Southern Romance #1
Published in 2015
H/h - Jasper Perry/Clara
Setting: America, 1863.
Read in August, 2015.
Lexy Timms’ civil war-era set historical romance, Little Love Affair, was a good read. It’s also the book 1 of her Southern Romance series. Honestly, I enjoyed this short story but I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction the way it ended.
Note that I’m not here to comment on the author’s skill as a historic researcher as my own knowledge of American Civil war is vague at best. I know about which sides fought and the time-frame but that’s about it. So my review will only include what I’ve read in the story.
Clara’s best friend and confidante, her elder brother, Solomon went to fight in the war alongside the Union army. Recently news reached that he has gone missing, casting a dark shadow over her family. Clara’s father passed away a while ago, so Solomon was their rock; the responsible son until the day he marched away to fight alongside other likeminded young men of his age. Clara also have a younger sister, Cecelia and their mother, Millicent. Their farm used to be once a prosperous place but the downfall began even before Solomon’s departure. And now, Clara is left to take care of her family, to shoulder the burden of running this farm. Money is very tight, and with Solomon missing, they don’t have much in regards to a future.
Clara had known for a while that her mother and Solomon, both, wanted her to marry Cyrus, the son of a wealthy family. He’s also a very good friend of Solomon’s. But Clara has never felt any sort of attraction for him to consider marriage. Now she understands that marrying him may save her family, as well as their farm, from a certain financial ruin, yet, somehow, she still can’t decide what to do. But, when Jasper Perry steps into her path on a field, all dirty and starving, asking for her mercy for a little food and some provisions to help save his wounded friend, Horace, Clara instinctively knew that her choices have been made.
Jasper is a Confederate. He’s also loyal to the people he cares about. Horace was badly injured and Jasper couldn’t leave his friend behind to die. So he had carried the man all the way across the states to bring him home. He’d known that Horace is from the Union territory, yet he took the risk, knowing a family awaits Horace there. Jasper had no one to speak of, so he gathered he can take the risk. What he didn’t expect is to fall head-over-heels for the beautiful farmer’s daughter on the first sight; who is even now threatening him with his life. Even though Jasper leaves without any help to speak of, he can’t keep her out of his mind. It doesn’t help that later, the girl comes with provisions and leaves them close by the rundown cabin they’d taken shelter in so that she doesn’t have to face them. But to Jasper, that bit of kindness spoke volume of the blonde beauty’s character.
Clara couldn’t let Jasper’s friend Horace die. Horace was Clara’s father’s name, which struck a chord within. She didn’t want to help but she just couldn’t not do anything about it either. And he refuses to acknowledge that it has something to do with a certain handsome stranger, a Confederate to boots, yet so polite and gentlemanly, who has stolen her heart. After a while, Clara even goes as far as to hire Jasper discretely as a part-time farm hand so that he can earn his food and some money. Clara simply couldn’t stay away from him even though she knew how much trouble she’d be in if the words got out. She’s already restless from Cyrus’s regular visits and his not-so-subtle hints about an impending marriage proposal which would have her mother’s absolute blessing. But Clara wants to fall in love and marry that man. Right now, she’s afraid she knows she already has, and Cyrus definitely isn’t that man.
But can she and Jasper really go about, freely expressing their feelings for each-other? The way things are, their relationship seems doomed even before its full bloom. Can they find a way resolve these issues?
In the course of this short story, there are some good twists that I hadn’t expected at all but there was no direct answer to the above mentioned questions. The story ends quite abruptly and I wasn’t happy about the 30 or so pages of advert which should’ve been spend on giving our H and h a few more pages with a satisfying HEA. The concern regarding their standing at the two sides of the war was shaken off too easily for my liking. I don’t think it would’ve been that easy for either of them when they’d finally married.
Saying all these, must admit that I’m also looking forward to the next installments. I was rooting for the characters, especially Solomon and Cyrus. Even though they had their fallacies, both seemed inherently good men. Also would like to know if Cecelia gets her HEA or not. 3.5 stars but definitely could’ve been more.
“Little Love Affair” is a freebie, available on all major retailer sites.