Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach

Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach
Pages: 327
Release Date:  February 1st, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 15th-17th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  2/5 stars
Recommended to:  14+

Eliza's father, a man of humble means, has just passed away, leaving Eliza with no house or money, just the clothes on her back and the housemaid.  In an effort to find work, she is reunited with the man she once loved as a girl, and who she still loves as a woman.  When she offers to go with him to America as his bride, he refuses...  But soon changes his mind for a daring journey in the night.  Can they brave through the storms of life in a new country where Eliza must face trial after trial?

"This is great, this is great, this is...ahhhh...  Nevermind."  I'm SO bummed out about this book!  It just...flopped.  It had loads of potential but did not live up to any sort of goodness.

Oh, Eliza.  Why?  WHY?!  I just don't understand.  I really liked you...and now I just don't know what to think.  Eliza is one of those characters who just...deteriorated.  At least for me.  I just couldn't respect any of the decisions she made after she heard the Terrible Awful News.  Not even just her lack of judgement - but that lie she told to Hayward about it?  GOLLY, so bad.  I felt like her relationship with God didn't really go anywhere either.  She went through so much hardship but there were no profound faith revelations or anything.

And Hayward...  Holy SMOKES - if I ever met that man, I would need someone to restrain me and remind me that murder will land me in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Fiona and the rest were okay, I guess.  They served their purposes but were not well-developed.

What.  The.  Heck.  HAAAAPPPPEEEENNNNEEED?!  Okay, so I'm all for sad books.  A few (The Idiot, Before I Fall, Mockingjay) are my all-time favorites and I read and read and read and cry and cry and cry.

But cruel?  Like hardcore cruel, backstabbing, with what did NOT feel like a redemptive ending?  Ummm, not okay with me.  Hayward was a full-on cruel, cold-hearted jerk who did horrible things.

I honestly don't remember much else of the story, except Eliza's fall into depression so deep she totally went out of character, and the end where all I could think was, "Why?  This is not redemptive."  It does not have to be happy - just...redeeming.  It was so hard.  And sad.  And CRUEL.  And stupid and unrealistic, if I may say so myself.

The word I've been saying over and over again.  Cruel.  I feel bad giving this kind of review but this book really got to me - in a bad way -ad on vacation no less!

For the Parents -
A few adult situations referenced to.  No details.  Some minor curse words.  Recommended 14+.  Actually, not recommended at all, but...if you must...


  1. OH NO! I'm a fan of sad endings too (which my sister thinks I'm weird for, but sometimes you need a book to just break your heart a little, right? <3) but a CRUEL ending?? I don't know if my heart could take that -- although somehow my traitorous heart is still intrigued by your review! (I just want to know what happens!) I'm so sorry this fell short of its potential.

    Thank you so much for the amazing honest review, Sierra! Hugs and kisses and I hope you read a redemptive book after this! :') <3

  2. Ahh, that sucks that this one was such a disappointment. I'm a lover of sad books too, but they definitely have to be done well. And I hate when stories don't have any redemption. I actually haven't heard of this book before, but I probably won't be reading it now. Too many great books on my TBR pile. Great honest review! Now this makes me yearn for a good sad book! 

  3. I'm so glad we agree!  And yes - now I want to get my hands on something good and sad!

    Thanks for the comment, Krista!

  4. I know, it really was such a letdown, and heartbreaking, and just LAME.  Lol ;)

    Thanks for the comment, Mimi! :D

  5. Oh, and I did - it was "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight" - review to come very very soon!!!! :D

  6. Ack, no thank you! I'm sorry you had such a not fun reading experience, but at least there's a silver lining: you got to write this funny review!

    "And Hayward...  Holy SMOKES - if I ever met that man, I would need
    someone to restrain me and remind me that murder will land me in a hell
    of a lot of trouble."

    See, hilarious! :D I have a great mental image of someone restraining you as you try to pummel him.

  7. Ahahahaha I suppose it IS a very hilarious picture!!  But when I wrote it I was in all seriousness...LOL which makes it worse!  Oh man I HATED him.  Like, I WAS DISGUSTED.  But anyways.  No need to dwell any more than necessary, right?  Glad you were entertained by my review! ;)

  8. I can totally understand where you are coming from! I read this, and had similar reactions. Though I ended up giving it 4 stars for the ability to really pull at the heartstrings (and in hoping for a happy ending in the next book!) I did get really depressed throughout the book. So sad!

    And what a jerk Hayward was! I totally agree with you --- if I ever met him in person, you had better hope there are no sharp objects laying near at hand! I don't know how Gerlach will redeem him...but I really, really, really hated that guy when I finished the book!

  9. I've never heard about this book before but it sounds like maybe that was a good thing. :/ On another note, I really don't like that cover it's just... plain. Thanks for the review.