BRAVE IN HEART – Emma Barry
Dauntless Love Series, Book 1
Crimson Romance (crimsonromance.com)
Middletown, Connecticut – June 1861
Theodore Ward—an attorney who followed his late father and uncle into the law—holds decided opinions on the looming war with the South and the freedom of slaves. His fiancée, Margaret Hamilton, is headmistress of a female seminary. She became impatient with Theo for not doing anything about his beliefs; he could have spoken and written articles on the subjects or even run for office, but he did nothing. A disillusioned Margaret broke off the engagement.
It's almost two years later and both attend a send-off celebration for a regiment of soldiers who are to leaving to join the war. Theo still loves Margaret and takes this opportunity to win her back. Margaret agrees to see him again, but tells him freely why she broke it off. Theo takes her admonishments to heart and resolves to change his life. What does he do? He enlists as an officer in the army. This is not exactly what Margaret wished for, but she accepts his proposal, and they are soon married. Margaret resigns from the seminary, and all too soon sees him off to war…while she stays behind with his mother in his house.
BRAVE IN HEART is a short novel with not a lot of external plot. The main themes of the story are Theo's and Margaret's growth and the evolution of their relationship…how they and their marriage are changed by war and separation. Other characters are his mother and her housekeeper and Theo's elderly partner. Three of Margaret's former pupils are also introduced and may be featured in further books. One could almost cast the war as a prime character; though the author doesn't depict much of actual battles, it affects them all.
BRAVE IN HEART serves up an out of the ordinary romance (sensuality included) as well as an interesting character study. I especially liked Theo.