Book Review | “Daughter of the Regiment” by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Posted Wednesday, 1 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been enthused to start reviewing for them, as I picked a small selection of stories I felt I would enjoy reading; three of which were from FaithWords.

I have been wanting to read the stories of Stephanie Grace Whitson for awhile, and felt this was a good author to start with as I become familiar with INSPY by FaithWords. Being an avid reader of Historical Fiction (including within the INSPY fiction market) I was delighted she focuses on this genre to tell her stories! I started my Whitson readings with “A Captain for Laura Rose” of which I loved!

I received a complimentary copy of “Daughter of the Regiment” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading Stephanie Grace Whitson:

Ms Whitson writes with a gentleness and ease of manner whilst curating this lovely image of the historical past – this story takes place just after the Civil War during a time in America where everyone was in transition. Her narrative is happily guided by strong characters and a portrait of life in this new America being defined by those who returnt from war and those who were helping the war effort back home. One thing I appreciated most is seeing how everything smelt and felt to the character’s eyes – she truly eclipsed what I would imagine for myself about St. Louis and the Missouri River region – she’s so well in-tune with that lifestyle you could nearly hear the river lapping on shore!

My favourite INSPY writers are the gentle story-tellers who light a beautiful story with illuminated spirituality through a character’s actions and how their faith intercedes throughout their life choices. I appreciate the gentleness of these kinds of stories because they feel so very true to life – how faith affects our own spirit, mind and heart as we face our own adversities and joys. I like seeing characters who feel like a composite to a real person but also, of whom can show their vulnerabilities and are writ with an honest impression of how someone might react given a certain set of circumstances.

Ms Whitson is a delight to read – her story-telling voice is a joy because she encourages your steadfast attention at the smallest of details and gives a hearty measure to taking a leap of faith alongside her characters. She’s stitched a few life lessons into the background of her story whilst giving freedom to let her characters decide for themselves where they want to go with their lives; including how to adjust to conflict and consequence. This is the type of story-teller that makes being an INSPY reader such a delight of joy to read – as you find a heart-warming tale that lifts your spirit!

-quoted from my book review of A Captain for Laura Rose

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Book Review | “Daughter of the Regiment” by Stephanie Grace WhitsonDaughter of the Regiment
by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Source: Direct from Publisher

Irish immigrant Maggie Malone wants no part of the war. She'd rather let "the Americans" settle their differences-until her brothers join Missouri's Union Irish Brigade, and one of their names appears on a list of injured soldiers. Desperate for news, Maggie heads for Boonville, where the Federal army is camped. There she captures the attention of Sergeant John Coulter. When circumstances force Maggie to remain with the brigade, she discovers how capable she is of helping the men she comes to think of as "her boys." And while she doesn't see herself as someone a man would court, John Coulter is determined to convince her otherwise.

As the mistress of her brother's Missouri plantation, Elizabeth Blair has learned to play her part as the perfect hostess-and not to question her brother Walker's business affairs. When Walker helps organize the Wildwood Guard for the Confederacy, and offers his plantation as the Center of Operations, Libbie must gracefully manage a house with officers in residence and soldiers camped on the lawn. As the war draws ever closer to her doorstep, she must also find a way to protect the people who depend on her.

Despite being neighbors, Maggie and Libbie have led such different lives that they barely know one another-until war brings them together, and each woman discovers that both friendship and love can come from the unlikeliest of places.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455529032

Also by this author: A Captain for Laura Rose

Genres: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Military Fiction, War Drama


Published by FaithWords

on 24th March, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 336

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #StephanieGraceWhitson, #INSPYbooks, #ChristFict or #ChrisFic

& #INSPYfiction or #HistFic

About Stephanie Grace Whitson

STEPHANIE GRACE WHITSON is a bestselling inspirational author of over 20 books. She's a two-time Christy Award finalist and the winner of an RT Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance.

