A Hope Divided

A Hope Divided

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

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Title:A Hope Divided
Author:Alyssa Cole
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Hope Divided Reviews

  • Kay Taylor Rea

    I generally don't rate books I haven't read yet, but this book isn't gonna sit here with a 1-star rating because of a troll, so FIVE STARS. (Also, if you have not read the first book in this series,

    , DO SO IMMEDIATELY, IT IS WONDERFUL.)

    update:

    I have now officially read this book and it was so good I failed to give Dianna directions while we were driving and we got lost because I was busy reading.

  • Mei

    I really like how this woman writes! :)

    The heroine here was weaker and more protected than the one in the previous book, but I appreciated how he grown up, even if I, and I suppose nobody else, didn't like the reasons that forced her to!

    She is also a mixed race free woman, but where the previous heroine was actively fight for the Union, here Marlie is not fighting but helping either with care of the prisoners of war or with hiding the escaped slaves.

    Still, her help is done with the protection o

    I really like how this woman writes! :)

    The heroine here was weaker and more protected than the one in the previous book, but I appreciated how he grown up, even if I, and I suppose nobody else, didn't like the reasons that forced her to!

    She is also a mixed race free woman, but where the previous heroine was actively fight for the Union, here Marlie is not fighting but helping either with care of the prisoners of war or with hiding the escaped slaves.

    Still, her help is done with the protection of the powerful family: her half sister's. So, she's somehow respected and allowed more freedom with her herbalist's experiments. She doesn't need to work inorder to maintain herself. She has a home where she's loved and all her needs are met.

    The hero, on the other hand is an active fighter for the Union, even if his fight is rather horrific: she's a torturer! But he's also a prisoner in the camp where Marlie is tending and helping.

    When he escapes, wonded, he's brought to Marlie for help.

    Unfortunately, the half-brother comes home with a harpy of a wife who brings into their, until then peaceful home, the Confederate forces! She also hates Marlie because of the colour of her skin and because she cannot accept that her husband's half sister is allowed freedom and respect!

    All that hate forces Malie to flee to save herself and she's forced to feel on her own skin the real treatment the slaves are subjected to.

    Fortunately she has the hero's, Ewan's help.

    Ewan is a very curious character. He's alsmot robotic in some of his behaviours. But, he starts having feelings for Marlie and is rather clumsy with her.

    I liked him a lot. He was just what Marlie needed to make her best come out!

    A very unusual pair and a very well written story!

    I'm looking forward to more books from Ms. Cole!

  • Rhode

    One of the best books I’ve read this year.

    Even before I saw the bibliography at the back, it was obvious this was exquisitely researched to bring nuances of the Civil War to life. Pages 20-21 in particular set in a POW camp in the Carolinas, where noncombatants such as local Quakers, farmers too poor to own slaves and Confederate Army runaways are mixed with captured Union soldiers, reminded us the war was no simple North vs South matter.

    Race too is such a wonder and relief here. I basically w

    One of the best books I’ve read this year.

    Even before I saw the bibliography at the back, it was obvious this was exquisitely researched to bring nuances of the Civil War to life. Pages 20-21 in particular set in a POW camp in the Carolinas, where noncombatants such as local Quakers, farmers too poor to own slaves and Confederate Army runaways are mixed with captured Union soldiers, reminded us the war was no simple North vs South matter.

    Race too is such a wonder and relief here. I basically want to shove this book into the hands of about half my white girlfriends and say, “See?!” Diverse perspective on the world is everything.

    Plus, the language. It’s not so old fashioned that it’s hard to read, but the author drops in small things to help anchor historically-minded readers of the setting - such as on page 21 when the hero uses biblical metaphors “beast of burden” and “fatted calf” as a natural part of his thinking. (The Bible, as one of the few books many households owned, formed a basis for common phrases and rhythms of speech then, as evidenced in President Lincoln’s speeches.)

    The herbal lore was better researched than any other historical I’ve read, including details you won’t find in Gabaldon’s books set in a similar area. For example, I never knew dandelion roots could be used for pain.

    Feminism - ah feminism! If you avoid romance genre m/f romances because you can’t stomach the sexism or overly pink/blued gender roles, this is the romance for you. The author proves a feminist romance can be written, even in an historical with unequal power roles. It’s such a relief to read a heroine who knows her worth and asserts it as a normal stance. She’s not some ‘the only’, or uniquely kickass, heroine. She’s an intelligent adult woman getting along with life. Books like this are such a relief because I don’t have to keep wondering if I’ll need to flinch as I’m reading.

