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The Road to Understanding by Regina Jeffers is a Celebrate Canada/America Event pick #romance


The Road to Understanding


Regina Jeffers


historical fiction; women authors; historical British fiction; historical clean romance; American historical fiction; historical frontier; Colonial romance, Great Valley Road, vagary; inspirational romance

Book Blurb:

DARIUS FITZWILLIAM’s life is planned down to who he will marry and where he will live, but life has a way of saying, “You don’t get to choose.” When his marriage to his long-time betrothed Caroline Bradford falls through, Darius is forced to take a step back and to look upon a woman who enflames his blood with desire, but also engenders disbelief. Eliza Harris is everything Darius never realized he wanted.

ELIZA HARRIS is accustomed to doing as she pleases. Yet, despite being infuriated by his authoritative manner, when she meets the staunchly disciplined Captain Fitzwilliam, she wishes for more. She instinctively knows he is “home,” but Eliza possesses no skills in achieving her aspirations.

Plagued with misunderstandings, manipulations, and peril upon the Great Valley Road between eastern Virginia and Tennessee in the years following the Revolutionary War, Darius and Eliza claim a strong allegiance before love finds its way into their hearts.

This is a faith-based tale based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.


He’d avoided her for the remainder of the morning and through the midday meal by inventing tasks to keep busy. Even so, Darius’s mind was rarely far from the woman. He congratulated himself when he managed not to look in her direction as Eliza and Miss Jonni crossed the small clearing to enter the wood line. The pair carried a blanket, and Darius assumed they meant to provide each other some privacy as they saw to their personal needs.

He wasn’t an idiot, but Darius never thought much on how a woman attended to such things. He’d been but ten when his mother passed while giving birth to his sister. After that, it was just he and his father and Grace. Grace was eight when Darius departed for the war, and until five years ago, he’d lived alone or with Charlie’s family. It was only after he’d attended a tent meeting in a small town upon the South Carolina coast that he’d known any peace from his nightmares. The preacher spoke at length upon forgiving oneself in the same manner as a man prays for God to do. He learned something that night of discovering triumph when he’d only observed tragedy up until that time. Like John and Simon Peter, he’d found hope where others saw nothing but an empty tomb.

Darius was far from the epitome of a “good” Christian, but he possessed a deep felt faith in God’s existence and God’s goodness, which had served him well since he’d reached his maturity.

“Some were wondering if you mean to reach Sapling Grove by tomorrow evening,” Charlie said as he sat upon a downed tree trunk.

“That might be too much for the animals. The mountains grow steeper,” he observed. “I’d say if the weather holds we’d be at the fort by day after tomorrow. We’d also arrive early enough in the day to permit laundry and socializing.”

The words barely crossed his lips when he heard her call. “Captain!”

Immediately, he was on his feet and running in the direction where he observed Eliza’s entering the woods. Darius responded purely from instinct, pushing through the brush and swatting away low tree limbs. He heard Charlie’s short pants as his friend trailed after him. His heart beat out the questions: Wild animal? Snake? Renegade Indian? Or a different sort of enemy? Shannon?

Shouldering his way through the undergrowth, Darius was upon the scene within seconds. He came to a stumbling halt to discover an Indian holding the blanket once belonging to the ladies. Miss Jonquil hunkered behind Eliza in a state of dishabille. Darius didn’t know whether to be frightened for Eliza’s safety or that of the cluster of five Cherokee braves.

When she spotted him, Miss Eliza’s hands fisted at her waist. “Tell him the blanket belongs to me,” she ordered.

Despite the situation, a smile claimed the corners of Darius’s lips: Eliza Harris was like no woman he’d ever known. Whoever earned her regard would never spend a day without excitement.

“Do you think I speak fluent Cherokee, or do you expect our Indian friends here to be fluent in English?” he asked as he edged closer to the Indian holding the blanket.

Behind him, he heard the click of Charlie’s gun, but he motioned his friend to wait.

“You must do something,” she ordered without regard to the danger in which they found themselves.

“I intend to,” Darius said as he gestured to the brave to return the blanket to Miss Eliza’s outstretched hand. The Indians didn’t appear to be overly aggressive, but Darius was of the nature to be cautious.

The brave shook off Darius’s gesture before offering him a bargain: the blanket for one of the women. The Cherokee motioned for Darius to take the blanket and to turn over either Miss Jonni or Eliza.

Darius stepped around the Indian to stand before Eliza. “Hequu asaquaningodotu,” he said, enunciating two words he knew of the Indians’ language: “Woman” and something he hoped meant “possession.”

He reached a hand in Eliza’s direction. “The woman is mine,” he declared in his most authoritative voice, one for which he’d rarely found a use since the war’s end.

“I am not yours,” Miss Eliza hissed from behind him.

