The Belle and the Officer — B.J. Robinson, author

A peek into the lives of people, both Confederate and Yankee, who endured the American Civil War. This story is based around family history, but is pleasant fiction. There were ‘every day’ things that went on in the lives of people who were around the battlefields. They were affected by everything that went on during the war — shortages, hostility, feuding — without having actually been in battle.

There is more than one hero in the book — both men and women. Prejudice is examined with some scary scenes reminding us of events that should not be forgotten, even though forgiven. The trauma of being a severely wounded warrior adds one of the author’s famous ‘twists’ to the story. The story takes every sad event and brings it full circle to peace for the families who live in a small Mississippi town. When there is a need for a field hospital, another need to preserve a plantation home is met as the home becomes a healing place for some of the wounded.

Through the misery of war, true love sprouts and takes root. I like the way the author doesn’t make everything come out syrupy even for all of the characters. Some die, some are not the romantic love focus, but become the focus of greater love for souls and community. Some characters are mean and nasty, others hope filled and ambitious for their future after the war.

This is not an afternoon, speed read, but not difficult to stay with either. The author has opted to write about the people and their hearts, leaving battlefield logistics and statistics to others. There is no unnecessary or unseemly violence. No graphic sexual content written to fill more pages. This author favors at least one twist in a story so that just when you think you have it all figured out, something different happens, but she does the twisting gently and doesn’t wreck the flow of the story. You can read, lay it down and come back when you get another chance to read. Excellent for digital reading.