Yankee in Atlanta
The third volume in the inspirational series Heroines Behind the Lines follows two women, Ruby O’Flannery in New York and Caitlin McKae in Atlanta, from 1863 to 1865. Caitlin, originally from New York, had run away from an abusive stepfather and joined the Union forces in disguise. After being wounded, she ends up in an Atlanta hospital, because she was thought to be a Confederate and too ill to deny it. She recovers and takes a teaching job, until single father Noah Becker asks her to look after his child when he enlists.
Ruby, a maid with a toddler, is being courted by Edward Goodrich, a hospital chaplain. Edward is a candidate for a pastorship and needs a wife, but Ruby is afraid that if they wed and the truth about her shady background gets out, Edward will not get any ministerial work. Meanwhile in Atlanta, Caitlin tries to care for little Ana under siege conditions. Food and resources are scarce, and the city grows lawless as men are drained off to try to keep Sherman’s army back. Then Caitlin is suspected of being a Northern spy, just as the Union army is about to invade the city.
Green has done her research, providing maps, a bibliography, and a concluding chapter on the historical background. She weaves interesting details into the story on life in Atlanta during the war, such as having to turn one’s dresses multiple times when no new cloth was available, and handling an outbreak of smallpox during a shortage of medical care and supplies. I liked the book up until the last chapter, when I felt that the ending seemed rushed. Ruby’s child is kidnapped and the situation is resolved rather quickly. And there are some coincidences that may raise other readers’ eyebrows as they did mine.