In 1862 America, the Civil War has raged for twelve months. Pepper Fitzpatrick Brown’s heart was broken when her husband died with the first volley at Manassas. Now she’s a widow raising three young boys and plans to honor his sacrifice by volunteering at the army hospital.
When Colonel Elijah Williams can grab a few minutes to nap between his duties as head surgeon at MacDougall Army Hospital in the Bronx, his sleep is invaded with nightmares of the atrocities he’s seen. His life has narrowed to nothing but the bloody war . . . until he meets Pepper Brown. But her father is concerned Elijah doesn’t have the best intentions, and Pepper is fearful of loving and losing again.
It’s hard to find happiness in a war-torn United States, but these two stand a fighting chance – if they can save what’s left of their hearts.
Review: This is a very well written historical romance that takes place in New York during the Civil War. It was different to have the setting be in the North during the war. Many of the battles were mentioned as was the Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln and some of those in the military. The book was reminiscent to me of books by Dorothy Wiley who writes about settling the American frontier in her American Wilderness Series Romances.
I had no idea this was part of a series when I picked it up – book 8 as a matter of fact – since there was so many details about both Pepper and Elijah’s pasts and first loves whom have both died. Pepper’s husband died during the first battle of the Civil War and Elijah’s wife due to an accident. Pepper has three sons from her marriage and comes from a large family. She also comes from wealth and her husband also left her well off. She is close to her parents who live nearby and they are in and out of the story along with various siblings and her twin brother, Halwyn. Elijah and his wife unfortunately never had any children. We get to know both of them a little at a time especially after Pepper begins volunteering at the army hospital where Elijah is the surgeon for the wounded brought in. As she takes him under her wing and tries to ease his life especially with all the death and injuries he has to deal with along with little sleep and food due to the circumstances of his job, they begin to get closer and a friendship forms or is it more? Watching them get closer was fun to watch and was realistically portrayed.
There was family, talk of war, surgeries, injured and dying military men, homes, lots of foods that were described so vividly I could see, taste and smell the meat, vegetables and the breads, servants, volunteering, sadness, tears, illness, memories and reminisces, nightmares, children, locations in New York, laughter, some lightheartedness, horses and a happily ever after. There was nice closure and loose ends were tied up but it ended a little abruptly since I had to turn back the page on my Nook to make sure I didn’t skip a page or two.
Lower is a new to me author and I will add her other books in the Cotillion Ball series to my always growing TBR pile. I hope her other books are written with the same depth of characters and details to the story.
Favorite Quote: “…it would be all right to call me by my given name. It’s Pepper.”
Elijah’s lips curved into a smile. “Because you’re so spicy?”