Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Human Toll of War by Guest Laurie Alice Eakes

“You will report yourself to Capt. D. Brown who will aid you in procuring quarters. You will then have liberty to walk in the roads in the said town to the extremity of its limits which will be designated to you by said Capt. D. Brown and you will report yourself personally to him at his house the Saturday of each week…And I do require, that all letters wrote or received by you , be sent for inspection to this office, and also notify you that conversations on the subject of a public nature, with citizens are expressly forbidden."

These were instructions to an officer from upper Canada, who was captured by Americans during the battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812. As an officer, he received a sort of parole, though, as you can see, this parole was highly limited. Not to be able to talk to those he might pass on his limited strolls through the town is sad and unnatural. He had a family. At least one letter to his father was preserved. Other prisoners had wives, parents, and sweethearts.

“This is the first and only opportunity that may occur of my writing during the War.” This is from a letter by William Merritt, another officer fighting for the British during the War of 1812, to his fiancĂ©e, Catherine Prendergast, who was an American from New York State. “I embrace it most cordially although I do not conceive it to be very safe. The unhappy situation which our Countries are placed in will deprive me [from] time of the greatest pleasure I have ever enjoyed viz. seeing you, as we were actuated by no juvenile affection the world cannot convince me you will ever forfeit that confidence I have ever placed in you, and which my life consists.”

When I read things like this during research, my heart aches for the pain of separation and uncertainty that a happy future will ever be possible for the couple. My heart also warms to see that distance, war, division between their two nations does not dim their affection for one another.

Love can transcend the division of nations.

Why we went to war with Great Britain in 1812 and kept going even after they burned our capital city in 1814, will forever be debated. We fought over trade rights. We fought over impressment of our sailors into British ships. We fought over a determination to prove that we were a sovereign nation that could not be pushed around. Half the country was against the war. Much of the reasoning behind the declaration was perhaps exaggerated.

We were certainly unprepared. Our Army was ill-trained and small. Our Navy was miniscule, but our men could sail and were willing to fight. Privateers took to the sea to make their fortunes and helped us gain an advantageous treaty despite us losing most of our land battles and going up against the greatest Navy ever known.

We got our trade rights clarified. We stopped losing our sailors to British ships. We gained the Northwest Territory, which includes what are now Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, a bit of Minnesota, and my native Michigan.

Perhaps because I grew up in Michigan, this little taught, often confusing war has always fascinated me. My newest release, My Enemy, My Heart, flips William and Catherine’s story, with my heroine being a noncombatant prisoner of war in Great Britain, who marries an Englishman for protection, while planning to free the crew from her father’s merchantman from a British prison. Because she is married to an Englishman, the act is treason, and Deirdre is torn between loyalty to the only family she has ever known, and the man with whom she is falling in love.

The human toll of war—divided lives, divided loyalties; broken hearts, and broken promises. Because this is a romance, I get to create a happy ending. I hope William and Catherine had one as well.

My Enemy, My Heart

The sea has always been Deirdre MacKenzie’s home, and the crew of her father’s Baltimore clipper is the only family she loves. She’s happier wearing breeches and climbing the rigging of the Maid of Alexandria than donning a dress and learning to curtsey. But, when the War of 1812 erupts, the ship is captured by a British privateer . With her father, the captain, dead, Deirdre sees her crew herded into the hold as prisoners-of-war. Their fate is the notorious Dartmoor prison in England. Her fate as a noncombatant prisoner is uncertain, but the one thing she knows—she must find a way to free her crew.

Kieran Ashford has caused his family one too many scandals. On his way to exile in America, he is waylaid by the declaration of war and a chance to turn privateer and make his own fortune. But he regrets his actions as soon as the rich prize is secured. Kieran figures his best chance at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family is to offer Deidre the protection of his name in marriage. He has no idea that secrets from his parents’ past and Deirdre’s determination to free her crew are on a disastrous collision course.

Love and loyalty clash, as Kieran begins to win Deirdre’s heart despite her plot to betray him and his family. While Kieran works to mend the relationship with his family, he begins to love his bride in spite of what lies between them.

About Laurie Alice Eakes
“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author, with more than two dozen books in print and several award wins and nominations to her credit, including winning the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency and being chosen as a 2016 RITA®
She has recently relocated to a cold climate because she is weird enough to like snow and icy lake water. When she isn’t basking in the glory of being cold, she likes to read, visit museums, and take long walks, preferably with her husband, though the cats make her feel guilty every time she leaves the house.

You can read more about Eakes and her books, as well as contact her, through her Web Site: http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com
You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter


  1. What a beautiful cover to a wonderful sounding book! Thank you for sharing your interesting post.

  2. I echo what Melanie said above.....beautiful cover and the story sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I agree with both Melanie and chappydebbie!

  4. Interesting post. I agree with the other beautiful cover with an intriguing book to read.

  5. Britain did not want that war, in fact many saw it as an oppurtunistic war justified by American Imperialistic Ambition. We were already fighting Napoleon- which is something that really annoys me about a lot of the novels written by Americans during this period.
    You just don't seem to understand why we were fighting France, and think it was for fun, or out of meanness or something. It was not. Naopleon had conquered much of Europe- we was poised to invade Britain with 50'000 men. The only came between Britain and him was our navy.
    In the end, he turned round and invaded Russia instead, that was the Invasion which is related in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

    As we saw it, we were pretty much alone defening our freedom against the tyrant in France, a fight which claimed far more lives than the War of 1812. We were not fighting to defend 'the privilege and wealth of the upper classes' but for our very survival.

    Also, the French were not above attacking Americans, they had been doing so before 1812, or stirring up war to serve their own ends.