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Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia

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Cast your eyes back to the noble and daring achievements of men who preferred death to dishonor, and showed the world how they valued the rights and liberties of their land... Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederatecavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their Cast your eyes back to the noble and daring achievements of men who preferred death to dishonor, and showed the world how they valued the rights and liberties of their land... Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederatecavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their honor. Though laced with historical detail, it is less about the clash of armies on the battlefield, as it is about the clash of loyaly and love with honor and conviction.


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Cast your eyes back to the noble and daring achievements of men who preferred death to dishonor, and showed the world how they valued the rights and liberties of their land... Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederatecavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their Cast your eyes back to the noble and daring achievements of men who preferred death to dishonor, and showed the world how they valued the rights and liberties of their land... Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederatecavalry officer with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their honor. Though laced with historical detail, it is less about the clash of armies on the battlefield, as it is about the clash of loyaly and love with honor and conviction.

30 review for Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mitzi

    I feel this novel should be filed under "chick lit" rather "historical fiction." In my opinion, it is a shallow imitation of Gone With the Wind and Romeo and Juliet, but not "comparable" as reviews have said. The amount of repetition is frustrating. James drags out conversations WAAAYYY longer than necessary, repeating the same dialogue and phrases over and over without further development. This story would have been more enjoyable if it was half the length, simply due to redundancy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I received this book as a First Reads free giveaway and I was so excited when it finally came. This story was beautifully written. Jessica James showed both sides of the story, both the Union soldiers who fought for the freedom of the oppressed and the Rebels who fought out of love of their land. Alexander Hunter is a Confederate officer who is fearless in battle and treats his men like brothers. He fights the Union soldiers using bravery, luck, and fear that his reputation has gained. He and hi I received this book as a First Reads free giveaway and I was so excited when it finally came. This story was beautifully written. Jessica James showed both sides of the story, both the Union soldiers who fought for the freedom of the oppressed and the Rebels who fought out of love of their land. Alexander Hunter is a Confederate officer who is fearless in battle and treats his men like brothers. He fights the Union soldiers using bravery, luck, and fear that his reputation has gained. He and his men would rather die than surrender; they laugh in the face of danger and face their deaths with smiles and jokes. Underneath the dirt and grime, Alex is kind and honorable, and his love for his home goes beyond everything. He is also a very well-proportioned and a dashing, handsome man. Very yummy, ladies. Enter Andrea "Andrew" Sinclair: A daring (sometimes overly so) woman who dresses as a man so that she can deliver messages for the Union. Except that she doesn't stop there and she seems to think that she can single-handedly defeat the Confederacy. She is defensive, aggressive, and doesn't listen to anyone whose opinions differ from hers. Her behavior is often very childish, and I found myself dreading the times when she opened her mouth. Andrea is the kind of shrew…ahem, I mean woman…who would rather argue and snarl than talk calmly. A good portion of the book is her starting a fight and Hunter marveling at her quick temper. Please, please, get her away! Hunter more than makes up for this by being pretty much perfect, in a perfectly delicious way. Thankfully, by the end of the book she matures and realizes that not everything is black and white. I did find that the story really gave you a good sense of the time period and what it would be like to live back then. I really felt for both sides, it was an impossible situation and most people only did what they thought was right. History is not my strong suit, so I can’t comment much more on that aspect of the book. There are some twists and several things happen that I didn’t expect at all, so the book really keeps you on your toes, especially toward the end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I thought SHADES OF GRAY was an okay book. It was not a book I could not put down and I found myself pushing to get to the end. I was disappointed with much of the dialogue and what I perceived to be annoying back and forth petty arguments, when it was apparent that the two main characters had a love interest. But this kind of stuff annoys me, especially with a " seasoned" writer although I don't know if this is or is not the case with this author as this is the first book I've read by her. The I thought SHADES OF GRAY was an okay book. It was not a book I could not put down and I found myself pushing to get to the end. I was disappointed with much of the dialogue and what I perceived to be annoying back and forth petty arguments, when it was apparent that the two main characters had a love interest. But this kind of stuff annoys me, especially with a " seasoned" writer although I don't know if this is or is not the case with this author as this is the first book I've read by her. The premise of the story was good, but somehow with petty background and foreground nonsense going on, it reads like a silly romance type novel. Sorry to be so harsh but I think it could have been a great book with the subject matter, had it been written in a more mature manner from a long time author with a good grasp of historical fiction. Storyline seemed true to history, though. B.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I enjoyed most of this book. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. However, as some other reviewers have said, there were parts of the story that were quite annoying. When Alex and Andrea argued it went on and on and on. And they kept arguing about the same thing. I understand that the author was trying to show how dedicated each was to their convictions but it got to the point that I was annoyed. At one point, when they were arguing it appeared that the author was practici I enjoyed most of this book. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. However, as some other reviewers have said, there were parts of the story that were quite annoying. When Alex and Andrea argued it went on and on and on. And they kept arguing about the same thing. I understand that the author was trying to show how dedicated each was to their convictions but it got to the point that I was annoyed. At one point, when they were arguing it appeared that the author was practicing her alliteration skills because she used alliteration again and again and I got sick of it. In spite of the faults, however, I did enjoy the book. The events near the end were sad and I did shed a few tears. The way the author resolved the story at the very end of the book seemed abrupt. One other thing I appreciated was that it was a sweet romance and they were in love, but it was not graphic at all. I don't enjoy reading vivid sexual descriptions so I was grateful to the author for skipping that!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    3.5 stars I think. this sucked me in and I practically read all night. It had a bit more bad language than I was hoping but with the military theme I cant say I'm surprised. I thought some aspects were a bit tedious and long winded in the writing style but the story was superb. The author did her research about the period and it really gave me new perspective on the Confederate cause. There were times I was so frustrated with the characters' pride but it was true to the identity the author had b 3.5 stars I think. this sucked me in and I practically read all night. It had a bit more bad language than I was hoping but with the military theme I cant say I'm surprised. I thought some aspects were a bit tedious and long winded in the writing style but the story was superb. The author did her research about the period and it really gave me new perspective on the Confederate cause. There were times I was so frustrated with the characters' pride but it was true to the identity the author had built for them. Really an amazing story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scot

