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Derek Hart

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For Love or Honor Bound
by Derek Hart   

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Books by Derek Hart
· Minerva's Shield
· Secret of the Dragon's Breath
· Secret of the Dragon's Eye
· Tales of the Yellow Silk
· A Favor for FDR
                >> View all

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Xlibris ISBN-10:  1401026699 Type: 


Copyright:  Jun 17 2000

Brazilian Countess is recruited as a spy during the American Civil War. At first just a dangerous game, she falls in love with a Confederate cavalry officer and must flee with her family, caught in the middle of Sherman’s March to the Sea.

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This Civil War novel follows the lives of Countess Isabelle Sophia Bario, a Brazilian noble-woman recruited by the Confederacy as a spy, Robert George Norton, a Confederate cavalry officer facing Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Ian Norton, his estranged brother, who commands the Union blockader, USS Superior. These three lives are interwoven against the backdrop of war, when the tide has swung against the South.
Sophia is young, beautiful, and bored. So with her husband, Count Marco Gregorio Bario, she sets out on a dangerous and romantic adventure as a spy for the Confederacy, sent to uncover the secret routes of the Federal whaling fleet. What she finds instead is a country divided not only by the issues, but also by wealth, power and culture. Into the military encampment of the North, Sophia ventures to discover her quarry. Instead, she is involved in murder and must escape with her family to the South.
Robert Norton rides with a South Carolina cavalry brigade, on loan to shore up the undermanned forces protecting Georgia. As Sherman begins his bold strike towards Atlanta, Norton saves the Bario family from capture. Thus begins his involvement with Sophia, when they both desperately fall in love. As Norton fights rearguard and delay actions, outnumbered and outgunned, he also tries to protect Sophia. In the middle, of course, is Count Bario, who has killed before to safeguard his valuable wife. Robert can’t prevent Sherman’s burning of Atlanta, or his infamous march across Georgia to Savannah, but he can help Sophia and her family escape to Galveston, Texas.
Yet it doesn't all end there.

Professional Reviews

RATING: 4 Flames - Rare Find
The time period is 1864, Countess Isabelle Sophia Bario is bored with her life. Trapped in a marriage arranged for her when she was a child, Isabelle gets more than she bargains for when she agrees to become a spy.

Ian and Robert Norton are brothers. Separated by their beliefs, they end up on opposing sides of the war. However, more than the war separates the two when they both fall in love with Sophia.

Then there is the fourth main character, the war. Author, Derek Hart, takes the reader on a journey covering both sea and land, and the excitement danger and intrigue of the time is fully alive. Hart is to be applauded for his ability to give the reader a solid look at history while never once beating us over the head with it, or pulling us away from the joys and sorrows surrounding Sophia, Robert and Ian.

I question the listing of For Love or Honor Bound as a historical romance. I believe most readers will find that it is better suited as a mainstream historical novel.

Bottom line, be it historical romance or mainstream historical, For Love or Honor Bound is a unique find and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Reviewer: D.L. Bolk

Solid Historical Romance
In 1863, Count Marco and Countess Sophia Bario set out for the US of A, the count to further his industrial and import concerns, his much younger wife looking for adventure, and hoping to find love as well. Recruited to spy for the Confederacy among the Naval elite of the North, Sophia meets and admires Commander Ian Norton, but thinks him too young for more than liking. When her spying is done, and far more successfully than was intended, circumstance forces her to flee with her family to the South under a charge of murder. Here she meets and falls abruptly in love with Ian’s elder half-brother, imminently heroic and capable Cavalry Captain Robert Norton. Against the backdrop of the Civil War, and the brothers’ separate parts in it, plays out Sophia and Robert’s love affair, unhappily shortened by Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea. About the romance itself, I must say that its masculine origin is unmistakable, less in the sexual portrayals than in the short shrift given the development of the relationship, but there is nothing in it to despise. And the bulk of the story more than makes up for any deficit of the hearts-and-flowers variety.

Based extensively on histories of the period, and on family diaries, this work brings to poignant life the dichotomies and ideals of the War Between the States with its gallantries and sorrows, its hardships and heroics, its privations and bereavements. Particularly, it made vivid the agonies inflicted upon the Nation, both emotional and physical, as well as the courage and fortitude with which these trials were met. Of great interest also, were the alternatives offered to the Union claims that the War’s primary basis was the question of slavery, which view is generally ignored in school. To this point, several characters speak directly, and with so much sense, such sound reasoning, that you may find yourself re-evaluating how we got where we are today, and whether it was worth the price. Not to claim that this is a work of extraordinary erudition, or fusty old facts, but I did find it a fascinating representation of one of the most storied, and painful, eras in our history. Well worth reading.

