Saturday, September 27, 2014

Neverhome by Laird Hunt

by:  Laird Hunt
published by:  Little, Brown and Co.
publish date:  September 9, 2014

She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.

Yesterday I wrote about I Shall Be Near to You, which is also about a woman that fights as a Union Soldier in the Civil War.  While I liked that book a little better, Neverhome was probably a more realistic portrayal of what happened to woman in the Civil War era.

In Neverhome, Ash's husband is described as weak and unable to go to war, so she goes in his place.  She wants to have an adventure and see the country before she settles in to married life.   She is able to pass herself off as a man and earn the respect of her fellow soldiers and even has a popular written about her gallantry.  However, she is eventually caught and sent to an insane asylum.  This was the part of the book that I felt was the most realistic.  Women in that era would have probably been treated very poorly for acting the way that she did.  She did eventually escape the asylum.  Even after she escapes, she doesn't take a direct path home, which was a part of the book that I had trouble understanding.  It seemed to me that if you had been in war and then an asylum, you'd want to go directly home to the familiar.  

Both of the books I reviewed, and a third one coming out next year called Sisters of Shiloh are all about women fighting in the Civil War.  Neverhome would great for a historical fiction fan or a Civil War buff.

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