    This book description tricked me a bit—I was expecting historical fiction about the Civil War, and was even willing to accept a strong female lead capable of outriding, outfoxing, and outspying all the enemy combatants she encounters while disguised as an underage teen recruit boy soldier as we learned more about military strategies and maneuvers. However, it turned into a major love story, evoking some of the more troubling mythical components of the GWTW fantasy, such as all slaves on plantati This book description tricked me a bit—I was expecting historical fiction about the Civil War, and was even willing to accept a strong female lead capable of outriding, outfoxing, and outspying all the enemy combatants she encounters while disguised as an underage teen recruit boy soldier as we learned more about military strategies and maneuvers. However, it turned into a major love story, evoking some of the more troubling mythical components of the GWTW fantasy, such as all slaves on plantations of good masters served out of love and respect for the kindness and oversight of their benefactor, and would stay on in that system with that master, if only they could. Propagating that myth 75 years ago was problematic, continuing to do so in popular culture of 2014 just seems to me, in one word, wrong. However, for female readers who want a romance formula of the superwoman who can do everything falling for the platonic ideal of a southern gentlemen who is also the strongest, most talented guy around in every aspect possible, this is for you. You should also believe a woman ought to give up her deepest political commitments and convictions and even switch sides in a war to be with the man of her dreams. If you particularly enjoy the increasingly irritated banter that serves as foreplay in that formula’s traditional mating ritual, have at it, for there sure is plenty of that repartee here—having said that, at least the plot moves right along, there is action and adventure every few pages.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    Overall, this book was okay. I have a weakness for women disguising themselves as men in historical novels, so I had high hopes for this story. Started very slowly, but I finished. I usually read novels much faster than I did this one. The two main characters argued way too much - the same circular argument over and over. Definitely hindered the flow of the story. How the flow of time was expressed bothered me. Days, even weeks, would be skipped at a time and there would be no indication that ti Overall, this book was okay. I have a weakness for women disguising themselves as men in historical novels, so I had high hopes for this story. Started very slowly, but I finished. I usually read novels much faster than I did this one. The two main characters argued way too much - the same circular argument over and over. Definitely hindered the flow of the story. How the flow of time was expressed bothered me. Days, even weeks, would be skipped at a time and there would be no indication that time had passed other than context clues. All of a sudden the characters would be referencing something you just read on the previous page, but apparently days had passed. I felt like I was missing parts of the story in these gaps. Very jarring. The editing was sub par. They must have had a broken quotation marks key because there were so many missing. And spelling errors. Usually I don't notice and don't care about typos and things of the sort, so when I do, it usually means it was pretty blatant. But besides these flaws, I would have given the book 4 stars, except I really disliked the ending. I won't give anything away but the ending felt like it came out of no where, almost like it was from a different story or author. It didn't fit with the tone and direction the plot seemed to be heading. Others may enjoy the ending, so judge for yourself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    It may not be fair to review a book when I only read a quarter of it, but a quarter of it was enough to see that it is poorly written. As a huge fan of historical fiction and Gone With the Wind in particular, I find such comparisons offensive and I'm shocked by the high ratings it has received from many people. The dialogue was repetitive and contrived, the story jumped around aimlessly and the character development was substandard. It also switched perspective in 3rd person sort of limited in a It may not be fair to review a book when I only read a quarter of it, but a quarter of it was enough to see that it is poorly written. As a huge fan of historical fiction and Gone With the Wind in particular, I find such comparisons offensive and I'm shocked by the high ratings it has received from many people. The dialogue was repetitive and contrived, the story jumped around aimlessly and the character development was substandard. It also switched perspective in 3rd person sort of limited in an awkward way at times. Life is to short to finish reading a bad book, so I'm calling it quits with this one. Maybe it's fans of cheap romance novels that enjoy this one, but it's certainly not for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jwls Mac Ray

