Reunion, an Early Historical Romance by Bestselling Author Mary Daheim

Reunion cover cs5.inddReunion ($16.95, 344 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-889-6), is an historical romance by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Mary Daheim. Originally published in 1986 as Pride’s Captive, the novel begins at the outbreak of the American Civil War.

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“A quintessential romantic novel with historical elements that will provide dramatic, engaging appeal, and a fun and whimsical read.”  Read more ….

–Historical Novel Society

Serena Farrar’s world is on the brink of self-destruction. Determined to do her part to free the slaves, she dreams of joining the staff of her cousin’s newspaper in Springfield as a journalist. But the only way she can move to Massachusetts is to bow to her family’s wishes and marry sea captain Brant Parnell, in her mind a reckless fortune-hunter.

After Serena goes to work for the New Bedford Mercury, her hopes and dreams are quashed by an ugly scandal. Not even Brant can help or comfort her, for her coldness has sent him back to sea, feeling used and rejected. Serena’s only recourse is to flee to her sister’s home in New Bern, North Carolina. There, in the shadow of the growing conflict, she throws herself into her work on the local newspaper, still wondering why her passion for writing about truth and justice wasn’t enough.

When Brant arrives in New Bern, Serena begins to question everything she has lived for. As conflict engulfs the city, she struggles not only as a Yankee in enemy territory, but as a woman who was born to love and be loved. From the primeval forests of Maine to the lush Inner Banks of North Carolina, Serena and Brant discover that love trumps the worst of human follies.

Says Daheim, “Although my primary field was European History, I knew more about the American Civil War than your average turnip, having taken three American history courses from Prof. Tom Pressly at the University of Washington …. But I wanted more than background. I needed something personal. By chance, a close friend had moved to New Bern, North Carolina. Her father knew a great deal of the Civil War. Thus, I had my setting. Now I needed a protagonist. Being a native Seattleite, I couldn’t quite get the mind-set of a Southern belle. My heroine had to be a transplanted Yankee, and to make her every-day world even closer to my own, a journalist. Thus, Serena Farrar emerged out of my typewriter and onto the pages of the book that was originally titled Pride’s Captive.”

Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington, she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes, Washington. She married David Daheim and moved to Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series. Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations. She began her career as a novelist with seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. She has published at least 55 novels. Mary’s husband David died in February, 2010; they had been married for more than 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. For more information, click here.

Read on for an excerpt:

She too had gotten up from her chair, trying to regain her dignity and poise, but aware that her voice and legs were both unsteady. “I’m not demeaning what other people do, I just feel that if a person has been given certain talents, they ought to be used. And used as fully as possible. I can’t imagine, as a writer, writing only for an audience of one.”

“Somehow, I wasn’t thinking of writing.” The bemused look had returned to Brant’s craggy face. He stood very close to Serena, and the sheen of his satin waistcoat seemed overly bright. It also seemed to match his eyes. “In terms of us,” he went on, putting his hand under her chin, “I was thinking of something else. You wanted me to kiss you that day in Livermore Falls, didn’t you?”

Again, denial sprang to Serena’s lips. But she didn’t want to lie to Brant, nor did she need to when the truth was so self-absolving. “I was somewhat … tipsy.”

“Being ‘tipsy,’ as you so quaintly call it, is always a wonderful excuse for acquiring the courage to do precisely what we want to do but under more sober circumstances would exercise rigid—if foolish—self-restraint.” He tipped her chin up to his face. “You’re quite sober now, Serena. Can you honestly say you don’t want me to kiss you?”

He was so close, so confident, so in control, despite his apparent easygoing manner. And she still had never been kissed, had no thrilling secrets to write to Cecelia or whisper to Abigail. One kiss from Brant would give her ample ammunition to regale them both with titillating feminine confidences. On the other hand, it might encourage Brant to continue his suit.

“You may kiss me. Once.” Serena closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable. It seemed to take a considerable amount of time for Brant to make up his mind, she thought with some impatience. Perhaps he was an honorable man. Was it possible that her father had coerced Brant Parnell into calling upon her? Was Brant faced with poverty because his whaling days were over? Was he actually to be pitied rather than condemned?

She opened her eyes just as Brant’s mouth came down crushingly on hers, nipping her lower lip with his teeth, pressing her against him until she could no longer breathe. Serena felt his tongue delving into the recesses of her mouth, sensed the brute strength of him straining against her body, wondered if this were the proper moment to faint or merely to be outraged.

And then she wondered nothing at all, dazed with the ferocity of his kiss, reeling from the intensity of his embrace. It was not at all like the gauzy passages of the popular monthly women’s magazines or even the more tempestuous novels she had read without her mother’s knowledge or approval.

When Brant finally released her, she was caught off-balance and collapsed onto the wing-backed armchair. “So now we’ve kissed,” Brant remarked idly and glanced at his watch, which hung on a plain gold chain. “Do you want to discuss our future together or shall I be off to ready myself for the poker game at the Tontine Hotel?”

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