Civil wars always provide a novelist with perfect, ready-made historical settings for drama and passion set against backgrounds of large scale suffering and violence. Missouri in 1861 is a state torn apart by pro-Union and pro-Confederate forces. The situation is further complicated by the presence of thousands of German and Irish immigrants. One Irish immigrant, Franny Moone, is caught up in the turmoil surrounding Missouri’s decision to remain with the United States or to join with the new Confederate States. Moderation and compromise take second place to mob violence and ambush. Young Franny makes the colossal error of marrying a Confederate sympathizer named Hy Wilcox who quickly finds himself consumed by the killing. Franny’s world is now dominated by war, terror, and uncertainty.
Into this chilling environment steps a United States cavalry officer named Josiah Scarborough. Captain Scarborough is a decent man who sees his duty clearly and has the moral integrity to stand apart from the crowd of gunmen and opportunists on both sides. He and Franny find solace in one another and their love story offers an uplifting reminder that these is another world available to those who seek it. As Missouri and the warring factions move towards the climactic, and now largely forgotten Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Franny and Josiah move towards building a new and better world for themselves.
An exciting and believable Civil War story. The author has captured the true nature of the fighting and the powerful emotions of the human beings caught up in a crisis far beyond their understanding.
John R. Vallely