This story takes place in a Southern town shortly after the Civil War...a town under Union occupation still. The hostilities between the Union army soldiers and the residents is high. That doesn't keep the mothers from trying to marry their daughters off to the ranking officers. With too few men, and too many women, the city is often referred to as a bride fair.
One young lady of marriage age is Maria Markham. Maria's two brothers and her fiance were killed in the war, and her father is quite ill. To help keep the house running they board the highest ranking Union officer in their house, a Colonel Max Woodard. Max has no nice feelings for the town. This is the town where he was kept as a prisoner of war, watching hundreds of his fellow soldiers die, nearly dieing himself. While Max is a fair leader, not allowing his men to take advantage of their situations, he holds no love for the town at all.
I loved the characters in this book. Max and Maria were both so hard headed about things, it reminded me of so many I know today. The prejudices on both sides were fascinating and added an element of danger to the story that was always lingering in the background. Reavis did a fantastic job of setting the stage for Max and Maria.
There were numerous twists and unexpected turns throughout that led up to a perfect ending. Not only must Max and Maria fight to find their own happiness, they are both fighting the strict customs and codes of the times. This would have to be one of my favorite romances so far.