My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All wars are brutal, but for Americans, the Civil War was the conflict that tested our nation like no other conflict has. It's a time of struggle and devastation whose aftershocks are still felt today, and the issues that led to the war are part of the fabric of our nation.
Siblings Kathy and Becky Hepinstall have joined together as a writing team to tell one small story in the greater conflict, a tale of two sisters, Libby and Josephine, who disguise themselves and leave their Virginia home to join the Confederate forces as cousins Thomas and Joseph.
For Libby, it's all about revenge for the death of her soldier husband Arden. She's vowed to kill 21 Union soldiers, one for each year of Arden's life. For Josephine, it's all about Libby. She wants to protect her sister even as she sees the obsession for revenge grow and change Libby into a person she doesn't recognize.
The two young women quickly learn war is hell, but the friendship of comrades-in-arms is like no other. The men of the Stonewall Brigade take care of one another through illness, starvation, battle and boredom. For Josephine, one friendship in particular threatens to unmask her, while for Libby the visions of her dead husband urging her on threaten her very sanity.
Sisters of Shiloh will be enjoyed by readers who like novels such as Cold Mountain, books about the ordinary people who went to war and how it changes them. It shows Civil War life in all its brutality, but there's an underlying poignancy reflecting the small acts that keep men--and women--human even in the midst of horror.
(Disclaimer--I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)
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