My rating: 4 of 5
Historical Fiction, Religious
Published March 1st 2015 by River North
Available on: Paperback, Kindle
What they say:
A spellbinding story, told with historical veracity, about loyal Unionists who risk everything for their country in the heart of the Confederacy. Nearly impossible to put down. ~Joseph Wheelan, author of Libby Prison Breakout
What I have to say:
I was attracted to this book by its title. As soon as I read the title I knew I had to read it. Brief and straight to the point, those are my kind of titles. The synopsis ended up convincing me to read the book. As a fan of historical fiction, that mix of romance and espionage during the Civil War made me want to check this story out.
The cover is a pretty cover. It immediately gives you the exact visual references to place your mind in the right setting. Despite the cover being pretty, I think it’s a bit misleading, because for me this book is not only about a pretty green eyed Southern belle. For me there wasn’t only one Spy of Richmond, there are other characters in this story with enough force to be consider as main in the story.
Spy of Richmond is Jocelyn Green’s fourth and final book in her Heroines Behind the Lines Series. Even though this book is the conclusion to a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and the only book of the series I’ve read, and I can tell you, it doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing anything from the previous installments. You wouldn’t even notice it is part of a series unless you’re told about it. It is a well-rounded and complete story that keeps you turning pages until the end.
Spy of Richmond is a wonderful piece of historical Christian fiction. I’ve said it before; I prefer my historical fiction sans the Christian elements (I have nothing against religion; I just like my religious reads only for the self-help genre). Once again, the book’s synopsis gives the reader absolutely no clue that this book has religious messages. Having read it, I can say that yes, there are Scripture references throughout the book, especially towards the end (too many for my taste), but you are already too invested in the story that you need to keep on reading in order to know the conclusion of this voyage back to life in the Richmond of the 1860s.
Spy of Richmond is a story that has a wide array of characters that are all relevant to the story; each person plays an important role. There are three main story lines, headed by Sophie, Bella and Harrison, which are fabulously intertwined to create an entertaining narrative.
Sophie Kent, is a lovely and brave Southern Belle who risks everything in her life in order to end injustice and help the cause to abolish slavery. It is also the story of Bella Jamison a former slave, who sacrifices her freedom by coming back to Richmond to reunite with her husband and sister but ends up joining Sophie in her abolitionist efforts. Spy of Richmond is also the story of Harrison Caldwell, a freelance journalist who infiltrates the War Department and ends up discovering important classified information about the cause but also about himself, and who in the midst of danger finds true love.
I don’t have a favorite character, because they all play key roles, but I can say that I immediately bonded with Sophie. She set aside her life to take care of her parents and do the right thing as a daughter. She also set aside her life in hopes she could do what she believed was just and necessary regarding slavery.
Spy of Richmond is a well-researched book about the Civil War. It is not a stereotypical story about slaves being abused and forced to work or about Southern belles who live their lives oblivious to the racial issues happening. This is a fantastic story about people who regardless of their social status, the color of their skin or if they came from the North or South, work together to fight for what they believe is the right thing to do. It was very interesting to read about the brave risks taken especially by women in a time where they were thought of as decorative, weak and brainless figures of society.
Spy of Richmond is not only about the people, it is also about Richmond, Virginia in the 1860s. The vivid descriptions of the setting immediately take you there. It is impossible not to be moved while reading about the horrors and suffering that took place inside Libby Prison or during the Libby Prison Escape.
My favorite part was the History behind the Story section, where the author describes what parts of the story were fictional and what parts were based on real historical events of the time. Hello school teachers! This part gives you great tips on how to make history engaging for students. There’s also a very diverse list of select books that can serve as resources for those interested in doing more research on the historical facts portrayed in the book.
I won’t say this book is like Gone with the Wind [GWTW] or dare compare it, but I can say that my reading experience brought back memories from my GWTW reading days. The writing flowed in a way that I could picture the story and characters in my mind. It is not too mushy or too dull; it has enough drama, action, historical facts and romance to keep you turning pages. So I can say that if you’re having GWTW withdrawal symptoms, this book will help you mitigate them.
If you’re looking for a book that will help you learn things about the Civil War they didn’t teach you in school (or you didn’t pay enough attention to), this is the book for you. If you’re into historical Christian fiction, this is definitely your cup of Joe. Book clubs should consider adding this one to their reading lists. The discussion guide included touches a wide array of subjects, not only historical or religious, that could lead to interesting analyses and conversations.
If you’re looking for a story about survival while doing the right thing, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a captivating story that takes you back to the real difficult events that led brave men and women in the US to freedom, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that will make you think about what freedom means to you, this is the book for you.
- Manumit. verb. To release from slavery or servitude.
- Bivouac. noun. A
- Abed. adverb. Confined to bed.
- Razed. verb. T
Words have different meanings. Those presented here are as used in the book read. All definitions from Dictionary.com
This one makes you reflect about the true meaning of freedom and how the fight for freedom had more than one side.
Grudgingly, she realized that even white folks like Sophie were not truly free, when their opinions alone were enough to land them in prison and lose their property. It wasn’t right.
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