Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gone For A Soldier by Marsha Ward

Rulon Owen loves two things more than life---his country and Mary Hilbrands.

When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself
fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay
alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union
army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of
vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it
home to his wife and the son he's never seen.

Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle
for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come
home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary
has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness
and the unknown future ahead.

Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not
all enemies wear the Union blue.


There is so much to love about "Gone For A Soldier" that it is difficult to know where to start. I found the novel to be riveting on many levels. I enjoyed this portion of the Owens family saga as the Owens men made preparations to fight for their "new country" (the South), their God, their women, and their children. It was refreshing to read about men who honored their women. The men fought valiantly in battle and the women on the home front, each person having to find the courage to do what they used to think is impossible.

The story mostly revolves around 3 couples, the heads of the Owens' clan: Rod and Julia, as well as 2 of their sons and their wives: Rulon and Mary (and their son: Roddy) and Ben and Ella Ruth. War changes each of them in many ways, but it also gives each of them purpose to get through the day, not wanting to disappoint their loved ones that they are away from. 

Marsha Ward has a gift for writing well-rounded characters that you can't help but root for. You may want to shake them at times (as in the case of Ella Ruth), but you always want them to achieve their goals and dreams. I was reminded while reading "Gone For A Soldier" that some of the perceptions that people used to have about their bodies and the bodies of others has changed in a good way, but more so, I found myself wishing that people living today honored themselves and others the way the Owens were taught. A lot of society's ills could be mended if people felt more responsibility for those around them and accountable to maintain their own personal integrity. 

I write realistic fiction of a stalwart, contemporary farm family, so reading about the Owens family resonated with me deeply. (I also have an Owens family in my series--though they start out the bad guys in my story. (Maybe my Owens' are a branch of the contemporary black sheep family tree of Marsha's Owens'?)  Probably not. :) 

At any rate. I enjoyed Gone For a Soldier. I laughed (not so much after the war started), I cried (more than I care to admit--but hey--it's war time and bad things happen), and most of all, I rooted for each and every one of the characters--except Von Garth--he's a mean piece of vermin. 

Purchase links and a Rafflecopter can be found at the end of the post.

Laugh lots ... Love much ... Write on! ;) 


Rulon saw the bend in the road ahead where lay the turnoff to a lane that he could find on the

darkest of nights. At the end of the lane, his family would be going about their daily tasks,

perhaps thinking about him, perhaps not. He cleared the bend in the road and reined the horse

into the wide path. He had to be quick. Harrisonburg wasn’t far away, as the crow flies, but he

would need most of the time left of the day to make the trip on horseback.

Julianna saw him first when she turned from feeding the hogs. “Rulon!” his younger sister

shouted, then dropped her pails and ran toward him, braids flying, spindly legs showing beneath

her swirling skirt, skinny arms outstretched to him.

He dismounted before she reached him and caught her in his arms, noting the tears streaking her


“Why are you goin’ to fight?” The anxiety in her voice caused it to come out high and thin, and

he hugged her tighter than before.

“Our country needs me,” he answered, muffling his answer against her sunbonnet.

“What if you die?” she wailed.

He couldn’t reply. When he raised his head to take a last look around the place, Ma was there

with Marie beside her, their grave faces bringing a lump to his already tight throat.

Then Albert, the mischievous scamp, came running down the lane, with Pa and the rest of the

boys walking behind him. Ben was the only one missing. They had made their farewells in town.

He had to hug them all, even Pa. Then Ma began a prayer, and they quit their hats, joined hands

right there in the lane, and listened to her heartfelt plea for a short war and safety for the troops.

As Ma spoke the “amen” and the family joined in, Rulon was reminded that he hadn’t left Mary

with a prayer. Mayhap he should have, instead of bedding her one last time. Devotion to God

should be in their marriage, as it was in his parents’ union, he reminded himself. As he climbed

on the horse, he pledged that he would be a better husband when he got the chance. If I get the


Gone For A Soldier Tour:

October 9   www.saslack.com
October 11 http://stephaniesaysso.blogspot.com/ AND/OR http://stephaniereadthat.blogspot.com/


Marsha Ward was born in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, in the southwestern United States; and grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She became a storyteller at an early age, regaling her neighborhood friends with her fanciful tales during after-school snacks. Her love of the 19th Century Western era was reinforced by visits to her cousins on their ranch, and listening to her father's stories of homesteading in Old Mexico and in the southern part of Arizona.

Over the years, Marsha became an award-winning poet, writer and editor, with over 900 pieces of published work, including her acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, and a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West. A workshop presenter and writing teacher, Marsha makes her home in a tiny forest hamlet in Arizona. When she is not writing, she loves to spoil her grandchildren, travel, give talks, meet readers, and sign books. Visit her at either her website or one of her blogs!


Buy links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Marsha Ward

Oh Monique! Thank you for enjoying GONE FOR A SOLDIER so much. Thank you for taking part in my Book Tour. Just...thank you!


You are most welcome, Marsha. Gone For A Soldier was a true pleasure. ;)

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