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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bargain by Catherine Stang

The Bargain by Catherine Stang
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

In the midst of war, two enemies will make a bargain that will change their lives forever.

Major Joel Bradshaw is the Chief Medical Officer in charge of setting up a new front line hospital for the Union Army. Unfortunately, his first task is to evict the women who live in the big plantation house he must commandeer.

Strong-willed Cassandra Beaumont is determined not to allow the Yankees take her home. But when her sister-in-law develops complications during labor, Cassie is forced to swallow her pride and ask the Yankee doctor she just threatened for his help. All she has to barter with are her nursing skills and so she proposes a trade that will bring her loyalties into question.

Joel, however, soon finds himself wanting much more than a business arrangement. Torn between his orders as an officer and his desire to protect Cassie, Joel finds a way to ensure the safety of all the Beaumont women – if only Cassie will say yes!

Tagline for the Finding Home series: Sometimes home is where you least expect it.

Trust and love – where can they be found when the will of one is forced on another? War makes conditions miserable for everyone involved in The Bargain as the Yankees take over the once-prosperous Beaumont plantation to use for a hospital in the waning days of the Civil War. While the war is the venue, it is not the primary focus. Love, responsibility for family and for the wounded takes top billing.

Catherine Stang creates such realistic characters, the reader can identify with them and their needs, fears, hopes and with the day-to-day struggles they endure to survive.

Cassandra (Cassie) the “face-life-head-on” older sister does what has to be done to protect her family and the plantation in the absence of her three brothers. While Dr. Joel Bradshaw, the Union military doctor, runs the hospital doing what he can as he finds himself sandwiched between protecting Cassie and her family as he carries out the orders of crusty Colonel Stanfield. Joel is a darling!

The Bargain shows how personal lives evolve in wartime and how political ideology has little to do with whom one falls in love with. The humor and indomitable spirits of the characters make this a wonderful story of humanity and its ability to overcome awful adversity.

Ms. Stang does a remarkable job of leaving the reader with positive, upbeat hopes for the many war-scarred characters – characters who, I’m sure, will appear again as the series continues.

I’ll be looking for the next book in this series.