Monday, August 3, 2009

The Widow's War-Mary Mackey

The Widow's War
Mary Mackey
Berkley, Sep 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425227916

In 1853 in Rio de Janeiro, Carolyn “Carrie” Vinton knows she cannot grieve the loss of her fiancé, abolitionist Dr. William Saylor, as she carries his child although she is not sure what to do. That is until William's stepbrother, Deacon Presgrove, arrives in Brazil from the United States and proposes marriage; insisting it is a family matter of honor. Feeling she has no choice with her being pregnant, she accepts. They return to Kansas as husband and wife only for her to find out that she has fallen for a ruse; as William is alive and Deacon’s family are slavery sympathizers.

Bleeding Kansas continues unabated and deadly. Carrie disregards her safety to find William. As the battle on the Plains remains heated and deadly, Carrie finds her beloved, but he and their and their child are kidnapped by pro-slavers. Carrie recruits the help of an African-American cavalry unit to free her beloved and their son

This is a great 1850s historical thriller that showcases how in the territory on the Great Plains the prime issue was whether a new state entered on the Free or Slavery Side of the debate. The story line is loaded with action while providing a powerful look through fully developed protagonists of Bleeding Kansas where many believe the Civil War first began rather than at Fort Sumter. Mary Mackey provides a strong Americana saga as the decade leading to the war is bloody.

Harriet Klausner

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