Isolation has become Adelaide Warren's solace. She lives far from civilization, up in the hills of West Virginia, after the end of the Civil War and the death of her husband. When Josiah Hamilton finds his way to her doorstep, nearly frozen to death one stormy winter night, she nurses him back to life.
They form a fast friendship, which soon becomes more. When Josiah professes his love for her, she refutes him. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Josiah who comes to her rescue. Now, Adelaide is forced to confront her love for him which she has both denied and hidden.
A proposal is made. Will she accept him? If she does, what does that mean for her future?
Adelaide was outside, chopping kindling when she first spotted Josiah off in the distance. Her heart leapt and that feeling startled her. He was nothing more than a stranger, and no more than a friend at most. Yet, she was overjoyed at his impending presence.
How silly, she thought. I’m a grown woman, not some girl set about waiting for a beau to court her. That part of her life had long since passed and was buried and gone along with James. Or was it?
“What brings you out this way?” she asked, upon his approach, doing her best to maintain calm and collected. Just the slightest hint of coyness tinged her voice.
“I was passing through, and I thought I’d stop in,” he said, with an added grin.
“How’s the farm?”
“It’s been good. This spring, planting will take a lot of work and of course the fall harvest. This isn’t our busiest time of year. And yourself?”
“I’m pretty good,” she replied. “Trapper Marg was around to trade some rabbits for my jam. She’s around quite often when making her runs. Other than that, it’s quiet as expected. Just the way I like it.”
Adelaide motioned to the cabin. “There’s coffee and fresh buns, if you’re interested. It beats standing out here in the cold.”
“Sound good,” he replied. “Lead on.”
She poured coffee and set a plate of buns on the table before taking her seat across from Josiah.
“I couldn’t help but notice the rifle next to the door. Are you nervous being here alone? Is that why you keep it close?”
“Josiah,” she started. “I don’t kid myself about the realities of this world. And yes, I am a woman alone. This may not be the best place for me, but it’s home. Where else would I go? Town isn’t an option. I can hardly bear going there for supplies when I have to.”
“I know about James,” he said. “And the talk. Don’t let them get to you. A house in town might be better for you.” He reached across the table and grabbed her hand. “I’m concerned.”
“You’re bold. What they say about James isn’t true. I know it and I shouldn’t have to defend him to anyone.”
“You don’t have to. Not to me, Adelaide.”
She resisted the urge to pull away from him, to ask him to leave. He forced her into a most uncomfortable situation, and she wasn’t quite sure how to react.
“I’m fine here. This cabin suits me fine. I’ve done so now for almost two years with no troubles. Besides, I wouldn’t fit in with…them. No, this is my home. This is where I’m meant to be.”
“In time, they would accept you.”
“They wouldn’t. They talk, they gossip and they say things…terrible things. I don’t want any part of that, ever.” She snatched her hand from his, her eyes falling to her cup.
She didn’t dare look at him. Tears clouded her vision. How dare he bring this emotion out in her?
“You know about James.”
“Yes,” he said, with a nod.
“If it had been true, surely I wouldn’t have received the letter I did after his death from the army.”
“Would you allow me to see this letter?”
Adelaide went to the trunk at the end of the bed to fetch it. “It states that he died with honor. With honor and no disgrace. Why would they say that if it wasn’t true?”
She watched him read the letter, his lips moving silently with each word. He then folded it and handed it back to her. “Don’t believe the gossip. You need no more assurance than that letter. It’s gold and the truth. Understand?”
She did. “I never doubted it for one minute.”
“Nor should you. He was a honorable man who did his duty.”
Adelaide returned the letter to its respectable place inside the trunk and when she turned around, Josiah was behind her.
He reached out with one hand and wiped tears from her cheek, pulling her to him in a most warm embrace.
Denial and guilt overwhelmed her. It felt natural and good, yet she knew it wasn’t proper conduct for a widow. “This isn’t right,” she said, her hand pushing against his strong chest.
“I keep thinking about you,” he muttered. “Straight from the moment when I left, and I don’t know why. You‘re always in my thoughts.”
“Josiah, it was an emotional time. It was Christmas, and you almost died. It’s expected, but let’s not confuse our feelings. You’re fine now. We’re friends and nothing more.” She did a good job trying to convince him, but wasn’t entirely convinced herself.
“Friends,” he said the word as if pondering its true meaning. “What if I’m feeling something different, something more?”
Freeing herself from him, she put a small distance between them. “I’m not ready for anything more. I may never be ready.”
“Do you feel anything for me? Your words say one thing, but I think your eyes say something different.”
“I do. It’s friendship.” She bit her tongue on that falsehood. “Friendship is all I can offer you at this time.”
“I understand. If I offended you with being so forward, I apologize. It was never my intention.” Josiah turned and walked out of the cabin, leaving her feeling very much alone.
