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

A Soldier's Secret by Marissa Moss
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's review
Aug 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: e-galley-read, civil-war, 1800s, battles, america, biogs-and-other-true-stories, cross-dressing, espionage
Read from August 21 to 24, 2012 , read count: 1

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 because I don't know much about the Civil War at all... it's sad, but probably 80% of my knowledge comes from having read and seen Gone With the Wind! We don't study American history in high school here - and it's because of that, my non-Americanness, that I at times found myself being mildly confused. The Union, the Confederates, the Rebels, the South, the Bluecoats, the Greycoats... all of those terms were thrown around willy-nilly, and sometimes the same side was called two different names in the space of one sentence. When you're not American, and not really familiar with the Civil War, that can get really confusing when suddenly different names are used without first being explained. I suppose it makes sense in the context of the story for everything to be just said without explanation, and also most people reading this book are probably Americans who know what's what, but it makes it a little hard on a foreigner! It was fun to learn, but a bit of a struggle at times to catch up. Also, I'm now not sure why the Civil War happened in the first place, oddly enough! I'd originally thought it was more to do with slavery but this book showed that not all of the, um, good guys even cared about freeing the slaves. Oh man, all the Americans are laughing at me right now, aren't they? Okay, you guys stop laughing for a second and tell me all about the Eureka Stockade.

Frank/Sarah was seriously fascinating to read about - I'm amazed that she managed to keep her gender a secret for so long! (Also amazed that so many other women did the same as her.) Although I grew really tired of her constant mooning over Jerome... I think the book could have been about half as long if all that repetition had been trimmed down. It was interesting, sure, to bring that side into things - just very, very repetitive. (view spoiler)

Also, the spy missions were terrifying and awesome! Probably my favourite parts to read :) I also liked learning about Sarah's life pre-war, and how and why she first became Frank.

I was a little blind-sided by the ending though. (view spoiler)

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