Monday, February 25, 2019

Review - An Extraordinary Union

Author:  Alyssa Cole
Series:  The Loyal League #1
Genre:   Historical Fiction; Romance
Publisher:   Kensington
Format:  Audio
No. of Pages:  320
Date of Publication:  March 28, 2017
My Rating:  4.5 Stars

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .


An unlikely pair of spies. One a former slave. Another is of Scottish descent. They are both spying for the Union Army. This is especially horrible for Elle Burns because now she once again has to face the indignities of slavery. Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service and he has a very challenging and incredibly dangerous mission - he must infiltrate a rebel outfit in Virginia.

This mission brings both Elle and Malcolm together where they share a common cause. Despite the incredible danger facing them both, they face something just as difficult, an undeniable attraction to one another. Being of different races while the Civil War is still in full force makes this an untenable situation. Their love is forbidden and, even if the war were to end suddenly, their chances for a happy union hardly seems possible.

The harsh realities of slavery, racism, war and forbidden love are dealt with as realistically as possible during the pages of this novel. As drawn as I am to Malcolm and his wonderfully loving and giving nature, it is Elle who steals the show in this book. She is exceptionally brilliant, with an eidetic memory. Sadly, despite her incredible nature, with a level of intelligence that anyone would aspire to have, just the color of her skin has a ton of doors slammed in her face.

Due to issues like these, as well as the difficulty of the case at hand, there is no surprise that Elle has a very difficult time trusting Malcolm's pursuit of her. She only has her life's experience to go by. The story evolves quite well as the couple pursues the impossible. Meanwhile, the danger is eminent and never lets up. This is the second series that I am reading by Alyssa Cole and I am more than impressed by her incredible talent, especially when it comes to handling difficult and seemingly impossible issues.

An Extraordinary Union is a great start to the Loyal League series, to be followed by A Hope Divided and An Unconditional Freedom.


Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and SFF romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was chosen as the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime with her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

She is represnted by Lucienne Diver at The Knight Agency.

To learn about new releases, sign up for Alyssa’s newsletter here. If you would like to contact Alyssa, feel free to email using the form below!


  1. This looks like something I would enjoy reading, thank you for putting on my radar!

  2. I tend to avoid books about that era as I get to angry at how women and minorities were treated

  3. Sounds like a good one. Great review!

  4. Nice review. Not really my kind of book though.

  5. Great reviews sounds like it tackles some important topics.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook