When I selected Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy for my next WaterBrook Press review, I was tempted by the Civil War history referred to as well as the chance for a little romance in the reading. However, upon receipt of the book and jumping right in to it, I struggled to be drawn in by the story line and writing style.
I will confess I had never read one of Mr. Lacy’s books before and therefore didn’t know what to expect. What I didn’t expect though was to find some inconsistencies that quite frankly bothered me. If a writer is going to write historical fiction, it is my belief he or she should remain tied to the time period in language, casual lifestyle references and its historical stance.
Once or twice in Beloved Enemy, when scenes include Mrs. Lincoln and her two boys, Willie and Tad, the boys refer to their mother as “mom.” When this didn’t seem absolutely timely, I checked online resources ([Merriam-Webster] regarding the origin of the word “mom.” Here, we are told that the word’s first known use was circa 1894. Since Beloved Enemy opens in the early part of the 1860s and continues only through that same early period, it is highly unlikely that the Lincoln boys called their mother “mom.”
At one point in this same early part of the book, one character is read in dialogue to say: “Let’s have a cup of coffee at the cafe.” Another language form that, in my own opinion, doesn’t seem to ring true with the times.
Also, I found it difficult to maintain a record of the many Confederate and Yankee officers named throughout the book. Mr. Lacy often refers to each in a multitude of names, sometimes using their titles, often only first names. This would make it difficult for a reader unfamiliar with the war itself to track very well.
References to the women spies during the Civil War seem to be completely accurate. Rose Greenhow was chief among the Confederate women spies as reflected here. It is with great pride as a woman from the South to know that women played a strategic, if costly, role in the Civil War.
I’m reluctant to say that I will step out again and read one of Al Lacy’s publications, but have done as WaterBrook Multnomah asked and have given my honest opinion of Beloved Enemy.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.