Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Civil War Romance

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Unwilling Warrior
by Andrea Boeshaar

What I like about Unwilling Warrior is that it’s not quite genre fiction. It’s a romance, but throughout most of the book the main characters aren’t together. It’s set in the Civil War, which is essential to the plot, but the war is a backdrop to the real story. It’s has some espionage, but it’s not a spy novel. There’s something nefarious going on, but it’s not a mystery.

Valerie Fontaine is a New Orleans socialite whose mother dies. She meets Benjamin McCabe when her grieving father invites him to stay at their home, then abandons him to her hospitality. They are attracted to each other, but he is a poor preacher’s son from the frontier and her father has chosen someone else for her to marry. His plans won’t allow him to stay in New Orleans for long, so he pushes away his feelings for her.

At first the story seem fairly predictable, although enjoyable. But there is a mystery about Valerie’s father and Benjamin makes some mysterious contacts as well. Before long, both their lives unravel and Benjamin sends Valerie to his parents’ home in Missouri for safety. In spite of his family’s welcome, she succumbs to her doubts about his intentions. She wonders whether he is just being a gentleman or if he loves her.

At first I thought Unwilling Warrior was just another romance and I skimmed through it fairly quickly. But the conflict comes from several story lines and the story took several unexpected turns. An unforeseen enemy emerged who challenged Valerie, and she had to learn to trust and forgive. And just like in real life, some of the plot threads were not resolved neatly, although it has a feel good ending.

I definitely would put this book near the top of the historical romances I’ve read.

Pros: Romance, drama and intrigue set against the backdrop of the Civil War. The setting and history seem authentic and there are enough plot twists to keep you interested.

Cons: Occasionally modern day language creeps into the dialogue.


About the book

The War Between the States has Valerie Fontaine frightened about her future. She never suspects she’ll be thrust into the middle of it.

Benjamin McCabe’s got a noble dream of photographing the Civil War – and he never expected to fall in love with a New Orleans socialite.

When Valerie’s father is arrested on charges of treason, Ben secures a way for her to leave the city and travel to his family’s home in Jericho Junction, Missouri where she’ll be safe.

Can Valerie adjust to life on the prairie and remain true to her promise to wait for Ben no matter what the cost?

About the author

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.

Finally her first novel was published in 1994. Since then she's written numerous articles and devotionals. Andrea has also published inspiration romance novels, women's fiction, and novellas.

In 2003, Andrea joined the Hartline Literary Agency and worked for Joyce Hart as a literary agent. She saw much success. But then in 2007, Andrea realized she was more of a teacher/encourager than a sales person. She left the agency and became a certified Christian life coach. Now, in addition to her writing, Andrea enjoys encouraging others to use their God-given talents and gifts to their fullest.

Andrea has taught workshops at such writers conferences as: Write-To-Publish; American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW); Oregon Christian Writers Conference; Mount Hermon Writers Conference and many local writers conferences. She also speaks at various churches and women's groups.

Another of Andrea's accomplishments is co-founder of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization. For many years she served on both its Advisory Board and as its CEO.

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