Monday, July 16, 2012

A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero

Expected Publication: September 1st, 2012
A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero
By: Marissa Moss
Amulet Books
ISBN-13: 9781419704277

The story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who masqueraded as a man named Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Among her many adventures, she was a nurse on the battlefield and a spy for the Union Army, and was captured by (and escaped from) the Confederates. The novel is narrated by Sarah, offering readers an in-depth look not only at the Civil War but also at her journey to self-discovery as she grapples with living a lie and falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers.


   Sarah Edmonds lives with her Mother, brother and abusive Father determined to win her Father's love, approval and respect - until he takes things too far.  After he sells her beloved horse and arranges for her to marry its new owner, she dresses as a boy and runs away from home.  She gains a job selling books from a fair employer, but when the Civil War begins Sarah decides to enlist, becoming first a nurse and then a spy under the name Frank Thompson.  She becomes great friends with Jerome, her fellow nurse and slowly falls in love with him.  Revealing to him that she's a woman causes all sorts of complications, especially because he is engaged and doesn't think Sarah/Frank is a proper woman anyways.  Sarah goes on plenty of adventures, but after being taken ill while spying she is unable to make her way back to her regiment.  Wanted for desertion as Frank, she must become the woman she hasn't allowed herself to be to survive.  Sarah decides to write a memoir of her time in the army.  Will she eventually be recognized for her heroics?  Only time will tell...  Obviously Sarah was recognized for her military service.  She was the only woman to receive an honorable discharge and pension from the army for service in the Civil War.  I was intrigued by her story, because it actually happened.  But this book was far too long in my opinion.  I liked the historical detail, but there was no real action per se, until almost the end of the novel.  This meant that is dragged on for quite awhile.  I appreciate how hard it must be to write a book based on true events, trying to stay as close to the reality as possible.  I think that I will stick to ficiton from now on though, instead of fictionalized history.

VERDICT:  2.25/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is September 1st, 2012.*

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