His Steadfast Love, by Golden Keyes Parsons

book titleIt isn’t until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.

It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war—and whose side is He on?

Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact.

It is 151 years since the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Texas seceded from the United States in early 1861.While not all Texans favored secession, most supported the southern cause and many Texan men joined the Army of the Confederacy. Indianola – the setting for this novel – was a major port on the Gulf Coast at the time and was therefore a target for the Union army. Over the course of the war, although they were far from the major battles, residents of Indianola endured food shortages and the constant sight of Union soldiers.

This was a novel in which I had great difficulty immersing myself. I have my copy on an e-reader and, after reading the first page, I had to go back and check that I’d not actually missed the real beginning. The reader is taken straight to the first meeting between Amanda and Kent. I also presume the last line of the novel is supposed to connect to that first meeting, but it doesn’t feel like a proper ending. In between we get a series of snapshots of the main characters during the four years of the war. Sometimes, the chapters flowed from one scene to the next. Other times, the narrative went from one month to the next or six months later. The result was that it was hard to stay focused.

His Steadfast Love is not so much a love story as a tale of how a southern family survives the war. I didn’t feel much there was much of a connection between Amanda and Kent, while I could see the understanding between Amanda and her slave, Washington. It is actually Washington’s story that resonated most with me and I wondered how his life changed after the war. Otherwise, I couldn’t connect with any of the main characters. There are descriptions of battle action and a prisoner of war camp, but they are tame in comparison to some of the non-fiction books I’ve read on the subject.

Interestingly, the town of Indianola, Texas, no longer exists. Ten years after the ending of the Civil War, the town was devastated by a massive hurricane. The town was rebuilt but was destroyed by another hurricane and a fire in 1886. In 1887, the post office was closed and the town declared dead. Today, most of the town’s site is under water.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Page Count: 336

Publication Date: 01 November 2011

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I downloaded my free copy of His Steadfast Love from Thomas Nelson on the NetGalley website. I was under no obligation to write a review.

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