    A story of a young girl who is portraying a boy to be a part of the civil war. Danger. Excitement. And finding trust and love. I read this in one day. Loved it. I laughed and I cried.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Naksed

    I gave three stars for the author's valiant effort, research, and talent in writing Shades of Gray, a novel that is set during the Civil War. However, this book was not for me. It has been touted as the next Gone with the Wind. I cannot offer a literary comparison since I have not read Margaret Mitchell's classic. But it seems to me that Mitchell unabashedly wrote a romance novel set during the Civil War and she was very unapologetic about where she stood, politically, in her depiction of the wa I gave three stars for the author's valiant effort, research, and talent in writing Shades of Gray, a novel that is set during the Civil War. However, this book was not for me. It has been touted as the next Gone with the Wind. I cannot offer a literary comparison since I have not read Margaret Mitchell's classic. But it seems to me that Mitchell unabashedly wrote a romance novel set during the Civil War and she was very unapologetic about where she stood, politically, in her depiction of the war, whether the reader liked it or not. The aptly named Shades of Gray seems to want to offer a balanced approach in writing about the opposite factions of the war, but it comes out more as wishy washy. Is it a romance or is it a historical fiction? Is it a historical romance? Is it a condemnation of slavery or does it romanticize a certain way of life in the South about to be obliterated forever by the North? Can there be a distinction between the honorable Southern gentlemen who fought for the land and the despicable, cruel, slave owners' way of life that they protected? Chapter to chapter, I could never tell where the book was going and this made me confused. A third of the book is confined to the home of a leading officer in the Confederate army and the female spy that he harbors and comes to fall in love with. Despite using the time honored conventions of the romance genre, including the butting of heads between the two attracted characters, and not one, but two BIG HUGE MISUNDERSTANDINGS that drive them apart, even though they could have easily been resolved in a matter of seconds with two lines of dialogue, the author seems almost afraid or reluctant to deal with the relationship head on and seems relieved to find an excuse to drive the characters apart almost as soon as they come together. The rest of the book takes the reader to bloody battles and muddy soldier camps but it never seems to go beyond the corny depictions that we have seen countless of times. In one death scene, one fallen soldier actually utters the words:"I am so c-c-c-old" and his comrade responds in an agonized scream of "Why not m-m-m-e-e-e-e?" I know the author wanted to render the scene poignant but for me, it was just the ultimate in corniness. There are also countless, repetitive contrived meetings between the characters. The author goes to great length to drive the point that the conflict pitted brother against brother (literally in this case), neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, etc., but how many times can the characters plausibly run into each other in the heat of battle only to slip from each other's fingers? As I said, considering all the above things, it was a well written novel, and obviously a labor of love by the author, however it was not the book for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Pace

