Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

Although Charlotte Waverly enjoys a life of privilege and the attentions of a devoted suitor in New York, she yearns for a life of service nursing the Union soldiers injured in war.  However, in the 1860’s women were not welcomed into the world of medicine.  Does Charlotte have enough gumption to withstand the prejudice of doctors, the disapproval of her suitor, and the reluctance of her mother to follow her dreams of nursing the soldiers?

This is a historical fiction work based on the journals and life of Georgeanna Woolsey, a woman of privilege who served as a nurse for the Union during the Civil War.  It has a nice mixture of fictional characters and real-life historical figures, along with short excerpts from Georgeanna’s journals.

What I liked the most about this book was the glimpse into what medical care was like during the Civil War.  There were a lot of references to medications and treatments that I have never heard of, so I found that very interesting.  I also enjoyed the snapshot into how ill-prepared the Union side of the Civil War was.  In the majority of the books I have read covering this topic, the focus has been on how the southern side was at a disadvantage due to their ill-preparedness.  It was interesting to see how the Union side wasn’t that well off at the beginning of the war either.

I enjoyed the intertwining of Charlotte’s and Ruby’s story and the comparison of life between the classes.  I was rooting for Ruby throughout the book to have something positive happen in her life, and kept waiting for her life to turn around.  The characters were easy to become fond of and hope that they would survive in the danger of the battles in the early part of the war.

The plot was a little slow to start up, and I was a little afraid I wouldn’t ever get to the point where I was into the story enough that I had a hard time putting the book down.  However, by the end of it, I was actively engaged in the plot and really enjoyed the book.  I think Green did a great job tying up the loose threads of the story, to close with a very satisfying ending.  My favorite part was the resolution of the characters.  I had a clear picture of what their lives would look like after the conclusion of the book.

If you are a fan of historical fiction and like to learn about how life was in the past, this would be a great book for you.  Although I knew before reading that the novel was based on a real person, I particularly enjoyed how Green followed up the book with the History Behind the Story, where she shared a little more about who the characters were based on.  I would recommend this book to Civil War/historical fiction buffs.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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