Release date: September 9, 2014
In this American Civil War gender bender, Constance is everything a soldier is expected to be: strong, brave, hardworking, and an excellent shot. Her husband has less of these qualities and so when war breaks out, she feels it her civic duty to take his place as a soldier. Dressing like a man and calling herself Ash, she signs up with the Union army. Despite their unconventional gender role reversal, the two share a deep love.
The first half of this is an eventful yet slow paced novel about Ash's experience in becoming and living life as a soldier and a man. While there are a few exciting moments, there is not much of a plot in the first half of the book, which is not necessarily a criticism. It is mostly Ash's internal thoughts and feelings about how her experience is changing her, and yet how it also has always suited her, almost as a calling. Ash frequently has memories of and even an internal dialogue with her deceased hard-as-nails mother, as a way of helping her sort her thoughts.
In the second half, it is a more adventurous tale of her journey home, and the people she meets along the way. While it's well written in a style that resembles an authentic civil war era and farm worker tone, it lacks a little bit of an emotional connection with the characters. There are also some strange scenes which I'm still not sure what they meant, and that could be either a good or bad thing. However, it is very thought-provoking and a lot is left to interpretation.