The Lost Women of Mill Street by Kinley Bryan

Publisher: Blue Mug Press

Published: 7 May 2024

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, American Historical Fiction

Pages: 282          

Available: Paperback, ebook

Violence: minimal

Sex: none, clean romance

 

The Short Story: A engaging survival story set during the American Civil War.

My Review: First my thanks to author Kinley Bryan for providing a review copy.

Sherman’s army is on the move across Georgia, burning and destroying buildings and infrastructure as they march across the rebellious state. Sisters, Clara and Kitty, work at a mill weaving tent canvas for the Confederate Army. The owners have long since fled, leaving the workers to fend for themselves. Fear of losing their jobs keeps them tethered to their machines. Clara wishes her fiancĂ©, Benjamin, would return from Nebraska to rescue them from the approaching violence.

Soon, their world is upended when they find themselves accused of traitorous acts and sent to a disease ridden POW camp. The Lost Women of Mill Street is the story of their survival and the rebuilding of their shattered lives.

I really enjoyed this story of Clara and Kitty and their struggles to not only survive the loss of jobs and home but also their plight as refugees in a strange city where they are often viewed as the enemy. Desperate to keep a roof over their heads, Clara looks for work while her sister recovers from illness. She’s timid but fierce, determined but wary of dreams. Kitty, once recovered, chaffs under Clara’s smothering love. She, the bolder of the two, knows what she wants, and urges Clara to do the same.

The story is not as straightforward as one might think and the author does a great job of surprising the reader with her plot twists. I found the history interesting and was unaware that civilians were arrested and sent to POW camps, women, children and the elderly included. I also learned a thing or two about 19th century women’s bonnets, which I ended up having to google so I could better visualize the author’s descriptions while reading!

Well written with a steady pace. It’s a clean read with limited violence and a sweet romance. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by the author. I recommend The Lost Women of Mill Street to readers of historical fiction, American Historical Fiction, readers who enjoy the Civil War Era, and women’s history.

I rate this book 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐




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