Friday, April 07, 2006

The Glory Cloak

On errand day, I try to include a stop at our local library. I treat it as my reward for completing the chores of the week. The library is only a couple years old and is a wonderful place to just go and wander around. This latest book that I read, I found sitting out on a display unit. I don't even remember what the theme of the display was but, the cover and title caught my eye so I picked it up and checked it out. I'm so glad that I did...for this was a wonderful book I might not have ever discovered, had it not been for that display of books.

The Glory Cloak, by Patricia O'Brien, is a historical fiction story involving Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton. The story itself is narrated by a fictional character, Susan Gray, who in this tale is a younger cousin to the famed author of Little Women. They travel together to Washington DC to work as nurses during the Civil War. It is here that they meet up with Ms. Barton, the "Angel of the Battlefield" and the story begins to take off. The timeline for the story is from the 1850s- to the late 1880s and the author weaves in elements of history while creating a fictional story involving the friendship between Ms. Alcott and her cousin, Susan.

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the language and style of the book. I'm used to reading books set in the present so this is a common problem I encounter when I change gears and read a book set in a different era. I especially liked learning more about the works of Clara Barton. I'd heard about her: either in nursing school (yes, we had to take such exciting classes as the history of nursing!) or in the military (where again, we had to listen to seminars on the History of the Army nurse). She truly was a remarkable woman: tending to the needs of the injured while also pushing the government to improve the ways in which they notified the families of the status of the wounded soldiers. I also liked how the author added some insight into who Louisa May Alcott was and how the stories she wrote related to her own upbringing and life. My only complaint to the story would be the age difference between the narrator and Louisa May Alcott. She was 10 years younger than Miss Alcott. Yes, I have friends 10 years older and 10 years younger than me and we get along great. But, I doubt we would have been "childhood pals" given this age difference. I'm not sure why the author created such a wide age gap. She could have achieved a similar story while having the cousin be closer in age.

As with any good book, it left me wanting to learn more. Read more. And so off I do just that (not to mention, Thing One is begging for his chance at the computer and I've got other things to do beside read and blog!)

1 comment:

agent713 said...

Hmph. Well *my* library doesn't have this book. I many need to add it to their "to be purchased list" :)

Thanks for the review though. It looks really interesting.