    In a nation where Northerners and Southerners alike still occasionally need to be reminded “Do not re-fight the war,” it is apparent that echoes of a war fought nearly 150 years ago still linger. It is rare, then, to look upon the war and see beyond the issues to the people, the flesh and blood, whose lives and loyalties were tested in a bitter and deadly upheaval of American history. Yet author Jessica James, in her novel Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia or Tale of the War f In a nation where Northerners and Southerners alike still occasionally need to be reminded “Do not re-fight the war,” it is apparent that echoes of a war fought nearly 150 years ago still linger. It is rare, then, to look upon the war and see beyond the issues to the people, the flesh and blood, whose lives and loyalties were tested in a bitter and deadly upheaval of American history. Yet author Jessica James, in her novel Shades of Gray: A Novel of the Civil War in Virginia or Tale of the War for Southern Independence in the Old Dominion, has developed a portal, if you will, that enables her readers to peer into history and do just that. Virginia in 1862 sees a well known Confederate officer, Captain Alexander Hunter, along with his small yet loyal group of soldiers, strike fear and awe into the minds of the Union army. Virginia also hears echoes of rumors of an unknown yet crucial Union spy named Andrea Evans, who serves as a continuous source of frustration and irritation for the Confederacy and for Captain Hunter in particular. The war soon deals the two sworn enemies an interesting hand that will change the course of their lives forever. Bound by a deathbed promise to a mutual loved one, Alex and Andrea soon find themselves in uncomfortable territory. Equally strong in their convictions and loyalties, each are determined to defend their country and home. These two seemingly opposite individuals, forced to keep uncomfortable company, must somehow find a way to reconcile or, at the least, come to an understanding of terms if either are to survive the war with lives and hearts intact. As their unwelcome truce lingers, both Alex and Andrea must look beyond the uniform, beyond the issues, and beyond the flags. They begin looking to the shades of gray where the stark humanity, the pride of home, the love and laughter that reside in each lie. Readers will be drawn to Andrea’s passion and Alex’s fierce (though sometimes quiet) devotion to the land that he loves. The anger and fear depicted in Shades of Gray is at times almost palatable, the intense sorrow, frustration, and ultimately love seem to transcend the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones. Jessica James has produced a tremendous and wonderful saga about love, loyalty and honor for which she must be lauded.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patty Mccormick

    I read this during my recent trip to Gettysburg. This is a great civil war novel. It is a little long, but it is worth spending your time on it. Well I should probably tell you the truth here, it is 522 pages. It contains espionage, love, war, and lots of conflict. The chapters are fairly short so one could read this in small doses. I purchased this for myself in Gettysburg. Yes and you guessed it, I paid way too much for it there. It was written in 2008. Yes, I have to admit I was attracted to t I read this during my recent trip to Gettysburg. This is a great civil war novel. It is a little long, but it is worth spending your time on it. Well I should probably tell you the truth here, it is 522 pages. It contains espionage, love, war, and lots of conflict. The chapters are fairly short so one could read this in small doses. I purchased this for myself in Gettysburg. Yes and you guessed it, I paid way too much for it there. It was written in 2008. Yes, I have to admit I was attracted to the cover. I am a sucker for anything purple. It is my favorite color. I think it is a great cover. This is an award winning book. It won the John Esten Cooke award for Ficiton 2011, just to name one. Beware this is the same novel as Nobel Cause. Nobel Cause was released in May of 2013 for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. It is the same book as Shades of Gray with a new ending. Hmm is this just another way to make money? Well I want to say that I loved this book!! It kept my interest all the way through. It is action packed and full of events. The main character Andrea is a very strong woman. You probably know by now that I like books with strong female characters. She is a spy for the union army, but was born and bred in Virginia. She is strong in her anti-slavery beliefs and loyal to the union. She falls in love with Colonel Hunter who is a legendary leader of the southern army. This is no doubt going to cause some problems. There is also Victoria who is the southern belle in love with Colonel Hunter. This book is beautifully written and just sails along. It is a real page turner. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next! I enjoyed it immensely. The epilogue is a little long. If you like happy endings chose the Nobel Cause version. I will seriously considering picking up her new book Above and Beyond, which is a Christian Historical Romance. It was just released on 5/23/2013 for e-book and will be in stores in August. I give this book a strong 5 out of 5 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stanley McShane

