Friday, December 16, 2016

Soldier, Spy, Heroine: A Novel Based on a True Story of the Civil War by Debra Ann Pawlak, Cheryl Bartlam du Bois

Sarah tries hard to make her father love her.  She knows she's a failure because she is a girl rather than a boy, but she learns to shoot accurately, ride a horse like an appendage, and work as hard as any man.  He's still disappointed in her and he's angry when she loses a calf in a flooding river.  She said he'd rather she drowned than the calf.  Unfortunately that was true.  But when he decides to marry her to a man older than he is that has grown children older than she is for a few head of cattle, she's had enough...

Yucca Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 24th.

She moves to the city and lives with her mother's girlfriend from the past.  She learns to make hats and is quite creative with them.  She has her own money, does what she wants and life is good.  Then her father finds out where she went.  She moves again and then transforms herself into a boy.  With her hair short and wearing shirts and pants like she did on the farm, she looks male because she's flat chested and acts like one.  She starts out as a bible salesman.  From there, she becomes a soldier...

This is a fictional account of a true story about a woman who impersonated a man and served as soldier in the Civil War and then became a spy.  It's a good thing she knew how to dress up and disguise her voice.  She went in to spy as a black man or a black cook.  She acted like an old Irish washerwoman.  And she fooled them all.

The only common soldier knowing the truth was the boy she loved and asked to run away with her.  He couldn't leave his mother, so she went alone.  But when they found each other in the service, he kept her secret and they shared their love with plans for future.  It's not to be.

This story graphically talks about the war, the wounds, the dead, and the toll on the people involved.  It's very readable and shows how war has been ugly even from the beginning.  If you are giving this to a child to read, make sure they are able to stomach all the death.

Sara Emma survives and even gets the army pension she deserved.  It took the help of her husband and her friends but she wons the right to say she was in the war.  At that day and age, it seems almost impossible, but determined women can be hard to stop.

1 comment:

Debra Ann Pawlak said...

Thank you so much for your kind review. Glad you enjoyed reading about our heroine.