This was definitely a unique approach to a Civil War era romance. On the one hand, it is similar to Gone with the Wind in that the story mainly focuses on a female heroine. And yet, we are also witness to a woman’s first-hand account of the grisly carnage related to war.
What’s it About?
A picture of pure shock and curiosity, Emma placed her empty glass down, “Surely, you are not suggesting I dress as a man and enlist in the Union Army!”. “That is precisely what I am suggesting.” In an era when women are adornments, Northerner Emma Mansfield finds it challenging to fit the mold. It becomes an impossible task when her country is torn apart by civil war. Knowing she must take action, Emma finds herself in the midst of danger and intrigue when she takes up the guise of a young artillery soldier for the Union Army. Desperately trying to find out if her two brothers are alive, Emma must maintain her anonymity as she fights for survival.
While Emma’s bravery to disguise her appearance to go and fight on the front lines is commendable, her motivation for doing so was questionable. Her brother Will is fighting for the Union Army, while her younger brother Harrison has shamed the family by running off to join the Confederacy in order to fight for some cause, whether he believes in it or not. Emma and her family haven’t heard word from either brother in a long time, which is what pushes her to enlist.
It wasn’t that she was fighting to stand behind her beliefs, or even that she was a Mulan-type character stepping in to take the place of a family member in the war. She just wanted information. Now, I understand the desire to find out what has happened to your loved ones, but couldn’t she have just become a nurse or something? It seemed a little foolish to me for her to put herself in such unnecessary danger.
It Keeps You Guessing
One thing that this book definitely has going for it is that it’s far from predictable. The majority of the story takes place in 1863, which means that the war is far from over, and you are kept guessing who will make it out alive in the end. Sadly, not all of the main players in this saga do make it out alive. But unfortunately that is the tragic reality of war which the novel brings to the forefront. The Civil War is often described as the war which divided families, and pitted brother against brother. This novel highlights the harshness of those statements.
The book is an interesting mix of historical detail, deathly grudges, and untimely romance. Before enlisting, Emma falls for a handsome doctor, Colin, who is also sent to the front lines. When Emma finally joins the troops disguised as a young soldier, it isn’t long before Colin and her brother Will discover her true identity. To avoid further discovery from people higher up in the Army, as well as an evil Colonel with a seemingly unexplainable grudge against Emma, she and Colin run away into the wilderness. This is when the story takes on another level of suspense, as the loving couple desperately tries to hide out in the woods and avoid capture until this terrible war comes to an end.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Should you read it? The writing was rather simplistic at times, but it’s a story which will hold your interest, and would probably be a good, short read for all of you history buffs out there who don’t have time to read all of Gone with the Wind.
Smut Level: There are a few sex scenes throughout the book, but they are all very tame. One scene though happens before Emma and Colin are married, which is oh so scandalous.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 194 Pages.