I love historical romances, and while I’ll never turn down a good Regency I’m getting more and more interested in other places and periods. The Civil War era is often ignored by Alyssa Cole has stepped in with two well researched and plain awesome books, the beginning of her Loyal League series.
In An Extraordinary Union Elle is a former slave that is working as one again, but this time undercover, to spy for the Union Army. Her path crosses with Malcolm who is also undercover but for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. They discover a Confederate plot and end up teaming up and doing all their sneaky spy stuff to save the day.
To be honest sneaky spy stuff is not my thing but I really like this book anyway. I love that Elle is smart and has tons of agency and doesn’t let Malcolm’s charm get to her. The interracial romance has lots of obstacles, as you can imagine, which makes getting over them all the sweeter. So while An Extraordinary Union isn’t exactly my sort of thing it made me excited to pick up the next book.
A Hope Divided follows Marlie, a free black woman that learned the art of making tisanes, poultices, and other medicines from her mother. She’s a scientist type, always extending her knowledge and finding ways to hone her craft. While she’s at it she attends to men at a Confederate prison, using the access to pass coded messages and aid those who are fleeing the South. There she meets Ewan, who is working for the Union from the inside, and they end up saving each other in turns as they do their thing.
I liked this book even more than the first, mostly because the spying stuff wasn’t as nail-biting. We get to follow another interracial couple navigate their relationship and this period of history in an unvarnished, unflinching way. I learned a ton and eagerly await further installments.
Perfect for those who like historical romances that are not set in ye olde England and are true to their time without pulling any punches.