Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read if You're a Civil War History Buff

Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish and today's topic is Top Ten Books for Every X to Read.
If you've been reading here a while or a short time, it won't come as much of a shock that I'm choosing to share ten Civil War novels that are must-reads if you enjoy poignant tales of days gone by and learning more about the War Between the States.

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
    I own three copies. #unashamed This, my all-time favorite novel/classic forever may seem to some like it's light on the history, but what I love about this story set during the war is that it sheds a light on the women on the Northern home front. Their strength, fortitude and sacrifice when their father was away at war.
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    This thick epic is, again, light on the history but nonetheless a must-read and a great introduction to Civil War fiction just like Little Women. This novel is filled with romance, passion, jealousy, revenge and two of the most iconic characters in the historical fiction world--Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. The depiction and rich backdrop of "The Old South" may seem cliched and even stereotypical but the vivid portrayal of Tara and Atlanta are memorable and sweeping in their beauty that instantly draws the reader into the tumultuous South during the war.
  3. Consecrated Dust by Mary Frailey Calland
    This is a rare gem, published by a local author who spent years of researching Pittsburgh, the Arsenal of the Union, before penning this novel. I learned so much of my own hometown's history by reading this powerful novel that's high point was the Allegheny Arsenal explosion in September 1862. Killing over 70 women and girls. The same day as Antietam--hence why this is an event not widely known. The characters are vivid, the romance surprising and sweet but my favorite part of this novel is that it sheds an honoring light and tribute to the sacrifice of the women and girls who worked in the arsenals up North during the war.
  4. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
    Yes, another classic. This novel is what the critically acclaimed film Gettysburg was based upon and, if you read any of the Shaara historicals, this is the one not to be missed. The author expertly weaves in personalities and dialogue in and amongst the history and real-life generals and their troops as they marched to the turning point of the Civil War--Gettysburg.
  5. Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
    Also known as the novel that got Meghan started in Civil War (inspirational) fiction that she owns two copies of. The story of Caroline Fletcher, only daughter to wealthy Richmond parents who tackles slavery, racism, defending her home and those she loves in spite of unpopular opinion. This is a character who grows infinitely in the span of the pages and who is far from your typical Southern Belle as it turns out, fighting bravely for what is right.
  6. Fire by Night by Lynn Austin I also own two copies of this. *cough* 
    The sequel to the book above follows a Northern belle, Julia, Caroline's cousin, through a portion of the war. As opposed to her quite unconventional cousin, Julia is quite a belle when the book opens--focused on her goal of marriage to a certain (somewhat clueless) reverend and will stop at nothing to get him. Including leaving her plush, privileged life in Philadelphia to travel to the Capitol to be a nurse. A cast of supporting characters and a secondary storyline of a young woman named Phoebe who disguises herself as a man to fight to defend the Union. After watching PBS's Mercy Street (a must-watch show for Civil War buffs), this novel is on my To Be Read Again list for sure.
  7. Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green
    This may be the second book in her Heroines Behind the Lines series, but it was the first book I read of hers and promptly fell in love with. And questioned why I even bothered to write Civil War novels but that self-doubt went away eventually. *smile* Almost all of the books in this list of mine you can just tell were deeply researched, and this one is no exception and perhaps deserves a higher place on my list as it takes place solely in my favorite city on earth--Gettysburg. Jocelyn highlights the extreme sacrifice and hardship the battle wrought on both the farmland of the city and its residents--especially its women--with grace and poignant truth in the spiritual themes woven through the pages. One rare book wherein I cried during the reading.
  8. Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
    This first book in her Civil War series probably has the most action and mystery--every book is a page turner but this one you really got almost scared and had to keep reading to see what happened due to a dastardly villain dressed up in sheep's clothing. Set in New York City at the start of the Civil War, Wedded to War highlights the betterment of the Medical Department thanks to stubborn, hard-working women who gave up so much only to face harassment, judgment, and opposition at every turn caring for the wounded and dying, improving the quality and sanitation of care in the process. Privileged Charlotte Waverly leaves all she has ever known to become one of the first nurses in the Union Army, to the opposition of her fiance who gives her an ultimatum--to choose love and marriage, or a cause dear to her heart that only seems to be losing.
    From Amazon: Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.
  9. Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green
    What's so wonderful about this series is that, while each book can be read alone, when they are read together in the order you get the entirety of the Civil War, more appearances by secondary characters from earlier books, and a new "angle" of the war not often explored in fiction. This book reminded me most of Gone with the Wind due to its primary setting of Atlanta and the struggle to survive the Southerners faced during the second half of the war. AND of course, there's Sherman marching ever-nearer, too. The intriguing romance between Caitlin and Noah was a tender one, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading way past midnight. And possibly cry like I did. Fair warning.
  10. Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green
    Okay so this is the one and only Jocelyn Green book I haven't read yet but I'm including it because it's bound to be amazing, the conclusion of her Heroines Behind the Lines series and I will be reading it soon. And, it's set in Richmond--the capitol of the Confederacy. And I'm also rather Type A and wanted 10 even on my list. 

Link Love:

My dear friend Carrie over at Reading is My Superpower is sharing about WWII novels (my second favorite era!) and Miranda at A Real Writer's Life is sharing ten books you should read if you love old-fashioned romance.
Meghan Gorecki
Meghan Gorecki

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.


  1. ahhhhhhhhh!!!! Thank you for the shoutout, my dear Meghan!! And oh how I love your running commentary on how many copies of these awesome books you own! #noshame The Lynn Austin series is one of my very faves as is Jocelyn Green's. I won all 4 - signed - paperback - in a contest last year and was giddy. Excellent selection, my friend! Added a few to my TBR... i probably shouldn't thank you for that ;)

  2. This is a great list! I looove Little Women, too! It's one of favorite novels, second only to Anne of Green Gables. Such a good book. And I've been interested in reading Gone With The Wind. Will have to get to that one soon!

    Again, thank you so much for linking my post! It means a lot to me.


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