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Wednesday Weekly

The Occupation of Eliza Goode

By Shelley Fraser Mickle

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Good morning! This seems like the longest winter ever! I woke up this morning and everything is covered with snow,  again!!! Looks like I need to get myself in gear so I have time to clear the car off before I go to work,  again!! I have had the pleasure of reading several really good books lately. I think this one is my favorite!!! Check this one out!!

This is a recently released book from November of 2013. I obtained this copy from my library. I have to confess this is another Historical Fiction book!! This is a great civil war story!! I think that this book is amazing!! It is chock full of details, but not boring!! Shelley has written several other books before this one. I have to say that they sound interesting too.

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Eliza Goode is born into a New Orleans’ parlor house in the mid 1800s. Sold as a courtesan on her seventeenth birthday, she flees her arranged future at the outbreak of the Civil War. She is passed up through Mississippi’s plantations from one slave quarters to another until she emerges at the Confederates’ Camp Corinth and is swept along to the battle of Manassas.

Along the way, she meets Bennett McFerrin and his wife, Rissa, who follows her husband to war. Using guile and her extraordinary beauty, Eliza transforms herself from camp follower prostitute to laundress, nurse, and caregiver to Rissa when Bennett is taken prisoner by Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Fort Donelson in Clarksville, Tennessee. Her final transformation frees her from her past.

Eliza’s story is more than a tale of war, transcendence, and hardship. It is a story told in modern times by Susan Masters, a novelist in Boston, whose cousin, Hadley, finds Eliza’s letters in an attic and implores Susan to write Eliza’s story to answer questions she seeks for her own life. Hadley has a shameful secret of her own—a past, about which she cannot even bring herself to speak.

Set in the second summer of the Iraq war and three years after 9/11, this is not your usual Civil War novel. This story says much about how we became who we are, and who we might have become, had the Civil War not saved us as a nation (Goodreads synopsis).

This is a painless way to learn about the civil war. This book passes from today to the past flawlessly! It goes back and forth frequently, but it is clear that the author took many pains to make each transition clear. There was never any confusion when it shifted time periods. This book was very well put together. The plot is wonderful. I wish this was a true story and not fiction. The story goes quickly and the book is eventful and fast paced. The main characters in this book each have their own story. There is romance, addiction, terminal illness, family relationships and strong female characters. I was especially interested in the civil war parts concerning medical treatments, since I am a nurse. This book went fast for me. I didn’t want it to end it was so good! This book had a great ending!! I’m not going to give it away though!! This is definitely a 5 star book!!!

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