Miller (A Lawman’s Christmas), a prolific romance author, delves into historical fiction with this revealing Civil War–era story detailing the devastating impact of the war. Union soldier Jacob Hammond is wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1963, but his wife, Caroline, doesn’t find out for nearly six weeks that he has been taken to the hospital in Washington, D.C. Once she finds him, Jacob dies within hours. Caroline returns to their family farm outside Gettysburg, Penn., and arranges for Jacob’s funeral. When the Battle of Gettysburg rages nearby, Caroline relies on the help of Enoch Flynn, a freed slave who works on her farm, to help treat the wounded. Union commander Capt. Rogan McBride asks Caroline to care for Captain Bridger Winslow, Rogan’s old friend who also happens to be a Confederate soldier wounded in the battle. The attraction between Bridger and Caroline grows during his recovery, though she knows that there is little chance for a future between them. Miller balances character and history well and keeps the pages turning with a fast-paced plot. This is a must-read for historical fiction fans. (May)
From the Publisher
"Moving and memorable, this novel reveals the impossible choices women face in wartime." –James Patterson
"A must-read for historical fiction fans"Publishers Weekly
"The background of this most divisive chapter in our country's history is marvelously depicted..."Library Journal
"Well told and readers will keep turning the pages."Booklist
In Miller's (Just Kate, 2018, etc.) Civil War novel, Caroline Hammond lives on a farm near Gettysburg, where she has not even had time to mourn her husband's death in the Union Army before the war comes close.
After she hears her husband, Jacob, was wounded at Chancellorsville, Caroline goes to Washington, D.C., where Army quartermaster Capt. Rogan McBride helps her find him in a makeshift hospital. She manages to arrive before Jacob dies, the first of a series of improbabilities that propel this book. She returns to the farm, where her husband's friend and hired man, former slave Enoch Flynn, helps her bury Jacob and tells Caroline he has taken in Jubie, a pregnant runaway slave, after helping her escape a slave catcher. Not long after, Capt. McBride arrives with supplies to store at Hammond Farm during the impending battle of Gettysburg. McBride happens to run into his best friend from military school, Capt. Bridger Winslow, during the battle, rescues him, and brings him to the farm to recover from his wounds along with dozens of other wounded soldiers. Predictably, both captains fall for Caroline, Enoch and Jubie fall for each other, and other threads of the story are tied up neatly, hurried along by further coincidences. Miller peppers the book with overused phrases, such as "precious child," and "the lonesome whistle of a faraway train." She also threads her story with too much exposition, such as telling Jacob's story for 10 pages while he's lying wounded on the battlefield. Also predictably, the characters act according to type: Capt. Winslow is a Southern rake, Caroline, a sweet and stoic widow, and so on.
An uninspiring historical romance.
It's 1863, and Caroline Hammond's husband, Jacob, had left their Gettysburg farm to fight for the North. She never thought the last time she would see him he'd be broken and slowly dying in a hospital tent in Washington City—along with thousands of other wounded soldiers—or that the war would literally soon be at her door. Rogan McBride and Bridger Winslow, friends since their school days and captains in the conflict's opposing armies, expected to face difficult challenges as well, but finding themselves at Caroline's farm and both falling for her wasn't among them. A fetching moppet and a strong, resourceful grandmother add to the mix; a pregnant runaway slave offers freedman Enoch Flynn, Caroline's hired hand, a love story of his own. Teeming with history and emotion, this compelling story will ignite interest in the period and make readers hope for a sequel. VERDICT The bloody reality and heartbreaking despair of the bitter war that ripped friends and families apart and the courage it took on all sides to try to put things back together come alive in this exquisitely told story. Carefully detailed background interwoven with poignant romance will entice fans of romance and historical fiction. Miller (A Snow Country Christmas) lives near Spokane. [See "Spring Awakenings: Editors' Picks," LJ 2/19, p. 22; Prepub Alert, 11/19/18.]