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Promise and Honor - Kim Murphy

Coachlight Press, 2003, $14.95/US, 250 pp, pb, ISBN 0-9716790-2-9

by Pat Maynard
-originally published in The Historical Novels Review Magazine of the Historical Novel Society (HNS)

Amanda Graham is widowed when her Confederate husband dies a hero's death on the battlefield of Manassas at the outbreak of the [American] Civil War. In addition to dealing with her grief, Amada is faced with the overwhelming realization that her family's survival is now solely dependent on her abilities to make ends meet. Although childless herself, Amanda is the guardian of a deceased friend's daughter, whose father, Lieutenant Samuel Prescott, is now a Union soldier. Lieutenant Colonel William Jackson, another old friend, eventually convinces Amanda to smuggle medical supplies for the Confederate army in an effort to support her family. Complicating the mix even further, both Prescott and Jackson are attracted to Amanda and, just as the north and south are so perilously divided at this point in time, so is her own heart as a result.

This novel is rightfully labeled as a romantic historical, rather than historical romance, because the good historical data throughout is much more than a sketchy "backdrop" for a love story. Amanda eventually resolves her divided loyalties where the two men are concerned. It will be interesting to see, as this "trilogy in the making" unfolds, where the author goes from here with the storyline. I found the characters very well drawn with the exception of Prescott's sister-in-law, Holly, who was painted too black and white overall for my tastes. In spite of that, I look forward with anticipation to eventually reading "the rest of the story".

~ Pat Maynard


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