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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
400 pages
Jul 2012
River North

Wedded to War

by Jocelyn Green

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


In Jocelyn Green’s historical novel Wedded to War, field nurse Charlotte Waverly must decide if it is possible to be faithful to a country she owes her allegiance to while also pursuing a love relationship that has captured her heart.

Charlotte Waverly, born into wealthy society, answers the call for nurse candidates. Recommended by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell but rebuffed by Dorothea Dix, the director of the female nurses, Charlotte must find her own way into nursing. Finally trained as a hospital matron, she travels to a Washington City hospital, where she is exposed to hands-on nursing. Eventually, she serves on a hospital transport ship.

An intriguing cast of characters cross paths with Charlotte and also with each other in an interwoven plotline. Phineas Hastings, Charlotte’s suitor, cloaks his unsuitable former social level. Caleb Lansing, a childhood friend who has disappeared from her life, is in Charlotte’s thoughts, along with her hateful letter that separated them. Edward Goodrich, who responds to Charlotte’s call for a chaplain to the troops, falls in love with her. And on a path that eventually intersects with Charlotte is the captivating character of Ruby O’Flattery, an Irish immigrant, whose husband has enlisted, leaving her to find more and more desperate ways to support herself while fighting to maintain her identity as “an honest and decent woman.”

This is a good story with several unexpected plot twists, even though the ending is predictable. My favorite scene is the confrontation between Dorothea Dix and Charlotte. The issue of the antagonism of men, medical or otherwise, to female nurses is displayed in several forceful scenes. The disapproval of women in general is also represented.

I deeply appreciate the author’s handling of the spiritual struggles of various characters. Even the chaplain struggles for answers when confronted with the realities of war. The questions are real, the struggles are painful, and the resolutions are satisfying and rational. – Lynn Brown,

Book Jacket:

It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.

Jocelyn Green's debut novel is endorsed by historians and professors for its historical accuracy and detail, by award-winning novelists for its spell-binding storytelling, and by entertainment journalists and book club leaders for its deep and complex content, perfect to share and discuss with others.