THE WIDOW’S WAR, Mary Mackey, Berkley Trade Paperback,9/1/09,$15.00US/$18.50CAN, pb, 368pp.
Carolyn Vinton and Dr. William Saylor, both abolitionists were to get married, when he suddenly disappears. As the family assumes he is dead, Carrie is left grieving, pregnant and alone. When Deacon Presgrove, William’s stepbrother offers to give the baby a name, Carrie accepts his offer to wed.
It is 1853 in the years heating up to the Civil War. The Kansas Territory is a battle ground between pro-slavery and the abolitionist factions. Carrie soon learns that her father in law, the famous senator is pro slavery. Feeling betrayed by Deacon, then learning that William is not dead, but alive, Carrie decides to break free to find William.
This is a novel to read again and again. Mackey creates fairy tale magic when she brings together the star-crossed pair of Carolyn Vinton and Dr. William Saylor. This is one of those, “non-stop, can’t put down” books. Carrie’s character is dynamic and strong, a woman of presence and grace. The sparks fly between Carrie and William with a magnetic field of attraction surrounding them. There are few lovers in literature with this connectivity and Mackey’s pair are sensational.
The story is peppered with intricate deception and edgy climactic tension that builds with increasing curiosity till the conclusion. Mackey has created a well researched romantic historical fiction. John Brown, Kansas Nebraska Act, Bloody Kansas and other events are credible, real and memorable. This would be an excellent companion novel when studying the American Civil War in high school or beyond. No doubt The Widow’s War will be one of the “Best of 2009”.