Saturday, March 28, 2015

Daughters of the Regiment


Title:  Daughters of the Regiment
Author:  Stephanie Grace Whitson
Website:  http://stephaniewhitson.com/new/index.htm
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  FaithWords
My Rating:  5 stars
The Irish Brigade was fighting on the side of the Union in Missouri when Maggie Malone receives news that one of her brothers is injured.  Not having heard from either brother, Maggie takes it upon herself to go find the regiment and see what the real story is regarding her brother plus tell him of what occurred on their family farm.
Libby is a southern lady yet her behavior, attitude and more set her apart from other southern belles.  Libby is under the care of her brother who treats her like he is a task master than an older brother.  With the battle happening right outside her front door, a peculiar friendship is birthed and romances begin to bloom.
At the end of the work of fiction, the author shares what happened to the real people who lived at that time and through that battle.  I was captured by the history and setting of the tale from the first moment I started reading until I reached the ending.  I had never read anything prior by the author, Stephanie Grace Whitson, but I can tell you I will be reading more of her novels in the near future.
The story is written with heart and stirs emotions of readers.  The action is easy to picture in the mind with the way the author describes what is happening.  Before encountering the book, I hadn’t known anything about the Daughters of the Regiment or about the women who once earned the title.  The author did a spectacular amount of research considering her scope was on a small area, time frame and battle.  Such a tremendous amount of virtue and courage these women must have shown, and are a gleaming example to all today!
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1zFz8bI
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


Friday, March 27, 2015

Learn About the Novel "Daughter of the regiment" & Author Stephanie Grace Whitson



BEST-SELLING AUTHOR STEPHANIE GRACE WHITSON PAINTS COMPELLING PICTURE OF WOMEN DIVIDED BY THE CIVIL WAR IN NEW TITLE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT

“Whitson celebrates the strong but unknown heroines who marched off to war with their men, as well as those who maintained the home front in this Civil War-era inspirational...Based on true events, [Daughter of the Regiment] will capture the hearts of historical fiction fans.” —Publishers Weekly

“Whitson explores the atypical subject of different women’s roles during the Civil War. The author’s gift for multi-dimensional characters and tight plotting shines through. Romance, family drama, immigrants and dueling factions in the same town add action and intrigue.” –RT Times

Nashville, TN, March, 2015—During the American Civil War, thousands of women organized to join the war efforts, turning their attention from household to battle in support of the soldiers. In her new novel, Daughter of the Regiment, Stephanie Grace Whitson describes this tumultuous time in history through life-threatening encounters and action-filled romance, sweeping readers into the world of Irish immigrant Maggie Malone and her privileged neighbor, Elizabeth Blair.

Inspired by women known as “vivandièeres” or “daughters of the regiment,” Whitson studied a number of women in both the Union and the Confederate armies who earned the title. Although "daughters" were probably initially seen as a kind of mascot, "guardian angel," or nurse, the realities of war expanded their roles. Daughters of the Regiment did much more than carry water and tend the wounded. Some rallied their men to fight, and some carried the regimental colors on the march and in the field. Others took part in battles.
Seeing how integral women were in the conflict [moved me]. One period newspaper article [I read] was seeking the identity of a deceased soldier who was discovered to be a woman only after she died on the battlefield. Women loyal to the Confederacy and accused of helping "the enemy" were actually imprisoned in St. Louis. There were so many fascinating, diverse stories,” Whitson said. “They were extraordinary women and they deserve to be remembered.”

The book’s cover art is based on a historic dress in the Smithsonian Institute’s costume collection. FaithWords worked with a costume designer who used the original for inspiration and created a historically accurate garment for the cover model to wear during the cover shoot.

Whitson’s extensive historical research led her to choose the setting of Missouri—a border state in the war and a hotbed of division, with both pro-Union and pro-Confederacy sympathies. This riveting tale of two women caught in the crossfire represents the complexity of tensions and humanity when opposing sides of war clash.

DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT demonstrates that we all have potential for determination and courage in times of uncertainty and will appeal to American history buffs, inspirational romance readers, and fiction audiences alike.

Review copies, hi-res images, and author interviews are available upon request.
Pub date: March 24, 2015 | 978-1-4555-2903-2| 336 Pages | $15 | Trade Paperback Original |Available wherever books are sold.


