Hearts Persuaded

Written by Joanne Sundell
Review by Nanette Donohue

In the second and final book in her Quaker and the Confederate series, Sundell continues the tale of Willa Mae Tyler, a young Southern woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight for the Confederate army, and her love, Levi Clement, a young Quaker living in Virginia.

Willa’s affair with Levi has left her pregnant, which makes fighting for the Confederacy difficult, to say the least. Meanwhile, Levi has married his childhood sweetheart, who has gone from mild, gentle Quakeress to scheming villain because Levi doesn’t love her as he should. Meanwhile, escaped slave Surry Lion, Willa’s bosom buddy from childhood, is pining for a man she met during her journey on the Underground Railroad.

If this sounds convoluted and melodramatic, it is. All of the old chestnuts are here: the woman dressing as a man so she can fight in the war, the unplanned/unexpected pregnancy, the bizarre and implausible coincidences. A bit of melodrama doesn’t hurt a book, but Sundell throws everything she can at her characters, then resolves the whole mess a little too neatly. Recommended only if you enjoyed the first book in the series.