Book Review: Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

engraved on the heart by tara johnson book review

The synopsis on the back of the book: 

Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 400
  • Published: 6/2018
  • Publisher: Tyndale House
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.39 Stars
Engraved on the heart tara johnson book review
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
— 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Why I Chose This Book:

I was kindly sent a copy of this book from the publisher. I absolutely love reading books set during the Civil War. It's such a fascinating part of history! 

First Initial Thoughts:

Keziah is a twenty-year-old woman who lives in Savannah, Georgia when the war breaks out between the states. Her family is of course for the Confederacy. However, after being invited to an abolitionist meeting with her longtime friend, Micah she soon converts over. Though she keeps it a secret and fears telling her family. One evening Keziah finds a young slave in the stables- running away from his master. He was supposed to meet up with a conductor but something went wrong and he ended up at her house. She finds a way to rescue the boy in the underground railroad. Shortly after she starts conducting herself- rescuing slaves through the underground railroad. 

Micah returns to Savannah after finishing medical school up north. He then reunites with Keziah. All the feelings he had for her came flooding back. I really liked Micah's character. He was very passionate about his abolitionist standings and was very much for the Union. This made him an outsider in every way. 

Jennie, Keziah's cousin comes down south to visit. Ugh, this woman. I absolutely loathed her. She would constantly complain about the war, the lack of rations, and not having simple luxuries. She didn't once have any compassion towards the poor and the soldiers suffering. She was insufferable!

Someone desperately needed to do this: 

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming too
Coming for to carry me home
— Swing Low Sweet Chariot


I really enjoyed reading a story set in Savannah. While most of the story was set in Keziah's house there were a few real places mentioned in this story. One of them being the First African Baptist Church downtown. You can check out the church more - here. I have been to Savannah twice and I have to say Tara did a good job in portraying the southern city in an accurate way. 

Final Thoughts

Micah and Keziah - I adored them together. They just fit. Tara somehow wrote their relationship in a way that made the reader feel that they were meant for each other - right from the start. They were so sweet on each other. 

I admired Keziah's bravery. She could have decided not to conduct - and left it up to history for the blacks to be free. She was willing to risk everything so that a black family could live a better life in the free states. 

What I really enjoyed about this story was Keziah's epilepsy. Her family kept blaming her for her illness and kept it a secret from the public for fear of a scandal. However, Keziah didn't see it as a failure and didn't let it get in her way of achieving her dreams. I really appreciated this aspect. You can do anything God has set your heart to do - even if you have a disability. 

This book also made me appreciate the freedom we have today. Men laid down their lives so that every man and woman shall be free- regardless of color. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was fully engrossed in the story and finished it in just two days time. I was also fully impressed that this was Tara's debut. I would have never guessed! 

Would I Recommend?

Oh definitely yes! If you enjoy Civil War history - you will enjoy this story! 


You can purchase the book ---> HERE

I hope you enjoyed the review! Have you ever visited Savannah, Georgia? If you ever get the chance to head down south- it's a town you should not miss! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

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