Only Call Us Faithful
Elizabeth Van Lew was a resident of Richmond, Virginia, during the War Between the States. Richmond and its citizens were the very epitome of the South and the Confederacy. Elizabeth Van Lew, though, was an abolitionist and a loyal supporter of the Union. She never made a secret of that fact, and indeed there were those who felt sure she was a spy for the Yankees – which, in fact, she was. Whether it was having an insider in the Davis home bring her tidbits of intelligence, assisting federal prisoners to escape the Confederate prison, or hiding secret messages in chicken carcasses, Elizabeth played her spy role quite well.
Here is the tale of Miss Van Lew as told by her ghost in a series of somewhat disjointed, yet intriguing stories interspersed with the commentary of the ghost in modern times. The stories are rich, vivid and detailed. Jakober has researched the subject of Civil War espionage well and has woven details about Richmond Society, the life of a Union prisoner of War, and the underground into an intense historical, yet fictional story. On the other hand, the ghost is bitter and the modern commentary irrelevant to an otherwise interesting book.
For the self-respecting Southerner, the politics are a bit one-sided. Indeed, this Canadian has made some rather pointed jabs at the South, its politics and the citizens of the period. But in all fairness, the book should be looked at from the point of view of Miss Van Lew, who was an abolitionist with strong opinions about this war and the politics that started it – right or wrong. Though not the best novel on the subject, it should appeal to fans of the Civil War.