The Widow’s War


Carolyn Vinton and Dr. William Saylor, both abolitionists, were about to get married when he suddenly disappears. The family assumes he is dead, and Carrie is left grieving, pregnant and alone. When Deacon Presgrove, William’s stepbrother, offers to give the baby a name, Carrie accepts his offer to wed.

It is 1853. In the years heating up to the Civil War, the Kansas Territory is a battleground between pro-slavery and abolitionist factions. Carrie soon learns that her father-in-law, a famous senator, is in favor of slavery. Feeling betrayed by Deacon, and then learning that William is alive, Carrie decides to break free to find William.

This is a novel to read again and again. Mackey creates magic when she brings together the star-crossed pair of Carolyn Vinton and Dr. William Saylor. This is one of those “non-stop, can’t put down” books. Carrie is dynamic and strong, a woman of presence and grace, and the sparks fly between her and William; their connection is sensational.

The story is peppered with intricate deception and edgy climactic tension that builds until the conclusion. Mackey has created a well-researched romantic historical novel. The depictions of John Brown, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, “Bloody Kansas,” and other events are credible, real and memorable. This would be an excellent companion novel when studying the American Civil War in high school or beyond. No doubt The Widow’s War will be one of the best of 2009.


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