~ About the Book ~
Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes…
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded…and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.
~ Excerpt ~
Lydia huffed and settled back into her seat. The New Englander sat there looking all too confident and sure of himself. Nothing she hated more than an arrogant man. Except perhaps an arrogant rebel—so certain breaking with England was the only way. They were instead destroying the colonies with this war and murdering good men. Like her father.
She lifted a corner of the thick velvet curtains. Only two and a half blocks to go. She’d suspected Wilsby of his inclinations toward the rebels for a while now. The arrival of Daniel Reid seemed only to solidify both their guilt, and if she was wise, she could use them to her advantage. “We’ll be there soon.” Lydia dropped the folds of crimson curtain.
She met his gaze. “Why do you say that?”
He shook his head and looked to his cane. “No reason.”
“I do wish you would be more forthright, Mr. Reid, before our journey comes to an end. I can help you.”
She gave him a knowing smile. “Before I incriminate myself, tell me truthfully that you are a Patriot.”
He studied her for a full minute or more, the methodical plod of hooves and the squeak of the axels marking the passage of time. He sighed and raised his hand. “All right. Now tell me how you plan to assist me?”
I knew it. She grinned and slid to the edge of her seat. “We have a British major billeted with us. And my sister’s husband is very loyal to the crown—an outspoken man. You would be surprised how often our table is laden with talk of military strategy and plans.” She tipped her head slightly to one side, feigning the look of innocence. The bait was laid for him. The question remained as to whether he would bite.
~ Review ~
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive! It might be clichéd to say so, but this book really did keep me on the edge of my seat. By the time I was halfway through, I couldn’t read fast enough to satisfy my burning need to know how on earth this story would work out.
Lydia Reynolds is a strong, determined character, but she plays a dangerous game in this novel. Having lost the last member of her immediate family a year ago when her sister died in childbirth, all she has left to her is a cottage bequeathed by her maternal grandparents—in Brighton, England. Despite her brother-in-law having inherited her father’s shipping business, he refuses to give her passage on one of his ships. And so she strikes a bargain with the British major billeting with them: She will furnish him with information regarding the Swamp Fox in return for passage to England.
Daniel Reid is the key to getting this information, but in order for him to trust her, she convinces him that she, too, is a patriot, and supplies him with carefully tailored information on the British in return for information on the Swamp Fox’s whereabouts. But Daniel is both too trusting and too noble; he doesn’t want to share any information that might endanger Lydia. Lydia, on the other hand, quickly becomes all-too-aware of how much she is endangering Daniel’s life.
The plot builds to a massive crisis of conscience and loyalties for Lydia as she realises just how deeply ensnared she has become by her own game. There were several points in this novel that had me at a complete loss as to how the story could possibly resolve satisfactorily, and yet when it came, the ending was both gripping and completely believable. The romance built up slowly but surely and became an integral part of why the ending was as gripping as it was. And through it all, Lydia searches for the God her mother had known, but who has never taken a prominent place in her own life.
This was a fabulous second instalment in the Hearts at War series, and I can’t wait for the third.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Series: #2 Hearts at War
Release date: 7 April 2017
Publisher: Pelican Book Group
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Angela K Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada with her “hero” and three munchkins.