In the final Heroines behind the Lines novel, Sophie Kent, daughter of a wealthy Richmond slaveholder, has a dangerous loyalty to the Union, right in the heart of the Confederate capitol. Compelled to fight for her beliefs, she risks everything to spy on the Confederacy. When her old friend freelance journalist Harrison Caldwell turns up with a twin to one of the Kent slaves, Sophie finds encouragement--and new avenues--to continue her charade. However, it becomes all the more difficult when she realizes that to maintain her cover, she must deny her heart.
Spy of Richmond is an intense conclusion to the series. Due to all the connections between books--repeat secondary characters, cameos, and overlapping tales--I think it is more fulfilling to read the others first (besides that they are great literature), but the story is sufficiently strong to stand on its own.
I really liked how this book is so strongly connected; the plot lines of the secondary characters intertwine quickly with the major, so that the story has a solid, cohesive feel. While Sophie is an entirely new character, Harrison, Bella, and Abraham all appeared as secondary characters in Widow of Gettysburg. Bella and Abraham's story is continued, but the focus of the book is clearly on Sophie and Harrison, who take part in some incredible historic events.
Like in the other novels, Green molds her story over the rigid details of history, yet it never feels like a history lesson, even though it is packed with so many different details of Richmond's role in the war. From prison outbreaks to spy rings to the underground railroad--it is full of fascinating details.
The book deals with one of the hazier aspects of war: spies. The issue with spying is that so easily people get hurt; in order to effectively gather intelligence, one must make a practice to deceive, even those one loves. So under what circumstances do the ends justify the means? I think Sophie has the right answer: she is convicted by lying and practicing deception, yet she is convicted more by doing nothing to help the Union, which she feels in her soul is in the right. I think at times she may have gone too far, but in general she makes the right decision. But it is a fine line she treads.
As always, Green's writing is excellent, and her intense research unparalleled. This one just might be my favorite of the series. 5 out of 5 stars!
Heroines Behind the Lines
1. Wedded to War
2. Widow of Gettysburg
3. Yankee in Atlanta
4. Spy of Richmond