A Rebellious Woman

Written by Claire J. Griffin
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

In this novel, author Claire J. Griffin weaves a thought-provoking story based on the life of the real Belle Boyd, a young woman who chafed at the constraints put upon American women during the 1800s. Belle yearns for a life where she can use her God-given talents to make a difference. The Civil War provides the perfect opportunity for Belle to assert herself and become an undercover spy for the Confederacy.

Griffin’s story mirrors that of the real Belle Boyd but has finely crafted fictional characters who help drive the plot. As the narrative begins, the state of Virginia is pro-slavery, while the western part of the state is more pro-Union. By 1863, West Virginia has become a new state, and Belle Boyd has become an essential link in the virtual spy network that helped the Confederacy.

Belle mingles with Union soldiers in residence near her home, then visits soldiers in Confederate camps. She works furtively to bring vital information to Stonewall Jackson to help the Southern cause. Eventually, she is arrested and sent to the infamous Old Capital Prison in Washington D.C. However, Belle can work her charms even in prison. She is finally paroled, the South loses the War, and Belle embarks on a new life that takes her on stage and into the limelight.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable book, obviously well researched, with good pacing and believable characters who find themselves pivotal agents in history. Other than a wish for some maps, I would highly recommend this novel.