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Where Dandelions Bloom

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Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she's discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she's discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer. Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding. Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?


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Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she's discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she's discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer. Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding. Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

30 review for Where Dandelions Bloom

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    Where Dandelions Bloom, I absolutely loved it! I've read many civil war fiction books, it is one of my favorite historical subjects to read about, this one it is special! The civil war was a bloody battle with so many lives lost. I live very close to Gettysburg and visit it often and have learned much about the battle there. Even though this book is about the fighting and there are lives lost it is written with compassion by an author who has obviously put in many hours of research time! This book i Where Dandelions Bloom, I absolutely loved it! I've read many civil war fiction books, it is one of my favorite historical subjects to read about, this one it is special! The civil war was a bloody battle with so many lives lost. I live very close to Gettysburg and visit it often and have learned much about the battle there. Even though this book is about the fighting and there are lives lost it is written with compassion by an author who has obviously put in many hours of research time! This book is different, it is written more with a woman's point of view about the war as the main character is a woman who disguised as a man enlists to escape an unacceptable marriage arranged by her father. The romance between civil war photographer, Gabriel and main character enlistee, Cassie is tender and sweet. He isn't so happy to discover she's a woman at first, he's shocked and mourns the loss of what he thought was a male friend. I was very surprised to read how many woman actually enlisted in the civil war and were able to keep their secret the whole way through. I enjoy reading about historical things that are different and out of the ordinary and this was that but written in a way that kept my interest while fascinating me. The story line moves along quickly and doesn't drag at all. I also was pleased to see at the end Cassie forgives her father for past wrongs because not forgiving can eat you up. Hard as it is to do, it's the right thing to do! Told with compassion,tenderness and authenticity I can not wait to read more by this author! Published July 1st 2019 by Tyndale House Publishers. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    In Where Dandelions Bloom, Tara Johnson brings to life a fascinating aspect of the Civil War – how several women succeeded in fighting, disguised as men. Cassie and Gabriel are complex and interesting characters, facing difficult dilemmas, deep secrets, and painful betrayal. A thoughtful message and light touches of humor make this novel even more enjoyable. A keeper!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    Tara Johnson has a gentleness in her writing that wraps around the heart and gives the impression of home. And I think this is a great word to connect to the story. Cassie and Gabe come from such different backgrounds. Cassie Kendrick knows the pain of a heavy hand and rejection, and she's determined to now let the angry and unforgiving hands of her father take control of her destiny. Gabe Avery grew up as the son of poor immigrants in New York, but what they might have lacked in money, they did no Tara Johnson has a gentleness in her writing that wraps around the heart and gives the impression of home. And I think this is a great word to connect to the story. Cassie and Gabe come from such different backgrounds. Cassie Kendrick knows the pain of a heavy hand and rejection, and she's determined to now let the angry and unforgiving hands of her father take control of her destiny. Gabe Avery grew up as the son of poor immigrants in New York, but what they might have lacked in money, they did not in tenderness and love for one another. Through grit and determination, and a bit of help from others, Gabe is able to work for renowned photographer Matthew Brady taking pictures of the war. A tentative but truthful friendship starts between them. But war is not merely a scene to be captured on photograph. Rather, it leaves deep scars and threatens to blacken the soul. Heartache and grief seem like a dry land where nothing grows, but hope is obstinate, is perseveres and never gives up on you. And this lingering hope might just blossom into more than anyone can ever think or imagine. *I received a review copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is an amazing story of one woman's journey of courage, forgiveness and love. In Cassie, Ms. Johnson has given her readers a spunky heroine who disguises herself as a young soldier in the Union army as she runs away from an abusive home environment. While trying to maintain her secret identity, Cassie befriends Gabe, a photographer who follows the army as he chronicles the war through images. I love that Cassie and Gabe challenge the other to become a better person as they learn to shed the This is an amazing story of one woman's journey of courage, forgiveness and love. In Cassie, Ms. Johnson has given her readers a spunky heroine who disguises herself as a young soldier in the Union army as she runs away from an abusive home environment. While trying to maintain her secret identity, Cassie befriends Gabe, a photographer who follows the army as he chronicles the war through images. I love that Cassie and Gabe challenge the other to become a better person as they learn to shed the chains that bind them. With hauntingly beautiful prose, Johnson paints a vivid picture of the misery and suffering that accompanies war, as the theme of hope triumph overs all. The spiritual theme of forgiveness is woven seamlessly through the story. I love it when an author can challenge me through a work of fiction to evaluate my life. A couple of my favorite quotes: "Wherever dandelions bloom, hope remains." "Time is too precious to waste in bitterness. It will steal your joy. Time." While this is my first book I have read by Tara Johnson, it will definitely not be my last. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Krispense

