Civil War Romance Fiction

Readers (and commenters) who frequent Crossroads include a poet who’s fond of romantic themes and a fiction writer.  So it seems only fitting to highlight the appearance of a new Civil War romance novel by Golden Keyes Parsons to reflect on the larger idea of romance and war (to say nothing of Confederate Romantics … you know who you are).

His Steadfast Love is the story of a Texas woman who falls for an officer of the United States Army; when war comes, she struggles with defining her duty and desire as well as discerning the will of God in the titanic struggle.  As reviews on Amazon reveal, the book has its fans.

The issue of God’s will in the struggle has been discussed here before; I have always found Lincoln’s ponderings on this issue to be most persuasive, and that approach seems to have been embraced by the author of this book, although some critics add that the author tended to veer away from the issue of the central character’s views on slavery (Amanda, I gather, is a slaveholder herself).

Indeed, as historians have pointed out, many Americans are in love with the Civil War itself.  Moreover, over the years we’ve been treated with romance novel after romance novel set during the Civil War, and often the war is central to the work (think Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind, John Jakes’ North and South, or even Bruce Catton’s efforts at fiction, Banners at Shenanadoah and the story that became The Blue and the Gray.  Why, indeed, are Americans in love with the Civil War?