There are a few reasons I should NOT have enjoyed this book as much as I did: I'm Canadian and can't relate to the Civil War, I've never been interested in war-time stories, I've never been interested in reading about history. And yet I truly enjoyed Wedded to War from cover to cover.
I was fascinated by the rich historical facts about the challenges the first female nurses and doctors faced. I was moved to read about how tough life was for the average American during the war, as well as for the new immigrants and the slaves. I was challenged to consider how much I take for granted in my peaceful, affluent country today when so many before me and in different places faced unbelievable hardships and fought to make this shared land the wonderful place that it is.
And then I was uplifted by the experiences of the story's characters, even if most of them were fictional, and the reminders of how God works in our lives when we're faithful and obedient, when we trust Him even when it doesn't make sense.
I also fell in love with the characters. Even the nasty ones were fascinating! The people in these stories are real and I love how the author never tried to paint any of them as perfect or having it all together. Each one fought his or her own inner battles and had to make things right with God.
For a debut novel, this is a great success by Jocelyn Green. I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.
Jocelyn Green's incredible research, deep characters, compelling story, and brilliant writing has upped the standard of Christian Fiction. This gritty tale takes the reader into hospitals where passion and pain mix. Love and devotion, depravity, death, and hope are found on every page. Don't miss this remarkable story.
Peter Leavell, Award Winning Author of 'Gideon's Call.'
Jocelyn Green did a wonderful job writing Wedded to War! I have not read too many historical fiction books, but am super glad I chose this one. She made the Civil War come alive for me and I am anxious to continue reading the series. I was inspired by Charlotte's determination and outspokenness and how she really proved herself to everyone who doubted her (or the female race in general). I really appreciated how she integrated God's love into the characters and how they were reminded throughout the story to follow God's Word. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about romance, suspense, danger, faith, history_.it's got it all!
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.