    I'd just like to start off by saying that the writing style was amazing! I was pulled into the story right away, even though it wasn't fast-moving, and at first I was sure that this would end up a 5-star read. Well, it obviously went downhill. I loved the characters of both Cassie and Gabe, and before Gabe found out that 'Turner' was actually a girl, I *really* enjoyed the book. But then he found out her secret. And he couldn't stop noticing her perfect curves. Especially when she was in a dress—it I'd just like to start off by saying that the writing style was amazing! I was pulled into the story right away, even though it wasn't fast-moving, and at first I was sure that this would end up a 5-star read. Well, it obviously went downhill. I loved the characters of both Cassie and Gabe, and before Gabe found out that 'Turner' was actually a girl, I *really* enjoyed the book. But then he found out her secret. And he couldn't stop noticing her perfect curves. Especially when she was in a dress—it just graced her feminine curves. And her full lips? *heart eyes* What made it all worse was that after almost every one of their detailed kisses, he had to pull back before he lost himself. But it was quite obvious that he'd already lost himself. Cassie and Gabe's ongoing argument about a woman's place seemed . . . I don't know . . . so *drawn-out*. She loved him. She kissed him. He said something that offended her and reminded her of her abusive father. She avoided him at all costs until an unexpected event (usually danger or injury to one of them) brought them back together. Repeat. So what kept me from giving this book only 1 or 2 stars? When they weren't together (or thinking about each other . . . ) the story was amazing. The aspects of war were so *real*. The author's writing voice was incredible. But all the romance kinda ruined the rest.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chesney

    I loved the author’s first novel Engraved on the Heart, this follow up is just as good! Cassie has to be one of the bravest characters I have read about. The turmoil and trauma she faced! Wow. This really gives you a glimpse into the Civil War from the Unions side. The chemistry between Cassie and Gabe was unbelievable. Each fighting their own demons and in the middle of a war. A definite must read. Tara Johnson is becoming a favorite author of mine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Turansky

    Tara Johnson has done a wonderful job bringing the Civil War to life in Where Dandelions Bloom. The battle scenes are very realistic, and you can tell she did in-depth research to create the characters and plot. I was especially interested in the hero and his work as a photographer. My novella, Waiting For His Return, features a Special Artist/war correspondent who followed the troops and sent drawings back for Harper's Weekly Illustrated Newspaper. So it was great to see Tara include this aspec Tara Johnson has done a wonderful job bringing the Civil War to life in Where Dandelions Bloom. The battle scenes are very realistic, and you can tell she did in-depth research to create the characters and plot. I was especially interested in the hero and his work as a photographer. My novella, Waiting For His Return, features a Special Artist/war correspondent who followed the troops and sent drawings back for Harper's Weekly Illustrated Newspaper. So it was great to see Tara include this aspect of Civil War journalism in her novel. She handled the heroine's situation very well, and made me sympathize with her choices.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dana Michael

    This book is a Civil War story about a young woman who escapes a horrible family situation to join the Union army. She meets the hero of the book who is a photographer for the Union. This is filled with history and sweet kisses. I loved the epilogue ending.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    Exemplary Civil War fiction. Not only do I appreciate the author's deep commitment to the history of her timeframe, but I loved the characters and found the genuine conflict between them to be believable, composed of opposing values, not just a simple misunderstanding. Watching Gabe and Cassie develop and mature to the very last page was a pleasure. Bravo, Tara.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    If you love Christian historical romance loaded with facts, faith, and lessons in forgiveness, then you must pick up Tara Johnson’s latest novel “Where Dandelions Bloom”, set during the American Civil War. With page-turning action and attention to detail, I felt like I was right there in the scenes, such were the vivid descriptions penned by this not-to-miss author of Christian historical romance. As a result of this poignant story, I will never again look at dandelions in the same way. Highly r If you love Christian historical romance loaded with facts, faith, and lessons in forgiveness, then you must pick up Tara Johnson’s latest novel “Where Dandelions Bloom”, set during the American Civil War. With page-turning action and attention to detail, I felt like I was right there in the scenes, such were the vivid descriptions penned by this not-to-miss author of Christian historical romance. As a result of this poignant story, I will never again look at dandelions in the same way. Highly recommend this book and this author!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    3.5 stars "She was trapped like a bird in a cage. She could see freedom beyond the wire enclosure, but her wings could not beat strong enough to break the bars." Cassie Kendrick was desperate. Enough so to attempt the unthinkable. Would it work? Disguised as a young man, she successfully enlists in the Union army under the name of Thomas Turner, for Cassie would rather be listed as a casualty of war than be forced into an atrocious marriage by her drunken, abusive father. "Patience, Gabriel. The A 3.5 stars "She was trapped like a bird in a cage. She could see freedom beyond the wire enclosure, but her wings could not beat strong enough to break the bars." Cassie Kendrick was desperate. Enough so to attempt the unthinkable. Would it work? Disguised as a young man, she successfully enlists in the Union army under the name of Thomas Turner, for Cassie would rather be listed as a casualty of war than be forced into an atrocious marriage by her drunken, abusive father. "Patience, Gabriel. The Almighty has a hard time using those who keep running ahead o'him . . . . " Gabriel Avery's career takes a huge leap forward when he is commissioned by a renowned photographer to catalog war images from behind the front lines. It's a chance of a lifetime and his determination to succeed matches his winsome personality. Taking a liking to a shy young soldier, Thomas Turner, Gabe trusts Thomas with many personal conversations around the evening campfires, only to discover that he has been duped. Furious, he shoves friendship aside and chooses to harbor an unforgiving spirit, until he realizes what a fool he has been. " . . where dandelions bloom, hope remains". Tara Johnson has penned an extraordinarily good story, planting plenty of life lessons in between historical events and romantic moments. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)

