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An Extraordinary Union gives us a glimpse of Civil War era south through the eyes of Elle Burns, a former slave who is an undercover spy on a plantation, working for the Union. I am used to reading historical novels through rose tinted glasses. Caucasian lady, Duchess or lower class girl catches the eye of her also caucasian Duke, Viscount, or sometimes club owner. They meet, don’t want to fall in love, but lust after each other. An Extraordinary Union was a refreshingly honest interracial historical romance. Elle as a spy, is undercover in the role of slave. It was seriously disturbing to read about how slaves were treated as property and animals. How slave women were abused by owners, mistresses and guests, and how their voices were not heard. It also gave impetus to Elle’s character, and why she would put herself back in this subjugated position to fight for others freedom.
Malcolm, her love interest, is an undercover Pinkerton detective, also working for the Union. He is a guest in Elle’s household, there to try to retrieve information from the plantation owner about soldier movements in the area. He and Elle meet, and there is an immediate attraction. However, they both struggle against that attraction because of society’s mores. Elle’s self hatred for being attracted to Malcolm, a white man, made this book ring true and those honest feelings invested the reader in the outcome of that relationship. Rooting for them against all odds. The fact that Malcolm’s background as an immigrant from Scotland, where his family was forced to flee for their lives gave them a commonality that added to his character and gave the reader an understanding of why they would risk their lives for each other. An Extraordinary Union, indeed.
There was more to this book than the interracial relationship. It was also part suspense, mystery and action thriller. Overall, a very good story. However, for me, it was the love story that was told with such honesty that made me enjoy it so much.
GIVEAWAY- A copy of An Extraordinary Union signed by the author! (US only) expires 6/5/17
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