    War is said to be Hell and certainly none can compare to the brutal American Civil War; brothers fighting brothers. The Confederates in Virginia fiercely fought to protect their soil, their homes, their lives. Captain Alexander Hunter was crafted somewhat by a real life hero; his band of warriors keenly attuned to their calvary officer and his cunning leadership. Stealthily hitting the federal forces when and where they could, fighting a terrorist war of their own, demoralizing the federals wher War is said to be Hell and certainly none can compare to the brutal American Civil War; brothers fighting brothers. The Confederates in Virginia fiercely fought to protect their soil, their homes, their lives. Captain Alexander Hunter was crafted somewhat by a real life hero; his band of warriors keenly attuned to their calvary officer and his cunning leadership. Stealthily hitting the federal forces when and where they could, fighting a terrorist war of their own, demoralizing the federals where they could, capturing supplies and materiel as well as prisoners. The Union forces relentlessly continued their advance aided in part by a shadowy character of a very young agile rider on a large black horse quickly making a legend of his own. But wait! Was Sinclair a "he", or Andrea Evans, strong, independent, and fearless scout borne of harsh childhood experience. As occurs so often, the lives of these two continue to intertwine; always finding themselves at odds until circumstances begin to force grudging respect. Andrea pushes the threshold of her spying activity until she is captured and presented to Captain Hunter wherein her fate rests. Spared a firing squad, but forever altering life thereafter her captive status eventually begins a torturous change in her philosophy of loyalty and honor. Fiercely competitive, intellectual equals, Captain Hunter and Andrea present a formidable force in both love and war. Not one to read romance novels, I downloaded this free offering from an interest in historical fiction, and was rewarded with a three-hanky novel powerful from beginning to end. Recommended for Civil War buffs and anyone else interested in a hard-to-put-down yarn that leaves you emotionally drained and breathless.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Don't let the low rated reviews stop you from getting/reading this book. You won't be sorry. I won't say too much about the low ratings other than the fact that I disagree with two statements: the book is similar to Gone With the Wind only because it is a romance and it is set during the Civil War..it ends there. The second statement is that it doesn't fit in the historical romance genre...it definitely is historical and a romance. On to my review: I enjoyed the book immensely. I enjoy reading boo Don't let the low rated reviews stop you from getting/reading this book. You won't be sorry. I won't say too much about the low ratings other than the fact that I disagree with two statements: the book is similar to Gone With the Wind only because it is a romance and it is set during the Civil War..it ends there. The second statement is that it doesn't fit in the historical romance genre...it definitely is historical and a romance. On to my review: I enjoyed the book immensely. I enjoy reading books set in this time period and especially if they involve romance, so I was thrilled to find it. The book was well written. I believe that the author really did some research to make sure she made the story as believable as possible. The story was interesting and made me want to keep reading long after I should've retired for the night. Although I cried(which is very unusual for me since I know it's fiction), I liked the ending. Not all books have a HEA, although I understand there is a novel called Nobel Cause which is basically the same novel but with a HEA, I may have to get it and read it if only to see which ending I like better. Still, I must say that this book is going on my unforgettable shelf.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    It's the rare novel that I can't finish. First, I can get interested in any topic. Second, I'm compulsive about reading--when I start a book, I MUST finish it. So if I just can't power through it, well, it must be awful. And Shades of Gray is awful in just about every way. There's the trite storyline: sassy woman gets herself in big mess and must be rescued by the man who will ultimately tame her and win her love. Blech. Really, ladies, we deserve better. Sexist, sexist, sexist. Then there's the It's the rare novel that I can't finish. First, I can get interested in any topic. Second, I'm compulsive about reading--when I start a book, I MUST finish it. So if I just can't power through it, well, it must be awful. And Shades of Gray is awful in just about every way. There's the trite storyline: sassy woman gets herself in big mess and must be rescued by the man who will ultimately tame her and win her love. Blech. Really, ladies, we deserve better. Sexist, sexist, sexist. Then there's the portrayal of the kindly Southern gentleman and his devoted slaves. Racist, racist, racist. Then there's the writing: "Without thinking, he wrapped his ams around her, and felt her clutching him as if in desperate need, her face buried deep against him. Daniel drew her even closer, surprised and her softness and fragile vulnerability." Garbage, garbage, garbage. The one positive thing I can say about Shades of Gray is that it made me realize I, too, could be a novelist. If that kind of crap can get published (and even have a trove of readers who enjoy it), there's hope for my writing career.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Andrea Evans: teenager, Union spy--sometimes she dresses like a boy and other times as a Southern belle in her role as a spy. She is proud, stubborn, feisty, and like many teenagers she burns with zeal. Alexander Hunter: proud Virginian, gentleman, and Confederate officer. When they meet they argue about everything until you're almost tempted to knock them upside the head with a 2 x 4! Interesting characters, beautiful descriptions of the Virginia countryside, and good word-pictures about the uglin Andrea Evans: teenager, Union spy--sometimes she dresses like a boy and other times as a Southern belle in her role as a spy. She is proud, stubborn, feisty, and like many teenagers she burns with zeal. Alexander Hunter: proud Virginian, gentleman, and Confederate officer. When they meet they argue about everything until you're almost tempted to knock them upside the head with a 2 x 4! Interesting characters, beautiful descriptions of the Virginia countryside, and good word-pictures about the ugliness of war. The book was also know as Noble Cause in other editions. No sex Violence-appropriate to a war

