Friday, February 3, 2017

Surround Me - My Review

Marguerite Martin Gray's book Surround Me is the second book in the Revolutionary Faith series.  The first book was titled Hold Me Close, and there is a review of that novel on my blog too if you would like to check that out.  I recommend reading these texts in order so that you can understand not only the chronology of historical content, but so that you can also grow with the hopes, dreams, and struggles of each character.  I thoroughly enjoyed each of these books, and I highly recommend reading both of them.  I love historical fiction, because it helps the reader understand another time period, as they come to see it through the eyes of various individuals in the text.  And hopefully it adds a level of appreciation and respect to those people who lived during such challenging times.

This book continues with the familiar characters that were introduced in the first book.  Louis Lestarjette is still battling with his thoughts and feelings when it comes to the present state of the colonies.  He continually considers his family in France knowing how much France wants to side with and help this new land.  Britain is still trying to tax the people, and many of them are beginning to rebel against the Crown.  The Sons of Liberty obtains more followers daily, while Louis listens to the preaching and predicaments of the people; however, he will soon realize they are his people, because his home is now in Charles Town.  Yet how will the present turmoil among the people affect his family business?  And what will perilous times suggest regarding his affections toward Elizabeth?  What could it mean for their future?

Elizabeth Elliot knows she loves Louis, but she has to convince those around her of his worthiness.  After all he is an outsider when it comes to her family--a Frenchman and a member of the Sons of Liberty.  What will it take to help her parents understand how much she wants to marry him?  Her father is still loyal to the Crown; therefore, he does not grasp why Elizabeth and her sister Anne have changed their loyalties.  As the ocean waters between the colonies and Great Britain begin to grow more hazardous, Elizabeth wonders what her future will look like.  All she has ever wanted is to enjoy the simple luxuries in life, but she knows she must stay informed with all that is happening in the world in order to take a stand with the Daughters of Liberty. 

It is so interesting to consider that several of the people Gray wrote about in these books did truly exist.  There really was a Louis Lestarjette and a Elizabeth Elliot.  And several of their friends, who they worked with on a daily basis, also lived in Charles Town during the late 1700's, including Elizabeth's sister and brother-in-law.  This makes these novels that much more enduring, because Gray took the time to travel to these places in order to learn more about them, as she researched these particular times in history.  And I am so happy to announce that she is working on book three in this series!  The title for the third book is Bring Me Near, and I cannot wait to read more about the joys and challenges surrounding Louis, Elizabeth, and the new colonies.  Happy reading!  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy.

Series: Revolutionary Faith
Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical
Publisher: WestBow Press (Author)
Publication date: September 27, 2016
Number of pages: 277

Set in 1773 Charles Town, Surround Me takes the reader into the lives of colonists confronting imminent change and unpredictable circumstances binding them together to become a formidable force.

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Revolutionary Faith Book One and Surround Me: Revolutionary Faith Book Two. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity Univeristy in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.


1. I thoroughly enjoyed Hold Me Close--what prompted you to research this time period in history?

My father surrounded me with history from the old antebellum house where we lived, the stories he shared, and the travels he provided. My eight times great grandfather is Louis Lestarjette, the hero of the series. Although I have fictionalized him, he lived and breathed in Charleston and fought in the American Revolution. My interest revolved around how ordinary citizens faced the threat of a war at their front doors. Since my research, I have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution to continue to learn all that I can.

2. I love that you threaded fact with fiction--was it difficult to include so much historical detail into a fictional text?

I use historical characters to ground my work to a certain place and time. I do my best to stick with the real historical facts. My fictional characters including my ancestors act in a fictional world within an historical background. What I have found is that historical figures had to live, marry, eat, travel and work just like everyone else so I have them share their lives with my characters.

3. Historical works are some of my favorite to read--what advice would you give to new authors who want to explore this genre of writing?

Do the research. Read other authors—some of my favorites are Edward Rutherford, James A. Michener, and Jean Plaidy as well as all the wonderful Christian authors. Check your facts with at least two other sources. Historical Fiction does not have to be one hundred percent historical, but the main background and facts need to be consistent with history. Weave the fiction in with your characters’ dialogue and actions leaving the background to the historical facts.

Research for the series
Research was intense. I found books in Charleston and local bookstores that dealt with history, national characters, 1800s, the colonies, money, clothing, houses, and furniture. I read children’s books and biographies as well as young adult and adult fiction. Some of my unique research materials were cookbooks and paper dolls. In all I used 25 sources and listed some of them in my first book. Here are a few of my favorites: Patriots, Pistols, and Petticoats (Walter Fraser), Everyday Life in Colonial America (Dale Taylor), Christopher Gadsden and the American Revolution (Godbold and Woody), A Colonial Plantation Cookbook (Richard Hooker), The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina (Arthur Hirsch), and Founders (Ray Raphael).



  1. Thank you so much for the review. I hope you continue to enjoy the journey! Have a great weekend.

    1. You are so welcome! I can't wait to read the next book in this series!