The year 1864 is turbulent in America. Charlie has returned seemingly unscathed but PTSD and depression are unknown at the time and on the surface he seems fine. He is psychologically scarred by the effects of war - the death and for him needless dying of thousands has hit him hard. Much harder than those of his fellow soldiers. To them he seems delicate, sensitive and these are qualities unknown to them. This puts Charlie at a disadvantage. They look at him with slight disdain and also suspicion.
Charlie is assigned a role to find African Americans to serve. To recruit them he is given an incentive payment but it is not enough and Charlie finds that talking to the African American women may be the key to getting the men to enlist. Whilst he is successful in doing this, it is misrepresented by his commanding officer who is a boor and a coward who tries to undermine Charlie's efforts at every turn.
Charlie helps the women by writing for them. Letters to their husbands giving details of their homes and children and their own feelings because he knows how much he longed for letters himself from his mother and sisters when he was on the battlefield. He also reads the letters that come back from the husbands and through this interchange, Charlie builds up relationships with the women who are quite distant from the other white men of the camp.
Charlie is an outstanding man of the times. Sensitive and compassionate and compared with the others of his camp he is such a good man. Not appreciated of course by his seniors or his peers who do not quite understand him.
Characterizations was spot on throughout the book and the story was a good one, highlighting a part of the war where African Americans were an integral part of the war to win liberty at a time when such liberty was at risk.
The book is also a story based on true events.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Wild Rose Press Inc.