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book is the original version to Noble Cause by Jessica James. The endings are different and I urge you to read both of them and decide which version you like best. This book will take you back to the Civil War, make you feel like you are living in it, and make you nostalgic for that old world romance. I loved it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Started out well, but then in the middle, there were too many petty arguments between Alex and Andrea, which became annoying, causing the war to be the background in the story, and not the main focus. Agree with another reviewer, that the ending was disappointing, and veered off in a different direction from the rest of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen Hogan

    civil war fiction about a female spy who falls in love with the enemy. Occasionally had some strange plot lines, that didnt quite seem to fit, but I still enjoyed the book. I love most books from the civil war time frame....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Petrella

    Too long The story was at its bare bones a good one. It was ridiculously repetitive and the characters were predictable. It would have been a good short story. But guess who couldn't put it down?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    It had interesting content but there was too much bantering between the two main characters.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Haven’t I suffered enough?!? wails Andrea, Our Heroine. Well, apparently not. This book would have rated a solid three stars, not because I loved the story, because I didn’t, but because the writing was good, and the dialogue was well written if implausible. Our Hero, Alex Hunter, is a steadfast Confederate soldier. Our heroine, Andrea, is a staunch Union supporter, going so far as to dress as a boy to be courier for the Union army. In Alex Hunter, she gains a mortal enemy after she causes the d Haven’t I suffered enough?!? wails Andrea, Our Heroine. Well, apparently not. This book would have rated a solid three stars, not because I loved the story, because I didn’t, but because the writing was good, and the dialogue was well written if implausible. Our Hero, Alex Hunter, is a steadfast Confederate soldier. Our heroine, Andrea, is a staunch Union supporter, going so far as to dress as a boy to be courier for the Union army. In Alex Hunter, she gains a mortal enemy after she causes the death of his best friend (which we find out 75% of the way through the book). Since it is too dangerous for her to be a courier, she is sent to Richmond to be a female spy. She then falls in love with Dashing Daniel, who she has encountered precisely twice, both times dressed as the boy courier. ANYWAY, Daniel is mortally wounded. She rushes to his side and again meets Alex, who turns out to be Daniels brother. On his deathbed, Daniel extracts a promise from Alex that NO HARM SHALL BEFALL ANDREA, no matter what. Of course, now that Alex knows that Andrea is a spy for the hated Union, this puts him in a terrible position, but by golly, he is a man of honor! So I’m going to skim over the misunderstandings, prison sentences, broken bones, bullet wounds and pneumonia, and get to the part where they finally realize they are in luuuvvvv. The have sex and In The morning Alex decided rather than profess his undying love and esteem, it would be better if he pretended it never happened. Who would have thought that could be a mistake? Andrea is crushed and of course her pride won’t allow her to show it. More misunderstandings and perceived betrayals and she heads back across enemy lines and resumes her nefarious activities. Long story short, she eventually finds her loyalties lie with the dashing colonel. Her union relative warns her that he is trapped! She must go to him! She begs her relative not to fight her beloved. “Haven’t I suffered enough?!?” Well no. After 99% of the book, in the last 1% Our Hero receives a mortal wound. Knowing he is going to die ( we don’t know this yet) he arranges a dream wedding for his headstrong bride. On the day they wed, he lets her in on the secret: His wound will kill him within the week. After his death, Andrea finds comfort and the will to go on. The. Most. Unsatisfying. Ending. One of my Pet peeves is books that drag out the storyline, and wrap it up in a rush. This was definitely one of those books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I Cried My Eyes Out! Loved it! A historical fiction that has love but keeps it clean! This book let me make it rather far before finding the two love characters. I was in suspense for quite a while which was a fantastic change. The Characters were well written, and easy to envision. Personally the end of the book and it's twin book Noble Cause were both wrapped up too fast. For the length of time Jessica takes to grow these characters I tend to find the end of her books way too fast. I spend hou I Cried My Eyes Out! Loved it! A historical fiction that has love but keeps it clean! This book let me make it rather far before finding the two love characters. I was in suspense for quite a while which was a fantastic change. The Characters were well written, and easy to envision. Personally the end of the book and it's twin book Noble Cause were both wrapped up too fast. For the length of time Jessica takes to grow these characters I tend to find the end of her books way too fast. I spend hours growing with a character to suddenly have the end. I Absolutely cried my eyes out at the end of Shades of Gray. First for the ending which I will leave as a suprise. But second because I did not know about Noble Cause and was speechless. Noble Cause would have been my gut choice of book to read of the two but after reading both I found Shades to be written more throughly at the end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill Miclean

