1863, Alexandria Virginia. Sisters Carolyn and Julia Chandler, loyal Confederates, plot to crash a masquerade ball put on by Yankee railroad tycoon George Winstead. The Chandler’s loyal servants help the young ladies sneak out from under their parent’s watchful eyes (!!) and they’re off to the ball, but Julia has other things in mind than just catching the eye of a handsome man. Her parents plan to wed her to her odious cousin Payton Norwood, and she gets it in her brain if she’s debouched, he’ll dump her (she doesn’t quite know what it really means, but she means to do it). Handsome Yankee Major Robert Montgomery catches her eye and she thinks he’ll fit the bill – especially when he starts quoting Shakespeare (the one bright light in this sorry book). Rob was wounded and lost the use of one hand at Gettysburg and his fiance dumped him for that, so he’s a bit gun-shy of women, but he can’t seem to resist Julia’s attractions, hated Confederate that she is.
What follows is pretty much what you’d expect in your standard Harlequin historical romance, they meet, lust after each other, never confess their true feelings, have Big Misunderstandings (well duh), all ending up in a terribly silly and overly contrived plot to put Robert in a southern prison so he can help his fellow Yankees escape. Of course you know that Julia’s going to have to get mixed up in the thick of things as she tries to dodge her less than ardent suitor Hayward (he’s only interested in an inheritance she’s soon to come up with).
The book started off well enough, albeit a bit on the light side, but by the time the action moved to Richmond and the prison things just started falling to pieces and got terribly silly indeed – as did some of the prose. I give kudos to the author for putting real events and characters in her story (at least according to her notes they were), but it wasn’t enough to save this one from landing in the recycle bin. That said, outside of some heavy kisses there is no sexual activity so this might actually do well for a younger reader. Your call though, I don’t have a teenage daughter, so I’m not the best judge.
FTC, Paperback Swap