The first book in Tamera Alexander’s new series is a thoroughly engaging read from first page to last and brings home both the personal and collective cost of war. I became almost as attached to some of the soldiers Lizzie tended as she did, even shedding tears with her at various times during the story, and I have nothing but admiration for Lizzie and for the countless women and men who have done as she did throughout the pages of history: stepped up to assist with the medical and emotional care of wounded soldiers.
I love the historical research that goes into Tamera Alexander’s novels, and this one is no exception. In fact, it was even better, knowing that so much of this story was based on what really did happen at Carnton following the Battle of Franklin—even the developing relationship between Captain Jones and Lizzie. It also takes a writer of keen insight and sensitivity to set stories in the South during this time period without either demonizing all who fought for the Confederacy or minimizing the injustice and inhumanity of slavery, and I particularly loved the way Captain Jones grappled with his beliefs and practices regarding owning slaves as the story progressed.
But beyond its historical aspects, it was the relationships that hooked me into this novel: the dedication Lizzie showed towards the wounded soldiers, fighting not just to save their lives but to restore their spirits and fulfil last requests; her determination to treat Tempy and George as equals in humanity, if not yet in social status, regardless of what it might cost her; and her struggle to keep her promise to Towny, even as she recognised her regard for Captain Jones was moving beyond simple friendship.
This is a definite must-read for lovers of Civil War fiction, and highly recommended for all other readers besides.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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