Reconstruction era

C-
Texas Destiny

Texas Destiny received an A at AAR a while back and was selected for the NPR Top 100 Romances list, which I'm reading my way through. I had high hopes for it, but ultimately, it let me down. The hero wallowed in bitter self-loathing, and the heroine’s mix of genteel martyrdom and ability to save t ...

A
Only Call Us Faithful

The most successful Union spy of the Civil War wasn’t a dashing gentleman on horseback, or a Yankee femme fatale to match the Confederacy’s glamorous Belle Boyd. It was middle-aged Richmond socialite Liza Van Lew, whose achievements included placing a spy in the Confederate White House, abscondi ...

D
The Right Wife

I haven't encountered too many romances set in the post-Civil War South. And I can fairly say that I haven't come across too many romances like The Right Wife either. Readers should be aware that this book has its uncomfortable moments involving race, together with some uncomfortably rapey moments a ...

B-
Into the Whirlwind

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was falsely accused of starting the Great Chicago Fire. While it is accurate that the fire started in the O’Leary’s barn, no one is quite sure how. What is known is that hundreds died in the flames which claimed 3.3 square miles of the city. Into the Whirlwind takes this t ...

D
An Outlaw in Wonderland

An Outlaw in Wonderland sounded like it was right up my alley. A Union doctor who spies in a Confederate hospital? A Virginia heroine with mixed loyalties? Sign me up! Or not. All the exciting stuff on the back cover takes place at the beginning of the book, which rapidly devolves into kitchen sink ...

C-
Forsaken Dreams

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Forsaken Dreams. While some parts of the story were well done, others made me feel uncomfortable. It is 1866, and the Civil War is over. The United States is devastated by the sheer amount of destruction and loss, and many Southerners are feeling the vengeance ...

C+
Wild Texas Rose

I’m usually pretty forgiving about who I invite to a party, but sometimes there are limits. Like if you’d invited a friend and their partner to a nice quiet dinner, then found that your friend had brought their friend and partner. Then at 8pm, a friend of the friend pops up. And at 10pm, a frien ...

B-
Dead Reckoning

Sometimes it seems like it's impossible to find a fresh idea in the stacks of YA novels out there. This latest book is a sort of redo of Cowboys vs. Aliens except with teen protagonists and zombies rather than aliens. The changes didn't improve the story any. Jett Gallatin has seen the worst life ...

A
Conor's Way

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Thank God for digital publishing, and authors willing to make the transition. For years this 1996 RITA winner has been out of print, but last year Ms. Guhrke released this tale of an Irish boxer and a Southern lady electronically, and I finally read it a f ...

B
Leah and the Bounty Hunter

Ned Buntline, the writer who is credited with popularizing the dime novel in the American Old West, would have loved Elaine Levine’s writing. Levine pens Western romances using old fashioned storytelling techniques. Her stories are often over the top with quirky individual characters and blood-thi ...