by Maureen McKade

September 2006
ISBN: 0-425-21220-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Post Civil War South

Fall, 1865

Laurel Monteille Covey has lost so much in so little time. Left widowed by the war, Laurel has been disowned by her Yankee family for her Southern husbandís beliefs. Trained as a nurse, Laurel worked for the Confederate Army and has seen too much death and destruction. Laurel has vowed to deliver all the last words of the deceased boys she held as they died to their families. Traveling alone along the back roads in the deep south Laurel finds herself about to be assaulted when a man appears who dispatches Laurelís would-be-attackers as easily as swatting away pesky flies.

Texas farmer Creede Forrester has traveled a long way to find the nurse who was with his young son Austin when he died. Once Creede had been a hired gun. When he met his beloved wife, Anna, he gave up his gun slinging for her, until Anna was murdered. Afterward Austin ran away to join the Confederate army, and Creede has again taken up his guns. Luck has brought him in time to save the very woman he has journeyed so far to find, only to have Laurel Covey inform him Austin had no last words, he had died before reaching the hospital tents. Saddened by this news and with nothing else left, Creede decides Laurel needs his protection (even though she swears she doesnít) if she is to continue on her quest. Two tortured souls living with the nightmares of their hellish pasts, each believing they have nothing left to live for soon discover they very much still have A Reason To Live. But is the growing love they have for one another enough to save them from the ghosts that haunt them?

Maureen McKade paints a very real portrait of the agony of the Civil War in A Reason to Live as seen through the eyes of a nurse and the torment of a loving father who has lost his only son. Laurel who lives with post traumatic stress disorder (in this time period it is considered insanity) hopes by seeking out the families of the boys she nursed she can find peace. Creede is not the typical Alpha male; he can give love and comfort to the woman who is so traumatized by the terrors she lived through. The added touch of the animals was a bonus to an already awesome read.

Reviewed in November 2006 by Bonnie.

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