MEET-THE-AUTHOR


Saturday, April 11 at 2:00 p.m. @ Barnes & Noble Southpointe Pavilions (Lincoln, NE)
Friday, April 17 @ 11:00 a.m. @ Crete Public Library (Crete, NE)
Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’
April 24-25, Panel & keynote address @ Wordsowers Christian Writer's Group Conference (Omaha, NE)
Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. @ Wisner Heritage Museum (Wisner, NE)
Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’
Saturday, May 2, time TBA @ Chapters Book Store (Seward, NE)
Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m.  @ Lexington Public Library with Plum Creek Quilt Guild (Lexington, NE)
Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’
Additional events TBA.

DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT: A Novel by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Faithwords | Hachette Book Group
March 24, 2015 | 978-1-4555-2903-2
336 Pages | $15 | Trade Paperback Original

About the Author: Stephanie Grace Whitson is the author of over twenty-seven titles. A frequent ECPA bestseller, Whitson is a RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Winner and a two-time Christy Award finalist. When she isn’t writing, speaking, or trying to keep up with her five grown children and perfect grandchildren, she loves to take long distance rides aboard her Honda Magna motorcycle named Kitty. Her church and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum take up the rest of her free time. She received her Master of Arts degree in history in 2012. Stephanie and her husband reside in southeastern Nebraska.

About the Book: Maggie Malone inevitably experiences the effects of war firsthand—first, with her brothers joining the Missouri Irish Brigade and again when a group of unknown bandits attack her farm. Desperate to hear news from her brothers, Maggie sets off to find them at the Federal Army camp. There, she quickly captures the admiration of Sergeant John “Colt” Coulter, who immediately notices her skill and dedication. When circumstances require that Maggie remain with the brigade, she discovers that there’s a lot a good woman can do to help the brave men she comes to think of as “her boys.”

As the hostess of an acclaimed Missouri plantation, Miss Libbie Blair has learned to play her part and remain uninvolved in the business affairs and political aspirations of her brother, Walker. When his endeavors lead him to organize the “Wildwood Guard,” a group of locals in support of the Confederacy, Libbie must gracefully manage the house with officers camped out on the lawn. With war drawing closer to her doorstep, she must find a way to protect those who depend on her.

When military maneuvers and a subsequent battle bring the Irish Brigade (and Maggie) to Wildwood Grove, Libbie's home is commandeered as a field hospital. The two women whose brothers have fought on opposite sides of the same battle come face to face while tending the wounded in the aftermath of a battle won by Union troops.


Author Questionnaire

1.       Why did you pick Missouri as the setting for your book?
I've lived in Nebraska since 1975, but I have many connections to Missouri and have made the trip "home" to southern Illinois dozens of times. Finally, I took time to investigate one of those interstate signs. It mentioned a Confederate Cemetery in Missouri. The idea that there were plantations worked by slaves a short drive east of Kansas City astonished me when I first followed those signs. I had no idea that Missouri had been such a hotbed of division during the Civil War. As one author wrote, "The Civil War came early and stayed late" in Missouri—it was a slave state that never joined the Confederacy. Missouri had two separate governments at one time—one pro-Union, one pro-Confederacy.

2.       Any interesting discoveries along the way?
Dozens. One that stands out resulted from an exhibit called “Missouri in the Civil War” at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. The curators did a superb job of showing how integral women were in the conflict. They even included a period newspaper article seeking the identity of a deceased soldier—discovered to be a woman after her death in battle. Women loyal to the Confederacy and accused of helping "the enemy" were actually imprisoned in St. Louis. I discovered countless fascinating and diverse stories about women from all walks of life.

3.       What inspired you to write this novel?
Reading about the real Daughters of the Regiment. Their heroism. One replaced a fallen color-bearer and stood throughout the battle with the colors held high so that her regiment knew who was where in the heat of battle. After a battle, one's skirt was riddled with bullet holes. She’d carried on, calmly tending the wounded with bullets whistling about her. Men wrote about these women with affection and respect. One earned a pension for her service, and another is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. They were extraordinary women, and they deserve to be remembered.

4.       How did the cover shoot come about?
There is an original vivandièeres costume in the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. (The word vivandièeres comes from the women who were important in the French army during the Crimean war.)  FaithWords worked with a costume designer who used the original for inspiration and created a historically accurate garment for the cover model to wear during the cover shoot. It's a stunning piece made of soft, dark blue wool—very faithful to what a Daughter of the Regiment might actually have worn, complete with the shorter skirt that is pictured in so many period photographs and drawings (not all of these are military women, some are just in bloomers, but there are still some that are obviously military).
5.       What about the timeliness of the book?
On the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Women’s History Month, it is only fitting to laud the role women played. They worked in munitions factories, organized fundraising events to feed the hungry wives and children of soldiers who were off fighting, collected thousands of quilts to keep soldiers warm (neither government was prepare for the


magnitude of the war and neither was able to supply their troops adequately), made countless shirts and "drawers," knitted socks and destroyed household towels and garments to make bandages. They took up the farm work in the men's absence, delivered clandestine letters (and were imprisoned for it), and supported "the cause" in every way imaginable.  Such rich stories from real history are better stories than anything I could ever make up!

