The Vacant Chair
Author: Kaylea Cross
Format: E-book & Paperback (378 pages)
Publisher: Kaylea Cross
Publishing Date: May 2013
The Civil War has torn Brianna Taylor’s family apart and made her a widow. Determined to ease the suffering of the wounded crowding the Union hospitals and honor the memory of the man she loved, she embarks on a career as a nurse. But then he arrives—a patient who makes her feel alive again in spite of her resolve to stay detached.
Captain Justin Thompson understands the cost of war all too well, yet he felt compelled to fight for the Union his father died defending. Wounded at Cold Harbor and left to die at a military hospital, he owes his life to Brianna, who seems determined to guard her professional boundaries despite his best efforts to breach them. Just as he’s winning the battle for her heart, he’s forced to return to the front of a cruel war that could very well separate them forever.
I'll be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the American civil war. But Kaylea Cross paints such a vivid picture of life at the time. I learnt a lot, and it all felt so accurate and detailed, but it was never boring.
I was very intrigued by the blurb and started reading this story with eagerness. Although, in retrospect, I should not have started reading at night because it was almost impossible to put down!
Brianna and Justin meet briefly when she is on her way to the depot hospital in White House Landing, when she has problems with her wagon. Justin stops to help Brianna and her friend, the sparks are flying, but they part ways. Then Justin is brought to Brianna's hospital with a very serious injury. It's not long before Justin slips under her skin, despite the distance she tries to maintain. Before long they're falling in love, but when they're separated again, will it be permanently, or will they be happily reunited?
Brianna and Justin are both very likable from the outset, and they had a great instantaneous connection. Brianna is so determined to help the wounded men, and she is very compassionate and kind, the perfect nurse. She also has hidden pain, from the loss of her husband. She's such a strong woman though, she perseveres through any hardships and will do anything for the people she loves.
Justin is very charming and handsome, but he's also extremely loyal, kind and protective. I loved his relationship with his brother, Mitch. They were sweet and you could feel how close they are and how important family is to him. Justin suffers so much in this story, and it was so emotional watching him struggle and then seeing how Brianna helped him to heal. Their romance is passionate and poignant, as they struggle to hold on to happiness in such a turbulent and dangerous time.
I was swept straight into this heart-wrenching, emotional journey and I had no choice but to love every minute. There was a scene (no spoilers so I can't be specific) where I literally had to put my kindle down and have a minute or two to compose myself, I was just a sobbing mess! It's just written so beautifully and I enjoyed every word!! I couldn't recommend this enough.
*I received a review copy from Lit Connect, for my honest review. Thank you!