Leisure, Dec 2001, 5.99, 392 pp.
In 1863 upriver from New Orleans, disguised as workers Eden LeGrand and other rebels capture the Bayou Belle steamship filled with Union armament. Among the prisoners is Lieutenant Braden Matthews, who is shot when he heroically but perhaps stupidly tries to stop the seizure.
In St. Louis Union Secret Service Agent Logan Matthews learns about the fate of his sibling from his superior. He immediately volunteers to spy on the Confederate espionage ring that succeeded with the Bayou Belle theft. His only additional information is that the Homeless Haven Orphan Asylum might be involved due to the connections of its leadership.
Logan meets Eden who works at the orphanage and both realizes that each one cares what happens to the children of dead Rebel soldiers, but also are attracted to one another. As their feelings grow, these star-crossed lovers have no hope for a future in a nation divided and where they are on opposite sides.
EDEN is a scintillating insightful Civil War romance that stands out among the myriad of similar titles that cram bookcases because of the historical depth that Bobbi Smith brings to the key story line through her subplots. Readers gain an understanding of the wonderful lead couple by observing how they behave towards the children, enabling the audience to realize that Eden and Logan have much in common besides their love for one another though their loyalties differ. Ms. Smith shows why sub-genre readers think so highly of her as fans gain a taste of EDEN with her latest achievement.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner