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on November 28, 2015
Noble Cause is magnificent beyond measure, an epic story that reaches out to seize your heart and soul with a power that takes your breath away. It transports you to a place beyond time and distance, another life just beyond the edge of memory but more vividly real than any dream. I laughed, I wept, I felt alive, and I understood much - about honor, duty, sacrifice, freedom, conviction, truth, belief, pride, trust, loyalty. And through it all the anguish and hope of love unending. I am reminded of a phrase from Dante's Paradiso: "But at last my will and my desire, like a wheel moving evenly, were revolving from the love that moves the sun and all the other stars." It is a journey from darkness into light, from confusion to understanding, for the reader as well as the characters. I am forever changed; I cannot view the Civil War and the souls of those men and women who fought and struggled in the same way ever again.

This is truly an exceptional story. Buy it - I don't believe you'll be disappointed. I have been an Amazon frequent buyer for years, and I have been so moved by this book as to write my first review. Oh, and yes ... I'm planning a trip to northern Virginia to walk the battlefields, the towns, the hills and valleys to pay my respects. It's time.
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on November 25, 2015
“Life is sufficiently short without shaking the sand that measures it.”
Before the serious commencement of hostilities in the War Between the States both parties thought that the conflict would be short lived, so the when the Union forces met defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run the Federal side retreated in horror; fully believing that the war was already lost. On the winning side, the Confederate forces were unable to follow up their victory by entering Washington and many thought it was unnecessary; for them the war was already won. Both sides couldn’t have been more wrong; the war would continue for more than four more years at the cost of tens of thousands on both sides. As the war that pitted brothers against brothers and sons against fathers continued it eventually became the most bitter and bloody conflict in American history.
Captain Alexander Hunter owns and breeds horses, making him a perfect horseman and cavalry officer. Like the Gray Ghost of the Confederacy, Colonel John Singleton Mosby, he commands a small contingent of horsemen that expertly operate on the fringes of the conflict; scouting for the army and capturing both arms and supplies from the enemy. He and his contingent of mounted warriors are a thorn in the side of the Union Army.
Andrea Evans, aka Andrew Sinclair and Maryann Marlow, is a beautiful, green eyed, high spirited and reckless woman with an unbounding love for the Union cause. She started this quest with the light feelings of a game but is eventually faced with the realities and horrors of war. During her dangerous antics she falls in love with Daniel Delaney a colonel in the Union Army. He is mortally wounded during the Battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862.
Mixing facts with fiction, this story brings an American society and way of life on its out and making way for a new one. The rich and elegant plantation life has the troubling open wound of slavery as a sobering backdrop. As the power of love transcends political turmoil and mixes peace with war Andrea and Hunter are thrown together into a relationship neither expects but are unable to change. With strong and memorable characters, this story reads as a classic and is sure to impress all who read it. I highly recommend it to all.
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on December 9, 2014
Okay, I read the first version Jessica put out and cried my eyes out at the end. So I read her other version with a 'happy ending', that one left me cold. I would have enjoyed her to finish the tale with her strong characters, like she did in the first version. Still, all said, this book is great history telling, truly splendid characters divided by their duty yet yearning to be loved or hated because of the terrible war and their cause. Good story telling. James did a great job in helping the readers understand the various opinions of the time as to the cause and effects of the Civil War, nor did she overtly villanize either side. Thanks for a good read.
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on June 9, 2012
Having previously purchased Shades of Gray (which I loved despite being furiously depressed with the ending), I was interested in how the author would revise the story. While I appreciated the happily-ever-after ending, I was somewhat disappointed to find some of my favorite details missing from this version. Had I only read this, however, I would have raved about the characters and the events depicted in the story. While die-hard Civil War historians might scoff at the lack of detail, I found that the battle scenes were well-researched and believable...particularly for a romance. This is a book that I will read again...and again!
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on August 14, 2015
I actually enjoyed the first 5% of this book. It was moving at a good clip and the story is very interesting... after that... it was like the author didn't know where to go with the story so the heroines of the book were stuck with mundane conversation after conversation while looking at stars, moon or horses. I actually quit reading it because I was bored to tears. Such a shame when you have a riveting time like the Civil War as your background.
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on December 5, 2012
Being a true southerner, I must say I enjoyed reading from both the Rebel and Yankee side of things treated equally.