    Johnson gives readers a glimpse of a whole other side of the Civil War in Where Dandelions Bloom. It's more than just a girl playing the part of a soldier. It's more than a photographer capturing the images of war. It's even more than the story of two people coming together in unfortunate circumstances, and yet having to learn how to let their guards down and feel something. This is a story of forgiveness. It's a story of putting your past behind you, and moving forward. It's a story of learning Johnson gives readers a glimpse of a whole other side of the Civil War in Where Dandelions Bloom. It's more than just a girl playing the part of a soldier. It's more than a photographer capturing the images of war. It's even more than the story of two people coming together in unfortunate circumstances, and yet having to learn how to let their guards down and feel something. This is a story of forgiveness. It's a story of putting your past behind you, and moving forward. It's a story of learning to lean on the Creator for everything that life throws at you. It's a story that will touch your heart, and have you reaching for the tissues every now and then. I'm not even sure where to begin. How about my favorite characters? Believe it or not, they happen to be secondary characters. First is Cassie's grandmother. She imparts such wisdom to Cassie, even during the difficult situations. She reminds me of the kind of grandmother I want to be. One who can effortlessly offer sound, Godly advice. One who is comforting, and always has an open door. Then there was sweet Jonah. His enthusiasm just brought a smile to my face. He fit right in with Cassie and Gabe, kind of like a family of their own. Each time he entered the scene, I knew he was either going to make me chuckle or smile. Don't get me wrong - Cassie and Gabe are wonderful main characters. They had strengths, weaknesses, growth, maturity, and everything I wanted them to have. But it was truly the secondary ones that stole my heart. That right there is what good authors do - make the secondary characters so wonderful and memorable, that they don't really feel like secondary characters at all! Not only does Johnson bring her characters to life, she also brings the setting to life. Without being grotesque at all, she manages to write the details of the war, the Whatsit, and Cassie's home so vividly that I could see it playing out in my head like a movie. And what a wonderful date night movie that would be! Although I already know the movie would never do the book justice - it just wouldn't capture the essence of the war the way Johnson did. Yes there was pain and suffering, but she somehow managed to make me almost forget that and instead focus on the excitement, the spying, the chase, and the frustrations that the soldiers felt. She made me focus on the hope that these soldiers were there to fight for the good guys, and the "brotherhood" they had that couldn't be broken. It was inspiring to read. Historical fiction fans will find themselves engrossed in this novel until they reach the very end, and even then finding themselves wanting more. I highly recommend this wonderfully written novel! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Tyree

    I cannot say enough good things about Where Dandelions Bloom. The book kept me totally engaged right up to the end. I loved the characters so much that I wanted them to find the happiness that they sought. Cassie Kendrick lives with an abusive father that has her future planned. He had planned the future for her sisters and they were miserable. Cassie's father's plans are scary enough that Cassie disguises herself as a man, Thomas Turner, and enters the military to fight on the Union side. She ke I cannot say enough good things about Where Dandelions Bloom. The book kept me totally engaged right up to the end. I loved the characters so much that I wanted them to find the happiness that they sought. Cassie Kendrick lives with an abusive father that has her future planned. He had planned the future for her sisters and they were miserable. Cassie's father's plans are scary enough that Cassie disguises herself as a man, Thomas Turner, and enters the military to fight on the Union side. She keeps herself distant from her unit so that she can maintain her disguise. Gabriel Avery is trying to make a living as a photographer. He follows the war and captures pictures of the reality of war. Gabriel and Thomas become friends. They develop a camaraderie and open up to one another. When Gabriel accidentally discovers Thomas is Cassie, he is angry that she deceived him. Once he hears her story, he understands the position she is in. When Gabriel agrees to accompany Cassie on her short trip home, he agrees to pose as her husband to avoid the plans her father has for her. Soon Gabriel and Cassie begin to develop real feelings for each other, but there are many obstacles they both need to overcome if they want to have a future together. You have to read it right up to the end to see how they overcome those obstacles and what it takes for Cassie to accept what God is asking her to do. When she finally does, things begin to change and she can no longer live as a man. What impressed me the most about the book was all of the details. You felt as if you were there, in the camp waiting for orders. I also was surprised to learn just how many women actually did just what Cassie did but in real life. Great job Tara, your book was is a keeper.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)

