Synopses & Reviews
A best-selling novelist enlists her own sister to bring us the story of two Southern sisters, disguised as men, who join the Confederate Army—one seeking vengeance on the battlefield, the other finding love.
In a war pitting brother against brother, two sisters choose their own battle.
Joseph and Thomas are fresh recruits for the Confederate Army, daring to join the wild fray that has become the seemingly endless Civil War, sharing everything with their fellow soldiers—except the secret that would mean their undoing: they are sisters.
Before the war, Joseph and Thomas were Josephine and Libby. But that bloodiest battle, Antietam, leaves Libby to find her husband, Arden, dead. She vows vengeance, dons Arden’s clothes, and sneaks off to enlist with the Stonewall Brigade, swearing to kill one Yankee for every year of his too-short life. Desperate to protect her grief-crazed sister, Josephine insists on joining her. Surrounded by flying bullets, deprivation, and illness, the sisters are found by other dangers: Libby is hurtling toward madness, haunted and urged on by her husband’s ghost; Josephine is falling in love with a fellow soldier. She lives in fear both of revealing their disguise and of losing her first love before she can make her heart known to him.
In her trademark “vibrant” (Washington Post Book World) and “luscious” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) prose, Kathy Hepinstall joins with her sister Becky to show us the hopes of love and war, the impossible-to-sever bonds of sisterhood, and how what matters most can both hurt us and heal us.
"Laurence Bartram is a young widower grappling not only with the loss of his young wife and infant son but also with a return to normalcy after his service in World War I when he receives a letter from Mary Emmett, the sister of a boyhood friend, asking him to look into her brothers supposed suicide. He is as intrigued by Mary herself as he is by her letter, and his investigations uncover a series of crimes and help Laurence confront his own horrendous memories of the war. An absorbing mystery set in postwar London, Spellers literary debut is brimming with historical details of the period and doesnt shy away from wars atrocities. There are many references to British writers and poets that the average American reader may not be familiar with, and the myriad names of officers and soldiers may be confusing. VERDICT World War I history buffs will enjoy this mystery, as will fans of period pieces set in London. Readers who like Jacqueline Winspears Maisie Dobbs series will enjoy this as well." [Previewed in M.M. Adjarians genre spotlight, "Dispatches from the Edge," Library Journal "Elegant, engrossing read."-- Publishers Weekly "Elegantly written anti-war saga."-- Kirkus
“Sisters of Shiloh
is an unsparing, bloody, emotional tour de force. With Kathy’s experience as a best-selling author and Becky’s history degree, the Hepinstalls are a highly effective writing team. They present lucky readers with a tale of love and hate, vengeance and devotion, and the darkest secrets imaginable. Highly recommended for all.” — Historical Novels Review
“The Hepinstall sisters provide a fascinating glimpse into Civil War life from an unconventional perspective.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The very best historical fiction delivers us into another time and place. In Sisters of Shiloh, Kathy and Becky Hepinstall plunge us so deeply into a complete and vividly rendered world of Civil War battlefields and Confederate campsites, we can smell the gun powder and taste the metallic tinge of fear along with their remarkable heroines.” — Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary
Damaged but not broken by his service in the Great War, and living a solitary widower's life in a London attic, accidental detective Laurence Bartram looks into the suspicious death of an old friend and discovers much more than he wishes to.
“Intriguing . . . a captivating wartime whodunit.” –Boston Globe
London, 1920. In the aftermath of the Great War and a devastating family tragedy, Laurence Bartram has turned his back on the world. But with a well-timed letter, an old flame manages to draw him back in. Mary Emmett’s brother John—like Laurence, an officer during the war—has apparently killed himself while in the care of a remote veterans’ hospital, and Mary needs to know why.
Aided by his friend Charles—a dauntless gentleman with detective skills cadged from mystery novels—Laurence begins asking difficult questions. What connects a group of war poets, a bitter feud within Emmett’s regiment, and a hidden love affair? Was Emmett’s death really a suicide, or the missing piece in a puzzling series of murders? As veterans tied to Emmett continue to turn up dead, and Laurence is forced to face the darkest corners of his war experiences, his own survival may depend on uncovering the truth.
“An elegant, moving read.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In the wake of the Great War, Laurence Bartram has turned his back on the world. But with a well-timed letter, an old flame draws him back in. John Emmett, Laurences friend and fellow veteran, has apparently killed himself while in the care of a remote veterans hospital, and his sister Mary needs to know why.
Laurence begins asking difficult questions. What connects a group of war poets, a feud within Emmetts regiment, and a hidden love affair? Was Johns death really a suicide, or one in a puzzling string of murders? To uncover the truth, Laurence must revisit his own searing experiences on the Western Front.
An exquisite literary mystery, The Return of Captain John Emmett blends psychological depth with lively storytelling from the golden age of British crime fiction.
Praise for The Return of Captain John Emmett
“A complex and gripping novel of post World War I England still devastated by violence and loss, Elizabeth Speller’s The Return of Captain John Emmett recreates a bygone era of great innocence and incomprehensible depravity through richly imagined narrative and characters.”—Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic’s Daughter and The Wolves of Andover
“Haunting and beautifully written. A delicious journey into post-World War I England in all its trauma and angst.”—C. S. Harris, author of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries
“This fabulously enjoyable novel has absolutely everything . . . Speller’s writing is gorgeous, her research immaculate and very lightly worn. Sheer bliss.”—Times (UK)
“An intelligent thriller . . . An involving and sensitively written examination of guilt and moral culpability: a fine achievement.”—The Independent (UK)
“A remarkable piece of storytelling.”—Financial Times (UK)
Amid the ravages of the Civil War, two sisters join the Confederate Army disguised as men—one seeking vengeance for her husbands death, the other hoping to keep them both alive but then finding love on the battlefield.
About the Author
KATHY HEPINSTALL grew up outside of Houston, Texas. Kathy is the best-selling author of The House of Gentle Men, The Absence of Nectar, and Blue Asylum. She is an award-winning creative director and advertising writer. She currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband.
BECKY HEPINSTALL grew up outside of Houston, Texas. She holds a degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with her husband, a Navy pilot, and their four children.