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Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in Shades of Gray series by @jessicajames #histfic

Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in this epic Civil War novel that pits brother against brother. Author Jessica James uniquely blends elements of romantic and historical fiction in this deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer, “transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones.”


Author: Jessica James

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb

Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in this sweeping Civil War tale that pits brother against brother. Captain Alexander Hunter would rather die than see the Union set foot on his beloved Virginia soil. And while he holds the line against Northern aggression with legendary skill, a treacherous boy on horseback always thwarts his offensives. His allegiance is tested when the traitor he unmasks is the woman he once swore to his brother he would protect. Should he keep his promise? Or continue to fight for his convictions? Readers will discover the fine line between friends and enemies when the lives of two tenacious foes cross by the fates of war and their destinies become entwined forever.

Book Trailer:


A piercing bugle blast preceded the sound of galloping horses by mere seconds. Confederate cavalry Captain Alexander Hunter tore his eyes away from the horse and rider he pursued and focused on the Federal cavalry unit that had appeared out of nowhere to pursue him.

Blast it. Tricked again.

This was not the first time the large black steed with its agile rider had been spotted in advance of a Union assault—but Hunter swore today would be the last. Signaling his men to scatter, he spurred his mount toward the forest where his foe had disappeared. His band of warriors took off in every direction, their escape aided by a roiling mass of dark-bellied clouds that launched their own assault.

With the storm as an ally, Hunter knew the Federal cavalry would not sustain the chase. He didn’t worry about his men who were familiar enough with the land to evade the enemy no matter the weather. He only cared to find the Yank who’d led him into the trap so the rascal could be punished.

Punished severely.

Hunter lowered his hand to one of the revolvers on his hip as he entered the dimly lit forest. Damn that scoundrel. The timely arrival of Union reinforcements over the past few months could no longer be considered a mere coincidence. It was time for this cunning adversary to pay for the disruptions he’d caused.

Guiding his mare through the underbrush and around fallen trees, Hunter soon lost hope of finding his antagonist in the dense foliage. The rider had a habit of appearing, only to disappear into thin air. Even today when he’d thought the elusive character was within his grasp, Hunter had instead found himself in another trap.

The distinctive sound of a rambling creek replaced the hushed patter of rain, pulling Hunter from his thoughts. “How about a drink, ol’ girl?” He urged his mare forward, leaning low over the saddle to avoid tree limbs, and then jerked on the reins at the sight of a youth crouched on the opposite bank gulping water by the handful. Hunter’s gaze shifted to the horse hungrily grazing on green shoots at the brook’s grassy edge. Enormous and coal black, its chest glistened and frothed from being ridden hard.

Hunter reached for his revolver and blinked to make sure the fading daylight was not playing tricks on his vision. At this distance, the enemy scout was smaller and younger than he expected. He cocked his weapon and shouted across the fast-moving stream, “Don’t move!”

His confusion intensified as he stared at his opponent. Dressed in an oversized coat, slouch hat pulled low, and baggy trousers, the boy looked harmless enough. But one more glance at the horse answered his question. This was no guiltless civilian. This was a Yankee. And a cunning one at that.

Hunter urged his mare down the steep bank to a sandbar, but hesitated. The creek was not wide, but the swift-running current and slippery rocks made fording here treacherous. About halfway across, he saw the boy bolt to his grazing horse and gather the reins. Reacting instinctively Hunter fired a shot, causing his mare to lose her footing and plunge to her knees.

The panicked animal struggled a moment before bounding up with a great surge of strength, knocking him off balance. As Hunter tried to regain control, the mare lunged again, this time unseating him and sending him sailing backward.

Hunter felt himself falling, seemingly in slow motion, until there came a skull-cracking thud and a blinding flash of light.

Then nothing.

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Author Biography:

Jessica James’ novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past.

She is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Jessica loves to write about the historical places she visits on her blog Past Lane Travels. When not on the road, she can be found in her own 200-year-old house in Gettysburg.

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Author: Jessica James

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

After sparring with Union spy Andrea Evans in DUTY BOUND, Captain Alexander Hunter takes pity on her after discovering she has been sent to a notorious Confederate prison. HONOR BOUND recounts Andrea’s journey as she wakes up in the home of her enemy. Will sparks fly as they find themselves living under the same roof? Or bullets? Find out what happens in this deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer, “transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones.”.


Andrea lost count of the days she spent staring out the window, listening to rain pelting the house and watching the picturesque meadows of Hawthorne reduced to fields of muck and mud.

She wondered how Hunter and his men continued their raids, but apparently the weather did not slow them. The Captain returned only to bring in captured horses, catch up on the affairs of Hawthorne, and, every so often, sleep a few hours. After only a brief rest he would be back in the saddle and, presumably, causing chaos again.

For the most part when Hunter was home, he did not seem conscious of Andrea’s presence. Or perhaps more truthfully, he made it a point not to be in her presence. She rarely saw him and never spoke to him, so despite living under the same roof they remained as divided as two enemies could be.

