A review by yourbookishbff
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

adventurous challenging dark emotional informative sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


It's hard to capture how remarkable this is, both as a stand-alone and as a series start, and for historical romance readers who have read *any* Civil-War-era romance by white authors, this is a must-read series that reflects authentic people and stories (Alyssa Cole truly lights a match to the lost cause narrative that underlies the majority of books in this corner of historical romance). This installment centers the story of Union operative Elle Burns (inspired by the real-life spy story of Mary Bowser). Elle is a free Black woman working undercover as an enslaved woman in a Confederate officer's home. She meets Malcom McCall, a white Union operative, while he is working undercover as a Confederate officer visiting the region. The progression of their relationship centers honest communication around the stark power imbalance between them, and Cole deftly used open-door scenes to further deepen their communication. I would consider this a blend of historical romance and romantic suspense, with clear and historically accurate world building that is driven by Cole's obvious commitment to thorough research. Moreover, the writing is beautiful. I highly recommend this book and this series!

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