Book Review | A Single Spark

The time is during the Civil War and the place is the Washington Arsenal in Washington, D.C. In A Single Spark by Judith Miller, Clara McBride is helping provide for her and her mother while also helping the North’s war effort. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Joseph Brady is tasked with improving the arsenal’s production and uncovering a potential spy.

Clara simply wants to work. And do her work well. After her father’s death in the war and with no news of her brother, she wants to help as much as she can. Lieutenant Brady not only sees her skills in the Armory, but also wants to get to know her personally. A situation she readily agrees to.

Joseph really likes Clara, but worries his wounds, inflicted at the same battle in which her father died and the reason he is stationed at the armory, will mean the end of their relationship. He struggles to sleep, to walk. But he is good at his job and his commander trusts him.

I have not read a Judith Miller novel before and found A Single Spark more sweet romance than suspenseful. There is a mystery to solve, but it is not a heart-pounding one. This take was unexpected for me, but a pleasant change of pace. I could greatly relate to Clara and her ability to see good in everyone and Joseph was a real hero. I wanted to see them succeed and the suspense came from worrying for their safety.

While a wartime setting doesn’t sound like a beach read, A Single Spark stays light enough that it makes for a good summer read. It touches on some of the political challenges of the Civil War, but briefly and not too deeply, other than explaining the Clara, Joseph, and the bad guy’s motivations.

I enjoyed A Single Spark. I especially liked that the story circled around an armory. That uniqueness and the lovable characters made this a delightful story. And – the title is perfect!


I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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