Serving for a brief time as a nurse after the devastating battle of Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard. But even though Maddy makes her home in the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a soldier from the North.
However, Colonel Haywood has never forgotten the beautiful nurse, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. But while rubbing elbows with army officers and cavalry generals and war department officials in her aunt and uncle’s palatial home, Maddy overhears plans for a Confederate attack in northern Virginia. She knows passing along this information may save the life of her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends?
Maddy’s heart is pulled between wanting to be loyal to those who care for her and wanting to help the man she believes is on the right side of the conflict. Two men love her. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring a devastation of their own?
Madeline has been a widow for two years, her husband killed in one of the first engagements in the Civil War, when she meets General Downing in Cashtown, Pennsylvania. It’s the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg and both armies have taken their toll on the area. When her home is destroyed as a result of the fighting, Maddy feels she has no choice but to seek refuge with an aunt in Virginia. This means she must cross the border between the United States and the Confederacy. She also agrees to the General’s request to write to her but how will their correspondence last given that they will be on opposite sides of that border?
The Lady and the Officer is a romance that happens to be set during the Civil War. The emphasis is more on the love triangle than on the difficulties of having a relationship during the war. The reader easily understands that there is attraction at first sight between Maddy and Downing, but the first meeting between Maddy and Haywood isn’t described and Maddy’s experience in the makeshift hospital is summed up in one paragraph. Personally, I would’ve preferred a more in-depth look at how the war impacted Maddy’s life than what was written. As a result, I couldn’t feel the emotion in this book that I’ve felt in other Civil War novels. I couldn’t get a real sense of the danger facing Maddy and her family due to her actions. Her uncle works for Confederate President Davis, but it doesn’t seem that he’ll be hurt by his relationship to his Yankee niece. I was also left wondering what happened to Maddy’s family after Richmond fell, but there’s no mention of it.
Bottom line: if you want a romance for an afternoon, this is a nice little read. If you want something more substantial set during the Civil War, there are other titles I’d recommend.
Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my complimentary electronic copy of The Lady and the Officer, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Have you read The Lady and the Officer? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Harvest House
Publication Date: 01 August 2014
Page Count: 352