A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, Civil War Hero
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A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, Civil War Hero

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  233 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who masqueraded as a man named Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Among her many adventures, she was a nurse on the battlefield and a spy for the Union Army, and was captured by (and escaped from) the Confederates. The novel is narrated by Sarah, offering readers an in-depth look not only at the Civil War but also at her journey to self-d...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
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Tracey, librarian on strike
What it says on the tin: this is the story of a young woman who ran away from her life, and created a new one wearing trousers. Her life as a girl was intolerable, so she reinvented herself as a man, and when the Civil War came along she, or rather he, enlisted in a spirit of determined patriotism, and became the best soldier in his unit. He sought out nursing duties, and was devoted to his patients, and then was recruited as postmaster (which I never really realized was so dangerous) and attach...more
Jkrowlingrocks
This is the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who masqueraded as a man named Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Among her many adventures, she was a nurse on the battlefield and a spy for the Union Army, and was captured by (and escaped from) the Confederates. The novel is narrated by Sarah, offering readers an in-depth look not only at the Civil War but also at her journey to self-discovery as she grapples with living a lie and falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers.

This book intrigued me...more
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samantha K.
I adored this book. I feel like there is not much need for me to go back and mention the same summaries as other reviewers. I would just like to express my opinion on how the author changed the last portion of the book to suit her need to include some kind of closure for Sarah and Jerome. I am beyond thankful that she completed this chapter. It does little harm to the rest of the book, especially since it is a fictionalized account of her true story. Additional facts are presented after the stor...more
Caroline V
Loved this book! The ending totally changes the entire mood of the book, and it keeps you wanting to keep reading and never put the book down! It influences great Civil War references (like generals, and battles,) but it keeps everything accurate yet interesting. If you don't want to be upset, DONT READ THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY!!! The Author added some things in the Epilogue that never actually happened, and if you would like to find out what happened and what didn't, (and be upset! :), they y...more
Jo Butler
Private Frank Thompson of the 2nd Michigan Volunteers is not your typical Civil War infantryman. He is also a battlefield nurse and writes dispatches for a weekly newsletter. Frank even serves as a spy, scouting Rebel lines dressed as a Confederate soldier or as an old woman. He provides information on troop movements and artillery placements, and reveals the identities of Confederate spies who have crossed Union lines on their own covert missions.

Frank is an expert on concealing his identity fo...more
Bookworm1858
3.5/5

I requested this book because I love the history of the American Civil War and I was not familiar with any stories about women disguising themselves as men in order to serve as soldiers although I knew that it had happened.

In this case, we have a novelized version of the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, undercover as Frank Thompson from even before the war. She fled an abusive father and forced marriage in Canada, exchanging petticoats and corsets for the freedom of pants and lived as a traveli...more
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Sarah Edmonds lives with her Mother, brother and abusive Father determined to win her Father's love, approval and respect - until he takes things too far. After he sells her beloved horse and arranges for her to marry its new owner, she dresses as a boy and runs away from home. She gains a job selling books from a fair employer, but when the Civil War begins Sarah decides to enlist, becoming first a nurse and then a spy under the name Frank Thompson. She becomes great friends with Jerome, her fe...more
Ms. Yingling
Sarah is tired of living in an abusive household, so when her father not only sells her horse, but arranges for her to marry the man who bought the horse, she takes her brother's clothes and runs away from home, disguising herself as a young man. She gets a job selling books as Frank Thompson and does quite well, but the Civil War is heating up, and she feels called to serve. At first, she is turned away because the recruiters think she is too young, but when the demand for soldiers increases, s...more
~Kate~
I received an email from Abrams & Chronicles (thanks for sending me the book) if I wanted to read this book and even though it's not my normal kind of book it sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try and I'm glad I did.


The cover doesn't exactly draw me in but once I had read the story the cover explained itself. It's the title that actually drew me in so I'm glad it's in the centre of the book and bold making it eye catching.


I loved that this story was based on a true story as...more
Abigail
I have always been attracted to stories of women dressing up as men and going off to fight so it seemed natural for me to claim this book from my friend who picked it up at Book Expo America 2012 and didn't want it.

