|Yankee in Atlanta|
Yankee in Atlanta
by Jocelyn Green
River North; New Edition editon (June 1, 2014)
Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 Stars~ *****
“God bless the women and the hardships they endured”, writes author Jocelyn Green. While this powerful novel intermittently dismounts upon the Civil War battlefields, this story is really about the courageous heroines behind the lines and the impact this war bore on them. Jocelyn proficiently and expressively pens an emotive journey into the Civil War era that encompasses families torn apart, the bombardment of shells and musket-fire; terrifying riots; gnawing hunger; reckless disease and injury; prejudices; and the taxing scarcity of sleep and strength. But mostly it is an entrancing story of hope and love amidst destruction, and the survival and victory of the battle-worn yet courageous heart and spirit.
Yankee soldier Caitlin McKae awakens in Atlanta, wounded and recovering from typho-malarial fever. The charade of presenting as a man is over, but she’s now stuck in enemy territory! For the sake of her very life it’s critical she keeps secret that she was a Union soldier. When Caitlin finds need of accommodation, she grasps an opportunity to make a new life in Atlanta as a governess to the beloved daughter of sole-parent Noah Becker. Noah, who is a German immigrant lawyer, enlists with the rebel army leaving his daughter in the care of Caitlin. When the Yankee’s move closer to Atlanta, will Caitlin have her chance to escape the danger that the South represents to her? And when Noah discovers the truth, will duty or love, prevail?
In New York, the character of Ruby - an Irish immigrant mother with a traumatically painful past, laid hold of my heart as she questions if she can ever truly leave the past behind and hope for more. It is with her, and Edward who is in a class above the maid Ruby but loves her all the same, that we see some of the stark differences between the North and the South. Caitlin’s plate was empty and Ruby’s, full. But in both lives, there remains fear, hurts, and a love that threatens to either tear or heal their hearts.
This is a Civil War story with enormous heart, effortlessly capturing your senses and absorbing you into the lives of the strong, yet vulnerable characters that Jocelyn has skilfully created. Historical figures that played a vital role in the war also appear in this exceptionally researched novel. Likewise, many notable Civil War events are seamlessly interwoven into ‘Yankee in Atlanta’ - all of it making this novel, an overall feast of stirring history featuring two achingly beautiful love stories.
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