    If you peeled away all these elements - the historicity, race relations, feminism, healing lore, the wartime adventures - and left just the romance, this book would still shine. The hero is a wiry red-headed guy who is slightly neuroatypical I guess, or just perhaps too intelligent and anal for the regular world. He’s awkward, self aware, hopeless at small talk, sweet. He wasn’t a great soldier, and sometimes he has to be rescued by others. The romance is slow burn, far more about character than chemistry although the chemistry is there. I really appreciated that.

    Lastly, I liked the book’s thoughtfulness around killing. Even with starkly obvious bad guys plus wartime, both characters hesitate to kill although they are given easy opportunities to. In an age where our pop culture and news shows us people being murdered left, right and center, this hesitance has meaning and import.

    Best book of the year, did I say? Maybe upgrade to decade.

  • Tina

    Been sitting on my review on this for awhile.

    This installment of the series is quite a bit different from the first book. Our intrepid heroes in this one are also spies for the North, but unlike Elle and Malcolm from the first book, Marlies and Ewan's spying isn't as overt.

    Marlie is a free woman in the south living with her white half-sister who accepts her as a member of the family. Her mother was a black conjure woman and also a practitioner of hoodoo root magic. I have to pause here and say

    Been sitting on my review on this for awhile.

    This installment of the series is quite a bit different from the first book. Our intrepid heroes in this one are also spies for the North, but unlike Elle and Malcolm from the first book, Marlies and Ewan's spying isn't as overt.

    Marlie is a free woman in the south living with her white half-sister who accepts her as a member of the family. Her mother was a black conjure woman and also a practitioner of hoodoo root magic. I have to pause here and say I loved the first chapter, the language of this type of medicine woman felt very familiar to me. This is a long tradition that still lives today. My 80 y.o. grandmother is a strong believer of root magic. I like how the author allowed Marlie's practice to lightly straddle the line of simple wise woman medicine work and some mystical belief. It doesn't quite cross the line into anything really paranormal... but there is a bit of an air.

    Like Elle in the previous book, Marlie's status as a free woman is somewhat precarious as she later learns. Her secure life is shaken when she realizes that her acceptance as a daughter of the house can't protect her from people with power who might want to see her back into chattel slavery.

    The hero in this one is Ewan, brother of Malcolm from the first book. We first meet him as he has allowed himself to be imprisoned into a southern prison to gather intelligence. He has special skills and can affect a break anytime he wants. I liked Ewan he was bookish and inward thinking and he was a woke white bae. When one of the prison guards refers to the slaves as workers, Ewan disagrees with his terminology.

    Marlie and Ewan are thrown into each others' company and at various times com to each others' rescue.

    This is a nicely written book, very thoughtful and paints a good nuanced picture of two people who are living in specific space in history and letting us peek into their lives as they navigate it.

    I especially appreciate the bit of writing where the author relays the dignity and humanity of the enslaved without it sounding pedantic or patronizing.

    I hope this series continues.

  • Taryn Pierson

    My favorite thing about Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League historical romance series (other than the sexy bits) is the way she goes beyond the typical narratives of the Civil War and highlights characters and situations you probably haven’t read about before (but the sexy bits are great too!).

    In A Hope Divided, the second installment in the series, main character Marlie is a free black woman, the daughter of a former slave and her white master. As an adult, Marlie is mostly left to live as she pleases,

    My favorite thing about Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League historical romance series (other than the sexy bits) is the way she goes beyond the typical narratives of the Civil War and highlights characters and situations you probably haven’t read about before (but the sexy bits are great too!).

    In A Hope Divided, the second installment in the series, main character Marlie is a free black woman, the daughter of a former slave and her white master. As an adult, Marlie is mostly left to live as she pleases, but all that changes when a Union soldier escapes from a Confederate prison and takes shelter in her home. His presence puts Marlie at great risk, and she tries not to get too close to him, but their close quarters and shared intellectual pursuits draw them together. Then the Home Guard, whose job is to round up and punish Confederate deserters, takes up residence in Marlie’s house as well, and their situation becomes truly dire.

    Cole says in the Author’s Note, “The pop culture narrative has been flattened into a few two-dimensional stories...I hope this helps Americans see that even when we seem the most divided, there are always, always, people fighting for freedom in places we are told there are none. That should not be forgotten.” You see why I love this author? I’m going to carry that little nugget of encouragement with me and remind myself of it when things seem hopeless.

    If you haven’t read

    , the first book in the series, I highly recommend it as well!

    More book recommendations by me at

  • Ashley

    I was not pleased that the first book in this series didn't really click with me. So many people enjoyed it! I wanted in on the party. But

    didn't gel with me, so I rated it three and a half stars and moved on with my life, hoping that book two would be more my style. And it was! Oh, yay.

