Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy is book one in his Battles of Destiny series. This beautiful and captivating story felt like I was reading poetry rather than a story about the beginning of the Civil War. My head usually starts spinning after reading the long list of generals, colonels, and other important officers in each of the battles, but that didn't happen this time. Instead, I was transported to that time and while seeing the outbreak of the Civil War and the major battle at Bull Run my attention was focused on the central characters of Jenny Jordan and Buck Brownell. I watched memorized as the various events of the coming war brought these two people together who likely would not have met under normal circumstances. Then as I continued to see their story unfold, I was amazed to see a sweet and touching romance grow between them.
Since most if not all romances in stories don't survive without being touched by pain and conflict, my heart became wrenched at the next part of their story. Jenny Jordan was pushed by her father into a Confederate spy ring right underneath the noses of President Lincoln and his government. Jenny's part in the spying was out of loyalty to her birth state of Virginia and to her Southern family heritage. She was torn by her love for Buck, a Union soldier, and her admiration of President Lincoln and all that he was trying to accomplish. It was her father and their Southern heritage that began keeping her and Buck from making any plans of marriage.
If that wasn't enough and when her heart could take the deceit no longer, she was captured for being a spy while on her way to deliver a message to General Stonewall Jackson of an impending battle from the North. Since the penalty for spies at war time is death by firing squad 24 hours after being captured, she was sure she and Buck had to future without a true miracle from God.
For the end of this story you need to read the book yourself, but let me just say that you will NOT be disappointed or even bored by this story. Your curiosity will propel you all the way to the end in no time. You will actually be disappointed that the story has come to its conclusion long before boredom will ever set it.
While I don't normally read Historical or Romance stories, I truly have to say that I enjoyed every minute of this book and am quite eager to read more books in this series. This story will have you on the edge of your seat asking and anticipating what comes next. All the while you are seeing history in a brand new light. If only we learned history in light of the lives of the people who lived back then. I think that it would become much more memorable to us. After all, the human story is one that we can relate to and enjoy hearing about.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Even if you aren't a History or Romance buff, you will find something in this book that will touch your heart and leave you wanting more. The gentle manner in which this story is told will put a desire in your heart to go back to that time and live a lifetime there. It was a chivalrous, innocent, and truly American time that we can all appreciate.