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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Hope Divided (The Loyal League #2) by Alyssa Cole


The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor--but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . .

For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.

Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Imprint: Kensington Books
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Received From: Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback
My Rating: 4/5

I have always been drawn to Civil War fiction, John Jakes' North and South being an early favorite of mine.  I have been interested in trying Alyssa Cole's Loyal League series, and when I saw A Hope Divided available on Netgalley I jumped at the chance, and luckily was approved!

I enjoyed the characters, Marlie is in a difficult position of being considered Negro, yet protected by her family name, and Ewan is not at all your conventional romance hero, often unsure of himself and confused by Marlie's reactions, being relatively inexperienced with the opposite sex.  He's very detail oriented and inventive, in this story someone who constantly tries to keep his mind occupied by reading, and fixing and thinking things through logically.  Marlie is a good match for him, and is constantly challenging the philosophical ideas he has held as guiding precepts in his life.  They are both firmly scientific, but Marlie's healing skills, though carefully derived and precise, originate from a background in arts a little more mystical from her mother, that she struggles with, on the one hand wanting to reject them as unrealistic, but on the other, sometimes they seem to prove out in unexpected ways. 

There are plenty of heart stopping moments as Marlie's home is invaded by the Confederate Home Guard hunting down deserters and resisters, and her life quickly changes and even becomes endangered, her family name no longer a protection compared to the color of her skin. Overall this was an interesting story that gives a good representation of the fear and complications of being a Union sympathizer in the South during the Civil War, and I recommend it if you enjoy stories set in this time period.

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