When Hope Sank

Captivating Tale of Resilience and Hope

“When Hope Sank” is an incredible historical fiction novel that truly captivated me from start to finish. This is the first book I’ve read by Denise Weimer, and I loved it!

Set during the Civil War, the story follows Lily Livingston, a young woman who has lost everything – her family, her home, and her sense of security. She now works at her uncle’s inn in Arkansas, trying to stay out of the conflict that has divided her town. Lily is a strong character, and I admired her resilience despite the hardships she faced.

The plot takes a dramatic turn with the introduction of Lieutenant Cade Palmer, a paroled POW recovering from his injuries. Cade’s journey on the steamer Sultana, which tragically explodes, plunging him and thousands of others into the Mississippi River, is gripping and heart-wrenching. The way Denise describes the explosion and its aftermath is vivid and intense, making it feel like you are right there with the characters.

Lily and Cade’s developing relationship is central to the story, and it’s filled with tension, faith, and hope. Cade’s faith and determination to heal, both physically and spiritually, challenge Lily’s guarded heart. The moral dilemmas Lily faces – especially when she suspects someone of sabotage and encodes messages passing through the hotel – add a layer of suspense that kept me on edge.

Denise’s ability to weave historical facts with compelling fiction makes this book stand out. The historical details about the Civil War and the Sultana disaster are well-researched and add depth to the story without overwhelming it. It’s fascinating to learn about these real-life events through the eyes of such well-crafted characters.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this talented author. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

When Hope Sank

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author and was not required to write a positive review.

When Hope Sank is on Tour with Celebrate Lit!

Book: When Hope Sank

Author: Denise Weimer

Genre: Christian / Historical / Romance

Release date: May, 2024

Can Hope Resurface After Evil Tries to Drown It?

Introducing a series of 6 exciting novels featuring historic American disasters that transformed landscapes and multiple lives. Whether by nature or by man, these disasters changed history and were a day to be remembered.

The Civil War has taken everything from Lily Livingston—her parents, her twin brother, her home. Now she works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her head down. Speaking up for her beliefs proved too costly in a part of Arkansas split by conflicting loyalties and overrun by spies and bushwhackers.

Emaciated in body but resilient in spirit, Lieutenant Cade Palmer is crowded onto the Sultana with other paroled Andersonville and Cahaba POWs for the journey north. But a fiery explosion on April 27, 1865, rends the steamer and empties two thousand men into the frigid Mississippi River.

Recovering from wounds that might end his career as a surgeon but clinging to his faith, Cade threatens both Lily’s defenses and her heart. How can she tell him she might’ve prevented the tragedy if only she’d reported a suspected saboteur’s claims? And when the man returns to town and encoded messages pass through the hotel, will Lily follow her convictions to prevent another tragedy?

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About the Author

When Hope Sank

Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, Denise authored romantic novella Redeeming Grace, as well as The Georgia Gold Series (Sautee Shadows, The Gray Divide, The Crimson Bloom, and Bright as Gold, winner of the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for outstanding Southern literature) and The Restoration Trilogy (White, Widow and Witch) with Canterbury House Publishing. A wife and swim mom of two daughters, Denise always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate, and to write any story the Lord lays on her heart.

More from Denise

The first novel I ever wrote was set during the Civil War, inspired by travels to historic sites of the Southeast with my parents and scribbled in my eleven-year-old hand in spiral-bound notebooks. Fresh out of college with my new degree in journalism with a minor in history on my shelf, I narrowly missed signing a contract for another Civil War series. Fast forward another decade or so. I was a young mom writing for magazines and directing a volunteer 1800s dance group when my Georgia Gold Series, literary-style historical fiction set between the Cherokee Removal and Reconstruction, found a home with Canterbury House Publishing. Since then, I’ve written everything from Hallmark-style contemporaries to Rev War romances (including my current Scouts of the Georgia Frontier Series with Wild Heart Books, where I also work as an editor). Everything but Civil War-era stories … until this one.

It feels a lot like coming home.

Some of that also has to do with the fact that I love writing stories that illustrate how God can bring healing and redemption out of the most difficult circumstances. I also endeavor to work as much real history as possible into the plots of my novels. And I love finding a little-known aspect of the past to center a story upon. When Hope Sank embodies all those things.

Reeling from the loss of over 600,000 men in the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln just the week prior, the nation hardly noticed when a steamer carrying a couple thousand U.S. prisoners of war exploded in the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865. Over eleven hundred perished in the icy waters that swelled several miles past the normal embankments at flood stage, making the sinking of the Sultana the most crippling maritime disaster in the nation’s history.

When Hope Sank

The former POWs on their way to muster out at Camp Chase, Ohio, were already emaciated and ill from imprisonment at infamous Andersonville and Cahaba prison camps. A number were badly burned when the boilers exploded, and many did not know how to swim. You can imagine the scene that ensued. While the steamboats docked at Memphis—which had been under Union occupation since the summer of 1862—got up steam, local citizens hurried to help, even those on the Arkansas shore who had fought for the Confederacy. The towns of Hopefield, Marion, and Mound City had suffered harsh reprisals for harboring Confederate guerillas. The area was well-known as a hotbed of spies and saboteurs intent on disrupting Union shipping on the Mississippi.

From this cauldron of chaos, discontent, and pain, an emotionally rich story was born. Focused on survival for herself and her little brother, Lily works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her Union sympathies to herself in her family of Southern sympathizers. The Yankee lieutenant she pulls from the river needs emotional healing even more than physical, though his wounds may compromise his ability to practice as a surgeon. The bond that forms between them from their shared faith and allegiances makes Lily question if she might have another option besides marrying her childhood sweetheart, a former partisan. And when coded message pass through River’s Rest, Lily struggles to find the courage to do what she didn’t the first time—speak out to save lives.

When Hope Sank

While the sinking of the Sultana may be the inciting event in When Hope Sank, it’s not the main focus. The reactions of the characters in the aftermath are. In our lives as followers of Christ, isn’t that where the real focus should lie? How we respond to tragedy? How we learn to reach for God instead of blaming Him? How, when we walk with Him, He brings beauty out of our ashes? It’s my prayer that the message of When Hope Sank settles deep in your heart.

 

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 28

Bizwings Book Blog, May 29

Life on Chickadee Lane, May 29

Alena Mentink, May 30

Lighthouse Academy Blog, May 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Betti Mace, May 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, June 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Book Looks by Lisa, June 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 3

Life, Love, Writing, June 4

Blogging With Carol, June 4

The Lofty Pages, June 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Stories By Gina, June 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 7

Cover Lover Book Review, June 8

Connie’s History Classroom, June 8

Holly’s Book Corner, June 9

An Author’s Take, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon e-Gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Giveaway Link

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