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UnavailableAbove and Beyond: A Novel of the Civil War
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Above and Beyond: A Novel of the Civil War

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Above and Beyond: A Novel of the Civil War

ratings:
4/5 (4 ratings)
Length:
287 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 21, 2013
ISBN:
9780979600081
Format:
Book

Description

A romantic tale of two people thrown
together by war, and torn apart by Destiny.

Above and Beyond is the winner of the prestigious John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and is the third romantic historical fiction novel by award-winning author Jessica James.

Charismatic Confederate cavalry commander Douglas Benton would much rather flirt with a woman than work with one. But Rebel spy Sarah Duvall soon teaches him that faith is more important than glory—and love more important than life.

Publisher:
Released:
May 21, 2013
ISBN:
9780979600081
Format:
Book

About the author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of small town women's fiction, suspense, historical fiction, and patriotic fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day. She is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy. By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, duty, and dedication into each book, she attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military—past and present—and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service.

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What people think about Above and Beyond

4.0
4 ratings / 2 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    Faith, Hope, and Love Abide......but the greatest of these is love. Those words continued to go through my mind as I read this deeply moving novel by Jessica James. Above and Beyond is a book which I will not soon forget. It is beautifully written and the focus is on love conquering all.Sarah Duvall is an outcast in her Virginia community because she married a Union officer during the Civil War. It was the ultimate betrayal of her country in the eyes of her neighbors who are staunch Confederate supporters. Following the death of her husband, she entertains Union soldiers, and it is believed that she assists them in every way. Even her own brother has disowned her. However, all is not as it seems. There is so much more to Sarah, a woman of deep faith. She could not love the South more, and she secretly provides information to the Confederate forces. Not even the Confederate cavalry commander, under whom her brother serves, is aware of the source of the vital military information he has been receiving. He only knows that it has led him to victories on the field of battle time and again.The Cavalry commander is Douglas Benton. A man loved and admired throughout Virginia, but a man despised by the Union troops who have been trying to snare him. Benton manages to discover that Sarah Duvall is the one who has secretly assisted him in defeating the enemy. That discovery causes him to resist continued contact with her. A woman surely has no place in a man's fight. Yet, he carries her in his thoughts constantly. Has she wound her way into his heart as well?Circumstances place Douglas and Sarah together in a tragic moment. Benton has been tricked by one of the many women he has kept company with in the past, and he and his men are in danger of capture or death. By this time, Union commanders realize that Sarah Duvall is a spy who has been gathering information from them and then passing it on to the Confederacy. If caught, the Union would "hang her without saying grace."The only way to save Benton and his men is for Sarah to make the ultimate sacrifice. She disappears and Benton fears for her safety. A Union private reaches Benton with information confirming Sarah's capture and execution. Benton must finally accept that he will never again see Sarah in this world, but part of him refuses to believe she is really gone. He does hang onto the slim thread of hope that, by some miracle, she is not really dead. If Sarah still lives, he promises God that he will let her go. He blames himself for her death and will not forgive himself for that horror. He vows that he will no longer be part of her life if she has been allowed to survive. As he is a man of undying courage and duty, he will abide by that vow no matter what. He receives no additional word about Sarah's death. He is heartbroken and is now a man without hope, simply carrying out his duties in an unattached way. "Love does not die easily."Love goes on beyond the grave, however, and the theme of this story is one in which love truly does conquer all. You have to read this amazing story to find out what happens in the end. I highly recommend it, but advise that you keep a box of tissues by your side as you read. I can't remember the last time I shed so many tears because of a book. The story is one of deep faith, unfailing hope, and abiding love. It is simply wonderful!
  • (3/5)
    Like this author’s other work I’ve read, she still knows how to tell a dramatic and emotional tale. The reader is sucked in despite the pitfalls and down sides to the book. I zoomed through inside 24 hours, even despite being at work for 9 hours of the day; it was that engrossing.The author keeps her skills at historical setting and details sharp. The harshness of battle and its effects see thorough exploration, not being softened for her readers. The tension of a territory constantly changing hands during such a harsh war comes through clearly. Sarah’s situation being caught between two sides makes the reader empathize with her and her struggle.As I mentioned, the emotional draw for this novel doesn’t let up. Despite some other drawbacks interwoven with this aspect of the book, I still found myself crying, smiling, and feeling rage at all the appropriate places. The author has a real talent for drawing her readers into the story and never letting them go. Not every writer can do this. Ms. James has a special talent at it.Now for those drawbacks… First off are our two main leads. They’re likable enough so that I can relate to them and be invested in their relationship (see emotional draw paragraph above). However, they are far too perfect. Constantly described as such, the reader is hit by a 2x4 in how many times this point is stressed. Brave, strong, gorgeous, pure, dignified, angelic… I mean, really?! Nobody is this perfect. And the point is driven home at least every other page…I also felt the ending was drawn out far too long. We had the fantastic, suspenseful story going strong, like a runaway train on a downward grade. Climax hits, and the audience holds its breathe in anticipation of a great resolution. Then we get this book’s ending. The book drags its feet in giving us the closing scene, going from scene to scene expounding on how perfect our leads are and how they don’t feel like they deserve each other. It’s enough to make me grind my teeth in exasperation.The book excels in setting and emotional draw, even despite the character and ending drawbacks. Yet, ending the book on such a note is a big bummer as that’s the closing the reader is left with. I was also glad to see these characters leave my reading experience. I might have loved their romance, but the people themselves would not have been people I’d like to know in real life. Read for the emotions if nothing else, though. Those are powerful and suspenseful enough.