Andrea appreciated the separation. The inevitable response of rage that crept into her body when she saw him, or even thought about him, fueled the throbbing pain she faced daily. Dark thoughts of vengeance controlled her, and became what motivated her to make it through another day.

But her thoughts of retribution were interrupted one morning by the sound of a rider galloping hard through hock-deep slop. Before she could ask Izzie who it was, the hoof beats charged back out the lane.

Minutes later, Mattie entered with a package in her hand. “Ole Him sended something for you.”

“Really” Andrea stared at Mattie, stunned that Hunter would think of her, let alone send a courier with a package. He had not been back to Hawthorne for more than a week by her estimates, and she had begun to think he was no longer in the land of the living.

But what she held in her hand gave her second thoughts about her unchristian wishes for Hunter’s demise. Newspapers, almost a week’s worth, lay neatly bound with string. Most of them were out of Richmond, but one, a dated one, was from the North. How thoughtful of him to think of her—and how she hated him for it.

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Author: Jessica James

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

The Shades of Gray Civil War Serial Trilogy culminates in the emotional final volume GLORY BOUND, that highlight the sacrifices of both sides and proves there can be no bond stronger than that which unites enemies. Lessons are learned and hard battles are fought, but the underlying theme is that immortal love, once it flows, can never die.


Hunter stepped out into the bright sunlight, squinting and grabbing his head at the horrific thudding the endeavor produced. The liquor he’d consumed the previous night had done little to deaden the ache in his heart at Andrea’s sudden departure, and much to cause the pain and misery he now endured.

Opening his eyes, he watched a speck in the distance turn into a rider cantering up the drive with a large gray horse in tow at his side. He blinked in disbelief when he recognized John Paul and Excaliber.

“Here you go, ol’ chap!” John Paul tried to bring the powerful stallion under control, though it practically wrenched him from the saddle.

Hunter remained speechless.

“Didn’t Miss Andrea tell you? She convinced me to sell you this beast, though I don’t know quite how or why.” John Paul stared at Hunter curiously. “I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of telling her it was your birthday. Today is the day, isn’t it?”

Without waiting for an answer, John Paul reached into his coat pocket with great difficulty and pulled out some papers. “Got the bill of sale right here. Quite a little negotiator she is. Wouldn’t go a penny higher than what you last offered me, though I insisted his value has increased substantially since then.”

Hunter continued to stand silently, blinking like an owl in sunlight. The fact it was his birthday had completely slipped his mind. What he had said to Andrea after she returned from being with John Paul had not. He remembered distinctly the moment of callousness that had started the chain of events that left his world crumbling.

John Paul’s gaze flicked over Hunter’s unshaven face and puffy red eyes. “It appears you started celebrating the big day a little early.”

“She bought him?” Hunter murmured, his mind beginning to catch up to what had been said moments previous.

“Well, she signed the bill of sale on your behalf,” John Paul responded. “Insisted her word and your honor were sufficient to close the deal.” He paused a moment. “She’s a bit of a funny female if you ask me. A little standoffish…though she seems to have warmed up to you quite nicely, judging from the way I had to listen to her constantly singing your praises.”

He looked Hunter up and down in such a way that indicated he could not fathom a woman choosing the Colonel over himself. “Here, take him, he’s all yours.”

Hunter descended the last two steps and grabbed the skittish horse that he’d been trying unsuccessfully to purchase for years, the lineage of which he knew would transform Hawthorne into the legendary breeding establishment his grandfather had envisioned. There was no elation as he gazed at the prancing animal. He saw only a world falling apart around him, and felt a crushing weight of loss and loneliness that threatened to overcome him.

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Title: Shades of Gray: Complete Civil War Serial Historical Fiction (Vol 1-3): An Epic Southern America Story

Author: Jessica James

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

A past impossible to ignore. A love impossible to deny. A choice impossible to make. Sweeping Southern fiction that embodies the classic elements of duty, honor, and unexpected love. History is brought to life is this epic Trilogy when a renowned Confederate cavalry officer discovers that the woman he promised his dying brother he would protect, is the Union spy he vowed to his men he would destroy. This timeless love story illuminates the fine line between friends and enemies at a time when traditions and principles were worth defending at all costs. This is the tale of Colonel Alexander Hunter, a dauntless and daring Confederate cavalry officer, who, with his band of intrepid outcasts, becomes a legend in the rolling hills of northern Virginia. Inspired by love of country and guided by a sense of duty and honor, Hunter must make a desperate choice when he discovers the woman he promised his dying brother he would protect is the Union spy he vowed to his men he would destroy. When this mysterious foe falls into Hunter’s hands in enemy territory, he must make the difficult choice to honor the vow to his brother—or continue to stand for the convictions he holds dear. Should he keep his promise? Or continue to fight for his beliefs? This poignant tale of dueling principles, impossible choices, and enduring love is destined for an honored place among the classics of the American Civil War. Shades of Gray is proven to be one of those books that is read, and savored, and remembered forever. Note: This book was previously published as Shades of Gray, and later re-released as Noble Cause with a happily-ever-after ending. It has been revised, expanded and enhanced for this release that consists of three volumes: Duty Bound, Honor Bound, and Glory Bound.


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