Love and War is the second book of the John Jakes, North and South series. The book begins on the onset of the American Civil War.The focus of the book is about two families the Hazards from the North, and the Mains from the South.
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The Mains are from South Carolina and we get more involved with this families characters with Orry's cousin Charles. The Hazards who are from the industrial North, we also get more introduced to the younger Billy Hazard. The two families have been close friends since the time Orry and George entered West Point Military Academy in the early 1840s.
The story begins in early 1861 while Southern States are still succeeding from the Union. The Main's state of South Carolina was first state to succeed right after the 1860 Presidential elections. Charles who is now in his mid 20s joins the Southern Calvary and Orry who is in his early 40s will become an infantry officer for the Southern Confederation of States. The Hazards will both join the force of the Union. Younger Billy who is also best friends with Charles joins as a lieutenant an elite infantry rifle company, while George is given a high rank in the Northern Army.
The book shows how war can complicate love. Billy's wife Brett, who is also Orrys younger sister is a true Southern belle. Billy being a Yankee soldier is not taken well by Brett's friends and neighbors.. Orry himself is still having an affair with the women he has loved since his West Point days, Madeline. Madeline is married to Justin who lives only a few miles from the Mains plantation in South Carolina. Orry still has unconditional love for Madeline, but she just can not divorce her awful husband Justin due to laws and the culture of that time.
The main focus of the book is the Civil War in Virginia or General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Both families fight on mainly Virginian and Pennsylvanian soil (Gettysburg). The history of the book is very accurate and rather detailed, this is a large book with over 1,000 pages. Jakes engages historic battles and historic leaders. Presidents, Jefferson Davis and Abe Lincoln often show appearances throughout this work.
The book ends when the conflict in finally over in 1865. While reading this book one will often ask himself; will the friendships survive? Will Orry and Madeline finally be husband and wife? What happens to Billy and Brett's marriage? How does the Civil War change these families?
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved how even a war could not tear the bond of friendship between the two families. Yes there were many trials and hardships, but the friendships endure the test.
Best scene in story:
When the men returned home after the war. After these men went through they still returned to the places they were born and to the people they love.
Opinion about the main character:
That both the main characters George and Orry were good patriots to their cause. Loyal and honorable.