    Have you ever wondered what would make a woman in the 1860’s disguise herself as a man, pick up a gun, and fight in a war? I don’t know about you, but when I think of women in the 1860’s I imagine the big hoop skirts with lots of ruffles (Think Gone With The Wind), I never realized that there were women who joined the war efforts. Author Tara Johnson set out to answer that very question, “what would make women disguise herself as a man, pick up a gun and fight in the Civil War?” For at least one Have you ever wondered what would make a woman in the 1860’s disguise herself as a man, pick up a gun, and fight in a war? I don’t know about you, but when I think of women in the 1860’s I imagine the big hoop skirts with lots of ruffles (Think Gone With The Wind), I never realized that there were women who joined the war efforts. Author Tara Johnson set out to answer that very question, “what would make women disguise herself as a man, pick up a gun and fight in the Civil War?” For at least one young women living in Howell, Michigan, the answer was to escape a forced engagement to a despicable man. Review posted at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com... With vivid imagery and authentic characters, I found myself traveling through the mists of time, and entering a past that I’d only dimly imagined. History comes to life within these pages and a story unfolds that both captivates and entertains. The first few chapters spent time introducing the characters and setting up the story, but after that things really get moving, and I found that I couldn’t put the story down, I had to know what would happen next. If you enjoy stories set during the American Civil War then you will want to be sure to snag a copy of this story! (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby Breuklander

    Love love and love this story!! Each and every one of us will find ourselves asking this question at some point in our lives, how in the world am I supposed to forgive someone who hurt me so badly? It just doesn't seem fair sometimes, especially when the person who wronged us refuses to apologize and make things right with us. It would be so much easier to just sit and stew in our feelings of anger, hate, and revenge. But that only places chains around our heart that can hold us back in life and Love love and love this story!! Each and every one of us will find ourselves asking this question at some point in our lives, how in the world am I supposed to forgive someone who hurt me so badly? It just doesn't seem fair sometimes, especially when the person who wronged us refuses to apologize and make things right with us. It would be so much easier to just sit and stew in our feelings of anger, hate, and revenge. But that only places chains around our heart that can hold us back in life and weigh us down. There are times we just have to accept the apology that we may never get. It's so hard to do, but in the end our hearts will be free, knowing that we've done what we're supposed to do and let God handle the rest. We never know what surprises and blessings He has for us in the future.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Roemer

    Cassie Kendrick is willing to do anything to get away from her abusive father and her arranged marriage to a man just as horrific. Seizing her one opportunity, she cuts her hair and enlists in the Union army as the Civil War ensues. Though she goes to excruciating lengths to keep her disguise intact, eventually her secret is discovered by Gabriel Avery, a handsome photographer who has befriended Cassie's alter ego, Thomas Turner, while traveling with the troops taking images of the war. Facing d Cassie Kendrick is willing to do anything to get away from her abusive father and her arranged marriage to a man just as horrific. Seizing her one opportunity, she cuts her hair and enlists in the Union army as the Civil War ensues. Though she goes to excruciating lengths to keep her disguise intact, eventually her secret is discovered by Gabriel Avery, a handsome photographer who has befriended Cassie's alter ego, Thomas Turner, while traveling with the troops taking images of the war. Facing dangers on every side, Cassie learns the one greatest threat comes from within through an unforgiving heart. As her relationship with Gabe blossoms, it opens the door not only to forgiveness, but love. Full of history and heroics, Where Dandelions Bloom is a memorable tale of the realities of war and the value of forgiveness.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    This a fictional story, but it is based on an actual person, and you will fall in love with Cassie/Thomas, what a tough lady she is. We feel the shells that hit the land around us, and the soldiers that are hurt or killed, and we are in the heat of battles in a war that tore our country apart. The author does a wonderful job with her words in making this seem so real! The title plays a big significance in this book, and I enjoyed how that played out, and you can really see it in your mind’s eye! I This a fictional story, but it is based on an actual person, and you will fall in love with Cassie/Thomas, what a tough lady she is. We feel the shells that hit the land around us, and the soldiers that are hurt or killed, and we are in the heat of battles in a war that tore our country apart. The author does a wonderful job with her words in making this seem so real! The title plays a big significance in this book, and I enjoyed how that played out, and you can really see it in your mind’s eye! I received this book through the Net Galley and Tyndale House Publishers, and was not required to give a positive review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Cassie Kendrick takes her life into her own hands, escaping and arranged marriage and her abusive, alcoholic father, by dressing as a man, taking the name Thomas Turner and joining the Union Army. But her disguise becomes more difficult when she meets the handsome photographer, Gabe. Photographer Gabriel Avery, is anxious to make his mark on the world by documenting the war, under the mentorship of Matthew Brady. Raised in the city, he is unprepared for life on the frontlines. He befriends many Cassie Kendrick takes her life into her own hands, escaping and arranged marriage and her abusive, alcoholic father, by dressing as a man, taking the name Thomas Turner and joining the Union Army. But her disguise becomes more difficult when she meets the handsome photographer, Gabe. Photographer Gabriel Avery, is anxious to make his mark on the world by documenting the war, under the mentorship of Matthew Brady. Raised in the city, he is unprepared for life on the frontlines. He befriends many of the men, including the quiet, dry humored, Thomas. Cassie and Gabe fight for their country, as well as personal battles of darkness and guilt, while navigating their growing attraction for each other. Where Dandelions Bloom offers a unique perspective on the Civil War, through the eyes of Cassie and Gabe. I felt like this book dealt with Army life realistically, from the lack of cleanliness, to the long periods of down time. Cassie is a courageous taking on the role of a lifetime, fighting for her country and eventually serving as a Pinkerton. She is clever and strong, earning the respect of many of her fellow soldiers. Gabe is a strong young man who follows his dream of capturing images, he is haunted by guilt from his past, wondering if in hindsight he could have done more. Though a city boy, he can hold his own in a fight. He is a good friend, and admires Cassie's bravery and ingenuity. Overall, an enjoyable read, with a different view of the Civil War. There were moments that were hard to read because of the subject matter, but also humor as well. I liked Jonas and his endearingly annoying talkative ways. Strong lead characters who must overcome challenges physical and emotional, brought together by the war. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Perrianne

    Cassie Kendrick makes a run from her alcoholic, verbally and physically abusive father who is about to marry her off to a disgusting character. She doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes her sisters made in marrying the type of man her father chose. Her only regret is leaving her mother and precious maternal grandmother. She disguises herself as a young man and joins the Civil War conflict as Union soldier Thomas Turner. Gabriel Avery is an apprentice photographer desperately trying to overcom Cassie Kendrick makes a run from her alcoholic, verbally and physically abusive father who is about to marry her off to a disgusting character. She doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes her sisters made in marrying the type of man her father chose. Her only regret is leaving her mother and precious maternal grandmother. She disguises herself as a young man and joins the Civil War conflict as Union soldier Thomas Turner. Gabriel Avery is an apprentice photographer desperately trying to overcome his hardscrabble life as a Scottish immigrant. With little money for food and none for clothing, he had a rough start in the New York slums and was bullied constantly. He jumps at the chance to work for renowned photographer Matthew Brady and photograph war images. Cassie and Gabe’s worlds collide right on the Civil War battlefield. They become good friends during the grueling battles – except that he does NOT know that Thomas Turner is a female. I found the premise of a female disguising herself as a male soldier during the Civil War to be a bit of a stretch, but according to the research done by the author it is estimated that about 400 women did so. It does make me wonder why they would do such a thing, but perhaps they were escaping an abusive situation similar to the fictional Cassie. I really enjoy Tara Johnson’s writing, and this one is a bit different from the last in that it details more of the horrors of the war. It chronicles a very rough time in our history when the country was literally split in half, and I think that she does it well and accurately with some poetic license with her fictional characters. Both main characters were very likable, and I admired the strength and audacity of Cassie. She was often a better shot than some of the men, since her farm life with no brothers had prepared her well for this role. You can really feel Cassie’s stress because she was continually having to play a role that added to the obvious intense pressure of fighting a battle. And you have to admire Gabe, because he was brave enough to approach a photographer and gather the means to purchase a camera before working for the famous photographer. I got the impression that Gabe had no idea what he was getting himself into when he parked his “whatsit” photography wagon on the edge of the battlefield. Personally, I found this novel very enjoyable, although the war battle scenes were tough and brutal, but I’m sure very accurate. There is a very strong thread of faith and hope woven into the story, which I found very uplifting. The hope is found in the dandelion, and a quote from the book sums it up the best: “Because anytime you find dandelions blooming in mortar, hope remains.” If you enjoyed this book, I encourage you to read Tara Johnson’s debut novel, Engraved on the Heart. I thoroughly enjoyed this amazing debut and found it to be a fabulous Civil War story with a different twist. I obtained this book from a Goodreads giveaway and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  20. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    “We learn who we were to decide who we want to be.’” Such a heart-gripping novel! This is the first novel by Tara Johnson that I have read and I am totally hooked on her writing! The author uses a well-loved trope of a woman disguising herself as a man to enter the army during the Civil War but puts a twist to the plot by making the hero of the story a wartime photographer and not a soldier. The story is well-written and easy-to-read, with a well-paced plot and beautifully broken characters. Cass “We learn who we were to decide who we want to be.’” Such a heart-gripping novel! This is the first novel by Tara Johnson that I have read and I am totally hooked on her writing! The author uses a well-loved trope of a woman disguising herself as a man to enter the army during the Civil War but puts a twist to the plot by making the hero of the story a wartime photographer and not a soldier. The story is well-written and easy-to-read, with a well-paced plot and beautifully broken characters. Cassie is a woman with gumption and grit, yet lives in fear and hatred of her father which leads to her fleeing her home and enlisting in the Union army. Gabe is an immigrant, a self-made photographer, and a loyal, compassionate, ambitious man who believes in the Old World idealism of women being frail and needing protection. He’s given an opportunity to photograph the war while traveling with a Union regiment. When their worlds collide on the battlefields during the Civil War, they form a friendship but all is threatened when her true identity is revealed to Gabe and secrets infiltrate their tentative bond. Their friendship and blossoming love are so real and tender, as is their struggle for forgiveness - both extending and receiving that sacred of all gifts. Truly this book will touch your heart, especially if you’re a fan of historical romance/fiction. The well-researched details and events that make up the backbone of the story are shown in realistic albeit gruesome light, and they will bring you right into the heart of the war that tore up our nation. Yet even in the midst of the atrocities of war, dandelions bloom and “where dandelions bloom, hope remains.” I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cermele

