Mira, Apr 2002, 6.50, 377 pp.
In Mobile, teenagers Ladd Dasheroon and Laurette Howard fall in love, which leads to deep resentment and jealousy from their friend Jimmy Tigart. Though Ladd and Laurette make love, they hold off their plans to marry until he returns from fighting for the Confederacy. The Northern soldiers capture Ladd and incarcerate him at Devil's Castle. Northern soldier Jimmy learns about Ladd's imprisonment and sends word to Laurette that her beau died. He travels to Alabama and in 1865 Jimmy marries the grieving Laurette.
Fifteen years later Sutton Vane arrives in Mobile. He courts Laurette with a passion rarely seen anywhere. Reluctantly and scandalously Laurette falls in love with Sutton who reminds her so much of her beloved Ladd. That is because Sutton is Ladd seeking vengeance on the woman who betrayed him during the Civil War. The only problem for Ladd is that he still loves his Laurette even if he does not trust her with his heart.
THE SCANDALOUS MISS HOWARD is an exciting post Reconstruction Era romance that shows that as late as 1880 the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath on people. The strong story line is filled with depth, yet trivializes the war through how easily Ladd, Jimmy and another associate “meet”, which leads to the feel of a local skirmish rather than the vast destruction. Still fans of nineteenth century tales will find Nan Ryan's betrayed lovers a powerful tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner