I recently received a copy of Year of Disunion: A Novel of the Dawn of the American Civil War by Blythe Forcey Toussaint. I honestly did not know what to expect from the book but I can now honestly say that I enjoyed reading the story. While the story is about the events leading up to the Civil War it is more about the story of a family from Vermont and sisters Lettie and Roxana.
According to the back cover:
“On the morning of July 21, 1861, several hundred civilians set out to Centreville, picnics packed, to watch the battle of Bull Run. Year of Disunion is a novel that explores who these people were and what their experience might have been. The story opens in Vermont as two very different sisters, Lettie and Roxana, reunite after years apart while Roxana is enduring a near-fatal childbirth. Changes caused by the war take them to Washington and an invitation to watch the battle, along with their five young children. Things do not go well for the spectators. Visions of champagne toasts to celebrate a glorious, easy Yankee victory are shattered as dishonorable retreat drives the civilians from the field along with the soldiers. After the battle, Lettie is pursued by her abusive, wealthy husband, and Roxana travels south to find her husband, chaplain to the 2nd Vermont, who has been captured and made a prisoner of war. Events lead characters into wartime Washington, DC; Raleigh, NC; Cairo, IL; and the North Carolina Outer Banks, as they respond to the “disunion” the war brings to their lives throughout the remainder of 1861.”
The story is about Lettie running away from her husband and going to live with Roxana and her Reverend husband, Josheph. Joseph enlists in the Union Army as a chaplain and is taken captive at the Battle of Bull Run and so the sisters pack up their family and set out in search of her husband.
Year of Disunion: A Novel of the Dawn of the American Civil War at 320 pages, is a good read and tells a very good story. Ms. Toussaint has clearly done her research and it is reflected in the narrative. While not a military or technical book about battle details, the story is about family and how they struggled with the events on the homefront.
Year of Disunion: A Novel of the Dawn of the American Civil War is a bit wordy or slow in parts but it does not take away from the overall story. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a Civil War themed historical fiction novel.