When Lizzie's cousin Rosanna moves to Gettysburg, they become the best of friends. While Lizzie is plain with no gorgeous looks to boast of, Rosanna is beautiful, with lovely brown hair and a pretty face; their personalities could not be more different. But this does not stop them. They are best friends for the world to see, a Northern girl with her Southern cousin as a best friend. But when circumstances cause Rosanna to return to the South - and there become a wife and nurse to those in need during the new war - the girls are torn apart by a world of differences, where love, death, and a war of morals and freedom will try to ruin their friendship forever.
I'll start with the good things about the book.
I really love the two girls. I had my favorite (Rosanna) but I liked them both. They made for great protagonists and their friendship was sweet. The characters were all developed well and had his or her own part in the story that made them unique. Rosanna's relationship with her husband was so sweet and it was amazing to watch them grow as a couple, then as husband and wife.
My favorite character: John Wilcox, most definitely. Martin Weigel comes in second.
Favorite aspect: John and Rosanna's relationship, as mentioned before. :)
This book is also very, very historically correct. While most people believes the war was fought mainly for/against slavery, that is not the case, and Lisa Klein makes this very clear through the characters. One point she drives across is that the South had the right to secede and only wanted their own way of life that they thought was right and just.
However, there were a few things that bothered me, and more than I would have expected. The pace of the story, I felt, was choppy. One moment it was really fast paced, and the next it dropped almost to boring. And then fifty pages later it'd pick up again. I felt like Lizzie's part of the story didn't really pick up until a hundred or so pages before the end. Rosanna has a much more interesting life, and that makes Lizzie's life seem pretty slow. But while I was disappointed with the pace of this story, I don't want it to discourage readers from picking this book up, as there is no denying that it is a wonderful story and that Lisa Klein is skilled at her art.
For parents to watch out for: Rosanna and John get married, and it talks very inexplicitly about their love for each other. They kiss (as do Lizzie and her beau), and it implies maybe three times that Rosanna and John sleep together. However, they are married, and it is presented in a sweet, innocent way, with little or no description at all.
Summing it up with one word: I actually can't use just one word. I tried really really hard, but two words came to mind and they just won't do on their own. The words are realistic and tender. The tenderness in this story comes from the fact that it was so realistic; and the reality of this book has much to do with the tenderness in each other characters and even in the story itself. Those words go hand in hand while describing this book, and I hope everyone who reads it feels the same way.