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Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart

About the Book

Book: Byway to Danger

Author: Sandra Merville Hart

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 19, 2022

Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies.

Meg Brooks, widow, didn’t stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart.

Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn’t tell him. He’s glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril.

As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn’t a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows?

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My Impressions

Sandra Merville Hart takes us deep into the dangers of the Civil War in Byway to Danger. In Richmond, Meg Brooks, a former Pinkerton, visits with relatives and works in a bakery, but most importantly, looks for intelligence to pass to the North. Her bakery boss, Cade Yancey, is also a Northern sympathizer. Like Meg, he spies for the North. As they grow closer, Meg doesn’t reveal much of her business or history to Cade, thinking what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. Cade is even more tight-lipped about his past and connections. Can they work together to further freedom, or will their secrets drive them apart?

This book is the third of a trio, but stands alone nicely. It started slowly for me. I had a hard time initially becoming invested in the characters. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I was quickly thumbing pages, eager to discover the future of Meg and Cade and others. I set the finished book aside with a satisfied sigh.

My favorite secondary characters were Aunt Trudy and her servants, Clara and Harold. All three are wise, kind, and willing to go out of their way to help others. All had reasons they could have refused to do so.

If you’re looking for a clean, Faith-based historical romance based on Civil War times, I recommend Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart.

I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Hard to say what turns some men into animals, as if they turned their backs on the sense the Good Lord gave them.”

“How can you, a man of few words, know just what to say?” She smiled to lighten the moment. Mournful blue eyes met hers. “Because I lived it.”

“Their relationship felt as if they had waltzed into a courtship without discussing it.”

“And my greatest hope for him is that he learns that he’s cherished by his Savior.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! I recommend this suspenseful Civil War novel.

About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

More from Sandra

In Byway to Danger, Book 3 of my “Spies of the Civil War” series, both Cade and Meg—our hero and heroine—are Union spies living in Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1862. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Meg is also a former Pinkerton spy. One Pinkerton spy was hanged in the spring and three others now sit in Richmond jails.

Meg works as an assistant in Cade’s bakery. The strong, quiet man keeps a secret from Meg to protect her, for he’s a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He provides food, clothing, and a safe place to stay until he’s able to take them on to the next stop several miles outside the city. Cade has done this for years before the Civil War and continues as the war rages, a perilous mission.

Historically, early in the war on May 23, 1861, three men escaped slavery and fled to Fort Monroe. Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend had worked on Confederate fortifications before escaping on a rowboat. They sought the safety of Union soldiers at the fort. The men informed Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler that they escaped from Confederate Colonel Charles K. Mallory of the 115th Virginia Militia.

The next day, Confederate Major John B. Cary arrived at Fort Monroe under a flag of truce. Cary met with Butler and requested he return the enslaved men to Mallory as required by the Fugitive Slave Act.

Butler did some fast thinking. Since the three men had been building fortifications for war, they could be seized as “contraband of war” and didn’t have to be returned. His refusal to return the men was a pivotal decision and sparked a future law that protected fugitives who sought the protection of Union camps.

Dozens of fugitive men, women, and children had joined Baker, Mallory, and Townsend at Fort Monroe within three days. Many others fled to the fort in the following months. “Grand Contraband Camp” was established about three miles from Fort Monroe on the charred remains of Hampton to accommodate the hundreds of fugitives.  It was the nation’s first self-contained black community. By 1865, thousands lived in this camp.

Part of my research for this novel involved a trip to Virginia’s Fort Monroe. (If you love history and have never visited Fort Monroe, I recommend it!) Though I wasn’t certain of my story at the time of my visit, I was so inspired by the fort’s history that I knew it had to be part of my story. And it is!

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 and Byway to Danger are 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 the whole “Spies of the Civil War” series beginning with Book 1 Avenue of Betrayal, Book 2 Boulevard of Confusion, and Book 3 Byway to Danger!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

Spoken from the Heart, July 22

Bizwings Blog, July 23

Inklings and notions, July 24

Betti Mace, July 25

Book Looks by Lisa, July 25

Texas Book-aholic, July 26

For Him and My Family, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 31

Vicarious Living, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 3

Giveaway

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f7f8/byway-to-danger-celebration-tour-giveaway