Monday, July 23, 2012
Wedded To War
"No one knows, who did not watch the thing from the beginning, how much opposition, how much ill-will, how much unfeeling want of thought, these women nurses endured. Hardly a surgeon whom I can think of, received or treated them with even common courtesy. Government had decided that women should be employed, and the army surgeons - unable, therefore, to close the hospitals against them - determined to make their lives so unbearable that they should be forced in self-defence to leave. It seemed a matter of cool calculation, just how much ill-mannered opposition would be requisite to break up the system.
Some of the bravest women I have ever known were among this first company of army nurses. They saw at once the position of affairs, the attitude assumed by the surgeons and the wall against which they were expected to break and scatter; and they set themselves to undermine the whole thing." ~ Geogeanna Woolsey, written in 1864
Anyone who has benefited from the Red Cross owes a nod of gratitude to the United States Sanitary Commission, the forerunner of one of today's most recognized charitable organizations.
The Sanitary Commission set up supply stations and hospitals, hired nurses, collected donations, sent inspectors to Union hospitals (to evaluate hygiene conditions that directly affected men's health), and taught troops in camp how to cook food properly to prevent the spread of disease. They also organized and staffed a fleet of hospital ships both in the eastern and western theaters of war.
Though Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green is a work of fiction, the story inspired by one Sanitary Commission nurse, Georgeanna Woolsey, whose letters and journals, written 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering women nurses endured during those turbulent times. Charlotte Wavely is only 28, hardly of age to apply for the nursing program she had seen an advertisement for in the paper, but since trying to find a husband has proved futile, she longs for a way to contribute to the war efforts besides merely gathering medical supplies. While she knows her mother would not approve, she applies for the program anyway and is more than surprised to be accepted by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, one of the first women to become a doctor.
Phineas Hastings however, has plans to wed Charlotte and when he proposes, he expects her not only to accept his proposal but to also give up the notion to join the nursing program and learn to be a proper wife. So when Charlotte refuses to accept, he seems convinced to win her at any cost.
Caleb Lansing has been a close childhood friend to Charlotte and even helped her care for her ailing father when he came down with cholera until he passed away despite all their best efforts. Now after he has completed all his medical training, he has joined in the war in an effort to keep Charlotte off his mind, but no matter what he does, he can't give up the notion that he is truly in love with her. His only hope is the written letters Charlotte sends him to remind him a bit of the life he has left behind and learns she is training to become a nurse. While one man demands his way, another one encourages her to use the gifts God has given her, yet her heart is torn between the two. Will Charlotte's heart, survive the war long enough to find true love?
I received Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and River North Publishing for my honest review. I am a huge fan of history and never before really understood just how difficult it was for women to help out in the war simply by becoming nurses, something you would think men would whole heartily accept since they are natural caregivers, but through the historical research Jocelyn Green did, you learn that this wasn't an easy path for women to follow. It took more than strong stomachs to endure the horrors of what they had to deal with along with a strong determination to stand their grounds against male stereotypes that did their best to discourage them in ever way possible. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and a must read for anyone interested in the roles women played during the Civil War. Even though this is a fictional novel, it's a real as it gets based on the facts and research Jocelyn did to make this one as believable as if you were right there in the trenches with them.
For more information on Wedded to War, Jocelyn Green or where to pick up book 1, in the Heroines Behind the Lines Series, click on the links below:
You can also read more reviews from this book tour, by clicking here.