Two Girls of Gettysburg

Two Girls of Gettysburg

4.4 31
by Lisa Klein

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Lizzie and Rosanna are cousins. But when the Civil War breaks out, fifteen-year-old Lizzie finds herself committed to the cause of the Union, while Rosanna is swept up in the passions of the old south--and in her love for a young Confederate officer. Torn in their alliances, yet as devoted as sisters, each girl finds herself grappling with the senseless brutality

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Lizzie and Rosanna are cousins. But when the Civil War breaks out, fifteen-year-old Lizzie finds herself committed to the cause of the Union, while Rosanna is swept up in the passions of the old south--and in her love for a young Confederate officer. Torn in their alliances, yet as devoted as sisters, each girl finds herself grappling with the senseless brutality of war, and the sacrifices that must be made in order to survive. It will take one of the war's bloodiest battles--fought on the farmlands of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--to bring them together again. Unflinching in its portrayal of war, and inspiring in its depiction of two resilient young women, this is a historical novel of exceptional depth and reach.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Kathie Fitch
Lizzie and Rosanna are not only cousins but also best friends. Rosanna has been sent to live with her sister in Gettysburg because of what her parents considered to be an inappropriate romance. The date is 1860, and the town and townspeople quickly become embroiled in the Civil War. Lizzie's father and brother join the Union, and she takes over the management of the family butcher shop. Rosanna flees to Richmond where she is reunited with her former beau, John, whom she marries. He enlists in the Confederate Army and is slightly wounded in battle. Rosanna flies to his side, joins his regiment, and becomes a field nurse, learning as she goes. Back in Gettysburg, with the help of Amos, a freed slave, and Martin, a romantic interest, Lizzie struggles with the family business, which is rapidly failing, and a war that is approaching her doorstep. The characterization of the two cousins is well defined. Rosanna changes from a self-centered, fickle girl to a dedicated and compassionate nurse who soldiers on even after John is killed. Lizzie transforms from a quiet, timid girl into a courageous business woman. Both endure the blood and horror of war realistically. Each of their stories could stand alone, but the view of the Civil War from both sides works most successfully. Reviewer: Kathie Fitch
Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
This absorbing tale of two cousins begins in 1861 when both girls are living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Allbauer, the daughter of a butcher, has lived there all her life with her parents, her older brother Luke, and her younger brother Benjamin. She thinks of herself as plain and shy and she is much impressed by her sixteen-year-old cousin Rosanna McGreevey, a beautiful, flirtatious girl who has recently moved from Richmond, Virginia, to live with her widowed sister Margaret and Margaret's young son and daughter. But in June their lives change when Lizzie's father and Luke enlist in the Union army along with Henry, the boy Rosanna favors. Now instead of going to school with Rosanna, Lizzie must run the butcher shop with the help of Amos, a black man who is trying to earn enough money to buy his wife's freedom. Throughout this first year the book is told by Lizzie, but when Rosanna runs back to Richmond in July, 1862, the voice of her diary takes over. She reunites with John Wilcox against her parents' wishes, but when he enlists in the Confederate army they permit her to marry him. Soon he is sent to war and when he is wounded, Rosanna joins him. Nursing him amid the horrors of battle makes her grow up quickly, and she continues nursing the wounded even after he is healed. The book cuts back and forth between the cousins as both girls become stronger and more independent. Amos brings his pregnant wife back to the Allbauers' home; John Wilcox dies; Lizzie and a local boy, Martin Weigel, fall in love; and Rosanna returns to Pennsylvania in time to suffer through the Battle of Gettysburg along with her sister and cousin. Their story is beautifully told, with muchattention to historical detail. In fact, Lizzie's portion is partially based on the experiences of Matilda Pierce, who wrote a memoir of the battle. An "Author's Note" and a list of twenty-three readings and four websites follow the text. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

In 1861, the Confederacy has just declared its independence from the Union, but life goes on much as usual in the quiet town of Gettysburg. Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Allbauer and her cousin Rosanna, recently arrived from Virginia, have big plans to attend the Ladies' Seminary together in the fall. Then Lizzie's father and brother enlist in the Union army and she must stay home to help her mother run the family butcher shop. Rosanna flees back to Richmond after a Gettysburg beau is killed in one of the early battles. Torn between her romanticized view of the war and her parents' conservative rules, Rosanna impulsively agrees to marry a former beau, John Wilcox. Within a month of marriage, he is injured, and Rosanna rushes to meet up with the Virginia Infantry so that she can care for him. Realizing that she has a gift for healing, she stays on with her husband's company as a nurse. Chapters alternate between Rosanna's journal entries of her life as a Confederate nurse and Lizzie's accounts of the events leading up to the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. While Klein's extensive research is evident, the alternating voices have only limited success: readers will be drawn to Lizzie's genuine warmth, but frivolous Rosanna's leap to the ultra-responsible wife and nurse and the stilted dialogues in her journal entries stretch credibility. Still, Klein's weaving of the young women's stories to a shared conclusion gives a fresh perspective on the complexities of the Civil War.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Kirkus Reviews

Klein's second novel offers a new take on the brother-versus-brother saga of the American Civil War. Teenage cousins Lizzie and Rosanna become firm friends when Rosanna moves to the small town of Gettysburg, Pa. After the war begins, however, Rosanna returns home to Virginia and impetuously marries a Confederate soldier; Lizzie finds herself running her father's butcher shop after he and her brother join the Union army. Without quite meaning to, Rosanna becomes a camp follower and later a devoted army nurse; the cousins meet again as the battle of Gettyburg rages. Lizzie's first-person narration carries more emotional weight than Rosanna's somewhat distant journal entries, but none of the characters are developed strongly. The African-Americans, in particular, all seem rather like Mammy, cut from Good-Negro cloth, devoted to their white masters whether they are free or slave. But Klein's account of the battle and its effect on civilian life is compelling, and makes this a worthwhile addition to Civil War literature. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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