Brave Hearts by Carolyn Hart
Oconee Sprit Press continues to publish the early Carolyn Hart novels and does a fine job of it. Brave Hearts, the newest one, is for me the strongest so far.
Maybe because American Diplomat Spencer Cavanaugh plays so well into my suspicions about diplomats in general, his first appearance has almost as much dramatic effect as the ward going on in 1941. A truly unappealing guy because of the way he deals with his wife Catherine--master and slave--and the way he uses the war (or hopes to) to advance his career. She doesn't want to follow him to Manilla but has no choice. The plantation boss has spoken.
But it is there she meets story-tramp Jack Maguire, a reporter of some standing who comes equipped not only with pencil and paper but also wit and compassion. She is smitten from their few first minutes together at a ball.
The hallmark of this novel is Hart's handling of the history involved. Here she deals with the Japanese assault on the Philippines. For all the romance of the story, there is brute realism in the war scenes. I'd put the chapters aboard a ship--With Catherine and some German women aboard and the possibility of an enemy submarine--up against anything in macho war novels. Really great craft and fascinating interplay with the Germans.
Another big winner from Carolyn Hart and Oconee Spirit Press.