Monday, July 27, 2015

Stephanie Grace Whitson's Daughter of the Regiment ~ Reviewed

Daughter of the Regiment 
by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (March 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455529036


Irish immigrant Maggie Malone wants no part of the war. She'd rather let "the Americans" settle their differences-until her brothers join Missouri's Union Irish Brigade, and one of their names appears on a list of injured soldiers. Desperate for news, Maggie heads for Boonville, where the Federal army is camped. There she captures the attention of Sergeant John Coulter. When circumstances force Maggie to remain with the brigade, she discovers how capable she is of helping the men she comes to think of as "her boys." And while she doesn't see herself as someone a man would court, John Coulter is determined to convince her otherwise.

As the mistress of her brother's Missouri plantation, Elizabeth Blair has learned to play her part as the perfect hostess-and not to question her brother Walker's business affairs. When Walker helps organize the Wildwood Guard for the Confederacy, and offers his plantation as the Center of Operations, Libbie must gracefully manage a house with officers in residence and soldiers camped on the lawn. As the war draws ever closer to her doorstep, she must also find a way to protect the people who depend on her. 

Despite being neighbors, Maggie and Libbie have led such different lives that they barely know one another-until war brings them together, and each woman discovers that both friendship and love can come from the unlikeliest of places.


 I just finished Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I loved this book! I’m a fan of historical fiction and this is a good one. The story takes place in Missouri at the beginning of the Civil War. Maggie Malone is an Irish immigrant who lives in Missouri with her brothers who like her are supporters of the Union. They have neighbors who have a plantation and are slave owners. There’s a wonderful contrast in the book between Maggie who’s tough, unfeminine, great at shooting and working on the farm and Libbie who lives on the plantation and is a picture of the feminine Southern Belle (although things are not always as they seem). The book offers a fascinating look at the horror of being neighbors one week and facing each other in battle the next. It caused me to wonder what I’d do if my neighbor suddenly became my enemy. Throughout the book the author, Stephanie Grace Whitson, shows a masterful contrast between the two women and their situations. Maggie has followed her brothers into battle where she meets the fascinating Sergeant Coulter while Libbie stays on the plantation under the domination of her older brother who’s a slave-owner and decides to turn his property into a Rebel camp. The author paints a picture of each character that helped me understand even those who are minor characters. Between the house slaves who work for Libbie, Maggie’s brothers and other soldiers in the Union army all the characters seem like real people and I found myself caring about what happened to them. I’d never heard of the Daughters of the Regiment before (women who sometimes traveled with Union soldiers) and it amazes me to think of their bravery.  This is truly historical “fiction” as the characters and battles are fictional but it is historically accurate and gives us a picture of how the Civil War impacted the lives of everyday people. I didn’t want the story to end and appreciate so much the afterward provided by the author which gives a look into what happens to each character (loved this). 

     If you enjoy historical fiction, I know you will enjoy this book. If you don’t usually read historical fiction, you don’t know what you are missing! It has romance, adventure, history, drama (including a look at an abusive relationship), faith and humor. Plus there’s a dog! What more could a reader want?

Reviewed by: Susan Aken

Bonus Review:

Daughter of the Regiment takes place in Missouri right as the Civil War is about to start. It centers around a young woman named Maggie Malone. After her brothers decide to leave to fight with an Irish Brigade for the Union, her home is practically destroyed by Southern “sympathizers,” nearly killing her Uncle Paddy. Much to everyone's disagreement, she decides to go after the Irish Brigade after finding out one of her brother's is wounded. Through a series of events, she ends up following them and taking care of “her boys,” even into battle. In the meantime, Libbie Blair is living with her brother, who has turned their plantation home into Confederate headquarters. Libbie is forced to endue his abuse, while playing the part of a Southern Hostess, making all of the men feel welcome. When the battle comes to her backyard, she is forced to find out what she really stands for. Maggie and Libbie form a bond due to circumstances beyond their control.

I loved this book, and had a hard time putting it down. I just love this time era, and seeing how these two woman grew and took a stand to take care of these men, whether they were on “their side” or not. Not only that, but they were able to forge a friendship despite being on opposing sides. I really like this author and am anxious to read more books by her.

Sarah Meyers


Iola Goulton said...

I recently read and reviewed Daughter of the Regiment, and had a similar view. I'm always impressed when an author can make a compelling story out of a mush-mash of facts, and Stephanie Grace Whitson has done a great job with this novel.

Susan said...

FYI - In this case I did buy the book and am so happy I did!