Wedded to War
Author: Jocelyn Green
Publisher: River North (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 400 pages
It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?
Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.
Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green is the first book in a series titled: Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War. This book was “inspired by one Sanitary Commission nurse, Georgeanna Woolsey, whose letters and journals, written 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering women nurses endured during these turbulent times.” Reading books based on good research helps to put readers right into the life and times of the characters. Jocelyn Green is a gifted writer who created characters that show the difficulties of living during Civil War times. One can only imagine the struggles these women faced…not just with the casualties of war, but with the attitudes of the men serving in the army hospitals, believing that women should not be allowed in these situations.
Charlotte Waverly is a woman of privilege who makes the decision to serve the Union Army by caring for the sick and wounded. Throughout the entire trauma of war, two men want Charlotte to be a part of their life. One is Phineas Hastings, a man of privilege, with secrets and behaviors that the reader knows about, but Charlotte does not. The other is Caleb Lansing, Charlotte’s childhood friend, who became a military doctor. The tension between characters and events keeps readers turning pages and “pulling for” Charlotte…wanting her to be happy after all that she has given up to serve others via her support of the war efforts.
Readers who appreciate well-researched historical fiction, Civil War stories, women’s rights, early medical history, and romance will all enjoy Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green. I, for one, certainly enjoy learning about aspects of our country’s history through the eyes of such compelling characters. Thank you, Jocelyn Green, for your great efforts to share this story with your readers.
Reviewed by: Joyce M. Gilmour (2013)