    Tara Johnson has written one the best Civil War novels that I have read and I have read several because historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Ms. Johnson is a new to me author but after reading Where Dandelions Bloom, I can easily see her becoming one of my must read authors. With limited choices on how to escape her abusive father who has arranged her marriage to an equally wretched man, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union Army disguised as a man. Thomas Turner is the name she has ta Tara Johnson has written one the best Civil War novels that I have read and I have read several because historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Ms. Johnson is a new to me author but after reading Where Dandelions Bloom, I can easily see her becoming one of my must read authors. With limited choices on how to escape her abusive father who has arranged her marriage to an equally wretched man, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union Army disguised as a man. Thomas Turner is the name she has taken and let's just say that Thomas goes through a lot to keep her identity a secret on the battlefield. Gabriel Avery is the handsome photographer who is sent to capture images on the front lines of the war. He is carrying baggage from his past but desperately wants to escape his demons, too. I liked how Cassie and Gabriel both took action to remove themselves from situations they didn't welcome in their lives. Though their home lives were vastly different from each other, they still were determined to have better futures. The secondary characters left a lasting impression on me as much as Cassie and Gabe did. Cassie's grandmother was one of my absolute favorites, she is so kind and caring which left me wanting to meet her. Kudos to the author for creating characters who seemed so real to me. Where Dandelions Bloom is a beautifully crafted and memorable novel and one of my favorites of 2019. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Johnson's work. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Cassie is on the run from her abusive father and seeks comfort in serving others. She joins the union army under disguise as Thomas and runs into a photographer on the front lines named Gabe. What's interesting about all this is that Gabe can't stop thinking of Cassie... His feelings for her are evident but for me there was something lacking in all this romance something that just didn't draw me in as I'd hoped. Will Gabe and Cassie eventually become that item and leave their own demons behind for a Cassie is on the run from her abusive father and seeks comfort in serving others. She joins the union army under disguise as Thomas and runs into a photographer on the front lines named Gabe. What's interesting about all this is that Gabe can't stop thinking of Cassie... His feelings for her are evident but for me there was something lacking in all this romance something that just didn't draw me in as I'd hoped. Will Gabe and Cassie eventually become that item and leave their own demons behind for a chance at love? The writing style was fine but it just didn't capture my heart the way I'd hoped but that's what is great about variety being the spice of life. I hope you enjoy this new work by Tara Johnson.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kailey

    This book was excellent! Tara Johnson did such a great job writing a vivid and beautiful story! She captured the darkness of the Civil War, but did it with grace. I absolutely loved Cassie and Gabe! I also loved Jonah too! These characters have stuck with me since I finished reading. I really enjoyed the message of forgiveness throughout the whole book. It spoke to my heart. I highly recommend this book! I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to writ This book was excellent! Tara Johnson did such a great job writing a vivid and beautiful story! She captured the darkness of the Civil War, but did it with grace. I absolutely loved Cassie and Gabe! I also loved Jonah too! These characters have stuck with me since I finished reading. I really enjoyed the message of forgiveness throughout the whole book. It spoke to my heart. I highly recommend this book! I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Readers who enjoy historical fiction filled with inspiration, faith, and rich details will enjoy Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson. The author takes readers right to the battles of the Civil War as she tells the story of Cassie Kendrick, who enlists as male soldier Thomas Turner in the Union army to escape an abusive father. Gabe Avery, who is serving as photographer in the war, becomes a friend of Thomas and the other soldiers. Fans of Civil War historical fiction will not want to miss thi Readers who enjoy historical fiction filled with inspiration, faith, and rich details will enjoy Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson. The author takes readers right to the battles of the Civil War as she tells the story of Cassie Kendrick, who enlists as male soldier Thomas Turner in the Union army to escape an abusive father. Gabe Avery, who is serving as photographer in the war, becomes a friend of Thomas and the other soldiers. Fans of Civil War historical fiction will not want to miss this book! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Chiavaroli

