GETTYSBURG BY MORNING

A thrilling war tale, dramatically engrossing and historically authentic.

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In this novel, a young woman intent on fighting for the Union cause during the Civil War disguises herself as a man.

In 1861, the nation hangs on the precipice of war, and Massachusetts teenager Eloise Jacobson, an outspoken critic of slavery, prepares to do her part. She’s armed with a remarkable education, and since her family operates a telegraph office, she is skilled at Morse code. But her desire to contribute to the war effort is rebuffed because she is a woman, a rejection delivered by no less than Oliver Wendell Holmes. Her brother, Edward, enlists in the Army but, following their father’s death, loses his nerve, a gutless decision that threatens to ruin the family’s reputation. When Edward abandons his commitment and runs south, Eloise is struck by an ingenious, if radical, idea—she will assume the appearance of a man and take her brother’s place, both saving the family name and providing her with an opportunity to fight. Her transformation is remarkable—she even takes up smoking a pipe in order to give her voice a more masculine timbre. With great intelligence and subtlety, O’Brien chronicles the fortunes of Eloise and Edward—the latter eventually overcomes his cowardice but only to fight for the Confederate side, making the siblings war enemies. Eloise is a remarkable and memorable hero—deeply intelligent and equally decent, she is profoundly changed by her experiences of battle and death and fully realizes the societal limitations placed on her gender: “I was surprised by how much my deception allowed me more freedom and responsibility than my real identity. I never realized just how merely being a woman could hamper my freedom of movement and my entrance into establishments.” This is a historically astute story that deftly highlights an element of the war largely neglected.

A thrilling war tale, dramatically engrossing and historically authentic.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59211-101-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Addison & Highsmith

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2022

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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