Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Review: Lori Austin’s AN OUTLAW IN WONDERLAND – Sizzling Civil War Love Story with Some Unusual Aspects

Austin writes very well and her books are a pleasure to read. The characters are always well developed and their emotions clear. This story is more unusual than the first in the series. It takes place during and after the Civil War and for part of the time we are in a Confederate prison. And, the hero and heroine are separated for years, which may not appeal to all readers. Still, it’s a captivating story.

The story begins in Gettysburg in 1863 when Ethan Marsh, a Union doctor, is asked to be a spy in a confederate hospital for the Intelligence Service. Hoping to end the war sooner, Ethan accepts the his job in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, caring not what uniform the boys wear whose lives he saves. He dons the disguise of an Irishman, adopting his father’s accent, and takes along his 17-year-old brother, Mikey, a tracker.

In Chimborazo, Ethan meets Annabeth (“Beth”) Phelan, who volunteers to bring comfort and food to the Confederate soldiers. Ethan soon recognizes Beth has talent as a nurse and requests she be assigned to him. Though it will brand her as his whore, Beth accepts the job because she loves the challenge of the work. As they work together to save lives, Ethan and Beth fall in love. When Beth learns Ethan is a spy for the enemy, she becomes a Confederate spy to expose him.

The plot has many twists and turns and Ethan and Annabeth each have secrets they keep to themselves and lies they must tell. I loved Ethan—a man every woman would.

You may wonder about the cover. I did. After all, Annabeth always wears skirts and does not carry a gun. Nor is she an “outlaw.” I kept thinking they got the wrong cover on this book. However midway through the story, when the war ends, much changes and Beth becomes a very different heroine. And Wonderland, should you ask, is an outlaw’s hideaway.

This is book 2 in Austin’s Once Upon a Time in the West series. The first actually begins after the second and the two are entwined in a very clever way, but each can be read as a stand alone. The third is the story of Annabeth’s brother, Luke.


No comments:

Post a Comment