Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy


First, let me say I really, really wanted to like this book. The plot sounds promising: 
"Jenny's allegiance lay with the Confederate Army. But her heart belonged to the enemy. Faithful to her family and the land of her birth, young Jenny Jordan covers for her father's Confederate spy missions. But as she grows closer to handsome Union soldier Buck Brownell. Jenny finds herself torn between devotion to the South and her feelings for the man she is forbidden to love. Overwhelmed by pressure to assist the South, Jenny agrees to carry critical information over enemy lines. But when she is caught in Buck Brownell's territory, will he follow orders to execute the beautiful spy or find a way to save his Beloved Enemy?"
 I was intrigued with Al Lacy's statements about not writing about sex and how that would translate to a romance novel and the plot. Unfortunately, this author not only is unwilling to write sex scenes but he clearly is unable to write a decent historical fiction novel. If you aren't going to write a steamy romance, full of appropriate lust between the courting characters, then make the history interesting and accurate. Know your era, and know your facts.

Pretty much as soon as the story opens, Lacy shows complete obliviousness to the customs, behaviors, languages, and general social expectations of the time. His characters say and thinks things and behave in ways that are asinine in the context they are used. Some examples include references and terms that were not appropriate for the era like Mary Todd Lincoln being called "mom" by her sons (not a term used until nearly 1900), the use of the term "classified information" (also not introduced until nearly 1920), "fixing makeup", and having a "cup of coffee at the cafe" as well as blatant incongruence with the acceptable behavior of courting young adults of the time. No lady of class and "good breeding" would just go out to a restaurant with a man she had never met before. A young man generally sought an introduction or was required to ask permission to call before taking a woman out. There are steps to courting that were never addressed.

My review could be continued with more analysis on the abundance of historical inaccuracy, as well as the continual slew seemingly unimportant secondary characters muddling the plot, and the dull accounts of war sequences. I could keep going, but the lack of continuity with the time period is enough to throw any serious reader off of this book.  In fact, all of these errors made it so I could barely finish the novel. It was painful to make it to the end.

In this case, I entirely regret reading this book. I will, also, never read anything else written by Mr. Lacy. I think he needs to put more time and thought into his work and less energy into bragging about not being bullied into abandoning his morals.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. A positive reiew was not required and all opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own. 

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