Published by Kensington on March 28th 2017
Genres: African American, Fiction, Historical, Multicultural & Interracial, Romance
“Richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters.” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling authorAs the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .Praise for the novels of Alyssa Cole:“Rich in atmospheric details and rife with unexpected dangers.”—RT Book Reviews“Sweet, sensual, and suspenseful . . . rousing and entertaining.”—Publishers Weekly
An Extraordinary Union so good. SOOOOOOO good.
I had to wait a day before writing this review because I just wanted to write the above line and hit publish.
I had been vaguely familiar with Alyssa Cole but had no idea she wrote historical romance. I stumbled across an interview she did with Publishers Weekly recently via Podcasts In Color and became very intrigued. As has been documented on this blog, Beverly Jenkins is my go-to for historical romances. I have been looking to add more books by authors of color in the genre for a while now but hadn’t found anything I really liked. Alyssa Cole can now count me as a new fan.
An Extraordinary Union gripped me from the very first page, which honestly doesn’t happen as often as much as I would like. Ellie Burns and Malcolm McCall are both working towards the same cause, and while attraction is ever present, there’s no way anything more than doing the Union’s work is possible. Or is it?
What I liked: The book didn’t give me a whimsical reinterpretation of what a relationship between a white man and a black woman would be like during the American Civil War. Cole created multi-dimensional characters that while the chemistry and banter between were palpable, nothing was sugarcoated. We saw and felt the fight Ellie had to endure in order to continue on with such important work. She was literally fighting for freedom. Malcolm, though a friend of the Cause, had a lot more to learn than even he really realized. Did he fully understand what even attempting to pursue a relationship with Elle would mean? Had he really thought about life while under slavery aside from his work with the Pinkerton’s Secret Service? And once he did, and he and Elle found a way to be together, what did that mean for the work these two do?
You all know that I love action and adventure in my romance novels. I loved reading about Elle and Malcolm working together, uncovering information, sending secret codes, and finding ways to filter communications to the right persons.
An Extraordinary Union had angst, sensuality, and a well-developed plot. It was heartbreaking, brave, and resilient; everything I love my romance novels to be.
AND I just saw that there’s a second book in The Loyal League featuring Malcolm’s brother, Ewan, coming out in November. It’s called A Hope Divided and guess who just pre-ordered it? Me. You can do so here as well.