This fast-paced historical novel set during the last bloody months of the Civil War is a well-crafted blend of action and romance. At the end of 1864, idealistic young Union nurse Lorena Blaire volunteers to infiltrate the Confederate army in Tennessee via the medical corps of the brilliant and elusive General John Bell Hood, and to report his movements to the Union commanders. Convinced of the righteousness of her mission, Lorena sends word that Hood's First Texas Cavalry Regiment, devastated by the Battle of Franklin, is moving to Nashville. But Lorena's moral certainty gradually dissolves as she assists surgeon Jonathan Cross and witnesses his attempts to save lives under primitive conditions, with no medicine or supplies. Drawn to this gentle, compassionate man, Lorena is horrified when she realizes that, because of her actions, Union forces are bearing down on Nashville to destroy the weak Confederates, including her beloved Jonathan. Veteran western writer Bean's (Pancho) research is solid, and he is at his best re-creating the horrors of war. Though the dialogue is sometimes stilted, the novel never loses balance or focus. The traditional romance audience may find the novel too graphic in its descriptions of warfare, battlefront medicine and (in one brutal scene) rape. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1996 Release date: 12/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-8125-4596-8
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