When she's not writing, she enjoys taking long rides on her Honda Magna motorcycle named Kitty.

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My Review of Daughter of the Regiment:

I had to stifle a chuckle straight out of the gate, as Ms Whitson had found a way to visualise such a silly scene of high society girls fawning over each other as one of their esteemed peers was arriving by carriage – the scene is opposite our introduction to Miss Maggie Malone whose a hard-working woman in her own right, hoping to fetch needed supplies and duck back out of towne before the gossip-mongers have their way to rile her emotions. Her discontent for being put in place due to her gender was quite evident, as she’s a sharpshooter who never gets the proper chance to prove it whilst she entertains interests outside what the general populace would consider ‘proper’ for a lady such as herself. I have to admit, I love when I get to encounter a fiercely independent woman who goes against convention; they are amongst my favourite characters to read and discover.

Whitson’s iconic wit and humour is threading through this story to such a happy delight of mine, I found myself smiling through most of the opening chapters! She has a way of turning a phrase round to being cleverly insightful whilst ribbing your funnybone at the same time! Quite classic and very true of her writing style – I knew early-on I would enjoy seeing her grant Maggie the space she needed for her fiery spirit to shine!

The seriousness of the pending war arriving at the footsteps of Missouri held a hard hand of reality for Maggie when her spritely spirited brothers joined the Irish branch of the Army out of St. Louis. For her, it felt like all the life and hope had slowly been siphoned out of her soul, as her brothers were such a dear part of her life. Similar to the family dog (and lookout scout!) she’d have much preferred to trudge after Seamus and Jack; following the path to battlefield than be left behind to simply ‘await the inevitable’ to arrive. Her Uncle Paddy tried to forewarn her of the growing worriment on his brow, giving her ample reason to fear the coming days and a fortitude of spunk to try to deal with what they couldn’t forestall.

Whitson provided both sides of the developing war as well as two perspectives on the sides people were taking as their stance against what they felt was the invading forces against them. In this vein, I appreciated seeing the young woman named Libbie take a firm opposing state of affairs from her brother Walker (of whom was bent on keeping slavery on his plantation) wherein she allowed grace and mercy to accompany the women she could save from his control. This yielding of power and the struggle to do what was right in one’s heart even if the opposition was stemming from your own family is truly what made this particular war one of the worst on record: it pitted family members against each other, all the way round.

Maggie’s entreaty and sudden emergence at camp where her brothers are stationed shocked their Captain moreso than anyone else, as their sister had a knack for making an entrance! She had the Captain’s dog listening to commands faster than a hoot owl can speak out a signal in the night! Her brothers, not too much worse for wear though Jack had a minor injury, were caught by the sight of their sister and her incredible story from ‘home’ where nothing was like it had been when they left it behind. To Maggie’s credit, her Irish ire was irked and stoked, but she had a calm compassionate sense about her as she aided Jack and a fellow officer with wounds she could help nurture back to health. Her strength was mixed with the kind of courage you gain when circumstances alight on your path you know not how to handle except to live straight through them.

Vacillating between the plight Libbie is facing against her brother with the kindness of her servants watching over her and the war front where Maggie Malone is a fierce contender towards bringing calm, reassurance and necessary emergency bits to the soldiers – Whitson has created a lovely dramatic scope of the Civil War. Not only does she pull back a bit on the medical scenes, but she cleverly has any naughty words spoken aloud happening ‘off camera, out of sight’ of the reader’s eyes. I love that device for giving characters their words of choice but having them spoken so far out of earshot, you’d never know what they were saying to be honest! Only that a man quick to temper isn’t one to find calm inside of a hurricane!

Having read A Captain for Laura Rose prior to Daughter of the Regiment, it was familiar territory and terminology for me, as I knew instantly what the ‘packets upriver’ were referencing and had a loose knowledge of the Missouri River territorial region! Whitson stitches in moments of a working faith life for her characters, choosing to turn to prayer when thoughts turn towards worrying over things they cannot change but hope will work out in due course. It’s a lovely way to see the characters live with courage but remain mindful of keeping their faith in check with an honest portrayal of what can run through the mind of those who are seeking safety whilst living in the midst of known and unknown dangers lurking just past their visual range. It’s a special treat to duck inside a Stephanie Grace Whitson novel, knowing your spirit will be uplifted by the courage of her characters and the light of determined hope in face of adversity.

On why I struggle reading about the Civil War & why this novel changed my opinion as a whole:

This is a topic of interest I’ve tried to resolve since I was in high school – as I spent a considerable amount of time studying the Civil War but not from a perspective that was all-encompassing but rather quite a narrow view of the era itself. It was limited in scope and askewed towards only focusing on certain elements of the extensive history that lives inside this capsule of the historical past. To say I was ‘turnt off’ on focusing on this war era is putting it mildly. Never one to hold a grudge, I like to keep an open-mind about everything I first have a bad introduction too – thus, I entertained the notion I might stumble across stories set during this era as I proceeded to grow in my readerly wanderings.

Those inclinations never truly alighted on my reading queue until I became a book blogger, where on a few occasions I accepted a story set during this pivotal time in American History. I had wanted to read Gone With the Wind and Roses (by Leila Meacham) except to say the timing has been a bit off to do so!

Previously I have read the following stories set during the Civil War Era:

  • A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander (review)
  • I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe (review)

Although both of these stories are beloved by fellow book bloggers and readers alike, I had some difficulties with both of them. In relation to Ms McCabe’s novel, I think it boiled down to the graphic nature of some of the medical and battle scenes that truly took me above and beyond my comfort zones – a critical reminder that I have to remember I have a line in the sand on what I can handle and what I cannot handle. Yet, this isn’t the only thing that went wrong; some stories simply do not wash over you the way you hope they would (overall) and even if you like certain aspects of the stories, they aren’t the ones your inclined to re-read. I have the tendency to dodge this question outright online – especially during #HistoricalFix as to be honest, I haven’t quite sorted it out myself!

I read a lot of war dramas – with the exception of stories set during this point of reference! I am unsure if it’s simply I haven’t found a story that truly captures me body and soul or if I have an aversion to the era based on my initial introduction to it. Sometimes there isn’t a reason ‘why’, sometimes things just ‘are’.

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Thus, imagine my surprise when I became caught up in Daughter of the Regiment! For starters, I liked how she eased us into the time she spent on the battlefields themselves, by bringing to life the fullness of living off the land with the bustling activity of an active farm. Everything from tending livestock to culling a garden full of a bounty of fresh foods itching to be cooked or baked into wholesome goodness! I love locavore practices today and I have had a firm interest in backyard gardening (or the Victory Gardens of the World War era), as a way to gain self-sufficiency. Individually owned farms are part of the cornerstone of today’s agricultural heritage and the continuing legacy of those who live by what the land can yield.

Whitson develops the background quite well, gently pushing you towards where the war meets the farm without giving you the remorse of what could soon be lost because she’s granting you the joy of seeing how sometimes hard choices are what can turn the tides in your life. Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes a hard period of growth can develop a discovery about a skill or a gift you have to share with others – this is one reason I liked the history behind the daughters of the regiment of whom were real-life women who gave back so much during the Civil War.

Being an INSPY novel and one written by a gentle writer who understands how to soften medical drama, I was thankful all the inclusions in that regard were to a level down from where I normally find war dramas to take my sensitive heart! Still stirring in it’s account of battle wounds and the issues facing men who are trying to serve whilst healing from injuries – I was overjoyed to find a gentler told tale I did not flinch or flicker to read straight through! To me this was one of the benefits of reading this novel by Whitson and why she gave me my first wicked good reading of a Civil War novel!

