Cover image for A hope divided
A hope divided
1st Kensington trade paperback ed.
Physical Description:
266 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A novel of the Civil War"--Cover.

Includes discussion questions.


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A Library Journal Editors' Pick

The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor--but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . .

For all of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.

Praise for An Extraordinary Union

"Brimming with vivid characterization, heartfelt dialogue, and sensual sweetness."
-- Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

"An exceptional story that both educates and entertains and beautifully launches a unique series."
-- Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

Author Notes

Alyssa Cole is a science editor and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean. She founded the Jefferson Market Library Romance Book Club and has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

A self-taught scientist spying for the North rescues a Union soldier in the Confederate state of North Carolina.Marlie Lynch is the free-born daughter of a formerly enslaved medicine woman and a mysterious white father. Even though her connection to the landowning white Lynch family is not openly acknowledged, Marlie lives in their house and dines with the family. This nominal protection allows her to take risks for her cause. On the surface, she's collecting the herbs and roots that go into her medicinal decoctions. But she's also helping those less fortunate get to safety through the Underground Railroad and carrying books, food, and information in and out of the local prison camp. There, she meets the imprisoned soldier Ewan McCall. But Ewan is more than just another redheaded white boy fighting for the Union. He's a skilled interrogator and is tormented by the things he's done to extract information from captured Rebels. When Ewan seizes an opportunity to escape the prison, Marlie shelters him at the Lynch estate. But before long, the hatred and racism that surround Marlie's home invade her very family, and she flees with Ewan through the Carolina woods. The second book in Cole's Loyal League series (An Extraordinary Union, 2017) follows much the same pattern as the first. Again, Cole's heroine is gorgeously portrayed and powerful enough that readers will worship at her feet just as Ewan does. But if this book shows that Cole is settling into a pattern, readers won't want her to break the mold on book No. 3. Her prose is flawless. Her historical research is absorbing, and her characters are achingly human. This book is fantastic.As the war closes in around them, the line blurs between who is the rescuer and who is the rescued. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Marlie Lynch is more privileged than most, but her free papers and her family's protection offer little comfort when Confederate soldiers arrive and threaten her already-limited liberty. But in the quiet of her rooms, she is free to experiment and tinker with her herbs and medicinal concoctions, which help heal the wounds of soldiers, neighbors, and slaves alike. She is well respected in her small community for her work and for her name, and that is why no one suspects that she may be harboring a fugitive in the attic. Ewan McCall is used to silence and solitude. As a Union officer who has spent several years in Confederate prisons, he has acclimated to being alone with a book or just his thoughts. Yet while hidden in Marlie's secret room, all his thoughts are fixated on the beautiful and brilliant woman on the other side of the door. The intimacy of their seclusion is tantalizing, and the sexual tension sizzles as they dare to close that social divide. Thoughtfully portrayed characters with deep minds and passionate hearts make this second novel in Cole's Loyal League series, following An Extraordinary Union (2017), sparkle. Highly recommended for lovers of historical romance.--Giovanni, Kristina Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Trained at her mother's knee in herbal medicinal arts, freedwoman Marlie Lynch is taken in by her white father's family at Lynchwood. She spends her time crafting new remedies and secretly helping the Union cause, which includes hiding escaped prisoner Ewan McCall in her lab. Her uneasy peace is shattered when a vicious in-law invites the arrogant Commander Cahill and his ruthless Confederate Home Guard to move into the house. Before long, Marlie and Ewan are fleeing for their lives on the Underground Railroad, with peril close behind. A quietly courageous healer and a Union officer battle hatred, intolerance, and cruelty in a compelling story of the Civil War told from an often neglected point of view. VERDICT Exceptional historical detail and abundant literary and philosophical references guarantee this well-written story will appeal to both romance and historical fiction fans. Cole (An Extraordinary Union) lives in New York City. [See "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 9/1/17, p. 34.] © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.