After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.
Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.
In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?
Despite the cover, A Time for Everything is as much historical fiction as historical romance, and this really worked for me for a number of reasons. I think the behaviours and attitudes of the era were incorporated really well, and better than most of the British ballroom romps being published these days.
Despite some horror formatting in the review book I received, which made me wonder if I would have enjoyed the book more if I’d had a better copy of it, I am glad I gave this one a chance.
I don’t know a great deal about the US Civil War, compared to other eras and locations, but if the author’s fascinating notes at the end are anything to go by, she sure did her research!
Taking place at the end of the war, our hero and heroine and all the other characters are from all different sides and allegiances, with different interests tied up in slavery and the abolition of it. I think it was possible for this sensitive topic to have been handled badly, but I think the author did a good job.
I also enjoyed some of the twists and turns, and the risks taken with plot points (including character deaths) that I would never have expected in most historical romances.
Two things I wasn’t so sure about.
Firstly, I can only guess, but I suspect that a woman firing a mid-nineteenth century weapon would struggle to fire a gun at all if she hadn’t done it before, let alone be a perfectly accurate shot in the middle of the night – multiple times!
As for the second issue (not a big one), I must first say that I think it was wonderful that the “other woman” (a beautiful and blonde one at that) wasn’t painted the way pretty much Every Other author would have. I loved that she had big faults but was not a horrible person in the end.
My complaint, though, is in relation to the way her looks were sometimes referenced, references were made to her hair colour as though it defined her personality: that blonde peacock, the perfectly primped blonde, how good it felt to smack that blonde peacock.
Had she been a brunette, her hair colour would never been included in insults.
However, overall I found this book to be a little bit of a revelation. I think sometimes I tire of historical romances where it’s all hero and heroine lusting, and hero and heroine lusting, and hero and heroine lusting… I enjoyed this more subtle and more historically accurate depiction of an era, and found the gradually developing relationship to be more rewarding than many I’ve read.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.