Here's an excerpt from the book:
(Rory receives a letter from the army telling her Dawson is missing in action and believed dead).
Isabelle joined Rory on the porch and settled into a rocker beside her. “What is it, lass? You're a million miles away these days.”
“Call it a gut feeling. There's no other way to explain it.”
Rory nodded. “Has the pain of separation ever threatened to steal your sanity?”
“Yes,” Isabelle said without pause. “When we lost Jon Henry to pneumonia and James in the war.”
Rory clutched her hand. “Forgive me, Isabelle. I'm so absorbed in self-pity these days, I should have known better than to ask you that.”
“There's nothing to forgive. I know the love you and Dawson share is fierce, your mantle heavy while he's off fighting.” She paused. “Or whatever men call it when they're chasing the enemy across desolate terrain.” Isabelle found her feet and as if clairvoyant, placed a hand over her brow and scanned the horizon.
Rory's heart plummeted. “What is it, what's wrong?”
Jon walked from the barn and looked down the long drive.
“Company,” her sister whispered. “We aren't expecting anyone, and it's a bit early for neighbors to come calling.”
Rory bounded to her feet when the riders reined in their mounts near the porch. Sweat trickled down the horses' withers. Brass eagle buttons glistened against their dark blue shirts. Rory tried to draw breath but someone had sucked the air from her lungs.
The officer looked from Isabelle to her, his tone somber. “Mrs. Finch, Mrs. Dawson Finch?”
The sky spun and far-off voices rang in her ears—Isabelle's, Jon's, and a stranger's. Staggering down the steps on wobbly legs, she reached for the document in his hand with trembling fingers. “I'm Mrs. Dawson Finch.”
“Ma'am, it grieves me to deliver this letter from the army.”
This cannot be happening. Did he say grieve? Rory opened the letter and scanned the first paragraph.
The army regrets to inform you, your husband, Sergeant Dawson Finch, has been listed as missing in action and presumed dead.
Time ceased to exist and a sound she didn't recognize escaped her throat. She sensed Isabelle standing beside her and dropped the letter into her hand. Then she turned her back on the soldiers and vomited.
Long minutes passed before a man cleared his throat. “Our deepest regrets Mrs. Finch. The superior officer states in his report heathens rode off with your husband's body.” The voice paused. “We, that is, the army, failed to recover his remains.”
Missing? Presumed dead? His body taken by heathens? No. No. No!
Gripped by unfathomable grief, Rory folded like a leaf and collapsed into the dirt at her feet.