by Sarah MacTavish
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release date: April 2019
When Lincoln calls for volunteers to put down the rebellion, four friends become soldiers for different reasons. Freedom. Justice. Love. Revenge. But they’re united by a secret… one of them is a girl in disguise.
“This is my country, and I aim to fight for it. You can help me, or get out of my way. Your choice.”
Hidden under an over-sized uniform and a false name, Saoirse Callahan strives to prove herself as strong and brave as any other soldier. But when an old enemy appears in camp, she knows it’s only a matter of time before her identity is exposed. And what will happen to her friends if she’s discovered?
“I’m quite certain what I am willing to die for. But taking a life is another matter entirely.”
Westleigh Kavanagh is a scholar, not a soldier. Still he enlists, because he believes their cause is holy–freedom for all, at any cost. When the bullets start flying, he realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. Too late to turn back, Westleigh prays that they’ll all make it home safely. But can his soul survive the journey?
I didn’t hear a word of Reverend Bischoff’s sermon, staring down at my tapping toes, thumbing through my Bible over and over. My mind was in a haze ever since Jack told me he meant to enlist. After the news of that fort in South Carolina surrendering, Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the rebellion. Seventy-five thousand soldiers. And Jack would be one of them it seemed.
He’d go, all right, and with Allison and all the Horner brothers likely to follow. Westleigh would stay behind of course. He’d already got himself teaching back at the little schoolhouse on the hill, doing at least some small something with his life. I would be trapped here. Aimless, useless, and bored. Jack would leave me alone.
I didn’t care two bits what he said. If he went away to war, I’d be on his heels no matter how hard he fought me. And so I spent most the morning in church attempting to go over the particulars in my head. But it was difficult to concentrate, seeing Jack twisting Abigail’s ring between his fingers.
I blinked away the water in my eyes. I knew why he had to go. ‘Twas why I was so desperate to join him. Together we’d fight, perhaps even die in her memory, and for all of those still in bondage. For freedom.
It was the very least we could do.
I caught Westleigh staring at me. I quickly turned my head aside to hide my tears. Ever since he came home he’d been on my own heels like a lost puppy, and I tried my hardest to avoid him. The last thing I wanted right now was his sympathy. Or worse, having him talk sense into me with those big, sad eyes of his.
The church-folk stood to sing and to pray, and I breathed in the trepidation of those around me like factory smoke. It set my lungs and throat on fire so that I could only whisper along. Even Allison, near the front with his family, seemed disquieted.
As we dispersed, the usual hum of conversation and laughter was subdued. Families went home, with few lingering about on the lawn. Allison dragged Westleigh off to who-knows-where. But Jack and I stood with my da and the Bischoffs, waiting for the reverend to finishing shaking hands so that we could go to the tavern for our Sunday afternoon meal. I say we stood together, but ‘twas more the men were gathered in a tight huddle, with Lucy and myself on the outside. Jack had his back to me, whispering. As if I didn’t know what they spoke about.
“Don’t think there will be a regiment formed around here.” George shook his head. “Likely the boys around this area are heading to Pittsburgh to enlist.”
David gripped Jack’s shoulder. “You’re sure about this?”
“Absolutely. Leaving first thing tomorrow.”
I folded my arms and ground my heel into the dirt.
George finally noticed me, and his mouth flipped into a grin. “You’ll have to take it up with Saoirse, from the looks of it.”
About the Author
Sarah MacTavish is a librarian-author who writes historical fiction for teens. She’s also a gamer, cat lady, and Hufflepuff. When Sarah isn’t writing, she’s either gaming, working on the family tree, or reading Star Wars novels.
Connect with her online and get the latest updates on her books at www.sarahmactavish.com
Instagram – http://instagram.com/sarahmactavish
I will be giving away a digital copy of Paladin to a winner chosen randomly from anyone who signs up for my newsletter between May 13-18. (you can either link to my website or the signup directly at this link: http://eepurl.com/dxJnJz )