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.
I must honestly admit that Christian fiction is not my favorite genre. I often find the characters weak, storylines predictable and plots following an almost too perfect rhythm. And then came Wedded to War.
Expertly crafted with a depth of knowledge on the subject matter obvious from page one, it was clear Jocelyn Green took painstaking effort to afford the reader an authentic experience. I felt transported to the era!! Charlotte's character is unique in that she strives to break the mold of traditional expectations NOT in a spirit of rebellion but an effort to embrace her own humanity. Very refreshing!! Great read-I was excited to send my mom a copy!
As a nurse and interested in Civil War, I found this book to be very interesting and enthralling. Loved it! Had trouble putting it down. The characters are excellently described and a true picture of soceity's view of women and nurses. Looking forward to the next book in the series. I gave my copy to our local library staff to read so they will carry Ms. Green's novels.
I found "Wedded to War" quite by accident, but being fascinated by all things Civil War I decided to give it a try. I have to say, Jocelyn Green is now among one of my new favorite authors! I literally couldn't put this novel down! How many times have you read a book/watched a documentary on the Civil War, only to have it focus on the brave men who fought & gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice to God and their country? For once, it is so refreshing to read a tale about the brave WOMEN who gave their service in the bloodiest war our country has ever known. The fact that it is based on an actual woman is most fascinating of all! These events actually happened, and there were strong, independent, BRAVE women, right there with our brave troops!
And as if that wasn't enough to convince you already, the characters are extremely well thought out, and very likeable. You will get emotionally involved with the characters (I promise!), and find yourself cheering on Charlotte, Alice, Ruby & Caleb each step of the way, through each of their triumphs and heartaches, alike.
I would HIGHLY recommend this novel to anyone interested in, not only the Civil War, but the plight of women to find some semblance of equality in our country, long before Suffragism had even been thought of. This is an amazing (and accurate) historical account of how a handful of brave women really can make a difference in the world! Kudos to Jocelyn Green on writing such a great novel, and I truly look forward to her next work in the "Heroines Behind the Lines" series!!
Outstanding Depiction of Civil War Nursing Battles
August 20, 2012
Age: Over 65
I love Civil War history and this was truly an eye-opener. I was absolutely taken by the vivid descriptions and accurate portrayals of these strong, capable nurses who fought so many battles just to get to the battlefield! I am at a university and sent this on to the head of our nursing department as a must read!
In addition, the relationship development was very well-done and left your heart aching one moment and triumphant the next as you follow these powerful main characters through those early months of the Civil War.