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Widow of Gettysburg (Heroines Behind the Lines) Paperback – May 1, 2013
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"A triumphant tale of identity and forgiveness. Through unforgettable characters, impeccable research, and an intricately woven plot, Jocelyn Green drew me in and didn't let go. Do not miss this story!" ~Sarah Sundin, author of With Every Letter
"Superb fiction--stunning history!" ~Julie Lessman, author of The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series
"With equal amounts history, romance, and mystery, Jocelyn Green writes with heart-stopping detail, crafting a story that resonates on every page. Highly recommended!" ~Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning
"Amazing. . . Green gives a voice to the women and children of the Civil War and skillfully shares theirs struggles." -RT Reviews, 4.5 out of 4.5 stars and named a TOP PICK
"Jocelyn Green does a masterful job juggling the different storylines that parallel Liberty's life experiences, creating an urgent desire to continue reading from one cover to the other . . . A compelling, realistic rendition of a woman's life during the Civil War." -CBA Retailers + Resources
The women of Gettysburg heard their enemy was near so many times that they began overlooking the danger. That was a few days before the Battle of Gettysburg, when the town was still little more than a spot on the map. But when their enemies finally converged on Gettysburg, the town and its people changed forever.
Liberty Holloway, a Gettysburg farm owner and Union widow is transformed when her home is defiled into a Confederate field hospital. Strangers soon take over Gettysburg, forcing Liberty to face shocking scenes of death, traumatic injury, and the untimely reawakening of her fallow heart.
Author Jocelyn Green does a masterful job juggling the different storylines that parallel Liberty's life experiences, creating an urgent desire to continue reading from one cover to the other.
Widow of Gettysburg is Book 2 in the "Heroines Behind the Lines" series and offers readers a compelling, realistic rendition of a woman's life during the Civil War.
-Michelle Lovato, CBA Retailers Magazine
“Widow of Gettysburg” by Jocelyn Green, book two of the “Heroines Behind the Lines” series, kept my interest and gave much insight into just what it was like to live on the battlefield during the Civil War. Women, children, men not involved in the armies…all these were caught in the middle during the Battle of Gettysburg. The armies overran farms, homes, businesses, fields of wheat, forests and all in the way of their cannons, horses, and troops. Those who did not want to get involved in the war certainly were involved when the war came right to their doorstep.
As frightening as it must have been to be in the middle of the bombardments from both sides, so in must have been more frightening to be present during the aftermath when so many men on both sides were killed or maimed. Civilians were pressed into service as nurses and orderlies. So many horrible sights were seen by women and children alike, free men and slaves that their dreams would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
I loved this book and was so disappointed that the book ended when it did. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.
I thought that this book was well written and researched and I look forward to reading all in this series. “Heroines Behind the Lines” gives a powerful witness to what must have been the most horrible events of this time in our country.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Review by Barb Klein, October 11, 2013, Net Galley
As a supplement to any United States history curriculum, this is a great time to introduce a historical book like this because it correlates with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. This book could easily be integrated into U.S. history after 1875 and pick up with some of the after effects of war. In much the same way my husband and I require our high school students to read The Diary of Anne Frank, we can now add this book to the historical literature portion of our curriculum. With a discussion guide included, Jocelyn Green makes leading open communication about this time in our history simple, allowing for encouraging and implementing independent research and investigation of the era she writes about. The best part is that it is customizable to your own schooling needs. Spend as little or as much time with this book as you wish, and you will only increase the knowledge and understanding your students have of this pivotal time in America’s history!
–So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.com, August 16, 2013.
“An intriguing look at the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of several women, I was able to read this book during the days of the battle, 150 years later. The only thing that would have made it better would have been there on the battlegrounds for the celebration.
Jocelyn Green interweaves the fictional characters’ lives throughout the actual facts from women who were there and facts from research of books on the War, and I think she does it with great finesse.
Liberty, Libby as some people call her, has already lost her young husband to the war, and is in the process of turning their home into a Bed and Breakfast. One morning a young man rode up to her door and calling himself Johnny, this man had met Liberty when she was a young girl living with a woman she thought was her aunt. After riding away that day, Liberty’s life became a life of horror and yet a time of learning and growing, and all the while a life of secrecy.
Silas Ford is the son of a slave owner but does not agree with his father’s life. Silas starts to attending a seminary but is run off after a letter is received there claiming that Silas is something he’s not. His life is intertwined with Liberty’s, but will it, can it, stay that way?
Bella Jamison is a freed slave living in Gettysburg. She has secrets in her life, secrets she will go to any lengths to keep. Bella’s husband is fighting for the South, in the South, but no money is coming her way. Why not?