Darius spoke in low tones so the Cherokees couldn’t hear their discussion. “The man wishes to trade my woman for the stolen blanket. Which is more important?’ He extended his hand again. “Come stand beside me,” he whispered.

“But Jonni...” Eliza began in protest.

“Charlie will see to your sister’s appearance,” he said firmly. “You possess the choice of a bit of embarrassment or to become a Cherokee squaw.”

He suspected Miss Jonquil presented her sister a nudge, but Eliza accepted his hand, and Darius tugged her safely against his side. Without asking her permission, he planted a kiss upon her upturned forehead. “Smile at me,” he murmured through a gritted toothy smile.

Although he expected reluctance, what he discovered upon Eliza’s features shook him to his core: Welcome. She’d welcomed his presence.

Although he was generally an even-tempered man, he thought to kill the Indians before him so he might dispense with this farce and claim the lips that enticed him completely.

When Charlie stepped before Miss Jonni, Darius returned to his sense.

He repeated the two words again–“Hequu asaquaningodotu”– before he clutched Eliza to him. If the Indians attacked, he meant to be in a position to protect her from harm.

“Hequu asaquaningodotu,” Charlie repeated behind him.

Darius suspected his friend had a like hold upon Miss Jonquil. The leader of the group tossed the blanket to one of the younger braves. Laughter followed his actions, but Darius waited for the man’s next move. For several elongated seconds, no one stirred, but then the brave presented Darius a nod of respect before motioning his men into the underbrush.

And still Darius didn’t move. The heat of Eliza along his side was all he ever wished to know.

“You may release me, Mr. Fitzwilliam,” she grumbled in disapproval.

Even so, Darius paused to relish her closeness before he loosened his hold on her. For a brief second, he considered claiming Eliza’s mouth for an intimate kiss and relish the consequences.

A shove on his side said the lady wouldn’t put up with his manipulations further, and so he opened his arms to permit her escape.

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What makes your featured book a must-read?

People always say, “Write what you know.” Well, I know the area of The Great Valley Road well. I lived my early childhood in Virginia, grew up in West Virginia, attended college in Georgia, and now live in North Carolina. I have been up and around all the roads that formed the Wilderness Road and the Great Valley Road all my life.

After 1796, when the Wilderness Road was widened, finally, Conestoga wagons could cross over the mountains. A Scots-Irish family could travel from the end of their sea voyage at Alexandria, Virginia, all the way to the middle of Kentucky in the same wagon. When Kentucky and Tennessee became occupied, the Wilderness Road provided the means to send surplus produce back to the eastern seaboard. Droves of cattle, horses, mules, and hogs went by this route to the cotton plantations of South Carolina and Georgia.

Some suggest the origin of the Wilderness Road was at Fort Chiswell (Ft. Chissel) on the Great Valley Road where roads converged from Philadelphia and Richmond. Others claim the Wilderness Road actually began at Sapling Grove (now Bristol, VA) which lay at the extreme southern end of the Great Valley Road. It moved through the Allegheny Mountains at Cumberland Gap, at what is now the junction of the State boundaries of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Heading northwest, it splits at Hazel Patch–with one route creating Boonesborough, the other Frankfort. Today one can follow the main route from Bristol, Virginia, and on towards Lexington, Kentucky, on Interstate 75.

Something else I know, which many do not, is, at one time, there was another state, one called “Franklin.” On August 23, 1784, four counties in western North Carolina declared their independence from North Carolina (which went all the way to around what is now Nashville, Tennessee) as the state of Franklin (named after Benjamin Franklin). The people in the Cumberland River Valley were afraid the U.S. Congress would sell the territory to Spain or France to pay off the government’s war debts.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I wanted you to see this is not an ordinary love story set against the background of the Revolutionary War. This takes place after the war and concerns how people managed to survive and build the United States. Heck, I even had to reverse my thinking, for the French Broad River, which our caravan of settlers must cross, actually flows from south to north (one of only 48 rivers in the U.S. to do so).

Yet, beyond all the history, the real reason this book is a must-read is because it showcases the true strength of women, fighting uphill battles, but fighting nonetheless. You will love the developing relationship between Darius and Eliza, seeing their strength and honesty. If you adore headstrong heroines, Eliza is perfectly obstinate, while Darius is just “perfect”! Just as important, the tale is also a fascinating story of frontier life and the will to survive.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs June 29 – July 6, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on July 7, 2023.

Author Biography:

A writer penning more than 60 novels, Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of stories with dashing heroines and daring heroines, all set in the Regency or early Victorian era. A Smithsonian presenter and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, Jeffers has been honored with multiple awards for her tales: She writes full-time, skillfully enveloping her readers in the hearts and minds of her characters. She will have you cheering for her characters, will likely make you cry, will have you laughing aloud, as well as wanting more.

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1 Comment

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Jul 03, 2023

Thank you, Regina, for sharing your book in our Celebrate Canada/America Bookish Event!

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