It was kind of hard to switch gears after reading the last book, but I got into this book fairly easily and finished it quite handily.
I am not acquainted with Mary Ellis' books and writing style but this was a nice introduction to both. The book is a Civil War romance with not much romance, but a whole lot of war. Mary has done her research into lifestyles and war practices during the 1860's and woven the information seamlessly into her novel.
Madeline Howard is a widow who wants nothing more than to continue her husband's dream of breeding and raising horses. When soldiers trample her flowers, the general with them apologizes to Madeline and moves his soldiers onward. The only problem is that he can't get her out of his mind. When someone comes and steals all of Madeline's horses, Madeline goes to appeal to the general for the return of her favorite horse. After Madeline's house gets hit with artillery fire and burns to the ground, Madeline moves to Richmond, Virginia, to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. Now Madeline has the attention of a southern officer assigned to Jefferson Davis' home guard, but she tells him from the very beginning that her heart is already given away to another man. He has a hard time believing her and pursues her affections throughout the rest of the book.
The novel is an easy-to-read novel with sympathetic characters, well researched plot elements, and believable situations. But I have a wish list for the book. Madeline wants to do more for the cause, but her efforts are few and far between. Mary introduces elements of the war into the book, but not enough. I don't mean the gore and such, she handled that well, but effects of the battles on the ordinary people of the town could have been worked in a bit better. Madeline's efforts could have taken a more prominent role in the story and only added to the intrigue of the plot. Overall, a four-star book
This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest review. No other remuneration was offered or given.