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I should mention, I am a descendant of a Civil War (Irish immigrant) Captain (Union Army) who chose to fight as he was outside the age of the draft. I found it interesting how my great-great grandfather had a different point-of-view than the one Maggie shares early-on as the story starts to open – where her brothers and Uncle are discussing the war and how they ought to go about dealing with the emerging reality of what this war is going to mean to everyone who is directly affected by it. She took the position that immigrant families shouldn’t get into the thick of something that was not their affair (a position she recants later) but I oft wondered about how my own Irish (double great) grandfather came to his conclusion to volunteer to fight rather than to wait to see what would happen later without his participation? It had to be the hardest choice to make, as he had family and a farm to think about but at the same time, I took him to being a man of the community and one who wanted to protect everyone he could.

This is the same Irish Civil War Captain who was fabled in my family until a cousin located us through ancestral research and blessedly, through my own ancestral sleuthing I’ve found another cousin who is helping me better understand another part of my family’s tree, too! Hence why on my Twitter Profile it reflects “Ancestry Sleuth” as I was bitten by the genealogical research bug first inspired by my grandfather and my Mum (his daughter). It’s quite incredible how we can dig through archives and documents – slowly piecing our past together, whilst discovering tidbits of stories about who are relations were and how they lived their lives.

I know I still have quite a bit to understand yet about my great-great grandfather – as it will require a bit of travelling to uncover as most ancestral research lends itself to including – however, for now, it’s one small window into my family’s past and a small connection to the War of the States. My great-great grandfather is the main reason I’ve been cautiously curious about reading stories set during the Civil War rather than become sour on the era due to a hit/miss introductory excursion thus far afield.

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A notation about the cover art on behalf of the three Whitson novels I’ve been reviewing:

I happen to fancy cover art designs – I love seeing how each illustrator and/or designer interprets the story-line, character, setting and timescape per each cover I am viewing per reading a novel. The joy for me as a reader is to see if the cover art is a ‘plausible match’ for the novel’s heart. There are a handful of times I can say throughout my reading wanderings, where I have become disappointed by the rush job to create a cover wherein the story and cover are not a good match to each other. When it comes to Ms Whitson’s cover artists, she truly has lucked out with the artists who understand her vision for the stories but also, how to bring a small glimpse of her novels to life through the artwork I am finding gracing her novels!

I also love the continuity of her covers – where there are small touches of familiarity and where you know first-off, which author wrote the stories whose artwork is making you smile! Let me show you what I mean by a side-by-side viewing of the three Whitson novels I am reviewing for FaithWords:

The first thing you will notice is the decorative overlays at the bottom of the design – little elements which grant your eye to acknowledge there is similarity between the covers. Jenny Barden’s novels has the same kind of elements, if your familiar with her stories? (see The Lost Duchess) More immediate than the decorative elements is the presence of ‘light’ illuminating somewhere near the title lead characters – for Laura Rose the light was a setting sun in the lower right corner; for Regiment it was the early morning light against the back expanse of sky; and for Moonlight it was the reflection of light where the moon and clouds are gently bathed in natural light.

Did you notice how the artist(s) choose to highlight one word per each title in script? As you read the novels, you’ll notice there is a key reason for those particular words to become referenced moreso than the others – almost like a glimpse at what is truly at the heart behind the stories themselves.

As I was reading A Captain for Laura Rose I noticed immediately the duality of the title – was this a tip nod towards the fact Laura Rose (the ship) was in earnest need of a Captain to guide her on the river OR was this a hidden clue towards whom might sway the heart of Laura Rose (the daughter of the ship’s owner). I felt it was quite befitting to see Laura Rose captaining her own ship, as this was her dearest desire but also, the one that gave her the most anguish – being a river captain during her lifetime was not without it’s uphill battles! The more you read about Laura Rose (the woman) the more befitting the cover becomes in your mind!

