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Friday, July 8, 2011

Adelaide’s War by Viviane Kees

Adelaide’s War by Viviane Kees
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (53 Pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Fennel

Isolation has become Adelaide Warren's solace. She lives far from civilization, up in the hills of West Virginia, after the end of the Civil War and the death of her husband. When Josiah Hamilton finds his way to her doorstep, nearly frozen to death one stormy winter night, she nurses him back to life.

They form a fast friendship, which soon becomes more. When Josiah professes his love for her, she refutes him. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Josiah who comes to her rescue. Now, Adelaide is forced to confront her love for him which she has both denied and hidden.

A proposal is made. Will she accept him? If she does, what does that mean for her future?

Adelaide’s War is a charming story packed with emotion and plenty of incidents that has the reader vying for both Adelaide and Josiah. The author’s tone captures the era beautifully, and her artistry in revealing the background of her characters is masterly.

However, frequent odd word and phrase choices pulled me out of an otherwise fluent read. I saw ‘hypothermic’ and wondered if its use was anachronistic. I made a note and carried on reading until the phrase ‘in a jiffy’ had me scrambling to an etymology of phrases website. The first did not come into use until after the time sequence of Adelaide’s War, but surprisingly -- and I had to laugh at myself here -- ‘in a jiffy’ is fine and was in use at that time! Imagine that! Even so my overall enjoyment of this otherwise good book was affected by these choices and a few other editing issues, like repetitive use of the same words.

Regardless, it is not easy to take a complex theme and create such a charming story in so few words, but Viviane Kees has achieved exactly that. Her characters are fully developed and draw the reader in. They are what kept me invested enough to keep reading. Both Adelaide and Josiah are flawed and yet learn to grow through adversity. Both tugged on this reader's heart strings and you assume they will find their way together, but then the author throws in some surprises that had me seriously wondering about the outcome.

The final conflict they both have to face is deftly introduced, and a shocker. The author’s secondary characters play their full part in vividly displaying and revealing the causes of why both her hero and heroine are where they are at in the beginning of the story. They also play important roles in moving the story on. Ms. Kees use of her secondary characters is masterful because it is all done within a confined word count.

This is a fully developed and charming story that can be enjoyed in one sitting.