A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Heroby Marissa Moss
Historical fiction at its best, this novel by bestselling author Marissa Moss tells 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,
Historical fiction at its best, this novel by bestselling author Marissa Moss tells 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.
Using historical materials to build the foundation of the story, Moss has crafted a captivating novel for the YA audience. The book includes a Civil War timeline, archival photos, a glossary of names, and a detailed note on sources.
Praise for A Soldier's Secret
"A female Civil War soldier is brought alive for readers...Moss convincingly but never gratuitously portrays the gore, horror and boredom of war. An intimate look at a soldier's life from a compelling, historical perspective."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A captivating piece of YA historical fiction."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Moss combines fiction with biography in this compelling account…Many battles are graphically described, and the novel is crammed with atmosphere and detail.”
—Bay Area News Group
"Whether a valiant soldier or angel of mercy, Sarah is a brave and loyal historical figure, well deserving of readers’ attention."
—School Library Journal
"Moss’ novel offers a fascinating, first-person portrait."
"The novel is well-written, vividly capturing the drama of Edmonds’ story as well as larger wartime realities.”
—Library Media Connection
Meet the Author
Marissa Moss has written and illustrated many books for children, including the popular Amelia’s Notebook series, the picture book Nurse, Soldier, Spy, and a middle-grade novel, The Pharaoh’s Secret. She lives in Berkeley, California.
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A Soldier’s Secret tells the true story of Sarah Edmonds, a woman who disguised herself as a man and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Having escaped the domineering control of her father, Sarah left home at just 16 to live life on her own terms, as a man. She eventually rose through the Army’s ranks, and worked as a nurse and spy who retrieved vital information by living beyond enemy lines. Her valiant efforts made her a Civil War Hero, and the first woman recognized for her efforts as a soldier. This book is excellent for teens and young adults, and presents antiquated information from Sarah’s real-life autobiography in a way that is easy for modern-day readers to understand. The book also provides readers with insight into what life was like for soldiers during the Civil War and is useful for students studying American History, as the book gives an overview of several campaigns in the war. All in all, A Soldier’s Secret is an excellent read that fosters readers’ interests in history. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to connect to history on a more personal level. Review by Ryan P., age 16
Sometimes when I read this I think sarah is a man she is so brave and courages
Great but there is some romance and talk about private areas.
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 decided to join the Union Army of the Potomac, becoming a soldier, nurse, postmaster, general’s orderly, and spy, and seeing action in the battles of First and Second Bull Run, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Seven Days, and Fredericksburg. Frank manages to hide his secret for a long time, but when he becomes deathly ill due to swamp fever, will he be found out? The story is told in an interesting way that is generally easy to read, and there are some genuinely humorous situations. Narrated by Sarah, the novel offers readers an in-depth look at the Civil War with a reasonably good job describing what it was like to be a soldier in battle at that time. Historical materials are used to build the foundation of the story. drawing heavily from Sarah’s own memoir and other first-person documents, so there is a great deal of detail about ordinary life in the military, plus much coverage of fighting and action, although the author did fabricate a major event at the end of the book on the basis that it "seemed like something that should have happened, and the advantage of fiction is that you can choose the shape of the story." For the budding historian, the book includes a Civil War timeline, archival photos, a glossary of names, and a detailed note on sources. Those who are a bit on the sensitive side should be aware that some descriptions of the battle scenes, though perhaps not overly gratuitous, can be rather detailed and blunt. To me, however, what stood out most in a book supposedly intended for young people is the bad language and sexual references. Besides several common euphemisms, the “d” and “h” words, in various forms and phrases (including “God***mit”), along with the name of God as an interjection, are used frequently. There are references to soldiers’ “pi**ing,” someone is called a “horse’s a**,” the terms “bi*ch” and “ba*t*rd” are found, and Sarah talks about her monthlies and bloody menstrual cloths. Also discussions occur about the size of “male anatomy” and the fact that Frank’s is “less than ample.” The vulgar slang word “pecker” even appears in this regard. I understand that some modern authors of young adult books feel that it is necessary to include these kinds of things to be “realistic.” And I suspect that some parents may not mind them, but others like me feel that they are totally unnecessary or will at least want to know about them ahead of time, especially in a book that is said to be for ages twelve and up. If you were the father of an innocent twelve-year-old girl, how would you feel if she is reading the book, comes up to you, and out of the blue asks, “Dad, what’s a pecker?” This is why I recommend it for no one under age sixteen. Finally, I was struck by someone else’s personal reaction about how sad it was that Frank's way of proving his masculinity was to tell dirty stories and spit and scratch and “break wind” (i.e., pass gas).