Reminiscent of Cold Mountain or Daughter of Fortune, this extraordinary tale emanates from acclaimed author Kiana Davenport's own family history, and is a moving exploration of the horrors of war and the transcendence of love.
Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.
Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting "yellow dogs" and slave auction- blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.
Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie - with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.
A novel of extraordinary scope that will stand as a defining work on the Chinese immigrant experience, The Spy Lover is a paean to the transcendence of love and the resilience of the human spirit.
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"Starred Review. Giving resonance and impact to this story are the compelling characters who tap readers' emotions; the stark realities of battle; and the heroic men and women on both sides who persevered despite horrific conditions. Davenport, author of House of Many Gods (2006), writes from the heart, and yours will be moved." - Booklist
"Although at times Davenport's highly wrought prose threatens to overwhelm her narrative, she manages to channel it into a perfectly Romantic, tormented story." - Publishers Weekly
"Beautiful writing...a page turner...The novel emanates from Davenport's own family history, ancestors who fought in the War...as she tells the story of a woman and her lover, the conflict between love, conscience and determination...I have no hesitation in recommending The Spy Lover to anyone who enjoys stories of the Civil War as well as of genuine conflicts, love and dedication...It will go into a special niche of historical fiction and ...likely become a classic like Cold Mountain." - Martha Boltz of The Washington Times
"(In) The Spy Lover, (Davenport) pulls from her Alabama-born father's family history to tell a gripping Civil War story about three complicated, suffering people - a nurse who's spying for the Union behind enemy lines, a Chinese immigrant who escapes his conscription into the Confederacy to fight for the Union instead, and a wounded Confederate cavalryman. Davenport doesn't buffer the brutality of war, presenting a stark portrayal of its horrors and the damage it can inflict on body and soul in her well-researched tale." - Bookpage
"Davenport delivers a surprisingly heartwarming ending, which will please readers. Civil War buffs will also appreciate and be impressed by the author's intricate depiction of the conflict." - Bookloons.com
"A page turner, like Davenport's other fiction, The Spy Lover is full of suspense, yet it also plunges deep. With compassion toward all her characters, whether they fight for the North or the South, Davenport dramatizes the agony of divided loyalties and the brutalities of war...High drama, high tension, high romance." - Alix Kates Shulman, Bestselling author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, and Menage
"This author does a fantastic job presenting the scenery, pain, and depth of the Civil War and how it truly split loved ones apart. Sometimes in horrific detail, especially the battle of Gettysburg, this author makes it feel as if the reader is actually on that field experiencing every death. Having these characters based on the very real souls of the author's own ancestors who came to America during the 1800s, made the story even more compelling, and is highly recommended."- Amy Lignor, author of Tallent & Lowery - 13 for Suspense Magazine
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Kiana Davenport is the author of the best-selling novels House of Many Gods, Song of the Exile, and Shark Dialogues, and two story collections, House of Skin and Cannibal Nights. A Native Hawaiian, her novels and stories have won numerous awards and have been translated into twenty languages.
Visit her at KianaDavenport.com
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