This was a well-written, easy read about the Reconstruction South. If you just can't read another Regency romance, give it a try...
The heroine is living with her dad, taking care of him, and they are providing a room to the Union army colonel who is in charge of the town. She is concealing a pregnancy, and hates Yankees. He has his own ghosts, as he was formerly incarcerated at the Confederate prison nearby. As you might guess, romance ensues.
Tonight, I learned that this is the second in a series of Union soldiers and Southern prison camps. Both this book and its previous partner won RITA awards (see below).
Cheryl Reavis pulls no punches about losses during the Civil War. Maria Markham has lost a fiancee and two brothers. She has grown used to doing without and suffering indignities from the conquering Union soldiers (who are keeping the peace in her hometown). But, she doesn't like the situation or the soldiers at all.
If she weren't such an accommodating daughter, she would have left the new Reconstruction commander at the train station. However, Colonel Maxwell Woodard is definitely a force to be reckoned with -- he likes irritating the haughty Miss Markham. He insists that they travel out to the old Confederate prison camp of Salisbury, North Carolina. He is still haunted by memories of his time there.
Woodard arrives to bedlam; citizens haven't been paid long-standing debts the Union army owes. There are arson fires around the area and the citizens are hostile.
Woodard is to be housed with the Markham's (as his disliked predecessor was); he finds feeble Mr. Markham easy to like. However, he keeps Maria off-balanced so she has a hard time tossing her anger his way.
When Woodard keeps working on a ceremony to recognize the dead at the Salisbury Prison Camp, I knew that I was missing something important. I need to re-read this book after reading the first book in this series. Obviously, the first book is needed to understand fully this story.
Union Prisoners and Southern Camps
The Prisoner (1992) Best Novel winner (1993): The Prisoner
The Bride Fair (2002) Best Novel winner (2003): The Bride Fair