Date Published: May 27, 2014
Sixteen year old Emma Cartwright runs away from her family’s South Carolina rice plantation after a slave is beaten to death. Determined to join the fight against slavery, Emma enlists in the Union Army disguised as a young man. Nothing could prepare her for the sacrifices needed—and for falling in love for the first time.
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I was very interested in this book because it follows a young woman who decides to dress as a man and join the Union Army. Many women in history actually did do this, and although Emma Cartwright may be a fictional character, the story of her motivations in the war, her struggles and her journey are all important.
Emma Cartwright grew up on her family's South Carolina rice plantation. She was raised by her family's slaves and her father often treated them well. Raised with several brothers, Emma also has a good deal of fighting under her belt and knows how to shoot a gun. After a rebellion on the plantation, a new foreman begins to treat all of the slaves poorly. Emma would often try to help them by teaching several slaves how to read and even forging papers to help them escape. When war erupts and the South decides to secede from the Union, Emma takes the chance to do what she feels is right and fight for the end of slavery with the North. It's also a convenient way to get out of an arranged marriage with a horrible man named Vaughn. Emma finds her way to Washington D.C, dresses as a boy and enlists as Tom Edmonds, despite her small statue and weak looks, Emma finds a position in the hospital.
Emma is an amazingly strong and brave female character. I was surprised at how long she held her cover and how well she managed with the rest of her division. Emma's fortitude and intelligence served her well and I believe that one of the reasons that Emma did so well on many of the special missions she was sent on was the fact that she was a woman. It was interesting to me to see that Emma's main reason for joining the Union Army, to end slavery, was not the motivation for the rest of the men in the camp. Reading Emma's reactions to the others motivations and her realizing that there was much more going on was thought-provoking. I liked much of the historical accuracy within the Army Camps, the political motivations and the battles themselves; the action inside the camps and the hospital was realistic enough without being terrifying, making the reading suitable for young adult readers. My one issue was with the romance. When Emma finally received a little bit of intimacy, she got totally flustered and seemed to forget everything she was there for. However, Emma does recover from that first romance, but we never get to find out if she gets to fall in love again.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Mercedes King is an Ohio native and founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio (affectionately dubbed SiCCO). With a degree in Criminology from Capital University and a passion for writing, she crafted O! Jackie, a novel focusing on the private life of Jackie Kennedy. She has also written The Kennedy Chronicles, a series of short stories featuring JFK and Jackie before they were married and before 'Camelot'. Mercedes writes in a variety of genres, including historical and mystery / suspense. In fact, she's working on creating a new genre, 'modern historical'.
Her newest release, Plantation Nation, follows the journey of Emma Cartwright, a 16 year old Southern girl who disguises herself as a young man and joins the Union Army.
Visit her sites, OJackiebook.com or Mercedesking.com . Contact her at Mercedes 'at' ojackiebook 'dot' com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.