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Archive for November 25th, 2018

Keta Diablo: Women in the Civil War
Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Researching the Civil War can be rewarding and fascinating. I particularly like to dig through the annals of history in search of information about women who lived through this turbulent and very bloody time.

Before the war, elite southern society considered their wives and women, in general, no better or no worse than their black slaves. At birth, girls became the property of their fathers (mothers had no ‘legal’ claim to their children). When they married, women became the property of their husbands, and so did any land or valuables they might have owned prior to that marriage. Their marital position placed them in charge of a household that catered to the needs of their “white family and their husband’s slaves”.

Before marriage, women were not expected to need much of an education because most married at a young age and spent the rest of their lives engaged in domestic work. After marriage, the fear of continued pregnancy gave them cause for worry as many of them died in childbirth.

Despite some of the gloomy statistics of how Southern women were regarded in society, many stepped out of their standard roles and excelled in situations far beyond their educations or knowledge when Civil War came to their towns. There are countless stories of women serving as nurses in make-shift hospitals, women making three hundred uniforms in one month for their particular army, and women inventing artificial limbs and medicinal concoctions for wounded soldiers. Although rare, some women even disguised themselves and served as soldiers in both the Confederate and Union armies.

But there was another type of soldier who proved to be more relevant and effective for both the Cause and the Union. These women were spies. They wore hoop skirts for a uniform, and their arsenal included charm, grace, and guile. Female spies performed a very valuable service to the war effort regardless of which side they spied for.

One of the most famous was Belle Boyd—beautiful, educated, and quite daring. She was the daughter of a Virginia tobacco plantation owner. One of the elite in Southern society, she became a war agent at the age of seventeen when she shot and killed a Northern soldier as he attacked her mother. That daring act was followed by many others after she was appointed courier for Generals Beauregard and Jackson. Her autobiography, Belle Boyd, in Camp and Prison, recounted stories of her dangerous deeds which spanned a period of nearly three years.

Belle once rode thirty miles overnight with news of a Yankee attack, and her successful mission was responsible for saving many confederate lives, but not without a personal attack upon her character. The Northern press labeled her a “village courtesan” who gained her secrets through “sexual conduct.” Belle was not discouraged but continued to gather vital information for the South. She used her feminine innocence to obtain the battle plan that allowed Jackson’s troops to capture Front Royal, Virginia. A Union major complained that Belle Boyd had done more damage to the Union than half the men of the Confederacy. Six times, she had been captured, sometimes imprisoned for months but often released. She was certainly an example of a Southern lady who made a difference through her role in the Civil War.

The heroine in Land of Falling Stars, Sophia Whitfield, is not a spy, but like many women of the time, she suffers drastic repercussions when the Civil War came to Fredericksburg, VA. I think the blurb sums up perfectly Sophia’s life as she struggles to save her beloved childhood home, Arbor Rose.

Land of Falling Stars

The United States is torn asunder by Civil War.

Two men, linked together by their love for one woman, Sophia Whitfield, answer the call of duty.

An arranged marriage to Jesse James Grantham has been in the works since Sophia and Jesse were children. When he leaves to fight for his beloved South, he promises Sophia they’ll whip those Johnny Rebs in no time and when he returns, they’ll get married under her mother’s rose arbor.

Sophia’s best friend from childhood, Gavin Langdale, enlists to fight for the North. Why does she feel as if he’s taking her heart with him the day he leaves for war? She loves Jesse…doesn’t she?

After Sophia’s parents die in a fire, she struggles to save Arbor Rose. Most of the slaves have run off, the South is in tatters and so is the only home she’s ever known. Another bluecoat is staggering down the hill, coming to steal the last of her meager possessions. Before the hated enemy has a chance to commit the vilest of acts, she shoots him.

And then discovers its Gavin, the champion of her youth.

Dark secrets lurk in Gavin’s memory, secrets much darker than the despicable acts of war. He carries a message for Sophia, a missive from Jesse. When he finds the courage to tell her what really happened to Jesse on that bloody battlefield, she’ll hate him—hate him until she draws her last breath.

A powerful story of lies, betrayal and a love that burns brighter than all the stars in Heaven.


What reviewers are saying about Land of Falling Stars

“Land of Falling Stars lured me in immediately with its lyrical title and instantly captivated me with the haunting love story of Gavin and Sophia.”

“The author pens a story that is unlike any other. Land of Falling Stars makes you believe in the possibility of retribution and the hope of finding your brass ring in the last place you look.”

“Diablo has penned a beautiful and haunting love story full of passion, deception, danger. Land of Falling Stars will leave you breathless and longing for more!”


If you’d like to read more about the Civil War and Sophia and Gavin’s haunting love story, you can buy Land of Falling Starsfor 99 cents for a limited time.  Available on all venues here:


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