Not since Cassie Edwards have I come across such poorly developed plot and characters. This was supposed to be about the pain of losing a childhood sweetheart, then--part 2--revenge on Ladd's (Sutton's) part. To begin with, I see nothing special about our heroine Laurette. She grew up rich and pampered, and not even during/after the Civil War did her character fully mature. I was not able to see the extent of her grief and pain over the loss of her family, and her young lover, Ladd. Upon learning of his death, she marries another man within weeks...she could not even see through his deceitful nature. Laurette seems very weak and gullible, one of those spineless females I hate reading about.
Ladd, on the other hand, while suffering the violence and brutality of war, also came out quite the same in terms of emotional maturity. All he cares about is his so-called revenge. He felt Laurette had betrayed him by marrying his tormentor Jimmy Tigart. He never stopped to consider what might have happened to Laurette (or what sort of news had been filtered down to her) while he'd been imprisoned. His attempt at being a heartless rake was lame and unimpressive, and I can't believe Laurette actually fell for this virtual stranger. About the only thing "scandalous" about their affair was her willingness to engage in oral sex in broad daylight. Yawwn...nothing new there.
To add insult to injury (which, in this case, is an extremely lackluster story) the author finishes off with a very abrupt ending. Not my kind of romance at all. Definitely thumbs-down for me.