Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
Ballantine, Apr 12 2011, $15.00
In 1861, President Lincoln asks Charles Francis Adams, the son and grandson of two presidents, to visit England on a critical espionage mission. Lincoln needs to know how England will react to the American internal conflict. Adams agrees to spy. As such, Charles and his son Henry travel to London.
At the same time Henry's friend from Virginia, medical student Baxter Sams, is at the Royal College of Surgeons. He is attracted to Julia Birch, daughter of Sir Walter Birch. Julia reciprocates his regard, but has issues with his being a slave owner whose brothers are fighting for the Confederacy. Charles and Henry learn the English are assisting the South in their war with arms and steel-clad warships. The blockade running Baxter returns to the States while Charles tries to prevent the English made warships from causing havoc on Northern shipping and ports.
Originally published as In the Lion's Den, Broken Promises is a terrific work of Civil War Era fiction that effortlessly merges the real account of Charles Adams with a romantic relationship subplot. Character driven as the audience sees deeply inside of the real personas (Charles and Henry); as well as the conflicting feelings that Englishwoman Julia has towards Baxter who she loves but loathes the inhumanity of owning people by him and his family. With just enough action to enhance the dysfunctional relationships, this is a wonderful Civil War drama.