Review: A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

Review: A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
A Hope Divided

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Loyal League #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Kensington
Released on November 28, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor--but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . .

For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.

The Delight

A Union counter-intelligence officer and a member of the Loyal league meet in a Confederate prison and then must work hard against a sadistic evil man who uses his position as leader of the Home Guard to destroy other people.  A war fought behind the lines and a personal war fought inside their hearts led to me being riveted once again by the latest Loyal League story.


A Hope Divided is book two of the series.  It features the brother to the hero in book one and late in the story brings another character from book one into the mixed, but for the most part, it can be read standalone or out of order.

This book like book one, An Extraordinary Union, told a fantastic historical romantic suspense story set against the backdrop of America’s Civil War.  But it was so much more than that.  The author dug deep into lesser known historical events and produced a war story set behind Confederate lines and showed how much divisiveness there was in the South beyond their war with the North.  She had a big picture and a smaller picture set inside it with the individual stories of her characters.  Details were authentic in feel and the plot was well balanced between character and action driven plot.

The war was tearing people apart because of their greatly differing beliefs and forcing smaller fights between Southern abolitionists and anti-war Quakers and militant state sanctioned forces like the Home Guard.  And it wasn’t just the south, the Union’s people were just as divided about the war- several were not fighting against slavery and were as bigoted about the blacks as some in the South.

The story is broad in scope, but the focus stays on Marlie and Ewan.  She’s a free half-black living with her white relations in comparative comfort and had/has opportunities to an education and career field in studying botany and natural medicine.  She’s caught between two worlds and it all comes crashing down on her as she is exposed to the cruelties around her and a deep family secret.  Ewan is darker with the work he does in counter-intelligence and self-loathing.  He’s brilliant, but tortured.  They didn’t label autism back then, but the way the author wrote his character, I felt he might have been on the spectrum.

They were fantastic characters and I loved seeing their tentative friendship and secret longings grow into love and need.  Both must struggle with how their pasts shape their thinking and how their present situation will likely push them apart, particularly since they are attempting to bridge the gap between black and white.

I have to say that the author can write some vile, loathsome villains.  The leader of the Home Guard and Marlie’s relation by her brother’s marriage, Melanie turned my stomach.  I so wanted them both to come to a bad end.

This was another fabulous story in the series and I can’t recommend the Loyal League series enough.  The author can see perspective and gets right into the minds of the people of the day while writing a riveting storyline.  I’m left with a good story, curiosity about history, and a thought provoking issue that is still true today.


Romance Roundabout #307 HR
New Release #188
Books N Tunes #48 Rachelle Ann Go’s Part of Your World


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. I always consider an author to be really good if they can write a very effective antagonist. And my! Sounds like Cole done it perfectly. I’m glad you are enjoying this series Sophia Rose 🙂

    1. That is a good sign to go by. If they take the time to develop their villain then they probably took the time on everything else, too. I really love Cole’s writing. 🙂

  2. I’ve been reading more stories that are tied to history, and since this author is adding some trivia that’s not well known, I’m in. The way you review it makes it definitely worth of a try, Super Sophia! Happy Friday! Hugs…RO

    1. I really love this series and its easy to tell the author has done her homework. I think you’d enjoy them for that, but also she writes in good tension and suspense with a bit of romance.

      Yes! We have a Friday sighting, Radiant Ro! Soon the weekend! Mine will be snowy and cold, but I have my fireplace ready. 🙂

  3. I’ve visited Monticello in Virginia and the slavery situation was made very real by the tour. It’s odd to think of that war being fought on US soil not too long ago. This sounds like and interesting and heartbreaking read. I hope the villains got what they deserved in the end!

    1. How neat, Rachel! I love the kind of tours that do well making history come alive.

      Yes, exactly- there were heartbreaking moments, but also lots of good and action,too. Grrr, the pair of those tormenting people needed to die a grisly death.

  4. Great review Sophia Rose I love authors who dig deeper than what a reader might expect from the blurb and the cover.

    1. I thought she did great with the first book in the series, but then was so excited to see that it wasn’t a fluke and she put as much work into this one as well while also pulling out a different aspect of the times even from the first book even though they share similar elements.

    1. I think so as well. She does it in a way that feels like it captures the essence of the whole picture rather than just writing to an agenda.
      Oh man, these are definitely the ‘love to hate’ sort of villains. I kept wondering how people could think and act as they do.

    1. Oh, these really are, Carole. I’m shoving them at anyone who shows a spark of interest.
      I’ve only read a couple of characters with autism. I’m not for sure that he is, but he felt that way when I was reading and comparing his traits to a few kids I’ve taught over the years.

      Hope you get the chance at these. 🙂

  5. I am currently reading this one and liking it. Just been distracted so haven’t been able to get fully into it. But going to focus on it tonight especially after reading your review. Glad you enjoyed this one. I do love the historical aspects though. So refreshing to read an author that does her homework and does a setting non regency.

    1. Real life stuff can definitely make it hard to concentrate on reading even if its for fun and special things. 🙂
      I do love it when an author shows respect and love for history in the way they take the time to get it right in a fiction story.