THE WIDOW'S WAR
With crisp, clean prose, Mackey shows that while much of the South considered breaking with the Union over states' rights, in the Kansas Territory it was all about slavery. Readers become a part of Mackey's three-dimensional characters' lives as they're drawn into the conflict and history.
Thinking nothing of her reputation or her safety, Carrie sets out to find William and is reunited with her beloved just as battle breaks out as to how Kansas will enter the union -- free or slave-holding state. William and her child are kidnapped by a band of proslavers, and Carrie strives to locate them with the aid of the newly formed African-American cavalry. This courageous woman will do whatever it takes to save those she loves. (Berkley, Sep., 380 pp., $15.00)