    A thoroughly enjoyable read. Tara Johnson takes readers on an adventure, combining authentic Civil War scenes with turn-the-page romance. I found it particularly interesting that Cassie's story was based on a true-to-life woman who disguised herself as a soldier during the Civil War. A journey of self-discovery and a satisfying ending made this a completely engaging read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement because I loved it. Ms. Johnson has such a God given talent with words and depicting the terrible years of The American Civil War it’s hard to believe that this is only her second book. Now I must be honest with you because at first I really didn’t like Cassie, but only lasted until I was half way through and found out that she and I were a lot alike though Cassie was far braver then I would have been. I’m so thankful to have been part o To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement because I loved it. Ms. Johnson has such a God given talent with words and depicting the terrible years of The American Civil War it’s hard to believe that this is only her second book. Now I must be honest with you because at first I really didn’t like Cassie, but only lasted until I was half way through and found out that she and I were a lot alike though Cassie was far braver then I would have been. I’m so thankful to have been part of the launch team for this wonderful book. I must worn you to have a Kleenex handy. .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paty

    Where Dandelions Bloom! O.M.G. What a beautiful, heartwrenching and inspiring story! This has become my favorite book about the Civil War. I love to read stories set during the war: WWI, WWII, Civil War of the States, etc. And I can say that this is one of the best I’ve read. I loved that it’s based on a true story and a real character, which I later discovered was Emma x. I still can’t believe how a woman could serve and survive the hardships and terror of any war. And Cassie (the character that r Where Dandelions Bloom! O.M.G. What a beautiful, heartwrenching and inspiring story! This has become my favorite book about the Civil War. I love to read stories set during the war: WWI, WWII, Civil War of the States, etc. And I can say that this is one of the best I’ve read. I loved that it’s based on a true story and a real character, which I later discovered was Emma x. I still can’t believe how a woman could serve and survive the hardships and terror of any war. And Cassie (the character that represents Emma) was truly a heroine in this story. A heroine, but not in the sense that she is perfect, she had a lot of flaws: resentment, lack of trust, too independent, etc. But those were understandable under the circumstances she was raised. Her father was a hopeless drunk who mistreated his wife and his four daugthers. Her daughters were means to an end, to work at their ranch, and to get his needed drinks and lifestyle by selling them to the highest bidder. And Cassie was the last to remain home. Her sisters didin’t have happy marriages, but they didn’t complain. But not her, she was not about to be sold like a cow to a disagreeable and leacherous man, much older tthan herself. So when things get desperate, and the contract for the marriage is done, she has no choice but to escape. Not even her dear granny can offer a solution to her problem. But where to go, how can she get work somewhere else her father will never find her? So she decides to enlist with the Unionist and help her fellowmen in serving her country and fighting for the slaves rights. But how long can she keep her charade as Private Turner? A woman in a regiment? Whoever heard of that? But she’s a great actress and manages to fool everyone that she is a lanky lad, but very hard working. Soon, she is winning her comrades trust. Gabe has suffered a hard childhood too. His father passed away and he had to take care of his mother and find the means to survive. He’s a very hardworker so he gradually finds the means to bring food to the table and support his mother in life. And life is good to him when he meets Mathew Brady the most famous photographer in America. Because Gabe’s passion and what he wants to pursue is with all his heart is photography. So when he unexpectedly get’s the position in Mr. Brady’s team, he can’t believe his luck. He’ll be able to help his country and immortalize scenes from the war for the world and families of the soldiers to see. Bu he never imagined what the war would be in the middle of the battlefield. And that he would make a strong bond with Private Turner, the lanky guy who always keeps to himself. There seems to be more to him, but he's glad to find a loyal friend. But how long will Cassie keep the charade, especially from this close friend who makes her think the unthinkable? This is a beautiful and heartwrenching story about two extraordinary persons who get to know through war and experience so much hardship and horror, and how they deal with it and help each other sort it all out, support and protect each other and maybe.. (small spoiler ahead) … falling in love? But the war separates them at times, and right now, their mission and duty is to serve the best way they can to their country, while they survive. Soldier in the battlefield, mail carrier, spy for the Pinkerton Agency, all this burdened through the shoulders of a Young woman. And the man that wants to protects her at all costs, even if it means loosing her friendship This book is totally inspiring. It touches issues about forgiveness, trusting God, let Him have control in our lives, about loyalty, about loss and making sense out of it. It made me cry at times, and at others, I laughed out loud! Granny Ardie was hilarious and so sweet! She reminded me of my grandma! And Jonah, still a child at 13, was a very charming and funny character that lightened up the tension in some parts. I just loved him! To be so brave at such a young age! The romance is the sweetest thing, I just fell in love with Gabe and how he wooed Cassie and never gave up on her even if she rejected him. He was forgiving and had an optimistic ways that won many hearts along the way. But nothing like “Private Turner”! What will happen if her charade is blown in the open? You’ll have to find out! My favorite quote is when Gabe’s mom tells him when he’s young and they find a dandelion blooming through the Street: “Wherever dandelions Bloom in mortar, it reminds us there’s still hope”. I totally recommend this book. My absolute favorite about the War between the States. Maybe not a light read at times but totally fulfiling and faith inspiring! Beautiful message! Congrats Tara! Can’t wait for your next story! I received a copy of this book from the Author and the Publisher, but my review is totally unbiased, voluntary and honest!