Broken Promises: A Novel of the Civil War


In 1861, Charles Francis Adams, son of President John Quincy Adams, is sent by the new president, Abraham Lincoln, to serve as America’s ambassador to the Court of St. James. Charles has a delicate mission: to prevent England from supporting the Confederate cause. Meanwhile, Charles’s son Henry, accompanying his father to London, is reunited with an old classmate, Baxter Sams, a Southern medical student whose travels in London society bring him in contact with the strong-minded Julia Birch. All will find their loyalties torn as a divided America goes to war.

Blending historical and purely fictional characters with ease, Broken Promises tells the story of an aspect of the American Civil War that’s relatively neglected in historical fiction: the battle for support abroad. The characters are three-dimensional beings who feel true to their time, and Hoffman even manages the Spirited Heroine – a pitfall for many novelists – with ease and without wandering into anachronism. The love story between Baxter and Julia adds romance to the story without overwhelming the other elements. Hoffman’s dialogue is witty and apt, and she turns a lively phrase.

Broken Promises was originally self-published as In the Lion’s Den. It’s good to see that Hoffman’s talent has found the wide audience it deserves.

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