Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy and Becky Hepinstall

by:  Kathy and Becky Hepinstall
published by:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
publish date:  March 3, 2015

Joseph and Thomas are fresh recruits for the Confederate Army, daring to join the wild fray that has become the seemingly endless Civil War, sharing everything with their fellow soldiers—except the secret that would mean their undoing: they are sisters.

Before the war, Joseph and Thomas were Josephine and Libby. But that bloodiest battle, Antietam, leaves Libby to find her husband, Arden, dead. She vows vengeance, dons Arden’s clothes, and sneaks off to enlist with the Stonewall Brigade, swearing to kill one Yankee for every year of his too-short life. Desperate to protect her grief-crazed sister, Josephine insists on joining her. Surrounded by flying bullets, deprivation, and illness, the sisters are found by other dangers: Libby is hurtling toward madness, haunted and urged on by her husband’s ghost; Josephine is falling in love with a fellow soldier. She lives in fear both of revealing their disguise and of losing her first love before she can make her heart known to him.

Last year there were two similar books that came out.  The first was I Shall be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe and the second was Neverhome by Laird Hunt.   I read and reviewed both because they had a similar theme of women fighting in the civil war.  In reading those, I heard about this book and wanted to compare it to the others.   What I found interesting is that in the author's notes, this book said that it took the authors nearly 10 years to write this book.  I find it strange that 3 such similar books would all come out within a year of each other.  

Libby marries her childhood sweetheart much to her sister Josephine's dismay.  Josephine never liked Arden and felt like he controlled and manipulated Libby's thinking.  When Arden is killed, Libby starts to go insane and decides that she needs to kill one enemy for every year of her husband's life, 21.  The two sisters enlist in the army, Libby for revenge and Josephine to protect her sister.  Libby becomes the ideal soldier, while Josephine falls in love for the first time in her life.  

I would definitely recommend this book for all the historical fiction fans.  I really enjoyed this one.  I read it cover to cover in one day.  I got a little obsessed!!  

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