About the Book
Her aunt’s invitation to Richmond is just the change Beatrice Swanson needs after her brother’s release from a Union prison. Bea’s father agrees to the trip with a condition—one that tosses her emotions into swirling confusion.
Though Jay Nickson wants to serve his country as a Confederate soldier, his work is too important to the government. Bea’s interest in his job, which includes secrets that would benefit the Union, arouses his suspicions. Is she spying for the North? His growing feelings for her are hard to squelch.
Though she participates in activities to benefit Confederate soldiers, Bea struggles with her own loyalties and her father’s demands. Where does her cousin, Meg, go on her solitary errands? Bea’s own growing love for Jay, a Southerner, only adds to her confusion. Tensions escalate in Richmond as the Union army approaches, drawing her into more secrecy. Where does her allegiance lie? And how will she be forced to prove it?
Nothing in war is simple…especially when the heart becomes entangled.
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Boulevard of Confusion is the first book I’ve read by Sandra Merville Hart, and I’m not sure I want to read another one, though I admit I may pick up the third book because the character that book is about is probably the character I’m most intrigued by in this book.
The book takes place in Richmond during the middle of the Civil War, with a Northerner (Bea) and a Southerner (Jay) as its main characters. Both Bea and Jay are staunchly against slavery, but Jay is firmly of the belief that the Confederacy is in the right to secede. Bea has a more confused take as her brother owns a planation in North Carolina and her sister and brother-in-law are staunchly pro-Union, and she struggles with this. Repeatedly. Throughout the entire book. It
Ms. Merville Hart definitely completed a ton of research and the historical details and figures are nicely integrated into the story. As a historian in my heart (though I focused on Medieval history), I appreciated the effort and time the author took to get the historical aspects authentically drawn and her characters did not feel like they were transplanted from the 21st century.
Boulevard of Confusion is the second in a series. I believe this book does not stand alone, though there does appear to be an ‘info dump’ of sorts on the first few pages as the two main characters discuss the plot of the previous book.
This book was fine. The main characters had a lot of depth, though the repetitiveness of their inner thoughts became tiresome quickly. I also admit I just didn’t connect with the main characters.
Scenery descriptions are fine and the side characters appear to have full lives and are not just written to hang around the main characters. I also struggled with the sentence structure as it felt choppy and disjointed, but that is a personal preference.
I give this book 3/5 stars for its themes regarding family and unity, and that the characters all felt like real people. However, the repetitiveness of the inner thoughts of these main characters and the fact that it seemed like side character’s stories were more interesting makes it difficult for me to recommend this book.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
More from the Author
In Boulevard of Confusion, Book 2 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, two people in love—one supporting the North, one supporting the South—struggle to rise above their differing loyalties.
In my book, the hero is a Virginian who supports the South. Though Jay hates slavery, he cannot turn against his state. His job at Tredegar Ironworks supplies the Confederate army with artillery. They develop new weapons and technology, such as submarines, that must be kept secret even from Richmond residents.
Our heroine is from the North. Bea has Southern ties and her brother, a Confederate officer, was recently released from a prison camp. Bea’s understanding of both sides of the conflict tosses her into confusion, especially in light of her growing feelings for Jay.
Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Richmond museums. One display in particular at the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar made me want to do a little dance. (If you followed me around on my museum visits, you’d witness my enthusiasm for historical people and events and how they impact my stories. Perhaps you share my love of history. 😊)
Anyway, this particular display was a painting of Julia Ann Mitchell, who lived in Richmond at the start of the Civil War. She was from a well-to-do family that traveled often. On one of these trips, she met and fell in love with Frederick Coggill, a New York City resident. Though they loved one another, the couple was divided in their loyalties.
Sadly, Julia’s brother, who fought for the Confederacy, was killed in battle. This probably added to the conflict between Julia and Frederick.
I’m happy to say that the couple seemed to enjoy a happy ending, for they were married in 1863.
I didn’t yet know my characters when I read this display, for the stories ferment in my imagination as research reveals the history. I tucked it away in my mind and it later inspired me.
Boulevard of Confusion isn’t Julia’s and Frederick’s love story. Not at all. It’s simply that history’s record of them overcoming their differing loyalties to marry proves that it happened. That’s all I needed to know.
Avenue of Betrayal, Book 1, is set in the Union capital of Washington City (Washington DC) in 1861, where a surprising number of Confederate sympathizers and spies lived. Boulevard of Confusion is set in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. Actual historical spies touch the lives of our fictional family.
Through both real and fictional characters, this series highlights activities spies were involved in and some of the motives behind their decisions.
I invite you to read both Avenue of Betrayal and Boulevard of Confusion. And please watch for Book 3, Byway to Danger, which will soon follow!
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 10
Texas Book-aholic, May 11
Inklings and notions, May 12
Betti Mace, May 13
Books, Books, and More Books, May 13
For Him and My Family, May 14
deb’s Book Review, May 15
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 16
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 17
Connie’s History Classroom, May 18
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 20
Blososms and Blessings, May 21
Pause for Tales, May 22
Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 23 (Author Interview)
Of Blades and Thorns, May 23
To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.