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My Dearest Cecelia: A Novel of the Southern Belle Who Stole General Sherman's Heart [Paperback]

Diane Haeger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24 2004
As she enters the Commencement Ball at West Point on a spring evening in 1837, Cecelia Stovall looks and feels like the perfect, innocent Southern belle. But at that dance she will meet the man who will change her life--and the lives of her fellow Southerners--forever. Cecelia falls instantly in love with the dashing young Northern cadet William Sherman, and they embark on a fiery, secret rendezvous despite their broad cultural differances.

Legend has it that Sherman's love for Cecelia was the reason he spared her hometown Augusta during his infamous march to the sea, when he burned Atlanta to the ground. Diane Haeger has re-created this lost romance in a sweeping and lyrical novel that will be treasured equally by the history enthusiast and the incurable romantic.

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Review

"Novelist Diane Haeger successfuly interwines the story of two star-crossed lovers with the backdrops of the American Civil War."

About the Author

Diane Haeger is the author of The Secret Wife of King George IV as well as a number of contemporary romances. She lives in Newport Beach, California.

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Cecelia Stovall sighed. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Diane Haeger is a superb author July 28 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is the 2nd book of hers I have read, and I loved it just as much as the first. She is an amazing writer and is now my favorite! I would recommend (and do) this book and any others by Diane Haeger to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great Romance! May 10 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. A very good historical romance that touched my heart.
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5.0 out of 5 stars IF I ONLY HAD MORE STARS TO GIVE............. April 9 2003
Format:Hardcover
See the PS at the end of this- I've rationed myself and got through Chapter 4, trying to make this last as long as I can, but I had to go ahead and write. Diane Haeger has outdone herself. OK, I'm prejudiced. I have never enjoyed an author's works as much as hers, and I have not found another author of her caliber. I didn't think she could do any better than THE SECRET WIFE OF KING GEORGE IV, but this has already set itself up as such. The love story (based on a true story)between Cecilia and William is already so heartwrenching- to find a love so strong, so quickly, so true....and to be told by the world it would be destined to fail. These characters from the very beginning are so believeable and so realistic, you can close your eyes and envision them standing in front of you having their conversations. If you aren't familiar with Diane Haeger's works, RUN, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore. One quick warning- she sets the bar so high, you will be hard pressed to find another author that can come close to appeasing you until she sends us another book!
PS- I've finished and I can't begin to praise this book enough. One thing I enjoyed about this book that has been different from other Civil War era books is that you are not drowned in a history lesson along with the story. The author tells you enough to acclimate you to what is going on without going too far into details of the war and battles. As with all her books, you don't ever want them to end and find you have a hard time finding anything else to read that will appease you after this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love that last a life time! April 2 2003
Format:Hardcover
It is Spring of 1837, and due to dispute at home, Southern belle Cecelia Stovall is sent with her 2 brothers to visit her oldest brother Marcellus who is attending West Point Academy. While attending the Commencement Ball Cecelia meets Northerner William T. Sherman, roomate of Marcellus. They are both captivated with each other and find reasons to see each other during the days to follow (against the approval of her brothers). During one of these times they pledge their love to each other. Marcellus discovers that there are sparks between the two. Cecelia is swept away by her brothers and adventually off to Europe by her father, against her will, with Marcellus to avoid communication between her and William. The Stovall family is a wealthy, starch, southern family that will have no northerner as a part of it. Failing attempts are made to send correspondence to William of her love. While in Europe, Cecelia is introduced to wealthy cotton planter Charles Shelman from Georgia. Since the family business is in financial need, marriage between Cecelia and Charles is that much more important as well as the prestige it would have for the family name. Cecelia and Marcellus finally return home to Georgia, with Charles determined to make her his trophy wife. To earn favor with his father, Marcellus sees that attempts made between William and Cecelia to write or see each other are void. Cecelia is able to avoid marriage to Charles wondering why William hasn't come after her, while William is sent false word that Cecelia has forgotten him and moved on with her life. Days, months, and then years go by. Both eventually end up married to others (though their hearts belong to each other only) only to find each other again and discover that each still truly love each other. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars engagingly deep romantic historical fiction March 1 2003
By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In 1837 at a West Point ball, Cadet William Sherman sees the sister of a peer on the dance floor with one of the recent graduates. He intercedes over the anger of her partner to claim the remainder of the dance with Cecilia Stovall, a beautiful southern belle. The two hit it off, but William is not good enough as far as the aristocratic Stovall brood is concerned. Her parents whisk her off to Europe though she continues her correspondence with dear William. However, ultimately they force her to marry a wealthy planter and he eventually takes a wife.
During the Civil War, they meet and realize the passion and love still remains strong between them. However, will his love for her prove stronger than his military march to cut the south in half by avoiding her home and her city? Or will he butcher one more place when he brings the horrors of war to the populace?
MY DEAREST CECILIA is an engagingly deep romantic historical fiction novel based on the true star crossed love between General Sherman and Southern belle Cecilia Stovall. The story line provides insight into Sherman turning him into a full person and not just a war hero or "Butcher" depending on your perspective. Diane Haeger uses real persona and events to anchor her fictionalized account of the two-wannabe lovers. Fans receive a strong tale that will send much of the audience seeking THE SECRET LIFE OF KING GEORGE IV; another romantic historical novel that along with this book shows Ms. Haeger has carved out a unique niche for herself.
Harriet Klausner
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