Real-life Civil War Soldier Brings a Character to Life

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Jessica James

Even though I grew up in Gettysburg, Pa., I didn’t have any interested in the Civil War

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John Singleton Mosby

until I moved to Virginia and discovered a real-life Confederate soldier named John Singleton Mosby. This Virginia legend is difficult to miss and impossible to overlook. One cannot drive through Loudoun or Fauquier counties without passing at least one sign that pays tribute to him and his band of merry men.

After doing a little research, it became clear that no name in the annals of the Civil War conjures up a more romantic or awe-inspiring image than that of this cavalry commander. The epitome of the Southern cavalier, Colonel Mosby was a charismatic officer whose small band of partisans outwitted and outfought the Union army on the fields and farmlands of Virginia.

Soon I was reading everything I could about Mosby—and visiting all the places he had stayed during and after the war. Unlike other officers, Mosby and his men didn’t have regular headquarters. They stayed in the houses of the local residents, and many of those homes are still standing today.

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One of my most memorable “finds” was a house that had been surrounded by Yankees in the middle of the night while Mosby was in bed with his wife. Amazingly enough, the tree into which Mosby climbed from the second story window to make his getaway still stands near the back of the house. The present-day homeowner graciously allowed me to go inside, where I was able to put my hand on the same banister as Colonel Mosby had, and take pictures of the tree that had saved his life.

Mosby became the blueprint for Colonel Alexander Hunter, the main character in my first novel Shades of Gray, which went on to win many awards. A happily-ever-after version of the novel was published two years later, called Noble Cause.

Without Colonel Mosby, I’m not sure I would have ever written a novel. I hope he is as happy as I am at the way it all turned out.

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Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in this epic Civil War love story that pits brother against brother.

Gallantry and chivalry are put to the test when Colonel Alexander Hunter discovers the woman he promised his dying brother he would protect is the Union spy he has vowed to his men he would destroy. Readers will discover the fine line between friends and enemies when the lives of these two tenacious foes cross by the fates of war and their destinies become entwined forever.

Called a “riveting piece of historical fiction” by the Midwest Book Review and often compared to Gone with the Wind, the novel takes readers across the rolling hills of Virginia in page-turning tale of courage and love.


Andrea remained silent a moment as if searching for the right words. “The only fault I can find is the color of your uniform, but you wear it with honor.” She paused as if having trouble putting her thoughts into words. “I have no reason not to trust an honorable man.”

Hunter’s chest rose with a deep, shaky breath. “Your trust may be ill advised. An honorable man would not think what I am thinking.”

He meant the statement to diffuse a precarious situation, but it did not work. Instead, he found it necessary to avert his gaze, because Andrea appeared to be wearing the expression he’d wished to see all day. Hunter tried to concentrate on the flickering flames of the fire rather than those two green eyes that suddenly held so much acceptance.

“We are from two worlds,” he finally said, reminding himself of their loyalties and obligations. He took a deep, slow breath, and closed his eyes. From the very core of his soul, he strove to resist the temptation to touch her, or even look at her again—afraid if he did, sparks would fly.

“You speak as Hunter the soldier,” Andrea said, her voice strangely soft. “Not as Hunter the man.” She lifted her hand to his face, touched the rough stubble on his chin with her fingertips, then moved her hand to his hair, as if it was something she had long desired to feel.

Hunter blinked at the contact and gave an involuntary shudder. His breathing came faster now, his chest rising and falling with the effort. He grabbed her wrist to stop her. “Andrea, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Their eyes locked. “Teach me.”

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James-Jessica-Headshot1-221x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History About the Author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day. She is a two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

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