    I don't normally read Historical Romance but for some reason this book really worked for me. Some of it was tedious - how many times can the hero & heroine clash? But I enjoyed both characters so much and desperately wanted them to put their fighting aside and just be together - but, then we wouldn't really have much of a story now would we? Does not have AHE but I love tragic love stories and this was very similar to Cold Mountain or Gone With the Wind in that sense. I especially liked the refe I don't normally read Historical Romance but for some reason this book really worked for me. Some of it was tedious - how many times can the hero & heroine clash? But I enjoyed both characters so much and desperately wanted them to put their fighting aside and just be together - but, then we wouldn't really have much of a story now would we? Does not have AHE but I love tragic love stories and this was very similar to Cold Mountain or Gone With the Wind in that sense. I especially liked the references to real civil war soldiers and battles. Some of it was hard to swallow - which is why I don't normally read Historical Romance - but the writing was so well done that I was completely drawn into Andrea & Alex's world and didn't want to leave. BTW - for those that prefer AHE, the author has written the same story with just that called A Noble Cause.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Martha Siegel

    Although I do not seek out romance novels, this was highly recommended by my niece Angela. I could hardly turn off the bed lamp to sleep once I began reading. Beautiful flowing descriptions were like music to my eyes. Strong evolving characters and admirable, yet compassionate, primary personalities kept the message upbeat through battle and resolutions. The war scenes were compelling and thought-provoking. Short chapters and a well-paced plot kept this reader turning pages. A very satisfying re Although I do not seek out romance novels, this was highly recommended by my niece Angela. I could hardly turn off the bed lamp to sleep once I began reading. Beautiful flowing descriptions were like music to my eyes. Strong evolving characters and admirable, yet compassionate, primary personalities kept the message upbeat through battle and resolutions. The war scenes were compelling and thought-provoking. Short chapters and a well-paced plot kept this reader turning pages. A very satisfying read.n

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Morris

    To defend your land or your country? One fights for their country. The other, for his state...his land. Both fight with honor and courage. When North and South collide although there is a great respect and awe of the accomplishments of the other, they are still enemies. Until they weren't. I've read many fine books on Civil War love stories but none had me as ingrained into their lives as this one. Excellent.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    3 stars is generous. Not historical fiction for sure. The conversations were wayyy too long and never got anywhere. It was boring at best. It was hard to stay engaged. It normally takes me just a few days to read a book but this one took nearly a month. Not only was it long, I didn’t look forward to it and it was easy to put down. There were so many extras in the book that didn’t have anything to do with the plot and then the ending was a huge let down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tana

    Wish I’d read the reviews before I bought it This book was amazing and heartbreaking. It is very well written. I felt like I was there at every battle fighting for both sides. It was an emotional roller coaster but I prefer happy endings and I wish I’d know it was rewritten before I bought it. I would have preferred to read that version instead.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hohbein

    I'm a fan of Civil War literature, but this book is more romance than war. That's OK, I knew that going in. The thing that bothered me most was the never ending arguing and sparring between the lead characters. In addition, it seemed that Alex was able to spend a lot of time at home while the war raged around him. There were also miraculous escapes and enemy sharpshooters with horrible aim. The pace was good in spite of the pages of arguing, and there were many action packed scenes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Supernova

    I enjoyed this book more than Gone with the Wind, finding the lack of offensive romantic content especially refreshing. Some of the dialogue did feel repetitious, but I felt that this demonstrated the depth of feeling that the characters possessed. Thank you, Jessica James, for this magnificent masterpiece! I didn't want it to end!

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