Captain Thomas Harrigan has left the Friedricksburg battlefield and is checking the home of some old friends, the Calders. He finds Miss Emma (the mother) dead and helps bury her. He also finds the Calder daughter, Abiah, who is near death.
In spite of the possibility of court-martial for being AWOL (absent without leave), Thomas takes Abiah/Abby from her cold, empty home, hoping to find a safe place for her to get well.
Although Abiah is a Southern sympathizer and Thomas is a captain in the Union army, he takes her into Union territory, trying to save her life.
One of the quirks of life in the 1800s was the fact that Thomas should have left the young woman to die, rather than besmirch her reputation by travelling with her without a chaperone!
There are two antagonists in this tale: Elizabeth Channing (who jilted Thomas recently, without a word of explanation) and Thomas Grandfather Winthrop.
Thomas marries the dying Abiah to save her reputation and to get himself out of hot water with his supervisor, who wasnt pleased Thomas had ruined Abiahs reputation. It also gives him the right to get the care Abiah needs, now that he is next-of-kin.
Darkness gathers and the trouble begins .
I feel compelled to say a few words about Elizabeth Channing. She had to be dumber than dirt to have tossed away an honorable, living man during the Civil War! I would have doubted her reasoning, except I have known of at least 2 women (in current times) who have done the same thing!
I find books on relationships during the Civil War are very interesting. I prefer historical novels because of the events, circumstances and/or background -- that surround and affect the story.
After you read this great book, you might want to pick up ALWAYS TO REMEMBER (by Lorraine Heath), a book about relationships immediately after the Civil War. It won an award. I have also reviewed that book.
Quick read that I could not put down. A great historial romance!