By Alice Lynn
Puddle Town Publishing Group, $12.99, 288 pages
When the Civil War breaks out, Rachel and Stuart Norcross have barely started their lives together in Illinois. Against his pregnant wife’s wishes, Stuart enlists and sets off for the glory of keeping the Union together. Rachel is left behind to tend the farm her husband so eagerly departed and to raise their son alone. The neighborly Westbrook family pitches in to help, especially Jared, who feels a growing bond with Rachel. With the help of these neighbors and a hired man, Rachel will plow, plant and grow her farm into a successful enterprise. When Jared and his father go off to war, Rachel is once again alone. Revelations throughout the story complicate the love between Rachel and each of the men. All three characters change as a result of the War. Author Alice Lynn uses this growth to build welcomed complexity into her characters.
Lynn has done her homework in Volunteer for Glory, detailing many of the battles, routes and plans of the Civil War armies. She focuses on three main characters: Rachel, Stuart and Jared, to reveal the impact of war, including insightful tidbits about food, fashion, mail, warfare, transportation, etc. Readers will enjoy Lynn’s wonderfully descriptive storytelling.
Reviewed by Lisa Ard