The same thing became true of my readings of Regiment, except in this case the duality nature of the title and the focal imagery was more representative of ‘multiple’ daughters who served during the Civil War; over and beyond the fact this is  meant to be Maggie! She is the everywoman heroine of the story and it make perfect sense to see her in her element – exactly where she grew in confidence and found a calling she never realised she had to share with others!

It’s my hope as I move into reading Moonlight, I will be equally pleased with the direction of the art on the book cover – as thus far forward into reading Ms Whitson’s novels, the art has been a lovely addition to the stories themselves! As I might love artwork on novels, but the stories have to touch my heart before the art becomes a wicked part of the experience rather than being reduced to ‘art’ I appreciate viewing. I applaud the team at FaithWords and look forward to continuing to see how they envision other novels I shall be reading under this imprint! They are definitely focused on bridging realism and visualisations for the reader who likes to have a visual reference for the stories they are reading!

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on behalf of these covers, too!

I found them to be such a happy pleasure of joy!

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This book review is courtesy of:

FaithWords

I had intended to read ‘Daughter of the Regiment’ prior to Memorial Day weekend, however, a few unexpected lightning storms pushed my reviews forward a bit; thereby, my review for this novel came a bit after Memorial Day instead! I am also reading ‘A Place Called Hope’ this week, as well, so please stay tuned to hear my thoughts on behalf of the first novel I’m reading by Philip Gulley!

Per my conversation with one of the publicists on Twitter, I wanted to include a reference about the cover art on behalf of the Whitson novels and why I am appreciating the artwork! I am hoping my readers find the covers as inspiring as the I found the stories they refer too directly! As much as I wanted to give a nod of gratitude to the designers for FaithWords directly!

Quite happy to reveal I will be reading my third #StephanieGraceWhitson in JUNE! I have received ‘Messenger by Moonlight’ which involves the Pony Express! I am honoured to be able to read three lovely INSPY novels by a wicked new author I am appreciating getting to know further with each new story of hers I am blessed to be reading! I hope you’ll find the same to be true for you!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!

Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Daughter of the Regiment”, “A Captain for Laura Rose”, “Messenger by Moonlight”, book synopsis and author biography were all provided by the publisher Hachette Book Group Inc. via their Bloggers Portal and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 1 June, 2016 by jorielov in 19th Century, Ancestry & Genealogy, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Civil War Era (1861-1865), Coming-Of Age, FaithWords, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Irish Literature (Stories of the Irish), Mid-West America, Military Fiction, Missouri River, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, Widows & Widowers




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3 responses to “Book Review | “Daughter of the Regiment” by Stephanie Grace Whitson

    • Hallo, Hallo Carrie!

      I’ve had Ms Whitson listed on my *70 Authors Challenge* since my blog was birthed into being back in 2013 – why it has taken me so long to get back to basics and get back into the reads I had selected to read, I’ll never know! I think partially it’s because as your aware of yourself, when you first begin to blog your reading life there is a big learning curve that goes into being a book blogger! Not just to select what you want to participate in the community of book bloggers but also, how you want to select what your reading or the posts you want to curate in-between your book showcases/reviews! Somewhere along the way, my personal reading challenges fell by the wayside – and I am in the middle of a personal Renaissance this year to change things up here on Jorie Loves A Story!

      Hence why I was overjoyed about finding Whitson was available to request to review! This was my second novel by her and I have a third one next in queue this month to read! Leftover from June, as that month was wrecked by lightning storms & tech woes! Messenger by Moonlight looks so wicked lovely to be a third choice, too! Due stay tuned! It will be arriving after I review my next two Hachette novels: Jane Two & Claiming Noah!

      I think at some point we all wish for a TARDIS to borrow from the good Doctor or a time winder like Hermoine had! :)

      • yes – such a learning curve! And uh.. YES PLEASE!! I’ve had my own personal TARDIS and time turner on order for ages now… but sadly, I don’t think they’re coming :-/

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