Sunday, March 11, 2018

Book Review: 'An Extraordinary Union' by Alyssa Cole

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.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.