Finished September 4
Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green
This book is book 3 in the series Heroines Behind the Lines.
Caitlin McKae has followed her brother Jack into the war on the Union side, but when she is badly injured, she ends up in Confederate care in Atlanta, thought to have been fighting on the Confederate side. She keeps her own counsel, adjusts to life there and becomes a teacher at a local school, something her training prepared her for. When the war intensifies, the school is shut and Caitlin takes on the job as governess for the daughter of a fellow teacher who feels impelled to go off to war. Noah Becker is an immigrant from Germany, trained as a lawyer, and while not in favor of slavery feels the need to fight for his home. His daughter Analiese is the joy of his life and he values Caitlin's teaching skills, her emphasis on teaching responsibility, and her comforting way with children.
Back in New York, the focus is on Ruby O'Flannery, a young Irish widow, mother to a young son Aiden, and working as a domestic and seamstress. She is recently converted to evangelistic Christianity, and is visited often by a young pastor Edward Goodrich who came back from the front to tend his injured father.
The book follows the trials and tribulations of the two women. Caitlin is struggling to survive, to care for Analiese, and to eventually find her way home, Ruby is struggling to create a better life for her son, to stay on her new course despite her unhappy past, and to look for a future she is afraid to dream of.
This novel gives a good sense of the history of this time, and social situations, and the changes taking place with the war and western expansion.