“We learn who we were to decide who we want to be.'”
Such a heart-gripping novel! This is the first novel by Tara Johnson that I have read and I am totally hooked on her writing! The author uses a well-loved trope of a woman disguising herself as a man to enter the army during the Civil War but puts a twist to the plot by making the hero of the story a wartime photographer and not a soldier. The story is well-written and easy-to-read, with a well-paced plot and beautifully broken characters.
Cassie is a woman with gumption and grit, yet lives in fear and hatred of her father which leads to her fleeing her home and enlisting in the Union army. Gabe is an immigrant, a self-made photographer, and a loyal, compassionate, ambitious man who believes in the Old World idealism of women being frail and needing protection. He's given an opportunity to photograph the war while traveling with a Union regiment. When their worlds collide on the battlefields during the Civil War, they form a friendship but all is threatened when her true identity is revealed to Gabe and secrets infiltrate their tentative bond. Their friendship and blossoming love are so real and tender, as is their struggle for forgiveness - both extending and receiving that sacred of all gifts.
Truly this book will touch your heart, especially if you're a fan of historical romance/fiction. The well-researched details and events that make up the backbone of the story are shown in realistic albeit gruesome light, and they will bring you right into the heart of the war that tore up our nation. Yet even in the midst of the atrocities of war, dandelions bloom and “where dandelions bloom, hope remains.”
I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.