In keeping with February’s “HEARTS” theme, today’s featured book is entitled, Her Traitor’s Heart. This historical Christian romance is set in the South just after the Civil War.
The Inspiration behind the Book:
“The inspiration behind Her Traitor’s Heart actually came from one of my New England ancestors who fought in the Civil War. After the war’s end, he was stationed in the South as part of the occupying forces. He developed a friendship with a Southern lady, and they carried on a correspondence after he returned home. Their letters were passed down in the family. As a child, I remember seeing his uniform in an old trunk in my grandparents’ attic. The uniform was moth-eaten, but when I saw his boots, I thought to myself, “Those boots were really on his feet. He wore those boots.” From that time on, my ancestor was a real person to me. Her Traitor’s Heart isn’t really my Kimball ancestor’s story, but the seeds of the story were planted years ago when I saw his tattered uniform. As I researched the Reconstruction period, I discovered that the era was filled with hardship, tragedy, danger, and courage, all of which make a great story. And creating the hero be a Yankee officer and the heroine a Southern lady who hated Yankees offered great conflict.”
About the Book:
For Coral Leigh, the Civil War took everything and everyone she loved: her fiancé, her brother, and her father. But when her mother dies of grief shortly after the war’s end, Coral’s plantation home, Elmwood, must be auctioned. Soon to be homeless, she fears becoming yet another casualty of the war.
Fortunately, help arrives in the handsome form of Clint Logan, a decorated general in the Union army and part of the occupying forces stationed near her home. When the general kindly offers her employment, Coral decides her pride isn’t worth starvation.
As love blooms between them, Coral and Clint must contend with threats worse than the scrutiny of Southern society. Disenfranchised Confederate soldiers are causing trouble around town, and Coral has to face the possibility of Clint’s death in the line of duty, along with her own social ostracization. She will have to decide if she’s ready to trust her heart’s new loyalties, even if it means forsaking everything she’s ever known.
Coral’s gratitude at being rescued battled with the unpalatable fact that her rescuer wore the abhorred blue uniform of the conquering foe. While she studied him, she rubbed her aching arm, which the renegade had twisted behind her.
Effortlessly holding his restless mount in check, the Yankee tracked the deserters’ progress until they disappeared around a bend in the road. After returning his revolver to its holster, he swung a long leg over the stallion’s rump with practiced ease.
Good manners dictated Coral should thank the officer for saving her life, though her pride rebelled at being indebted to a member of the despised Federal army. Nevertheless, she forced herself to meet him as he strolled toward her, holding the stallion on a tight rein.
“I remember you from this morning, though I regret that we should meet again under such unfortunate circumstances, ma’am.” His clipped New England speech jarred her sensibilities, sounding foreign to ears accustomed to the slow, soft drawl of Southern aristocrats. “Are you hurt?”
“Fortunately, no. I offer my sincere thanks for your intervention.”
“My apologies for not arriving in time to prevent the whole incident. You could have been badly hurt.”
Coral shrugged, turning away from the officer. That her initial scrutiny couldn’t find fault with his appearance or character only increased her irritation. Admitting some Northerners might have commendable qualities which she could admire made hating all Yankees unconditionally more difficult. In her present state, she wouldn’t consider the possibility that she might be wrong.
The officer moved a step closer, doffing his cavalryman’s hat in a graceful bow worthy of a ballroom floor. “General Clint Logan, ma’am. At your service.”
Coral acknowledged his introduction with a slight nod. “Miss Coral Leigh.”
Settling his hat low on his head once more, he turned his attention back to her face. “Miss Leigh, I truly regret the treatment that you suffered at the hands of those ruffians. Deserters like those make travel for honest folk hazardous. I hope it won’t be long before we’ll have order restored.”
Reaching into the wagon, Coral plucked her bonnet from the floor where it had fallen when the renegade hauled her off the seat. She adjusted her hat over her chignon, tying the ribbons as she swung about to face the general. “I suppose such lawlessness is an inevitable result of the war. We’ll have to live with the anarchy for as long as it takes to restore order.”
“Do you have far to travel? Would you like an escort? I’d be happy to accompany you to provide protection for the rest of your journey.”
“Thank you, but I don’t want to take you out of your way.”
“You wouldn’t be. As a member of the occupying force, it’s my duty to protect civilians.”
Coral breathed deeply to bite back her impatience at the officer’s insistence of aid. His chivalry made it difficult for her to decline his offer, when her nerves were stretched to the snapping point. She struggled to maintain a show of courtesy. “Again, I appreciate your kind offer of help, but it’s not necessary.”
About the Author:
Colleen Hall wrote her first story in third grade and wrote as a hobby all during her growing-up years. In “Her Traitor’s Heart” she was able to combine her love of writing with her love of history. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, horseback riding, reading, and browsing antique stores. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and family, one horse and three very spoiled cats.