In Miller’s (Just Kate, 2018, etc.) Civil War novel, Caroline Hammond lives on a farm near Gettysburg, where she has not even had time to mourn her husband’s death in the Union Army before the war comes close.
After she hears her husband, Jacob, was wounded at Chancellorsville, Caroline goes to Washington, D.C., where Army quartermaster Capt. Rogan McBride helps her find him in a makeshift hospital. She manages to arrive before Jacob dies, the first of a series of improbabilities that propel this book. She returns to the farm, where her husband’s friend and hired man, former slave Enoch Flynn, helps her bury Jacob and tells Caroline he has taken in Jubie, a pregnant runaway slave, after helping her escape a slave catcher. Not long after, Capt. McBride arrives with supplies to store at Hammond Farm during the impending battle of Gettysburg. McBride happens to run into his best friend from military school, Capt. Bridger Winslow, during the battle, rescues him, and brings him to the farm to recover from his wounds along with dozens of other wounded soldiers. Predictably, both captains fall for Caroline, Enoch and Jubie fall for each other, and other threads of the story are tied up neatly, hurried along by further coincidences. Miller peppers the book with overused phrases, such as “precious child,” and “the lonesome whistle of a faraway train.” She also threads her story with too much exposition, such as telling Jacob’s story for 10 pages while he’s lying wounded on the battlefield. Also predictably, the characters act according to type: Capt. Winslow is a Southern rake, Caroline, a sweet and stoic widow, and so on.
An uninspiring historical romance.