"GONE FOR A SOLDIER," by Marsha Ward, WestWard Books, $13.95, 308 pages (f)
Rulon Owen and Mary Hillbrands are in love and want to marry, but first they must survive the war that breaks out between the North and South.
Like all his neighbors, Rulon feels a deep need to protect the land that is his home, so when Virginia secedes from the United States he volunteers to serve in the cavalry of the Confederate Army. As he fights, Rulon discovers that his survival depends on avoiding death not only from Yankee gunfire but also from the knife of a deranged tentmate.
In “Gone for a Soldier,” Marsha Ward chronicles the experiences of the brave men who battle in the war between the States and those who support them at home.
While Rulon is trying to survive the war, his sweetheart, Mary, must deal with the dislike her parents have for the man she loves. The interminable conflict, especially with her mother, makes life for Mary difficult as she waits for her man to return to help her raise their newborn son.
Not to be outdone, Rulon’s younger brother, Ben, also finds himself preparing to serve his country in battle. And, before he leaves, his desire is to take Ella Ruth Allen to be his wife. But Ella’s father is dead-set against the match for very personal reasons: Ella Ruth's family is wealthy, and Ben is the son of a farmer. The romance between these two lovers appears to be over before it even begins.
“Gone for a Soldier” is a moving, well-researched story that will take readers on a trip to the difficult times of 1860s Virginia. Focusing equally on the war experiences of the men and the events that happen to the women and families who remain at home, Ward draws readers into the world of the Civil War as viewed from a Southern perspective.
This new book is a prequel to Ward’s Owen Family Saga series but can be read as a standalone volume. The story includes war violence, tense encounters, bloodshed and mild swearing. There is some intimacy between the characters, but nothing is described in detail.
Ward lives in Arizona and is an LDS author. “Gone for a Soldier” is a 2014 Whitney Award finalist in the historical category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.