    Something that I did really appreciate in the first book and that holds true for this one as well is that it's really good Civil War-era historical fiction. Cole clearl

    I was not pleased that the first book in this series didn't really click with me. So many people enjoyed it! I wanted in on the party. But

    didn't gel with me, so I rated it three and a half stars and moved on with my life, hoping that book two would be more my style. And it was! Oh, yay.

    Something that I did really appreciate in the first book and that holds true for this one as well is that it's really good Civil War-era historical fiction. Cole clearly did her research, and the plot and the characters are informed by their historical circumstances. It's just that with this one I got the added benefit of also thinking the leads had chemistry and their romance felt earned.

    Marlie Lynch left her mother's house at the age of thirteen to live with her white relatives. Her white father died, and her white sister wanted to take her in and provide for her. Marlie's mother wanted her to have as much opportunity in her life as possible. But Marlie didn't want to leave her mother to live with her white relatives, even if they do their best to love her and treat her equally, though she grows to love them and appreciates the privilege that her sheltered circumstances allows her. She uses her mother's root woman teachings and builds onto them a foundation of science. She has a laboratory in her rooms, where she makes medicine that she both uses as a healer, and sells. With the onset of the war, she and her sister (who are Unionists, Southerners sympathetic to the North) are part of the underground railroad, and frequently make trips to the nearby prisoner of war camp to help the prisoners.

    This is where she meets Ewan McCall, a POW who used to be a counterintelligence agent. Over the course of months, they strike up a tentative friendship as Marlie brings him books to read, writing notes in the margins and arguing about philosophy. They both secretly begin crushing pretty hard on each other. And then Ewan escapes, taking up residence in Marlie's secret room, and their relationship develops from there.

    I'm finding it sort of hard to talk about this book, actually, because there were a surprising amount of layers. It's not just a simple love story. Marlie and Ewan both have their own issues to work through. Marlie has a hard time trusting anyone with her heart, which is still sore from being given away by her mother to a white family who, despite their best intentions, never forget that she's black. And Ewan is convinced he can't be trusted. Stemming from his abusive childhood with an alcoholic father who eventually committed suicide, he has kept his emotions under strict control since then, worried that he would also become a monster. Feelings which are exacerbated by his job as a counterintelligence agent, where he tortures people for information, and sleeps well at night afterwards. He can't reconcile what he sees as the terrible things he's done, even though he knows doing them helped save people's lives and furthered a cause he believes in. And then of course, there's the issue that she's black and he's very white. He's described as having shocking red hair and a darker beard. Like so:

    Actually, their romance isn't always the main focus here, which surprised me. There was a lot of focus on their character arcs individually, and their histories, and a lot of focus as well on the war. The villain here is a Confederate soldier who leads the Home Guard, who are in charge of hunting down deserters and skulkers (people who refuse to join the army for various reasons, including religion like the Quakers, poor whites who can't afford slaves and don't want to lose their breadwinners to the war, and people who are Unionists or abolitionists). Cole writes in the author's note at the end that she was fascinated by stories about people in the South also fighting back in their own ways, which are narratives that don't get told a lot in stories about the Civil War.

    All in all, I'm definitely glad I gave Cole another chance as an author, and I'm even more excited now to read her contemporary royals series that's starting later this year.

  • Deanne Patterson

    This is a beautiful continuation as # 2 of the Loyal League series. The author has done her research on the Civil War times and the book has left me looking forward to a continuation of the series.

    Highly recommended for lovers of historical romance.

    Pub Date 28 Nov 2017

    Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

  • Giedre

    4.5/5

    Even better than the first book. I just wished for a less rushed ending, or a longer snippet of the hero and the heroine recuperating/readjusting after what happened throughout the book. That said, can't recommend it enough.

  • Lover of Romance

    I have read Alyssa Cole before so I came into this book with high expectations especially with it being set in this historical period surrounding the conflicts of the Civil War. For the most part there were many redeemable qualities about this story, there is great histrical context, the characters are in depth and captivating and so very unique. However for some reason the writing didn't grab me. Now I had read Cole's contemporary romance not too long ago and LOVED it. So I just didn't expect t

    I have read Alyssa Cole before so I came into this book with high expectations especially with it being set in this historical period surrounding the conflicts of the Civil War. For the most part there were many redeemable qualities about this story, there is great histrical context, the characters are in depth and captivating and so very unique. However for some reason the writing didn't grab me. Now I had read Cole's contemporary romance not too long ago and LOVED it. So I just didn't expect to struggle with this one. I ended up having to skim through most of it, I probably would have set it aside earlier, but I really wanted to give this one a chance and it was also a ARC via Netgalley. I still plan on reading this author in the future, it probably was just me since everyone else has raved about this book!! I will say that this book offers many qualities that will appeal to a variety of readers especially if you are looking for a story steeped in history and real life characters...then you will enjoy this one!!

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