Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Scene in Time by Jessica A Clements
Narrator: Marnye Young, Allyson Voller, Taylor Meskimen
Series: Wellesley O'Brien Saga #1
Published by Self-Published on June 11, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 5 hours, 23 minutes
Source: Publicity team
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Adam, a Southern gentleman, knew the call to arms was near when President Lincoln asked for one hundred thousand men to stop secession and rebellion in the South. He joined the Union Cavalry -- but not before he married his best, and only, friend.
Abby, an Irish immigrant that settled with her family in Virginia, was as Southern as you could get. When her husband announces that he had joined the Union cavalry, she couldn't believe what she heard. She supported the decision of the one person that she loved more than the world itself.
As the war raged on, things weren't always as they seemed. Abby's sisters joined in the Southern cause, working to keep the way of life that the South had always had. Through grief, pain, and battles Abby keeps to the one place that she felt closest to her husband -- the cottage that their families had given them.
A scene in time. An epic battle. And a tale of how love (through all of its forms) can transcend life and death.
Three sisters, born Irish and raised southern, live their lives against the brutal tapestry of war. Family, divided loyalty, love, and well-being are a high cost they pay.
A Scene in Time is an American Civil War era family saga by a new to me author and, nearly new to me team of narrators. This period in America’s past has always been fascinating to me and stories set in this time can be only bittersweet. So, when in the proper frame of mind, I slipped into the story that began with the oldest sister, Abby’s childhood friendship with neighbor, Adam Wellesley, and watched this young pair fall in love and marry. They have the loss of mothers and the hard reaction of fathers in common plus Adam who comes of English aristocratic ancestry, but isn’t deterred by Abby’s upstart Irish. They are happy together and are close with her sisters, but I felt the clouds of war gathering in the distance and knew, after the prologue, this was going to be no light weight pussyfooting around the war’s edges.
Sure enough, when war breaks out, Adam follows his convictions to cross the Mason-Dixon line to fight for the north. Families are torn apart by war even before a life has been shed. Abby is torn between love of Adam and unwavering support even when she faces the backlash in his absence and the loyalty and love to family who support the south- actively in the case of one sister.
Taylor and Mackenzie face the war in their own ways and even find love differently from Abby. I confess the excitement of a woman disguised as a man and going into the war zones was a rush, but since one devastating battle was over their home town, nobody escaped the terror of war. I know I’m being vague about this part of the story, but this book deserves to be read with surprises, suspenseful moments, and relationships left to be discovered by each reader/listener.
There are moments when the author goes passive voice to get through great time periods in the story, but I never felt disconnected from the story. I was vested in the O’Brien sisters, Adam, and the others and I’m so glad there is more coming in this saga, though it was left at a good place to stop.
The author did a stellar job bringing the time period to life and it was obvious she did a great deal of research both into the battles, and the homefront. I had a few moments of queasiness because she doesn’t pull her punches about the war and the brutality of it.
All in all, this was a beautiful, bittersweet, and emotionally engaging family saga that hit the spot with me. Again, I’m glad there is more to come. They go through tragedy, but also find their strength and triumph in their own ways. It’s not a long book, but it does take the listener on quite the journey. I can recommend it to historical fiction, historical romance, and saga lovers.
As to the trio of narrators, I was only familiar with Marnye Young, but Allyson Voller and Taylor Meskimen turned out to be just as delightfully engaging as the three O’Brien narrators who also did well at the overall cast. Group narration isn’t my preference, but when done well, like this, I adjust easily and can stay in the story.
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