Growing up, my mom was fond of getting me historical fiction to read, I"m not sure if it was because she liked it herself or because she wanted me to learn something while getting a good story out of it. Either way, it gave me a good understanding of history and I discovered in my ea...more
Wayne S.
Did you know that there were over 400 women who are known to have dressed as men and fought during the U. S. Civil War? One of them was nineteen-year-old Sarah Emma Edmonds, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, who at age sixteen ran away from a drunken father who abused her and a forced marriage to a repulsive neighbor. She dressed as a young man named Frank Thompson, came to Hartford, CN, and became a traveling bookseller for a publishing company. The firm sent Frank west, and in Flint, MI, he d...more
Jessica Harrison
full review at Cracking the Cover

Some of the best stories are based in truth. Such is the case with “A Soldier’s Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero.”

Sarah Emma Edmonds fought in the Civil War. That wouldn’t be such a novel idea if she had been a man, but it was almost unheard of for a woman to serve as a soldier. Sarah dressed as a man and used the name Frank Thompson.

Sarah became Frank before the war, finding she was able to move freely and accomplish more when...more
Angela
A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss tells the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who lived and worked as a man before and during the American Civil War during the 19th century. Sarah was born in Canada, where she lived with her family until her father arranged a marriage for her. She was so distraught at the thought of marrying an elderly man that she cut her hair, took some of her brother’s clothes and ran away. Sarah became Frank Thompson...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Laurie Halse Anderson once wrote in her blog that she preferred to call her historical books "historical thrillers" rather than "historical fiction," given that many kids and teens associate historical fiction with BORING. However, it's not every historical fiction title that can be justly called a "thriller." With A Soldier's Secret, Marissa Moss definitely joins the club of historical thriller writers for teens. Based on the true story of Civil War hero Sarah Edmonds, who enlisted in the Union...more
Amy
I suppose, if I knew nothing about Sarah Emma Edmonds/Frank Thompson, if I knew nothing of women who disguised themselves to fight in the Civil War, if I enjoyed sappy romances....I might have enjoyed the story. But I didn't. Because Sarah Emma Edmonds/Frank Thompson was one of my heroines growing up. I read fictitious stories, biographies, any story I could get my hands on about her or the females who disguised themselves to fight. And so while I picked this book up with deep interest, I should...more
Sally
This is actually the second book I've read on Sarah Edmonds, the first being the much shorter Behind Rebel Lines, which I read quite some years ago now so, length aside, I can't really compare the two. This one was, however, much more in-depth and at times seemed like a minute-by-minute account of the Civil War: every battle, every retreat, every Union victory and defeat. Which meant that in places it started to feel a little long and repetitive as well, but it was still really interesting becau...more
Gretchen Hohmeyer
I picked this one up on a whim from NetGalley, because I really do adore historical fiction. Typically I don’t read Civil War stuff, and I thought it would be a good change. It struck me as something akin to those “Dear America” books I read as a child, so why not, right?

However, straight from the get go, I could see problems with this book emerging. The narrator comes off as stiff and emotionless. The First Battle of Bull Run is also steamrolled right through–as is everything else until about t...more
Beth Cato
Disclaimer straight up: I was supplied a gratis ebook ARC of the book through NetGalley.

I desperately wish this book had existed twenty years ago when I was twelve and utterly obsessed with the Civil War. As flawed as the novel is, it brings to life the incredibly complicated real person Sarah Edmonds. She lived as a man before the Civil War and then enlisted in the Union army, kept her secret for several years, and eventually had to desert when persistent malaria required her to seek medical tr...more
Adrienne
Sarah Emma Edmonds has been disguising herself as a man since she ran away from home a couple years before the outbreak of the Civil War. When Abraham Lincoln calls for soldiers, Sarah--alias Frank Thompson--is swept away by feeling of patriotism and adventure and enlists in the army, where she finds it a little bit harder than she expected to keep up her disguise, as she's surrounded by men and she finds herself falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers. Even as she struggles with her fee...more
Cleo
Frank Thompson isn't an ordinary soldier in the Union. He's a nurse, treating the wounds of injured solders, a spy, going over to the Rebel side and finding out secrets, and a mail carrier, delivering precious letters to the other soldiers. But Frank is actually a woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds.

