This story of a Confederate Army nurse who believes that due to her role as a triage nurse she is responsible for the deaths of many young men and for the pain and suffering of many others who did not survive. Haunted by the smells, sights and sounds she is convinced that she has no right to continue to live nor to have any happiness in her life. She is driven by the need to deliver the last words, in person, to the families of 21 of the dead. During her journey to accomplish this task, she encounters a widower from Texas who has come searching for his son who was in the army. Haunted by his past and the way in which is wife died and his son left home, he too believes he cannot have happiness in his life.
A great tale of love, compassion and empathy which rings as true today as it did in 1865.
This was a new author to me but I will read her other works as she fully captures human nature and all of its faults and failings.
During the Civil War, Confederate nurse Laurel Covey nursed and comforted the injured and dying. She kept a journal of the soldiers names and last words as they died, promising to deliver these messages after the war. Creede Forester has traveled from Texas to Virginia to find word of his 16-year-old son. When he stumbles across Laurel during her journey, it pains her to tell of his son's death, knowing that he blames himself for driving his son away. Since Laurel is delivering her sad news to families all through the south, Creede decides to accompany her on her journey.
This was a very unique story. Laurel is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after seeing the results of the war in the form of dead and suffering soldiers. She believes that she should have been able to save more of the injured soldiers. Creede is trying to come to grips with his wife's and son's deaths. Together they are both hurting in different ways, but drawn to each other as well. My rating: 4.5 Stars.
The struggle of the hero and heroine through their own sorrows and guilt to find love with each other touched my heart.
How could I refuse the wish of a dying man? May 30,1865: During the War, I watched over too many young boys in the hosiptal comforting them as they cried out for those they loved, as they whispered their final thoughts to me. Keeping a record of their names, families and last words seemed a small tribute to their sacrifice-until the war ended and I found a new mission in life. I would visit the loved ones of those poor soldiers and deliver theri messages so that some comfort could be found even in grief......But Laurel Covey never expected to find a man like Creede Forrester-an ex-gunslinger who rode all the way from Texas to Virginia in the hope of finding his son and ended up saving her from a band of ruffians. It pains her deeply to tell him of his boy's death, and she believes that in his heart, Creede blames himself for driving his son away. But there is something more to the rugged weary man. Something that draws Laurel closer to him.something she can't resist.......
During the Civil War Nurse Laurel Covey provides solace to dying soldiers though no one offers comfort to her. Her Massachusetts parents disowned her after forcing her to choose between them and her Virginian spouse, who died at Gettysburg. His family wants nothing to do with a New Englander. Though watching the young die torches her soul, she writes down their last words promising them she would deliver their final message to loved ones.
In 1865 though bone wary from the war, she begins her odyssey to bring comfort to the grieving family members of those she watched die. When two scraggily hooligans assault her, bounty hunter Creede Forrester rescues her. The Texan has come east to find his estranged son, who fought for the Confederacy. She informs him that his son died. Anger joins his feelings of guilt as he never obtained the chance to reconcile with his offspring. He joins her quest out of remorse for failing his late spouse and son. As they venture from one grieving family to another, they turn to each other for solace; love blossoms, but both has major psyche hurts that make neither able to show how they feel.
Though a historical, A REASON TO LIVE is a deep poignant tale that clearly would apply today as Laurel makes the difficult rounds to provide grieving individuals and families with the last words of their deceased loved ones. The lead couple is an enchaning pair who care about others for different reasons. The romance enhances the story one, but this Post Civil War drama belongs to those suffering from the loss of a loved one; perhaps if the presumptive first strike believers had to visit the surviving family members to tell them their loved one died in combat they would take a harder look at the war only option.
Civil War Nurse Laurel Covey is a poster child for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. From reading this book, it is easy to understand why so many doctors committed suicide and/or became terminal drunks after the Civil War. Through Maureen McKades words, the reader can feel Laurel Coveys anguish.
Although not physically injured in the war, Laurel Covey carries terrific grief; she was a triage nurse for the Confederacy (triage nurses decide who can be saved and who is too far gone). She suffers because she feels that she has been forced to act as God and determine the fates of the men who come to her hospital.
Laurel still suffers for her beliefs; her Massachusetts parents disowned her for marrying a Virginia man, who died at Gettysburg. Laurel's husband (Roberts) family wants nothing to do with her. As a way to cope with the constant death around her, Laurel writes down the final words of the soldiers in her care. She promises to deliver their final words (and mementos) to their loved ones.
After the war ends, Laurel begins her solitary travels to share the notes in her journal to the bereaved family members. Along the way, two starving Confederate ex-soldiers accost her and threaten to rob and assault her. While they are pulling her from her wagon, an ex-bounty hunter, Creede Forrester comes upon the scene and saves her.
He received notice that his son had been wounded in the war and has ridden from Texas to take his son back home. While in Virginia, he finds that his son died and the last one to talk with him was Laurel Covey. He has been looking for her to find out what she knows.
Forrester thinks he has nothing to live for because both his wife and son are dead. When he talks with Laurel, he realizes that this spunky nurse could meet trouble again and decides to join her. Laurel thinks she has nothing to live for because neither family wants her and she is alone.
The varying responses to Laurels information are so surprising, but appropriate to the people and the difficult time in the South after the war. Laurel is often staggered by the anger some families vent on her. Although she was angry with Forrester for joining her, she begins to rely on his reliability and concern for her.
The author captures the emotional turmoil Laurel and Creede are feeling. This is an emotional story that will stay with me for a long time.
1. A Reason to Live (2006)
2. A Reason to Believe (2007)
3. A Reason to Sin (2008)