I am not an avid history or war fan but enjoyed reading this book, mostly because of the actual accounts from women who lived through that time. The horrors some of these women had to go through are almost unimaginable. I’ve read enough though to know the atrocities of war are a reality. There were lots of places the accounts made me cry, some made me laugh but I never lost interest clear through. I would recommend this book to all that love history, war tales and romance.”
-Cherie Kasper, July 9, 2013
From the Author
Twenty-four hundred residents inhabited the borough of Gettysburg in 1863 when 163,000 men and 15,000 animals converged upon it for the three-day battle in July. Some fled to protect themselves and their property, while many--most of them women and children--were caught in the crossfire. Surviving the battle was only the beginning. While most history books follow the armies on their journeys away from Gettysburg when the battle receded, Widow of Gettysburg keeps the focus on the aftermath being played out in the town. When the armies withdrew, 21,000 wounded were left in their wake, with only 106 Union medical officers and far fewer Confederate doctors. Women and children were drafted into hospital service, whether they felt confident in their ability or not. Days after the battle's end, thousands more invaded the already overtaxed town in the form of relief workers, sightseers, and those looking for their loved ones. The quiet life they had known was gone.
Women of Gettysburg did not ask for the distinction, but many became heroines behind the lines just the same. Widow of Gettysburg is the story of their resilience. In the words of Gettysburg housewife Sarah Broadhead, "We do not know until tried what we are capable of."
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Top Customer Reviews
The story opens at the end of June, 1863 shortly before the Battle of Gettysburg begins in this quiet town with approximately 2400 residents. Many fled as the troops advanced. Those left behind were mostly women and children. We meet the protagonist Liberty Holloway who is a young nineteen year old widow whose husband died in the Battle of Bull Run two years earlier. Libby is left to run the farm and large house. She has help from Bella Jamison, a freed mulatto slave., who proves to be a true friend in time of need. Liberty never knew her mother; she was raised by a mean aunt who told her that she was an unwanted child.
One day, a stranger who calls himself Johnny, though his real name is Silas Ford, knocks on Liberty's door asking for something to eat. She knows the soldiers are coming soon. There is something so familiar about him. She will find out that he has a dark secret. Johnny encourages her to stop mourning and start living again. For some strange reason, she feels compelled to listen. While the rest of the town is appalled, she resists them. Her mother in law, Amelia Sanger, arrives with her husband's body to bury him in the town cemetery next to her son.. Liberty does not want her to stay, but Amelia insists that she will invest money to help fulfill Liberty's dream to open a guest house.
Then tragedy strikes. First Confederates overrun the town. Blacks are forced back into slavery. Bella and her friends must hide. Harrison Ford, a reporter, arrives to report on the battle as well as the happenings behind the scenes. He thinks that he recognizes Bella, and suspects that she is hiding something. During the three day battle, the lives of Gettysburg residents are changed forever. More than 163,000 soldiers and 15,000 animals virtually destroy everything in site. A Confederate doctor seizes Liberty's home. She makes the decision to stay and becomes a nurse to more than 500 seriously wounded enemy soldiers. Harrison Ford and Bella Jamison find their way back to the Holloway farm as well as Silas and Amelia, but they have experienced turmoil in their personal lives. Liberty's property is in shambles. The many twists and turns in the lives of the characters are almost as compelling as the horror and mutilation of the battle.
This is an adult novel, but there is no overt sex or profanity so it would be a valuable resource to young adult students studying the Civil War period and the moral conflict and aftermath engendered by the slavery issue. The writing is well done though a few of the minor characters like Myrtle Henderson are not fully developed. This novel is not one for the faint hearted. You will become fully immersed in the lives of those trapped in the war between brothers.
Liberty has had a rough childhood. She was raised by a woman she thinks is her aunt, and the woman seems to look down at her and degrade her. The young woman has never had anyone she thought loved her. She had just married, when her husband joined the Union Army and was killed. She has kept their farm running and now plans to turn it into an inn, but the war comes to her front door. The aftermath of Gettysburg finds hundreds of injured Confederate soldiers lining her house, barn, and yard, and only two doctors to help them. She rolls up her sleeves and does what she can, because God says to love your enemies. When the mysterious man, who saved her from hoodlums once, appears wounded at her farm, needing a leg amputated, she can't help but be drawn to him.
Silas's story is much more complicated. His father was a slave owner who enjoyed fathering many mulatto children to expand his slave population. When Silas sees him abusing a woman and interferes, his father challenges him to a duel, and Silas kills him. Now he is so burdened with guilt he won't carry a gun and wonders if he is too much like his father after all. When he begins to fall even more in love with Liberty, he forces himself to try to forget her. He knows he's not good enough for someone like her.
In with the main storyline are several subplots that keeps the tension up and the story moving. Little by little, the reader learns surprising details about the characters and their stories come alive. Even the historian will have a better sense of what it was actually like when they finish this excellent story.