Posted by Clare on 12th Sep 2011
Living with the consequences of the war, Adelaide lives alone in the middle of nowhere, until a blizzard lands Josiah literally on her doorstep. Half frozen and almost dead, she brings him inside to care for him. Both Adelaide and Josiah have suffered devastating, life changing losses and know all too well the harsh tongues of the gossips.
In this well written short story, Ms. Kees has packed two well rounded characters, with a supporting cast of secondary characters, each with their own distinct personalities and quirks. Very much like an onion, each page of this book reveals more about Adelaide and Josiah. From a literally frosty beginning, to its heart thudding fiery conclusion, this is well worth curling up with as the nights draw in.
Posted by Susana on 13th Aug 2011
Rating: 3 Cups
In order to avoid the rumors and chatter surrounding her late husband, Adelaide Warren withdrew from civilization up into the hills of West Virginia. When an impending snow storm strands a traveler on her stoop she must decide whether her isolation is more important than another person’s life.
Nearly frozen by a sudden snow storm, Josiah Hamilton finds his way to a lone cabin. The occupant is a single female surviving on her own, gentle and sweet enough to take in a stranger and nurse him back to health.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, two lonesome people must find their way through their own personal tragedies to find happiness. Can Adelaide trust someone else after learning the truth about her late husband’s activities during the war? Can Josiah extract himself from his own grief over the death of his wife and daughter? Can these two grief stricken individuals find their way to each other in these troubled times?
Vivian Kees opens a small window into the grief-stricken recovery from a costly war and gives readers a classic romance story of old. Adelaide and Josiah’s romance is true to form with a quick to interest, hard to admit attraction that leads to a happily ever after. It has been a long time since I’ve read a classic historical romance story that does not include a lot of today’s graphic details or explicit scenes. This was a sweet romance in an interesting time period.
Posted by Jaye Leyel on 4th Aug 2011
Adelaide Warren is a widow, her husband having died in the Civil War. Josiah Hamilton, on the way back home during a vicious winter storm, is unable to get any farther than Adelaide's. She finds him lying in the snow, brings him into her little cabin and nurses him back to health. She recognizes the attraction but can't let herself forget her husband and the baby she lost, nor the vicious gossip the townspeople are spreading about her husband. Josiah, too, is troubled, having lost a wife and child in a fire, and believes he must honor her and stay alone. But he can't forget Adelaide, but she rejects him. When tragedy strikes in the form of a fire, he brings her to his home. Will they be able to put away their past and build a future together?
I loved this little novella. The author has created a cast of characters to warm the heart, along with secondary players to fill out the cast. Adelaide is warm and caring, but troubled because of her husband's less than honorable death. The writer clearly shows her emotions and fears as she brings her to the realization that she does have a life in front of her. The hero, Josiah, is well done, and the reader takes him to heart as he watches over the young widow. I loved the character of Trapper Mary, her barely hidden kindnesses, and loved to hate the meanness of the townspeople who spoke against Adelaide. Even the horse, Star, is given a personality as he waits in front of Adelaide's house, scared and cold. The author describes the settings in such a way the reader is right there with the hero and heroine. The ending, where Adelaide and Josiah come to grips with their past, and decide upon their future, is done well and plucks at the strings of the reader's heart.
I would read another of this author's books.
Posted by Fennel on 9th Jul 2011
Adelaide’s War is a charming story packed with emotion and plenty of incidents that has the reader vying for both Adelaide and Josiah. The author’s tone captures the era beautifully, and her artistry in revealing the background of her characters is masterly.
However, frequent odd word and phrase choices pulled me out of an otherwise fluent read. I saw ‘hypothermic’ and wondered if its use was anachronistic. I made a note and carried on reading until the phrase ‘in a jiffy’ had me scrambling to an etymology of phrases website. The first did not come into use until after the time sequence of Adelaide’s War, but surprisingly -- and I had to laugh at myself here -- ‘in a jiffy’ is fine and was in use at that time! Imagine that! Even so my overall enjoyment of this otherwise good book was affected by these choices and a few other editing issues, like repetitive use of the same words.
Regardless, it is not easy to take a complex theme and create such a charming story in so few words, but Viviane Kees has achieved exactly that. Her characters are fully developed and draw the reader in. They are what kept me invested enough to keep reading. Both Adelaide and Josiah are flawed and yet learn to grow through adversity. Both tugged on this reader's heart strings and you assume they will find their way together, but then the author throws in some surprises that had me seriously wondering about the outcome.
The final conflict they both have to face is deftly introduced, and a shocker. The author’s secondary characters play their full part in vividly displaying and revealing the causes of why both her hero and heroine are where they are at in the beginning of the story. They also play important roles in moving the story on. Ms. Kees use of her secondary characters is masterful because it is all done within a confined word count.
This is a fully developed and charming story that can be enjoyed in one sitting.