Sarah narrates the book as she struggles with lying about who she is, and falls in love with one of her soldiers, all while witnessing the horror of the Civil War. A Soldier's Secret is based on the true story...more
Barbara
I'd read and enjoyed thoroughly Nurse, Soldier, Spy, the picture book about Sarah Edmonds who disguised herself as a man and served as a Union soldier during the Civil War. This title takes the information in that picture book, written by the same author, and expands on it for an older audience. As Frank Thompson, Sarah tended wounded soldiers, carried mail, scavenged for food, and went on several spying missions. She risked her life more than once, and even risked having her secret revealed whe...more
Michael
“Truth is ofttimes stranger than fiction…” So it was written of Sarah Edmonds, a.k.a. Frank Thompson, within legislation debated and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1884. The law officially acknowledged the secret life Sarah had lived as Private Frank Thompson of the Second Regiment of the Michigan Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War, and granted her an honorable discharge and veteran’s pension. Sarah, one of approximately 400 women to serve secretly during the Civil War, was the first and...more
Casey
“I know you love your country,” the man says kindly, “but you’ll need to grow up a bit before you join the army.” He looks at my peachy cheeks, free of any sign of a whisker. “We aren’t taking sixteen-year-olds.”

Frank Thompson silently debated with the old man in his head. He realized he looked more like a boy than a man, but he truly was 19-years-old and plenty old enough to fight for the Union. Three years ago he began working and supporting himself with odd jobs as he moved away from what he...more
Kim
I loved this book from the first page to the last. In the middle of reading this book, I saw that the author was also the author of the "Amelia" book journals that I used to read as a kid. It was nice to meet up with this author again later as an adult. I was impressed with the storytelling, and it kept me turning the pages with anticipation as to what would happen next.

The reason why I felt that way was because this was a true story. That always makes me more excited to find out what happens n...more
Sara Latta
Frank Thompson wasn’t your ordinary Civil War soldier. For starters, Frank was extraordinarily versatile, serving as a nurse, mail carrier, and a spy. By all accounts, Frank was unusually brave. And while Frank was slight of build, with cheeks as smooth as a girls’, the same could be said of many underage boys who enlisted to help fight for their country.
But Frank was no underage boy. Frank’s real name was Sarah Emma Edmonds, a young woman who had been living as a man for three years before en...more
Anne Broyles
First-person narration of one of the many women who fought in the Civil War as men. Edmonds was the only one who lived as a man before the war after escaping a brutal home life and impending marriage. She is also the only woman recognized by Congress as an honorably discharged Union soldier. Young readers will learn about war's brutalities, the plight of women at that time, and how one woman's pluck and courage carried her through the war.
Jillian
There is nothing more I love than a great historic novel! Marissa Moss certainly doesn't disappoint, but what makes this even better is that it is based on a actual person who defeated odds as a woman dressed as a man, and as a woman herself. Sarah Edmonds, a.k.a. Frank Thompson lives an amazing life filled with bravery and risks as a woman dressed as a man, and also on the battlefield during the Civil War as a nurse, spy, orderly, and postmaster. Any soldier's life that played out the way Frank...more
Mrs. Trimble
This is an amazing true story about Sarah Emma Edmonds and how she went undercover as a man so she could fight as a soldier in the Civil War. As Frank Thompson, she was a soldier, nurse, postmaster and spy. The book is based on Sarah's memoir. It wasn't a fast read, but the story had enough of a love story and danger to keep me interested. I paired it with the nonfiction book "Into The Land of Freedom" by Meg Greene.
Laura
I'm a sucker for stories about girls disguised as boys to do something that girls aren't allowed to do, so I was excited to read this one based on the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds who disguised herself as a boy to escape an arranged marriage and ended up fighting in the Union army. I liked all of the real Civil War photographs used throughout, and reading this book certainly got me interested in reading Sarah Emma Edmond's actual memoir, but the first person present tense writing style was h...more
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Who is Marissa Moss anyway?

I’ve been making children’s books for a looooong time. I sent my first picture book to publishers when I was nine, but it wasn’t very good and they didn’t publish it. I didn’t try again until I was a grown-up and then it took five years of sending out stories, getting them rejected, revising them and sending them back over and over until I got my first book. Now I’ve pub...more
More about Marissa Moss...
Amelia's Notebook (Amelia's Notebooks, #1) Amelia Writes Again (Amelia's Notebooks, #2) Amelia Hits The Road (Amelia's Notebooks, #3) Amelia's 6th-Grade Notebook (Amelia's Notebooks, #15) Amelia's Boredom Survival Guide (Amelia's Notebooks, #5)

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