Laura Chandler has lost her politician husband, a man she thought she knew throughout her picture-perfect marriage. But weeks after his death she learns that he kept a mistress who is begging for her assistance. It is the betrayal rather than the money that eats at Laura's heart.

Union spy Chase Girad intends to use Laura, until he falls in love with her. Not afraid to hide her intelligence behind a simpering Southern act, Laura is Chase's perfect match.

Laura, placing her sense of duty to her country above her loyalty to the rebel cause, takes risks with her friendship to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his wife, and joins Chase's spy network.

Jewell, Laura's slave and confidante, give this novel heart and a lesson in tolerance and loyalty.

WHILE THE MUSIC PLAYS is a probing venture into the American Civil War. If publishers are looking for the next author to follow up on a Scarlett sequel, they can look to Diane Austell. Ms. Austell weaves Civil War history with a great sense of character to immediately capture the reader's interest. SENSUAL (Nov., 464 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Cyndie Dennis-Greer