If you’re reporting news, you don’t generally want to become the news. However, other than unearthing that ‘Joseph’ is actually Josephine Breaux, the article in their competitor’s paper is wrong. She is not a spy even though she speaks with generals on both sides of the war. She all but loses her job with the Morning Clarion, a paper in Washington, DC. The Pinkerton agents place her under arrest as a spy and traitor, but their ultimate purpose is to use Josephine in a mission.
She meets President Abraham Lincoln who convinces her how valuable she will be for the Union side. She has a unique ability to get people to open up to her as she’s able to speak in many dialects and accents. Lincoln felt the key to controlling the war was to win the south through New Orleans. Josephine knows New Orleans like the back of her hand. She’d grown up there. She manages to work for the New Orleans Daily Crescent, a paper whose editor has heard of the accusations against her, yet welcomes her at almost any salary. Her first assignment … Fort Jackson. She’s able then to provide feedback about their fortification and troop preparations.
This historical fiction novel is set during the Civil War just after the battle of Bull Run. Michael Wallace skillfully unveils the historical version of the streets and conditions of New Orleans without pulling the reader away from the story line. This is not based on an actual character yet the story itself is believable based on historical happenings. Josephine Breaux was presented as strong willed and even a bit arrogant. Yet, she was a likable character. There is also a bit of a love story. Rating: 4 out of 5.