The Courier of Caswell Hall, American Tapestries Series #5   -     By: Melanie Dobson
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The Courier of Caswell Hall, American Tapestries Series #5

Summerside Press / 2013 / Paperback

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An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she wavers in her allegiance to the Crown.

On the night the British sail up the James River on a mission to destroy the new capital, Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall. Fearing his identity but unwilling to leave him for dead, she secretly nurses him back to health. The man identifies himself as Nathan, a Patriot—and an enemy. But Lydia’s American sympathies grow, and when British officers return to the plantation, Lydia must help Nathan escape.

American Tapestries Series | Melanie Dobson

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.25 X 1.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0824934261
ISBN-13: 9780824934262
Availability: In Stock
Series: American Tapestries

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  1. debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 20, 2013
    debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Courier of Caswell Hall - eBook.
    An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

    As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women's families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

    One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages -- a network that may be the Patriots' only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

    As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

    About the American Tapestriesâ„¢ series: Each standalone novel in this line sets a heart-stirring love story against the backdrop of an epic moment in American history. This is the fifth book in the series.

    My Review:

    The last thing Lydia was expecting when she snuck off to admire British ships in the moonlight was a man. But find him she did, and with her discovery, an entire network of spies, couriers, coded messages, disguises, and operatives. The secret network may be the only thing that wins the war, but Lydia's allegiance lies - by association with her family - with the crown.

    Lydia's wavering allegiance to the crown made the story for me. Her uncertainty between what she was told was right and then her startling belief to the contrary got my attention and kept it throughout the entire book. Danger, action, suspense, forbidden romance, and espionage run rampant through the book, and whether or not this genre is your cup of tea - it was a very enjoyable book to read and a perfect recipe for a relaxing evening.

    This book was provided by the publisher through Litfuse Nest for free in exchange for an honest review.
  2. barbjan10
    Arlington, TX
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    INCREDIBLE ESPIONAGE TALE OF ESPIONAGE PLOTS....
    October 15, 2013
    barbjan10
    Arlington, TX
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Melanie Dobson has eloquently written an emotive story of fictional characters immersed in accurate facts of America history. Imagining myself living in Virginia during the 1780's, was easy to comprehend how confusing one's choice of loyal political stance would be. Identifying to any party publically could mean the difference in one's life or death, and possible seizure or destruction of the home and properties that were God's blessings. Lydia Caswell's family are staunch Loyalists, but as in any war, all involved are absorbed in winning the peace; or - solely control.

    Insecurity of what the future held_.and trust of others, including friends, was always in doubt. This story is of great intrigue about strong characters who believed in what they were doing. It had humor which is always an indication of skilled writing to lighten chapters full of pain and anguish. Romance was not lacking, nor the longing and prayers of hope for those loved ones who left home to fight to return alive. Not knowing where family members were or what might have happened to them was a haunt to all for years at a time. Melanie Dobson is indeed an intricate weaver of several stories intermingled like puzzle pieces that paint a vivid picture when all the pieces come together. The espionage plot is well planned and created an attention-grabbing page turner for this reader.

    The women characters in this story about factual jeopardy made me proud of my gender. Each one beautiful in their unique personalities - sensitive, afraid and yet fearless, tender, smart and even little sister was likeable in her own way. Ms Dobson has given each character, male or female, a unique personality quite fitting to that time era - all believable. Most importantly, redemption, reconciliation and belief in the freedom to worship God was shown with such conviction, that only a true believer in our Lord could have written these words to so glorify Him that blesses all. Most of the characters had a relationship with the Lord, and the decision was left open to those that professed no belief.

    You might note that I didn't mention actual names or situations in this review. It would be hard to tell you about one person, one situation_.without leading into another. Ms Dobson has written a supreme story with a firm foundation of history that takes you into Caswell Hall as a guest watching the action as though in a movie theatre. Even the music can be heard and the tension felt - a real experience! Yes, I felt this story emotionally and hope you will get The Courier of Caswell Hall to meet all these characters yourself. You will be giving the compliments to Melanie Dobson and the glory to God.
  3. Pam Burke
    Potosi, MO
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Unlikely Spies and Romance
    October 5, 2013
    Pam Burke
    Potosi, MO
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Courier of Caswell Hall is a touching story of romance and sacrifice set against the backdrop of the American Revolution. It provides an intriguing look at the kinds of personal struggles and difficult decisions families and individuals were forced to make at that crucial time in our country's history.

    Historical fiction is a genre that I am coming to enjoy more and more, and this was my first journey into this particular time period. The history lesson woven into such a compelling story filled with rich characters made for a very enjoyable read. This is the first book I've read by Melanie Dobson, but I hope it will not be my last. She hooked me from the very beginning with a touching prologue that gently invited me into the story of Lydia and Nathan. The twists and turns of so many joys and sorrows held my interest to the last page.

    Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
  4. Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Surprisingly deep and moving historical romance
    October 5, 2013
    Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Standalone novel The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson is the fifth book in the American Tapestries line, a series that sets romance against the backdrop of epic moments in American history. This is an extremely well-written and moving novel, one that I highly recommend.

    I've enjoyed books by Melanie before, so I was expecting this to be another great read, but I was surprised at the depth of characterization, historical detail, and emotion found within its pages. The Courier of Caswell Hall is an interesting and moving read that captured and held my attention from the first page, but it's not a light read. Yes, it's a beautiful and touching romance, but Nathan and Lydia's love story is secondary to the themes of divided loyalties, courage, deceit, sacrifice, and the realities of war.

    The story opens with a prologue that sets up all that happened 45 years earlier, beginning in 1781 on the banks of the James River and the Caswell Plantation, when Lydia risks all to rescue an injured Patriot courier who will only reveal his first name, Nathan. Lydia knows that "right and wrong can be muddied during a war" . . . and Nathan sees Lydia as "a beautiful young woman with a penchant to heal what had been destroyed and to help those who had been wounded."

    Melanie brings women's roles during the war to the forefront through the courageous actions of Lydia and Sarah. Though the methods associated with their spying might seem rather innocent - listening to conversations, memorizing details, retrieving notes from behind bricks and passing them through the exchange of books - the penalty if caught was unthinkable.

    It was a time when, rather than people being united against a common enemy, families and neighbors were divided and no one knew who to trust. Lydia's brother, Grayson, realized that the British "had no love of freedom, no hope for the future; they just wanted to stop those who did."

    And freedom certainly had different meanings, depending which side you were on. Men like Nathan, who refused to ever use slaves, were rare at this time. The Patriots fought to be free from a king's tyranny, while keeping slaves in submission - and the British granted freedom to slaves willing to fight with them, while denying Americans theirs. Nathan reflected: "It was a strange world. The Americans purported freedom for some men while the British talked only of freedom for the Negro slaves."

    In The Courier of Caswell Hall, Melanie has created a superb blend of rich characterization, great storytelling, and historical detail. This is a moving story that I highly recommend to all readers.

    This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Summerside Press in exchange for my honest review.
  5. Kate
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A realistic look into the Revolutionary War
    October 4, 2013
    Kate
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Melanie Dobson offers such a fantastic picture into the lives of the people in America during the heart of the American Revolutionary War. The portrayal of the ideas of the time are right on target. The focus of the role that ordinary people had in the war was refreshing. War isn't always fought on the battlefield, but with the people behind the scene.

    With that focus, we are introduced to Nathan and Lydia, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Deceleration of Independence, July 4th, 1826. After so much that has happened, a celebration was in order, however the celebration is short lived when Nathan collapses in Lydia's arms on the dance floor and we are swept back in time to when the war could have gone either way.

    Lydia at twenty-four years of age, is still not married. Her father is a staunch loyalist, who believe that the the British soldiers could do no wrong. He is a proper Englishman, who is devoted to his king and know that the colonies will be restored to their proper place under the rule of King George. Lydia follows his ideas, but not to the passion her father displaces. Sometimes duty is over ruled by compassion, and that is what happens when Lydia stumbles upon a man, unconscious and nearly frozen on their property. Knowing her father would turn in this stranger, Lydia hides him and with the help of two servants, the stranger regains his strength.Over the course of the week that he is hidden away, the stranger, Nathan, starts speaking of his belief of freedom and plants a seed into Lydia's head.

    Sarah, neighbor to Lydia, once was a loyalist, but after her brother declared patriot, Sarah knew her thoughts were that of her brother and has become a courier for the patriots. Her actions are secret, but her brothers affiliations toward America are not, and Sarah looses her home to a fire that the British set. Devastated over what has happened to her friend, Lydia's thoughts start to turn away from Tory and agrees to become a courier for the patriots.

    Lydia and Sarah are the ladies of their society. They are genteel and quiet, they are what is expected of them in this time. Even though they are quiet, they fight a fierce battle. They risk their lives to help save those around them with the messages they are intrusted. In the time of war, no one really knew who was affiliated with which side, so secrets were precious. Even in Lydia's home, secrets are kept from the family and it is interesting to find out what is driving each character to do what they do.

    The historical detail in The Courier of Caswell Hall was fantastic! The uncertentiy of the war is displayed, along with how, only some of the people were for the Patriots, others were for the British, and then some who just didn't care. They were ready for this strife to end. That was all that they cared for. And depending on how one viewed something, could easily tear a family apart. Sons against fathers, brother verses brother. It was a hard time.

    It was a wonderfully written story!

    Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Summer Side Press, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.
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