Hearts Divided

Written by Joanne Sundell
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Hearts Divided, book one of The Quaker and the Confederate series, follows the stories of Willa Tyler, a female soldier in the Confederate army; Surry Lion, Willa’s best friend and a slave who seeks freedom in the North; and Levi Clement, a Quaker who falls in love with Willa and helps Surry on her trip.

This is one of the least believable books I’ve ever read. At age eight, Willa and Surry cry when Willa’s father explains freedom to them, and they realize that Surry is a slave. How did Surry live for eight years not knowing she was a slave? Willa is able to fool her fellow soldiers into thinking she is a man, but in a single, distant glance, Levi sees she is a woman and falls in love. These are a few examples from a story overrun with unlikely occurrences. The Quakers seem nothing like Quakers. They appear to be people following a list of rules they don’t understand. The soldiers are one-dimensional, interested only in killing Yankees for Virginia. The complicated issues of the time are simplified or ignored.

This historical romance has very little romance—just the slow developing, incomprehensible relationship between Willa and Levi. The characters are flat and inconsistent, the writing clunky and repetitive.