As she enters the Commencement Ball at West Point Military Academy on a spring evening in 1837, in her pink gown with white silk roses and ropes of pearls, Cecelia Stovall looks - and feels - like the perfect, innocent Southern belle. Little does she know that at that dance she will meet the man who will change her life - and the lives of all her fellow Southerners - forever. Cecelia falls instantly in love with the dashing young Northern cadet, William Tecumseh Sherman, and they embark ona fiery, secret rendezvous despite their broad cultural differences and the expectation that they will marry others. Their love remains poignantly aflame and survives the worst obstacles over years of separation and longing. And then the long-threatened Civil War starts, and both Cecelia and William assume prominent positions on opposite sides of their country's deepest and fiercest rift, as William becomes the very same General Sherman who will be feared and hated throughout the South.Legend has it that Sherman's love for Cecelia was the reason he spared her hometown of Augusta during his infamous march to the sea, in which his troops cut a swath through nearly every other town in Georgia and burned Atlanta to the ground. Now Diane Haeger, the author of the acclaimed The Secret Wife of King George IV , has re-created this lost romance in a sweeping and lyrical novel that will be treasured by the history enthusiast - and hopeless romantic - in everyone. A multilayered historical saga spanning a quarter-century, Diane Haeger's epic novel of star-crossed lovers Cecelia Stovall and General William T. Sherman is a romance for the history books.