I am giving away my gently used copy of this fabulous Civil War novel to a random name draw. Leave a comment with your name and email addy. Contest ends Wednesday Sept 26th.
Jocelyn Green is on my figurative dart board. She has written the consummate portrait of a Civil War nurse, and that riles me, as a long-time student and writer of Civil War era fiction. Her attention to detail and stellar research truly saturate each page of this story. Her debut fiction novel is based on the diary of Georgeanna Woolsey, a young lady of privilege from Manhattan who leaves behind her posh salons and world-class dining and theater to forge the way for women to serve the war effort. So my first dart aimed at this author is, I admit, aimed in pure jealousy, because I long to write with that level of immersion.
But the next dart I aimed, instead of jealousy, is all admiration. She has set the bar high, and I aim to meet it. Her heroine Charlotte Waverly has all the pluck necessary to not only leave her pampered life behind, but to take on the most odious work for the Union Sanitary Commission, all under intense persecution from men who view women like her as interlopers, inept and easily dismissed. the background story of love interests, courtship, social and gender prejudices, and of course epic war, keep the tension sizzling on every page.
My dart arsenal fires again for the romance thread--a dead bullseye. She creates a wonderful hero in Caleb Lansing, Charlotte's long-time friend who now serves as a Federal army surgeon. Though we don't get to see him much due to Charlotte's engrossing story and a full cast of characters and subplots, Caleb's presence is felt throughout. He is the one she longs for, the one who represents comfort and goodness and the pursuit of her dreams. His acceptance and encouragement of her avocation in a world dominated by men makes him truly heroic--the reader will keep going to the very end to see how they overcome courtship rivalry, war logistics, sickness, and their own insecurities to find their happily ever after.
And finally, one last dart aimed at Ms. Green's way of making each character three dimensional and sympathetic--even the antagonistic Mr. Phineas Hastings. I loved her treatment of the Irish immigrant, Ruby, whose husband serves in the NY "Fighting" 69th. Since my own great grandfather John Cronin served in the 69th it held personal interest to me. Glimpses into Frederick Law Olmsted, the head of the Sanitary Commission, and also the hospital chaplain Edward Goodrich add dimension to the story.
This really is a must read for any student of the Civil War, of women's rights, and of the advent of modern medicine. Meticulously researched and engaging, Wedded to War hits the mark on every score.
CONGRATULATIONS, Jes, your name has been drawn by random.org generator to win our giveaway! I will be emailing you shortly.