Beloved Enemy, written by Al Lacy, is a historical fiction novel in the Christian market that takes place in early Civil War 1861, particularly covering the Bull Run battle. Beloved Enemy is 356 pages in length, with an excerpt of the first chapter of another novel at the end.
Jenny Jordan, daughter of Mexican War hero Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Jordan, finds herself torn between the North and South in loyalty when her father, a member of the Senate Military Committee, decides to turn traitor and become a spy for the Southern cause. Jenny feels even more torn when her heart finds its way into the heart of a Zouave named Buck Brownell. When Buck and Jenny fall in love, her father demands that Buck leave her alone. Her father also suggests that she join him in becoming a spy for the Confederacy. Jenny's allegiance lies with her father and her beloved Virginia, but her heart also follows after a man whose loyalty remains with President Lincoln and the Union.
I've read some of Lacy's novels in the past, and I've always enjoyed them. I love how he is able to throw a lot of battle into his novels. It's obvious that he's interested in the historical aspect of his writing. (This book may annoy someone who has done a lot of research into Civil War history. It isn't perfect history. This is a work of fiction, and the writer takes liberties with some things, as many writers do with historical fiction.) When I sat down to begin this novel, I had no problems getting right into the "thick" of it, and once I got involved I was in it till the end!
I loved Jenny's character. However, I'd have loved to have seen more of her (but wouldn't have wanted to lose the story as sacrifice). I also loved the action centered around Buck. His humanity was developed well. The biggest character, though, that I'd have really liked to have seen more of is Joshua Jordan. He was a spy, and I'd have liked to have seen more of the inner workings of that. His character involvement was good, but a little more attention to that would've been interesting.
The flow from one scene of battle to another was a little choppy but not unbearable. There were scenes with other characters who weren't a big part of the story, and though those parts--I felt--weren't necessary to tell, I still enjoyed reading them. (Focus on Stonewall Jackson is one example.)
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my counterparts who enjoy reading historical fiction with a little romance tied in.
I received Beloved Enemy as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.