Though I did not find the adulterous Sophia noticeably endearing, she had resourcefulness down to a fine art, there’s no denying. Robert and Ian, were most admirable heroes, but I must admit that, for me, it was Sergeant Jefferson Lowe, Corporal Stephen Lytton and Lieutenant Benjamin Harper who stole the show. They were such upright and faithful characters, and so much their own men, that they stepped quite out of the supporting cast. Most delightfully, too. And, while the romance of this novel may bear a stronger resemblance to Sir Walter Scott’s than to the type most commonly credited to the genre, I found it entirely enjoyable, and nearly impossible to put down. If you’re looking for fluff, you will probably be disappointed, but if you like a bit of substance in your historical romance, this should suit you fine.

Kaththea Spurlock

Three Rose Romance
Countess Sophia Bario has come to America from the Brazilian aristocracy to negotiate trade agreements with the Union during the Civil War. In reality, she has been recruited to spy for the Confederacy, and Sophia, young and unhappily married, is looking forward to the adventure. What she doesn’t expect is to fall under the spell of dashing Southern officer Robert Norton. Or to win the heart of his brother, Northern blockade captain Ian Norton.

Told against a vivid backdrop of war, the story of passion and privation unfolds in meticulous detail. Sophia and Robert steal time together whenever possible, dodging Union bullets and Sophia’s jealous husband. Along with the love story, the reader absorbs the ambience of a country in turmoil. The historical elements are fascinating, and add a great deal to the romance.

One of the things that stood out in the mind of this reviewer was the relationship of each Norton brother and his subordinates. Both men are in positions of leadership, and the junior officers serving with them underscore the charisma of the major characters. These subordinate officers are very well drawn, and their loyalty inspiring.

The book is carefully researched and contains a myriad of other interesting characters, both historical and fictional. This reviewer recommends it to anyone interested in the time-period. It could be wished that Mr. Hart had availed himself of a proofreader, however, as there are so many grammatical and typographical errors that this reviewer was constantly distracted out of the story by a jarring mistake. For readers who have no patience for such problems, a warning is definitely in order.

Rie Sheridan

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Reader Reviews for "For Love or Honor Bound"

Reviewed by DBurke 3/15/2002
For Love or Honor Bound is very descriptive. I can picture the masts on the ship as it steams towards Nassau. Not to mention Sophia’s beauty!

This kind of reading takes you back to a time when words meant things, you know, to convey meaning. Most of today’s books seem to just let us know what is secret about the government or bin Laden or actor’s sex lives or what new cause a VIP has decided to pursue to make themselves look like they can do something other than whatever they’re known for. Most reading today seems to go the People Magazine route of superficial coverage.

Derek Hart makes you imagine, and if you can’t imagine, he describes it just enough to help you.

Reviewed by Koko Kuzmanoff 3/11/2002
By the time I had read Chapter 34 in For Love or Honor Bound, I was completely enthralled. Derek hart did a wonderful job illustrating the love for Rebecca that Robert and Ian share! There is actually so much about this particular book that I enjoy. I found myself reading faster and faster and had to make myself slow down to absorb all the information.

This is a fantastic novel and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get lost in romance, action and pure adventure.

Reviewed by Ian Treadwell 2/9/2002
This is the best Civil War novel I have read since Cold Mountain. The research and accuracy are top-notch and since I'm a Civil War reenactor, that makes this read even better. There are very likeable supporting characters, like Sergeant Lowe & Corporal Lytton and Countess Bario is beautiful and dangerous. Even the Norton brothers kept my loyalties divided until the end, when I found myself cheering for the Confederate (let my ancestors forgive me). All-in-all, if you like romance, action, courage, humor and especially good solid writing, then pick up a copy of For Love or Honor Bound.
Reviewed by Shirley Brown (reader) 2/9/2002
This book showed a lot of Knowledge and research about the Civil War. Derek Hart has a way with words! It is a very good book.
Reviewed by Victoria Murray 10/24/2001
Sounds like a very romantic mystery worth reading...
Victoria Taylor Murray
'Thief Of Hearts'

Books by
Derek Hart

Secret of the Dragon's Breath

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Secret of the Dragon's Eye

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Tales of the Yellow Silk

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A Favor for FDR

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Danger Cruise

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Tangles of Truth

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Ice Flotilla

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