“A Heart on Hold” by Sara Barnard is the first book in a series called “An Everlasting Heart” and is set in the time right before and during the Civil War in Arkansas. Charlotte Adamsland has loved Sanderson Redding her whole life. She was heartbroken when he left to go to school. Now he’s back home and the Civil War is threatening their way of life. Sanderson loves Charlotte and wants to marry, but the threat of imminent war persuades him to enlist in the Confederate Army. Right before he is to leave for his assignment, he asks Charlotte to marry him. They are married in front of the whole town and have a one-night honeymoon.
During the war, Sanderson is captured and ends up in a prison camp in Alton, Illinois. There he finds his brother, who is a Union soldier. Conditions are not very good in camp and there is an outbreak of smallpox which decimates the prisoner population. Sanderson’s brother dies and Sanderson puts on his Union uniform and flees the prison.
In the meantime, Charlotte has received word that Sanderson has been killed in a prison break and she decides to go after him and bring him home. Of course he is not dead and they finally meet up as they travel.
This novel is the first book in a series that needs to be read in order. I am anxious to read the next book in the series, “A Heart Broken”.
Charlotte’s lips only took a moment to find those belonging to her beloved. He tasted faintly of molasses and she was immediately drawn into the warmth of his embrace. Their bodies were perfectly pressed together, fitting as though one had been divinely made for the other, as Sanderson’s kisses trailed from Charlotte’s lips down her neck.
Her hands found his softly stubbled face and guided him back to her lips. With his strong arms around her, she’d never felt more safe. Or more vulnerable.
War. Devotion. Deceit. Death. How long can a heart hold on before it breaks? Most women would carry on with their lives after being thrust into widowhood, but not Charlotte Adamsland. Upon learning that her husband, Captain Sanderson Redding, was killed in a botched escape from a Confederate prison in Illinois, she clings to his promise to return to her no matter what, and quickly heads north through a war-ravaged country with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her beloved Sanderson home – one way or another.