Conflict by Stevie Woods

Conflict by Stevie Woods

Two men, one war. Can love survive when each takes a different side?

Leaving his lover behind to support the abolitionist cause, Piet Van Leyden finds himself leading one of the first all-black Union troops into the heart of battle. Reuniting with free slave and former love Joss brings some comfort, but will his presence tempt Piet into forgetting the love waiting for him at home?

Sebastian Cane wonders how he’s able to go on without Piet by his side. When a series of unfortunate events lands him a prisoner of the Union, Seb knows he must rely on his wits and his love for Piet to survive…and get home to him.




This is not so much of a love story as a look at two men involved in the end of the civil war and the events surrounding their separation and reunion. There is a smattering of sex, just a hint really and a thread of romance amongst historical highlights from the war. Pieter and Sebastian are apart for the majority of the story and their love affair and determination to get back to each other is based largely on a short six-month relationship that clearly cemented their feelings for each other. Their separation is hard with numerous obstacles between them and no shortage of problems and difficulties thrown at these men to test their lingering devotion.

Pieter is revealed slowly as an idealistic young man, believing whole-heartedly in the cause of the war and his righteousness in fighting on the side of the union. His growing discomfort forced him to leave the south and Sebastian to go north and help in their efforts to free slaves. In the course of the five years he and his beloved are apart, he grows from the confident, free spirited man who had a touch of naive about him to a hardened, cynical man seeing the great destruction and waste of war. He comes to question his own actions with a hindsight he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to gain.

Sebastian becomes a man of principle and wisdom, no longer blithely allowing ignorance and comfort to shadow his thoughts and actions. His ill-fated decision to join the Confederate army is one that changes him irrevocably with the consequences of his capture at Pieter’s hands and subsequent incarceration for years. Sebastain’s strength of will and confidence are both terribly shaken and the final scene is almost heart breaking in the change to both the man and the plantation.

After so many years apart, the war having changed and hurt both men, is there something to come back to? Is the relationship they both yearn and desperately wish for still there for them after such a long separation and hardship? That is the question that drives them both yet neither can envision any answer other than the one they want. The lure of having someone to love and someone waiting to return to is enough to keep both men alive through heinous conditions and trials.

The author’s vivid prose and ability to write with such clarity evoked emotion from the beginning scene to the end. This is a difficult book to read with the atrocity of war written in an honest and genuine voice, sparing the worst of the details but infusing enough authenticity that this is not an easy or light book. The thread of romance between the men is woven throughout their separation and numerous trials- physical, mental, and emotional. Although their loyalty and fidelity was tested with honest concern, the connection between Seb and Piet was so strong it translated beautifully; showing how little could impact the depth of their emotions for each other.

Conflict is a sequel to the book Cane, which I haven’t read, yet I found this book easily read on it’s own. I was curious how Sebastian and Pieter met, although the author does a thorough job of adding in all relevant information so this is a stand alone title, but the connection between the two men is so strong that even though they are rarely together, there is no question of the deep and abiding love these two have for each other. I found myself wondering about their backgrounds and how youthful priorities and morals led to their separation. No doubt those who have read the prior book will enjoy this sequel and a happy ending for the main characters. As it was, the incredible prose and honest writing quickly created an investment and connection to the story even without having read the previous book. Although the ending is a happy reunion for the two men, I can only wonder at what lasting cost the past five years have had on both men and their relationship.

I’m not a history buff myself so I can’t tell if the author made any large gaffs with her research but it seems rather thorough. For those that enjoy historical fiction with a touch of romance, this will likely keep you engrossed in the story and engaged in its characters. 

Get it HERE!


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