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1991: Gloria Anderson couldn’t believe she let her best friend talk her into taking part in a Civil War re-enactment. She had much better things to do with her time than taking care of fake injuries on pretend soldiers in the smoldering heat. Yes, she would much rather use her nursing experience on real patients. Little did she know, she was about to get her chance . . .
1863: Colonel Clayton Jefferson Walker didn’t know what to make of the beautiful stranger but he found her to be the answer to his prayers, a nurse who could take the place of his AWOL doctor. She intrigued him. Why would a respectable woman be in the thick of battle? Two things he knew for sure, war was no place for a lady and it was no place for romance. Somehow, he had to get her to safety . . . and out of his heart.
The feeling wouldn’t go away. She couldn’t shake the premonition that she shouldn’t have come on this trip at all.
“What a thrill it is for us to have real nurses here today,” a portly woman in a starched white gown said. She showed the two newcomers around the small cabin. “You’ll be able to show us the proper way to treat our wounded.”
“If they really were wounded,” Janice replied.
“Of course! No one ever gets hurt during these pretend skirmishes. It’s a Civil War re-enactment, but it’s important to be as historically accurate as possible.”
“Of course,” Gloria agreed. A sudden shiver ran down her spine. Gloria blinked in surprise. Where did that come from? That sudden, unexplainable urge to flee gnawed at her again, her stomach tightening into knots.
Nonsense, she firmly told herself. This will be entertaining and educational. There is nothing to fear. Her mind yelled back—liar.
Gloria tried to shake her panicky feeling by looking around the cabin.
There were no windows. Rough-hewn benches lined the walls. Tables were set up in three places around the room with washbasins, pitchers and bandages on each, along with a small assortment of bottles and crude instruments. She moved and bumped into one of the small tables with the hoop skirt of the period costume she was wearing. Sighing with frustration she moved out of the way and bumped into the wall behind her.
How did women ever get anything done in these contrap-tions?
She looked down at the front of her gown and gasped in dismay, pulling up the neckline of the flowered organza mate-rial to cover more of her exposed skin.
Janice, wearing a pretty blue gown with matching bon-net, tsked slapping Gloria’s hands away. “You’ve got a dyna-mite figure, Gloria,” she said to her friend while re-adjusting the neckline, “Show it off!”
Gloria rolled her eyes. Typical Janice, a perpetual social butterfly. Leave it to her to be on the lookout for good-looking men at a Civil War re-enactment.
When Janice was satisfied that Gloria’s charms were showing to their best advantage she took a look around.
“This is it?” she squeaked, picking up a bandage. “This is all we have to work with?”
“This is all they had to work with,” the woman in white said. “Authentic, isn’t it.”
“No wonder so many died,” Janice whispered to Gloria.
The sudden boom of cannon fire startled the women.
“Let’s go out and watch,” the lady in white suggested, her eyes wide with excitement. “It’ll be a few minutes before the first casualties arrive.”
They stood outside the doorway of the crude cabin in the oppressive sunshine and watched the fighting start.
It looked like a scene out of a movie. Blue coated men with large rifles ran from one side of the park, men in the rear pointing exploding artillery, the burned-out shell of the origi-nal Chancellor’s house in the background, a silent testimony to the real battle that had been fought here over one hundred years ago. Gray coats charged from the other side of the park. Gloria held her breath as they clashed in the middle, the sounds of guns barking and men yelling ringing in her ears.
She shivered in the hot, humid air. It all looked so real, so barbaric. She could not imagine how it would feel to run up to someone, look them in the eye, and kill them.
“Here come the first stretchers!” the woman in white called. “Let’s get to work ladies!”
The women went inside, stretcher-bearers following right behind.
An injured man was set on a bench in front of Gloria. The man in gray moaned.
“My shoulder,” he whispered.
“Let’s take a look.” Gloria peeled the cloth back from the wound. To her relief the skin was healthy. She looked up at the man and he winked. Gloria laughed with relief. “I guess I forgot it’s just a re-enactment.”
“A pretend wound still needs a bandage,” the man pointed out.
She took some gauze and wound it around the man’s shoulder.
“That’s very realistic fake blood.”
This Time Forever is such a compelling book because you can’t help but get swept up in the story the author is telling. Claire Hope’s descriptions of the battlefield are so eerily accurate, it’s almost as if you can smell the gun smoke or see the wounded. Ms. Hope’s characters are well illustrated; I found myself getting furious right along with Gloria at Clayton’s authoritative demeanor. Equally clear are Clayton’s feelings of frustration when Gloria won’t confide in him. How she can possibly expect him to believe that she’s from the future annoys him to no end. Claire Hope gives readers a passionate love story combined with a wild adventure. Neither this book nor this author should be missed. This Time Forever is without a doubt, a keeper!
Reviewed by: Jaymi
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 364
Paper Weight (lb): 15.0
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