them. They also were often lackadaisical with using the appropriate passcodes and hand signals, according to the firsthand account.
I did take some liberty with the timing of when Thomas found out that the war was over. Most likely, the western territories would not have heard the news for several months. In fact, there were battles fought after Lee’s surrender in April of 1865, most notably the battle of Mobile which happened in May, I think. Anyway, in order for Thomas to have time to search for Drew and then find Hannah prior to the baby’s birth, I took the liberty of allowing the western territories to discover the news only weeks after the end of the war.
I hope you enjoyed Julia and Adam’s story. Thomas’s story does not end here. This is only the beginning.