In Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green we meet Sophie Kent, daughter of Richmond newspaper magnate (and slaveholder) Preston Kent. Set in the war-torn capital of the Confederacy, this fourth installment of the Heroines behind the Lines series begins in 1863 and follows the Kent family through the fall of Richmond and beyond.
Sophie, behind her father’s back and clearly against his will, has been writing articles for her father’s newspaper using a man’s nom de plume. Because she was schooled in Philadelphia, her sympathies are clearly with freeing America from the scourge of slavery, while her loyalties are tied to family, friends, community, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The book is written mostly from Sophie’s point of view and details her struggle to reconcile what she feels is right regarding an end to slavery with her loyalty to the South.
She begins her efforts by visiting Libby Prison in Richmond and attempting to aid and feed Yankee soldiers held within its horrific confines. She volunteers in the hospital treating Union soldiers, justifying it under the guise of hoping that somewhere in the North similar women are tending Confederate soldiers in prisons there. Her efforts broaden until she is helping prisoners escape, aiding slaves in their bid for freedom, and feeding information about Confederate troop movements to Northern spies.
Some of the characters in Spy of Richmond first appeared in earlier books in the series, so it would be helpful to read the books in order for greater clarity.
MWSA Reviewer: Betsy Beard
Trust none. Risk all.
Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone.
Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.
As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.
Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?