6.       Tell us about the crossover between your quilting experience and Civil War research.

Quilting is a multi-billion dollar industry in America, and many of those women do love the history and stories about the women who made antique quilts.

Antique textiles in general and quilts in particular have been a topic of personal study for decades. I've taken several classes in dating both antique quilts and fabric history from recognized experts in the field. I volunteer at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Researching the real stories behind antique quilts has inspired more than one of my historical novels, and I always enjoy being able to include some tidbit of quilt history in a story. The interest is high for this topic, as evidenced by the many Civil War exhibits at state history museums and historical societies, not the least of which is the American Textile History Museum’s Homefront and Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War, which premiered in June, 2012, and which tours across the U.S. through 2015.
I give a program titled “Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield” that includes information about quilts gathered and made for soldiers, ladies' aid societies established to benefit the troops, and the Sanitary Fairs conducted to raise money for the cause. Women's production of textiles was a vital part of the war effort for both North and South.





Gabriel's Atonement by Vicki McDonough


Title:  Gabriel’s Atonement (Land Rush Dreams #1)
Author:  Vickie McDonough
Pages:  ebook
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Shiloh Run
Gabriel Coulter is a farm boy turned gambler who makes his living taking money from cowboys who visit the local Kansas City saloon.  He has never given a thought to those family members of the cowboys who were depending on the money lost at the gaming tables.  While walking home one evening, he is ambushed and kills someone.  He learns of a young widow and boy left behind and decides to help them anonymously if possible.  He thinks this will atone for the life he has taken.
Lara Talbot is barely surviving on the meager income she makes mending clothes.  Her young son, grandfather and sister all live off of what she earns.  She knows her husband likes to gamble and is grateful she hasn’t seen him in the last year.  Her grandfather tries to help as much as he is able, but suffers from frequent spells of malaria he contracted during the Civil War.  Lara’s sister helps grudgingly by doing as few chores as possible and is resentful of Lara, thinking she is too bossy.  Lara works herself ragged and often does without so her family has more.  Then she learns they have been evicted from their rental home, forcing them to take part in the Oklahoma land grab.  Along the way, Gabe is a constant presence and soon she falls in love with him.
The story didn’t have a lot of tension or suspense to build up to a climax, so the ending fell flat.  The story plodded along slowly, although the part where Lara was getting ready to ride out to stake a land claim was well done.  I did like Lara’s grandpa and his unwavering faith in God and in His provision no matter how dire circumstances appeared.  The next book in the series, Joline’s Redemption, is due to be released in the fall of this year.
My rating is 3 stars.

The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley


Title:  Petticoat Detective (Undercover Ladies #1)
Author:  Margaret Brownley
Pages:  318
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Shiloh Run Press
Jennifer Layne is a Pinkerton Detective who has been assigned a case that involves her working undercover in a brothel.  Jennifer is a young, pretty, Christian lady so this assignment is especially difficult as she is required to keep her personal beliefs to herself or she will blow her cover.  She is on the trail of a bandit who has robbed several banks and in his last robbery killed a guard.  Some of the money from the most recent bank job was found on the body of Dave Colton.  Also one of the girls in the brothel deposited a large sum in her account with some of the marked money from the bank robbery.  Tom Colton, Dave’s brother, has come to town to clear his brother’s name and find his murderer.  Dave had indicated he was going to marry Rose, one of the working girls at the local brothel, but before Tom can find the girl she is killed.  Tom meets Jennifer at the brothel, hires her to spy for him and they work together to try to solve the case and bring a criminal to justice.
While there isn’t much tension or action in the story, there are some good life lessons put forth.  One of those lessons is to not judge people by their appearance.  The author did a very good job of depicting the life of a shunned person, the humiliation felt, the despair and hopelessness experienced, and the most violent offenders or perpetrators of inducing these feelings in the story were supposed Christians!  There were a few Christians in the story who realized their actions were not hand-in-hand with their words and began to draw alongside what most in the community might think of as “undesirables”.  There were a couple of humorous scenes as well.  The story just didn’t have enough strength to grab my attention and keep me fully engaged.  There is another book in the series due to be released this summer, and I plan on reading that book in hopes of more action.
My rating is 3 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457