PUBLISHER AND RELEASE DATE: Crimson Romance July 1, 2013
Theodore Ward is a man of deep passions and strong principles – none of which he acts on. So Margaret Hampton ends their engagement, breaking both of their hearts in the process. Years after their estrangement, ardent but frozen Theo attempts to reconnect with Margaret. She is no longer trusting of the idea of romantic love, having become pragmatic and wary during decades alone. But with the drumbeat of the early days of the Civil War in the background, how can she refuse?
The courtship that results is hasty, reckless, and intense, fueled by contradictions between Theo’s willingness finally to change and Margaret’s fears about the future. Two smart, stubborn, fiery people will need to overcome the hesitancies of their hearts and the perils of battle if they’re ever to find happiness.
US Civil War
Heat level: sensual/2
REVIEW RATING: 5 stars/ Top Pick
REVIEWER: Ginger Myrick
BRAVE IN HEART is the intelligently written story of Theo Ward, a reserved and proper lawyer with lofty ideals but no motivation to enact them. He is engaged to Margaret Hampton, a strong-minded and pragmatic schoolmistress who prefers solitude to the inaction of her fiancé. With this in mind, she breaks off their engagement, but fate has other plans. When they meet two years later, they both realize there is much unfinished business between them. Under the looming and imminent threat of war, they surrender to the emotions that brought them together in the first place.
The writing in BRAVE IN HEART is beautifully formal with the language, historical details, and comportment of the characters all authentic to the time. Although it is a short book – at only 41,000 words, it lies somewhere between a novella and a full-length novel – the plot develops at a quick but unforced pace and has the sweeping feel of a Civil War epic. Barry convincingly conveys all of the intensity and urgency of a wartime love affair — in which every encounter could be the last — without the story feeling rushed or contrived or unnaturally truncated. And she effectively leaves her reader with a taste for more.
I feel compelled to address the heat level here, as most people know me for being an author of ‘clean’ love stories and a bit of a prude. The ‘sensual’ rating was something that I failed to notice when I accepted the book. As I am inexperienced with how these scenes are typically portrayed, all I can say is that the interludes are few, brief, and tastefully done in a tone consistent with the rest of the book. They are graphic but not overwhelming, and integral to the story.
As Ms. Barry says herself, BRAVE IN HEART is a story of second chances. To every person who has wondered, “What if …” in her life, come see how it happened for two people who dared to take the opportunity to find out.
At the time of review, Brave in Heart was $4.39 in Kindle format.