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4.0 out of 5 stars Despite the cover, this is so much more than an historical romance

Castles in the Air begins at the end of the Civil War as Devon Marshall’s father commits suicide after the building containing his newspaper business burns to ashes. Devon realizes that the only way to continue a career as a journalist is to strike out for New York, so she breaks off her engagement to an injured war veteran and finagles her way onto the private rail car of banking tycoon Keith Curtis who makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Once in New York and not wanting to depend on Curtis for support, Devon strikes out on her own, but she soon finds that obtaining employment as a female journalist is virtually impossible without connections and takes other jobs instead — jobs that end up with unforeseen complications.

Married Curtis can’t forget Devon and rescues her from her latest job as one of the “birds” in a cage at a notorious saloon and unwilling to fight him any longer Devon agrees to become Curtis’ mistress (his wife is an invalid, or is she just pretending to be paralyzed?) and as much as he’d like to he cannot marry Devon. The book continues with the ups and downs of their relationship and Devon’s involvement in different circles of New York society, dirty politics, emancipation for women, and more. Eventually Devon does obtain a job as a journalist reporting for the women’s section of a local paper and she is able to take further that job as she is assigned as one of the many female reporters following the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant from the viewpoint of Mrs. Grant and the social whirl of Washington DC.

Although the basic premise of the storyline sounds like your basic historical romance, and at times it did seem to take on a soap opera/TV mini series type of quality, I have to give the author credit for including a great deal of historical facts and characters. In addition to being entertained with a good story, I obtained a wonderful inside peek at the people and history of late 19C politics with it’s dirty politicians, social scandals, railroad barons, the social mores of the day and more as Devon must ultimately decide between her love for Keith and their son or her independence to strike out on a new life that she can live without secrecy or fear of discovery and scandal.  Devon’s story  is continued in No Greater Love and On Wings Of Dreams.