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Divided Nation, United Hearts by Yolanda…
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Divided Nation, United Hearts

by Yolanda Wallace

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Divided Nation, United Hearts is a keeper for its sincerity and very endearing love story and characters AND because it speaks to the heart more than the body. I am the first to admit that I am very old-fashioned, even stodgy, when it comes to love stories and this is just the kind I like to read and wish there was more of in lesfic. My only complaint is that I wish the two main characters would meet sooner, though it is compelling to see each of them separately before their lives begin to intertwine. ( )
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
I'm a sucker for f/f historical fiction, and when I saw this book was set in the American Civil War (one of my favorite time periods for historical fiction in general), I simply had to read it!

Wilhelmina Fredericks listens to a speech by Frederick Douglass and feels compelled to join the Union army. Of course, doing so will mean that she has to disguise herself as a man and keep her identity hidden for the duration of the war, but Wil is prepared for almost anything...until she meets Clara Summers in Shiloh, Tennessee. Clara lives a hardscrabble life with her father and oldest brother away at war, leaving her in charge of the homestead and her two younger brothers. Clara's never been interested in the men who wanted to court her, but she isn't sure why - at least until she discover Wil Fredericks' secret.

Okay, I know they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I just love it! I know, I know, Wil spends most of her time in a Union uniform and never appears in a dress in the book (the closest she gets is a dressing gown, I believe), but the cover is gorgeous and I unapologetically love it. (I would have loved a cover with Wil in uniform too.)

And I did enjoy the book, even though it had some flaws. It's kind of a slow mover, although I never felt bored with the book - the first half of it was devoted to Clara and Wil's separate lives, and they didn't meet at all until the second half of the book. If you're into general historical fiction, that'll probably be okay with you, but if you're picking this book up with the romance in mind, you might leave disappointed. The romance, to me, felt fairly rushed - I never did get an overwhelming sense of the chemistry that drew the two of them together.

There seems to be quite a bit of information in this book about troops and their movements and their leaders - information that I really don't think an average soldier would have known on the ground at the time of battle (for example, would a soldier who is being fired upon by Confederate soldiers know that they are being led by Brigadier General so-and-so? I don't think so. I think the soldier would be more likely to think "holy shit, guys in gray shooting at me, fire back!") There were also some moments when the time period just didn't feel "right" to me and felt a bit too modern. However, I did enjoy the absolute innocence in Wil and Clara's relationship, which I did feel fit the times very well, especially since they were sailing in pretty much uncharted waters (they didn't even have a name for themselves - lesbians).

Wil and Clara kind of fall into instalove, but since it's wartime, I can forgive that a bit. I have to say that my grandparents fell in instalove at the end of WW2 and had a lifelong marriage that produced six children, so I think that war tends to put the pressure on, especially (as in Wil and Clara's case, as well as my grandparents') if you aren't sure when or even IF you'll see the person again.

My biggest complaint, I suppose, is that the ending felt incredibly tacked on and rushed. Things happened so fast that I was like - wait, what? And even though there's an epilogue, there are so many unanswered questions that I'd really like answers to in this story. Did Wil ever get in touch with her family again? It seemed that they weren't close at all, but then she learns that her mother is grieving over her running away and her father was trying to find her, at least according to her friend Libby's letter. Did Wil ever just let them know that, even though she couldn't come home (and would likely never see them again), that she was okay and happy? And speaking of Libby, did Wil ever try to get in touch with her again, basically to tell her the same thing? And what happened to Solomon? He kind of just disappeared. And did Wil's friend, whose name I can't recall off the top of my head (Weekly?) survive the war? SO MANY QUESTIONS. I really feel like the story would have benefited from another fifty pages or so - flesh out the relationship between Wil and Clara a bit more, give a more gradual ending, and then a more satisfying epilogue.

But, when all is said and done, I did enjoy this book. It might not be a favorite, but it kept me engaged in the story - I sat down and read it in two sittings, and I can't say that about many books. ( )
  schatzi | Mar 30, 2017 |
This was cool. It was sorta like a shorter version of Words Heard in Silence by T. Novan and Taylor Rickard.

In this book it's 1862 and the Civil War has been going on for a little bit. It's nearing Tennesse where Clara lives with her two younger brothers, trying to help them grow up and take care of the farm as well. (And try to put off the advances of the pushy Jed).

Wil is a former Philly socialite who decides to dress as a man and join the fight against the Confederacy.

It's a surprisingly long time into the book before they meet, but, they do and in a really cool and weird way.

There's a lot going on and I really liked not just the main story, but some of the subplots too.

Most of the characters were interesting and unique, although I did think that a few of them were a little cardboardy here and there.

It was an interesting book and despite the not quite fun subject really good. And a blazing fast read too.

I got this ARC through Netgalley on behalf of Bold Strokes Books. ( )
  DanieXJ | Mar 29, 2017 |
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