This novel was so different from what I’ve read from Roseanna M. White in the past—spies and mystery … England and all that. But this was a fun change. It still was based around war as many of her novels were, except instead of WW1 we read about the Civil War. Check out the back cover blurb, followed by my review!
Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful dream around anything and is well used to winning the hearts of everyone in Savannah with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.
But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the first horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and cynical, and all too sure that he is not the hero Cordelia seems determined to make him. Matters of black and white don’t seem so simple anymore to Phin, and despite her best efforts, Delia’s smiles can’t erase all the complications in his life. And when Fort Pulaski falls and the future wavers, they both must decide where the dreams of a new America will take them, and if they will go together.
Phineas did a lot growing in this book. Growing from a naive young man who was the product of the society he lived in—and probably one of the better products of it. He wasn’t harsh to his slaves. Yet he did see them as a different class than himself … until the blinders were removed. Slowly. But effectively.
Cordelia (Delia) was a fun character and she too did a lot of growing in the novel. But she almost lived in another world—constantly imagining stories about the people around her. Her stories encouraged and brought joy to others. And she had spunk, which is one of my favorite qualities in a character.
I won’t get into ‘Luther’ due to spoilers. But he was my favorite character.
Roseanna brought to life the stories of the slaves well. The heartbreaking reality of their lives and what they lost. What they loved. And what they craved. Most of all: freedom.
I don’t think I’d recommend younger readers for this novel. There’s quite a bit of difficult themes that make it more of an adult read. Even though I found the novel to be done in great taste, there’s some heavy topics. Topics you can’t shy away from when you’re writing about the civil war. I thought Roseanna did it well.
And the faith thread was spot on. One of the neatest things about it was the way Phineas’ POV changed from the beginning of the book, to the middle, and then of course the end. It was humorous, as well, as he shocked himself with his new and improved thought life.
Of course, everyone wants to know about the love story, right? It was sweet, it was forbidden, it was patient. It had no choice but to be patient—war and all.
Although I quite enjoyed this novel, I hope she’s not done with England anytime soon. I’m looking forward to her next release, set in 1906, entitled The Nature of a Lady (up for preorder and releasing May 4th!).
About the Author
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
I received a complimentary copy of this stellar novel for my honest review.