Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
An Extraordinary Union
Cover of An Extraordinary Union
An Extraordinary Union
An Epic Love Story of the Civil War
Borrow Borrow

A former slave finds danger, intrigue, and passion undercover as a spy in first of this Civil War–era romance series from an award-winning author.

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he's facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other. . .

An Entertainment Weekly TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A Bookpage TOP PICK
A Kirkus BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Vulture TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF 2017
A Publishers Weekly BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Booklist TOP 10 ROMANCE FICTION 2017
"Richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters." —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times–bestselling author

"You should absolutely read this book, immediately, if you haven't already. . . . This book is a marvelous, intelligent, respectful, breathtaking treat for your brain." —Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

A former slave finds danger, intrigue, and passion undercover as a spy in first of this Civil War–era romance series from an award-winning author.

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he's facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other. . .

An Entertainment Weekly TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A Bookpage TOP PICK
A Kirkus BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Vulture TOP 10 ROMANCE BOOKS OF 2017
A Publishers Weekly BEST BOOKS OF 2017
A Booklist TOP 10 ROMANCE FICTION 2017
"Richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters." —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times–bestselling author

"You should absolutely read this book, immediately, if you haven't already. . . . This book is a marvelous, intelligent, respectful, breathtaking treat for your brain." —Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    always available
  • Library copies:
    always available
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary romance, and SFF romance. She's contributed to publications including Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she's not working, she can often be found watching anime with her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals. Visit her at www.alyssacole.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 20, 2017
    Opening a series set in the Civil War era, Cole (Mixed Signals) hits all the right notes in this smartly written espionage romance brimming with vivid characterization, heartfelt dialogue, and sensual sweetness. Ellen “Elle” Burns, a sassy freedwoman, and Malcolm McCall, a charming immigrant from Scotland, are both spies committed to using their skills to defeat the Confederacy. Their collaboration is complicated by the sizzling chemistry between them. Elle has given up her freedom to pose as a mute slave in an influential Confederate household, as her photographic memory lets her retain confidential information after just a glance. In the same household, Malcolm claims to be a Confederate soldier, hoping to endear himself to Confederate officials. Their closeness leads to genuine mutual understanding of their private selves and a satisfying intimate relationship. But Elle knows the perils of an interracial romance, and she struggles to trust a man who lies so glibly. Despite their ability to work seamlessly together and their growing belief in a shared future, a risky plan to secure vital information goes awry, threatening the success of the mission—and their lives. Cole’s sparkling gem of a romance portrays love at its most practical and sublime; she writes with lyricism, intelligence, and historical accuracy. This fascinating novel is a most welcome addition to the historical romance genre.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from February 1, 2017
    A spy posing as a slave in Civil War Virginia risks her own life and the outcome of the war by falling in love with a fellow spy of another race.After being freed from slavery as a child, Ellen "Elle" Burns has one purpose. She is "going to help destroy the Confederacy." But to do that, she has to do something she never imagined possible--pose as an enslaved woman on loan to a family of spoiled whites. Her "masters" are living the high life in spite of a punishing Union blockade that's causing widespread suffering and starvation in Richmond, Virginia. Elle's photographic memory makes her extremely valuable to the Loyal League, a network of black spies working to undermine the Confederacy. But her careful work is thrown into disarray by the arrival of Malcolm McCall, a detective in the Pinkerton network who is posing as a Confederate soldier paying social visits to the household where Elle works. Malcolm is a skilled spy and a good person, but Elle has a hard time bringing herself to trust a glib and charming white man whose job requires him to be a gifted liar. Little by little Malcolm wins her over, but the painful racial dynamics around them threaten to poison their relationship. Malcolm must treat Elle as less than human in front of others while convincing her in private that he values her as highly as any white woman. The first installment in Cole's (Mixed Signals, 2015, etc.) Loyal League series defies genre stereotypes at every turn. It's both a romance and a spy novel, with a healthy dose of adventure thrown in, and it offers a nuanced portrayal of Civil War-era racial politics. Any reader who thinks romance novels are pure fluff will be schooled by Cole's richly drawn characters, who must overcome generations of trauma in order to let themselves love each other. A masterful tale that bodes well for future work from Cole.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from April 15, 2017

    With her eidetic memory and quick wit, Elle Burns, a Northern freedwoman and part of the Loyal League, is the perfect spy for the Union Army. Now a mute "slave" in the home of an influential Southern senator, Elle is shocked when her latest contact turns out to be the handsome Confederate soldier pretending to pay court to the senator's spoiled daughter. But Malcolm McCall is no Johnny Reb; he's a Scot by birth and a Pinkerton detective on a mission for the Union. When he and Elle learn of plans to break the Union blockade, they join forces in a perilous race against time to see the plot foiled. Based in part on historical characters and events, this carefully composed tale envisages aspects of the Civil War often overlooked. VERDICT Courageous, passionate protagonists fight for justice, freedom, and the right to love in an exceptional story that both educates and entertains and beautifully launches a unique series. Cole (Mixed Signals) lives in the Caribbean.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 15, 2017
    In the first installment in what should be a spectacular new series, Cole opens her adventurous historical romance at the beginning of the American Civil War. Elle Burns is not what she seems, which suits her just fine since she needs to conceal her true identity by staying out of sight and out of mind. Luckily for her, no one suspects that a mute slave girl on a Southern estate is really a spy working for the Loyalty League, a secret society of freed blacks and slaves funneling information to the Union. Her disguise was working perfectly until a handsome Confederate soldier with a Scottish brogue nearly ruins everything. Malcolm McCall looks like a Rebel Hero, but he's really a roguish Pinkerton detective who uses charm to disarm senators and Southern belles alike. As spy encounters spy, the two must decide if they can trust each other and if working together is in their best interests, or if their desire to win the war is greater than their growing desire for one another. Fans of Beverly Jenkins will be thrilled with Cole's fearless, steamy, and moving multicultural take on forbidden love in a time of slavery and war.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

  • Entertainment Weekly on A Hope Divided Exceptional Praise for The Loyal League Series

    "It's gratifying to read a novel that deals so frankly with such issues and takes an unflinching view of the realities of life during the Civil War rather than reiterating the dangerous Lost Cause rhetoric that often colors romance narratives of this era."
  • Entertainment Weekly on An Extraordinary Union, Top 10 Romances of 2017 "Cole does the seemingly impossible, using the Civil War as a backdrop for a realistic, gripping interracial romance that interrogates slavery, systemic racism, and more, while still remaining utterly swoon-worthy."
  • Vulture.com on An Extraordinary Union "Cole deftly interweaves the fraught realities of American history with romance and adventure - this is a spy story, after all - and it is elegantly told."
  • Kirkus starred review on An Extraordinary Union "The first installment in Cole's Loyal League series defies genre stereotypes at every turn. It's both a romance and a spy novel, with a healthy dose of adventure thrown in, and it offers a nuanced portrayal of Civil War-era racial politics. Any reader who thinks romance novels are pure fluff will be schooled by Cole's richly drawn characters, who must overcome generations of trauma in order to let themselves love each other."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Kensington Books
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
An Extraordinary Union
An Extraordinary Union
An Epic Love Story of the Civil War
Alyssa Cole
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel