The Stranger’s Secrets

Written by Beth Williamson

This historical romance with a mystery subplot is set during Reconstruction.  Tough-talking Sarah Spaulding leaves her family’s plantation in Virginia, a source of bad memories after she was raped and permanently injured by a Yankee sergeant during the war.  She shares a train compartment with Whit Kendrick, an ex-soldier.  Despite his being a hated Yankee, sparks fly between them and Sarah initiates wild sex.   Whit remorsefully tells himself that he can’t fall for Sarah, since he’s on his way to marry another woman.  Then they become suspects in the murder of Sarah’s hired companion.  Can they help find the real killer?  And how can Whit tell Sarah he served under the NCO who assaulted her?

Sarah is a strong character.  I liked that she doesn’t let her disability get in the way of what she wants, and that she is a proactive heroine.  A drawback:  some non-period expressions pepper the story, such as “amazing,” used in the modern-day sense as a synonym for “good,” and an anatomical term or two that postdate the story’s timeline. These distracted me from immersion in the historical period.  Nevertheless, the steamy romance was enjoyable, and I would definitely recommend it to historical romance fans.