This book is refreshing in that it doesn't focus so intently in the slavery issue, which spurred the war. Yes,slavery was very wrong, but from this story you learn that many southerners fought not because they owned slaves, but for their property and family heritage and honor. It shows that two opposite sides can come together in the end. I've always been saddened by the fact that, many times, southern brothers would find themselves on opposite sides of this war and faced each other in the battlefields, and that issue is dealt with in a very respectful manner.

Thanks Janice for a wonderful read and two fiery personalities that are literally "lightning in the sky"!
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on July 23, 2015
Absolutely a great novel for Civil War Romance readers. The characters are so interesting and complex and by the end you feel like you know what direction they will take next based on the authors excellent character descriptions. I am an avid Civil War Historical Novel enthusiast and would rate this as one of the best I've read, and there have been many, many. Can't wait to begin Above and Beyond, just need to savor this one for a while first.
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on January 6, 2016
I enjoyed this book. It,'s the story of a young woman, Andrea Evans, dressed as a boy working for the union and taking chances. Once she is caught she ends up in prison. Hunter is her sworn enemy, but he made a promise to his dying brother that he would protect her. When he found out she had been imprisoned, against his orders he went to save her. She sustained a very serious leg injury and was taken to Hawthorn. His family home, to recuperate. This is a story of two very strong willed people who try each others patience in many ways and how they fallible through the war even though she is union and he confederate. I believe you will enjoy this novel.
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on August 21, 2015
This is the happy ending version of "Shades of Gray" by the same author. Basically they are the same book until the ending. The book itself is excellent. Andrea goes through an intense and crazy journey. She has guts but underneath her determination is a broken interesting person. Alex is cut from the same cloth. However, these two stand on opposite sides of the war. Their story is the stuff legends are made of.

You'd think that I would like the "happy ending" book better than the "realistic ending". However, I find that this version sort of takes away from the love story. I know that sounds ridiculous and I'm sure that many people will disagree. That is why I gave this 4 of 5 stars. I suggest reading both and deciding for yourself. Just be aware that the books are nearly exactly the same until the last few chapters.

Also, the epilogues are not included in these versions. At least, they weren't with mine. You can email the author for both though. Ms. James sent me pdf files for both Noble Cause and Shades of Gray within a day of me asking for them. So, if you want to find out what happens to Andrea and Alex after to war then you'll need to contact the author via her website.
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on November 23, 2014
My first exposure to this title was actually through the first one, Shades of Gray. When I found out how that book ended, I was very upset to put it lightly and dropped it like a hot potato. Sorry to say, but I like my romances to have some happy resolution. So I was happy to learn that the author had written an alternate with a happier ending, Noble Cause. So I dove in.

I've got to give the author this, she definitely did her research into the horrors of the Civil War, the divisions it caused in families and in people’s psyches, and the small details of 1860’s life. I found myself transported onto the battlefields, into the parlors, and into the hospital tents; I experienced them vicariously along with the characters.

Her characters are also very vivid. I cried when some of them died, and I flew on the wings of romance when Alex and Andrea had their little interludes. There were a few background characters that slid into stereotypes (thinking Victoria here), but for the most part, everyone was strong and had very distinct personalities. I got to know the individuals portrayed in this novel. I got to feel connected enough that I became very concerned for all their fates.

The romance is just beautiful. I loved how bound together Alex and Andrea are, how much they balance each other out and appreciate the other. I don’t think many men in this era could appreciate the strength and courage that Andrea has other than Alex. He also provides the cherishing and utter devotion that I think Andrea desperately needs in her life after the tragedies of her past. Let’s just say more than once a huge grin was gracing my face as I read their interactions.

The one real downside to this novel is a lot of the dialogue throughout these pages. There are passages that feel extremely archaic and just downright awkward. Some of the exchanges between Alex and Andrea when their arguing or having confrontations also seem extremely awkward, for lack of a better term. They seem to repeat the same ideas again and again, just phrased differently, sometimes in the exact same conversation. The words and phrases seem overblown for what the novel really is. I’m not sure if the author was trying for a feel of maybe an older, more classic of a novel. But it didn't work out that way. I just found myself skipping some exchanges to get away from the uncomfortable word exchanges.

Overall, this novel is definitely an enjoyable experience. I enjoyed the characters, romance, and setting. I could tell that the author took some serious time in her research of the time period and in her development of the characters and their relationships. Now if only the word and phrasing choices had been a bit different, this book would have been a 5 stars, no problem. But it’s still a very respectable 4. Definitely recommended for Civil War enthusiasts and those who enjoy romances from the time period.
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