cover image Heart of a Dove

Heart of a Dove

Abbie Williams. Central Avenue (www.central-, $15.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-77168-014-1

Set just after the U.S. Civil War, this passionate opening volume of a projected series successfully melds historical narrative, women’s issues, and breathless romance with horsewomanship, trailside deer-gutting, and alluring smidgeons of Celtic ESP. Lorissa Blake’s father and brothers die fighting for the Confederacy and her mother succumbs to typhoid in 1865. The angel-faced 15-year-old is sold into prostitution at the hands of vile, sadistic Yankees, an ordeal that Williams describes in excruciating detail. After a few years, Lorie is rescued by Angus Warfield, a brothel customer who recognizes her as his old comrade’s daughter. Angus falls for her, while Lorie lusts after Angus’s close friend, courtly blond Southerner Sawyer Davis. Loving flashback tales of prewar Southern frontier family life, the raptures of incipient love, and the emotional agonies of the love triangle are all rather overdone, but Williams’s characterizations ring true, especially when she adds tender touches like Lorie’s devotion to Sawyer’s horse, Whistler. This wrenching tale is appropriate for the well-researched, brutal setting. (Jan.)