An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

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Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

Adventure, romance, sex… perfect for escape reading. What free woman would trade in her freedom to carry out her passion for justice?

This is a well written book with a unique plot. Elle Burn is a unique woman by a lot of means. Courageous is the word that I would use to describe her. Elle is a freed slave going undercover to get information to the Union to help defeat the Confederates and she also has the ability to remember everything that she read and see. So her gift helps in the service that she does for the Union. This isn’t a book where I found myself necessarily liking a particular character or even connecting with one but if I had to pick one it would be Elle. She is courageous, she is selfless and for her to face the dangers in the fight to end slavery as well as becoming involved in forbidden love is a woman that is truly bold.

While undercover Elle meets Malcolm McCall. They both have a lot in common. Malcolm has his personal reasons for helping the Union. During their mission to help the Union Malcolm happens to see Elle and finds himself attracted to her. As the story goes on their attraction and passion for each other grows. Another thing they both have in common is that they read and quote Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. I like that they have similar things to share and draw closeness on.

The story is summarized and told so well but it seems there is more telling than showing. I enjoy a good historical read but I felt this storyline center more around Elle and Malcolm’s growth into a relationship as well as their active sex life. Their personal relationship took away from the story line. There wasn’t a balance of romance and historical events. Even though Elle and Malcolm didn’t have it easy in trying to be with each other, the story doesn’t offer much as to the suspense of the outcome. I could predict that the outcome would be in the best interest of Elle and Malcolm. I think this would have been a good story without the sex-capade.

This is an extraordinary story, but probably doesn’t offer a realistic historical outcome.  For this reason I would recommend this to readers that enjoy an escape but aren’t exceptionally choosy about historical accuracy.  It also offers readers a sensual romance with a happy ending.

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