Friday, September 13, 2013

Love Stays True

by Martha Rogers
Realms Publishers

It is April of 1885 and the War Between the States is over. Manfred and Edwin Whiteman are exchanged as prisoners as war for Union soldiers, and are now heading to their hometown of Bayou Sara, Louisiana. But the journey promises to be long, hard, and arduous, and that's only if nothing goes wrong along the way. Manfred wants to return the kindness shown by strangers as they go homeward, and is willing to be delayed a day or two in order to honor his promise. But when keeping his word means being waylaid by thieves and being thrown in jail, will he ever get home to his girl?
Sallie Dyer is awaiting word of her dearest Manfred. She doesn't even know if he's alive, because mail has been unreliable and with a war on, no more can be expected. She is determined to wait his return no matter how long it takes, even though her father is equally determined to let other suitors vie for her hand. When three of Manfred's brothers return, that still leaves Manfred and Edwin missing. Are they buried in some unmarked grave far, far away from home? Or are they, even now, returning home to them?

It was fun to see Edwin grow from an angry, taciturn young man into a mature, responsible man that his family could be proud of. I know Manfred and Sallie's story was the main focus of the story, but the side stories of their families and friends really stood out to me. Ultimately, all their experiences in the war change their lives forever, and they all learn lessons about life, love and what it means to come back as a country, as family, and as a community. I was very impressed by Rogers's sweet and poignant portrayal of what times were like after the Civil War; the people, their strength, but most of all their faith in the same God that allowed a country to be divided. This was the best post Civil War novel I have ever read.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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