Review : A Hope Divided.

We were so excited to get a Netgalley ARC of Alyssa Cole's A Hope Divided, the second installment of The Loyal League series set in Civil War Era America. Another gorgeous cover, another brilliant heroine, and another hero you're rooting for. We couldn't wait to crack it open and disappear into another brilliant adventure Ms.Cole had in store for us.

Click through to read the review!

Ever since An Extraordinary Union, which I reviewed here, I have been counting the days till I could get my hands on A Hope Divided. And Saucy readers, I was not disappointed. 

I read the prologue and that was it. I was hooked. That glimpse into Marlie's childhood, her dream, her mother Vivienne, a practitioner of root magic, and the dramatic entrance of Sarah Lynch. I just knew it was the beginning of one hell of a story. My heart broke for Vivienne and Marlie, and to start the book with such a separation made me start the story a little melancholy, for all the mothers that did what they could to give their children better lives in situations and times beyond their control. 

Marlie is different from Elle, our brilliant heroine from An Extraordinary Union, in so many ways. A little more sheltered (as sheltered as any half-White Black woman could have been in those times) a little less adventurous perhaps, and useful to The Loyal League in an entirely different way. The main thing that stood out to me was, where Elle was so sure of her place in this world regardless of what laws or men might say, Marlie was stuck in this halfway place between her safe place, the Lynch household, and the real world outside. But she was still brave, resourceful, and someone I instantly fell in love with. 

We meet our hero, Ewan McCall, within the walls of a Confederate prison, and he could not be more different that his brother the ever charming Malcolm. He's bookish, a little sombre and silent, perhaps a little broody, and not quite the social butterfly Malcolm is. Not to mention not as adept at flirtation.
"I'm sorry to disturb you again," he said. He tried to think of what his brother, Malcolm, would say, something witty and dashing and perhaps slightly provocative. "I've got a rather small bladder, it seems."

She looked at him with raised brows and he understood immediately that Malcolm would not have said such a thing.
I adored that Ewan and Marlie form an unlikely friendship over books. It's such a simple beginning to such a great relationship. I'll admit I immediately wanted Ewan out of the prison and into Marlie's social circle just because I loved their conversations so much. From philosophy, to science, and history, they manage to discuss stuff like equals while agreeing or disagreeing. It's so refreshing to read. Without spoiling much, my favourite part of their growing relationship is Ewan helping her with a bit of translating. Not to mention helping her with keeping her instruments and stuff in order. Gotta love a man who helps organise your materials for you when you're busy being an amazing scientist, healer, and spy. 

Marlie & Ewan do make a sexy pair. 
Marlie's relationship with Sarah Lynch seems loving enough on the surface, but I absolutely understood her feeling at odds with it at times. Especially later on in the book. The insight into the life of a half white individual, living in a white household while free, and still trapped in a time and society that deems them less than worthy of respect was pretty jarring to read at times because like Marlie in the beginning, you get lulled into a sense of safety, which later turns out to be a fragile illusion. And your heart breaks for her all over again. Melody and Cahill manage to be such repugnant human beings they made Susie Caffery seem like a petulant child by comparison. Cahill terrified me. The reality of people like that existing, even in this day and age, is horrifying for those of us they wish gone from their world. I just wanted to wrap Marlie in bubble wrap and keep her safe from the people around her, even the well meaning ones.  

Her mother Vivienne might not have been actively present on page a whole lot, but her presence around Marlie was something I was constantly aware of.  Marlie's personal conflict between science and her mother's traditions, her mother's journals in what time had turned into another language for her, her present living circumstances as compared to her childhood with her mother, everything made me feel Marlie's disconnect from the child she had been under her mother's love and care. Honestly, I'm sure many of us can understand that war our adult brains fight with the customs & practices of our parents. I know I personally do things sometimes that my mother does, not necessarily because I believe in them, but because it comforts me and makes me think of family, of my culture, even my faith. And I find myself thinking a lot of the things going through Marlie's mind in these books. Especially with the arrival of that demon, Melody, in the Lynch household. 

What I felt like doing when Melody entered the house.

"Ici mon passé écrit, pour toi, m'avenir qui vit," Vivienne had written boldly on the first page. Here, my past written, for you, my future who lives.
The writing in this book is just beautiful. I often found myself rereading a line multiple times because it just sounded so pretty. It genuinely had me wishing the book was at least twice the length it was. Marlie and Ewan's adventure was totally engrossing. Once again, Alyssa Cole manages to completely enchant us with a story that is thrilling, educational, heart-wrenching, realistic, and very, very sexy. And I once again found myself wanting to know more about the other people in the story. I cannot get enough of Ms.Cole's writing, you guys. Pick up this book! Have I ever steered you wrong?

This Wench rates it:


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