In times of war, is anything as it seems?
Her aunt's invitation to Richmond is just the change Beatrice Swanson needs after her brother's release from a Union prison. Bea's father agrees to the trip with a condition—one that tosses her emotions into swirling confusion.
Though Jay Nickson wants to serve his country as a Confederate soldier, his work is too important to the government. Bea's interest in his job, which includes secrets that would benefit the Union, arouses his suspicions. Is she spying for the North? His growing feelings for her are hard to squelch.
Though she participates in activities to benefit Confederate soldiers, Bea struggles with her own loyalties and her father's demands. Where does her cousin, Meg, go on her solitary errands? Bea's own growing love for Jay, a Southerner, only adds to her confusion. Tensions escalate in Richmond as the Union army approaches, drawing her into more secrecy. Where does her allegiance lie? And how will she be forced to prove it?
Nothing in war is simple…especially when the heart becomes entangled.
Hart (Avenue of Betrayal) serves up a dramatic romance with a side of intrigue in this endearing if occasionally unconvincing second entry in her Spies of the Civil War series. In 1862, 19-year-old Beatrice Swanson and her widowed cousin Meg travel from Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Va., to visit Bea's aunt. Bea's father has shifted his loyalty to the South and asked Bea to smuggle gold to the Confederate cause during her trip. Bea hates slavery, but with family on both sides of the conflict she reluctantly fulfills her father's request. Though she later sides with the North, her decision becomes complicated when she falls for Southerner Jay Nickson, a weapons manufacturer who deplores slavery but is otherwise all in on the Confederacy. To win Jay's heart, Bea must overcome Jay's suspicion that she's a Union spy, and with fighting encroaching on Richmond, they rely on their faith to carry them through. Overall, Hart's well-observed characters are convincingly complex as they struggle with the moral consequences of choosing between divisions of family and country, but the author stretches credulity in trying to make Jay a more palatable character by having him oppose slavery but swear allegiance to the Confederacy. Still, fans of Civil War romance will enjoy this.
Only one side would emerge victorious.
They didn’t know she had lost her way when her father asked her to betray her country.
The war continues around them, as Beatrice and Meg travel to spend some time at Aunt Trudy’s in Richmond. Bea’s father has made a special request of her, which causes great consternation for her. Will she be able to live with herself if she follows through?
Jay is the foundry foreman, tasked with making cannons, shot and other war supplies - a job he is very good at even though he would rather be on the frontlines. Finding himself in the company of these lovely Yankee ladies, he struggles with the politics of it all.
The second book in the Spies of the Civil War series was received through Wild Heart Books, BookFunnel and CelebrateLit. These thoughts and impressions are my own and were in no way solicited.