Women in the Civil War: On the Frontlines


Wedded to War is the debut novel by Jocelyn Green which depicts the struggle of the women who volunteered to nurse during the Civil War.  The lead character is 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, who leaves a life of privilege and wealth to be one of the first nurses for the Union Army. She faces much prejudice from the doctors who feel it is not a woman’s place to be in the medical field. But Charlotte perseveres, becoming an asset to the field despite the obstacles thrown her way.  Women of her time and station were expected to marry and marry well, but Charlotte wants something different. The novels secondary character, an Irish immigrant named Ruby O’Flannery, facing starvation and homelessness, does the unthinkable and in her act is tied to Charlotte. When they meet up later, they become friends as Ruby also assists the Union Army in the field hospitals.

I know a book is good, when I stop every so often to look up things that the author presents. For example, I was unaware that Brooks Brothers made Union uniforms that were so shoddy, that they fell apart in the rain.  As soon as I read that, I went right to Google and sure enough there was the whole story as to how the uniforms were actually pressed threads and scraps held together by glue.

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. Ms. Green’s novel has been endorsed by historians and professors for its historical accuracy and detail. From reading Ms. Woolsey’s letters and journals, to reading other historic Civil War documents and studying clothing at the time, this author did her homework. I eagerly anticipate her next book, The Widow of Gettysburg, which if it is anything like this book, will be outstanding. As my husband said, when stopping for the umpteenth time, I shared another section of the book with him, “Wow, you really like that book!”

You can visit the author’s website at http://www.jocelyngreen.com/ . It has all sorts of articles and links to Civil War studies and you can also vote as to what authentic period dress the heroine in The Widow of Gettysburg will wear on the cover.

-Christine

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