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    "When dandelions bloom in mortar, hope remains" Tara Johnson has done it again! "Where Dandelions Bloom" is such a beautiful story of faith and redemption filled with history. This story was especially touching to me as I grew up with an abusive father, so I can definitely relate to the main character, Cassie. Cassie Kendrick has grown up with an abusive father her whole life. You will cry as you see what she went through. When her father arranges her to marry a despicable man, Cassie only sees on "When dandelions bloom in mortar, hope remains" Tara Johnson has done it again! "Where Dandelions Bloom" is such a beautiful story of faith and redemption filled with history. This story was especially touching to me as I grew up with an abusive father, so I can definitely relate to the main character, Cassie. Cassie Kendrick has grown up with an abusive father her whole life. You will cry as you see what she went through. When her father arranges her to marry a despicable man, Cassie only sees one way out: to disguise herself as a man and to join the Union army. There she meets a handsome photographer, Gabriel, who is trying to flee his own personal demons. Journeying with Cassie and Gabe was beautiful to read as you will see how they struggle with their issues and come out triumphantly in the end. I love how forgiveness was such a key element in this story as that truly is one of the most important things in life. It was fascinating to think that there really were women who disguised themselves as men in the civil war. Miss Johnson shows us so vividly what life was really like in the army. Definitely don't miss this amazing story! It will captivate you and you wont want it to come to an end! Thank you Tyndale for my advanced copy. I was not required to leave a positive review and all my opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Where Dandelions Bloom is a Christian historical fiction novel by author Tara Johnson. The setting is Virginia (1861). Cassie Kendrick and Gabriel Avery both have a secret past. Now, Gabriel is a war photographer and Cassie is taking part in the war as a man. It is estimated that over 400 women took part in the war dressed as men. I learned about daguerreotype images, and the Anthony camera was the top of the line in cameras. I also learned the medical term lymphogranuloma venerum was contracted b Where Dandelions Bloom is a Christian historical fiction novel by author Tara Johnson. The setting is Virginia (1861). Cassie Kendrick and Gabriel Avery both have a secret past. Now, Gabriel is a war photographer and Cassie is taking part in the war as a man. It is estimated that over 400 women took part in the war dressed as men. I learned about daguerreotype images, and the Anthony camera was the top of the line in cameras. I also learned the medical term lymphogranuloma venerum was contracted by males who visited brothels. It was extremely painful. This novel of war, deception, and forgiveness was a page-turner to the very end. I liked that they were complex characters and that the satisfying ending was not evident throughout the story. So many ways it could have turned out. I highly suggest reading the epilogue and note from the author. The author did add scripture to the text, I only wish the plan of Salvation would have been presented to the dying. Other than that I wholeheartedly treasured reading this novel. Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I loved Tara Johnson's new novel. I got to go on many adventures in this book. Tara has done an amazing job of bringing these events to life. Wow!! The way she wrote made me feel like I was right in the middle of this story. She has brought the bloodiest battle to life and I could "see" and "hear" what was going in around me. Cassie learns many lessons along the way and the most important one was forgiveness. Forgiveness is important for your soul. For if you don't it will eat you up and give you I loved Tara Johnson's new novel. I got to go on many adventures in this book. Tara has done an amazing job of bringing these events to life. Wow!! The way she wrote made me feel like I was right in the middle of this story. She has brought the bloodiest battle to life and I could "see" and "hear" what was going in around me. Cassie learns many lessons along the way and the most important one was forgiveness. Forgiveness is important for your soul. For if you don't it will eat you up and give you no peace until you do!! I loved Cassies stamina courage and ability to do what is right. Whenever I read Civil War stories it was usually from the Southern View. In this book it is completely from Northern view. Really though, for both sides it was terrible. I loved the historical aspects of this book because I've learned many things. I'm especially intrigued by the photography part of it. If it weren't for the bravery of these people we wouldn't have pictures of the Civil War that we do today. I love the way the author shows us that friendship can come from different backgrounds and it's the heart that truly matters. She also offers hope at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who loves to read for you are in for a real treat!! I received a complimentary copy of this book with no compensations received. All opinions are my own!!

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