Book Review: Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green

Title: Spy of Richmond
Author: Jocelyn Green
Published: March 2015
Publisher: River North
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Heroines Behind the Lines

About the Book (from the publisher’s Web site):

When living a lie is the right thing to do.

The Confederate capital in the height of the Civil War: no place for a Union loyalist. But just the place for a spy.

Her father a slaveholder, her suitor a Confederate officer, and she an abolitionist, Sophie Kent must walk a tightrope of deception in her efforts to end slavery. As suspicion in Richmond rises, Sophie’s espionage becomes more and more dangerous. If her courage will carry her through, what will be lost along the way—her true love, her father, her life?

My Thoughts:

Spy of Richmond combines historical fact from the Civil War era with an engaging plot and well-crafted fictional characters, alongside some not-so-fictional characters. While I haven’t read other titles in the Heroines Behind the Lines series yet, this book has made me eager to do so.

The characters are complex, multi-faceted individuals with competing interests and loyalties, living through a challenging time period. This results in some interesting dilemmas, and keeps the plot moving along and the pages turning.

Historical details of setting, circumstance, and societal issues pique the reader’s curiosity to learn more about the time period, and lend the book a feeling of authenticity. I found the details of prison conditions especially vivid and compelling.

Besides being a well written book in general, the little details made it stand out for me. For example, when there was a misunderstanding between characters that created an obstacle to their relationship, they discussed it and dealt with it according to their personalities, rather than artificially letting the situation drag on. I found that refreshing. I also loved the following passage (from Chapter 8, page 91) about two secondary characters. Abraham’s line sounds like just the kind of thing my husband (also a blacksmith) might say, and I love the multiple layers of emotion evoked in the passage:

“Bella stared at the empty chair across from her, and could barely remember what it felt like to have it occupied by her husband. To have his strong hands ease the tension from her neck and shoulders while he told her about his day at the blacksmith shop. ‘I bent more iron to my will today,’ he would say, chest puffed up, just to make her laugh. The house barely felt like home without him in it.”

Thank you to the author for providing a free copy of this book. I very much enjoyed leading the discussion of Spy of Richmond for the ACFW Book Club’s October discussion, and would highly recommend it for use by other book clubs. I was not expected to write a review, but am happy to do so, considering how much I enjoyed reading it.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green

    1. Thanks Beckie! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Widow of Gettysburg. The heroine of that one appears in Spy of Richmond as well, and I’m particularly interested to learn more of her story. :)

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