by Gwyneth Atlee

July 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7336-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Charlotte Randolph’s life has gone from bad to worse. She is the proud owner of house that is now occupied by Northern troops. Her father and older brother are fighting for the South and have left her and her younger brother Alexander at home. She is alone as the rest of her family have left to escape the Yankees. She is suppose to be spying on the Northerners while they are living in her house, not falling in love with one of them!

The man who makes her heart beat faster is Captain Ben Chandler, an aid to the General who has taken over Charlotte’s house. Ben suspects that there is something strange about Charlotte and her brother, but just can’t quite figure it out. Besides, Ben does not have the time to worry about Charlotte; he is too busy trying to take care of a General whose mind is not quite all there.

Caught between her love of country and the desires of her heart, Charlotte is scorned by her neighbors, her older brother, and all of the Northern soldiers occupying her house. Meanwhile, Ben is caught between protecting his country and protecting Charlotte from the consequences of her actions.

Set during the turbulent years of the Civil War, Gwyneth Atlee’s book Innocent Deceptions, brilliantly describes the plight of a Southern woman who falls in love with a Northern soldier. This story is a compelling read that highlights how torn apart families were during the Civil War. Charlotte’s fortitude is a true highlight of this book. Gone is the typical southern belle. Charlotte is a real woman faced with many challenging situations and she handles them with grace and honor. Her desire to keep her family together in a trying time will appeal to many readers. The action flows smoothly and quickly keeping the story entertaining for the reader and the descriptive scenes help to bring the story to life. The anguish that young Alexander feels when choosing between his father’s beliefs and Ben’s love is incredibly moving. However, I did feel that the ending was unexpected and the villain is a slightly unpleasant surprise. Also, there were some questions about Charlotte’s guilt or innocence that were overlooked. Overall, this book was sweet love story set in a very trying time. Atlee has done a superb job of intertwining the two together in a truly believable story.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Jen.

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