Inspired by the photo of a young girl found by the real-life Private Thomas W. Timberlake of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, Company G, THE UNNAMED GIRL is a Civil War story of love, loss, and redemption. Though Mike H. Mizrahi’s impetus for writing his novel was spurred by the story of Timberlake’s discovery of an unidentified girl’s photo, the story created in THE UNNAMED GIRL is gleaned entirely from the author’s imagination.
Confederate Private Jonathan Woodard–Woody to his friends–suffers the soul-crushing demons and nightmares with which many of his fellow soldiers from both sides of the battle struggle. On June 9, 1862, after the Battle of Port Republic, Virginia, Woody spies a gleaming object on the ground and, as he draws near, hears the voice of a child compelling him to “find my family” in exchange for peace of mind. As the war drones on, Woody does indeed find peace in the ambrotype of the unidentified girl, and he determines to find her family after the war, a feat that will change the course of his life and have him question everything for which he fought.
Mizrahi deftly weaves a story of the Civil War from both sides of the struggle through a variety of characters. Woody and his childhood friend, Lucas Halverston, fight for the Confederacy as sons of the state of Virginia. Meanwhile, Rebecca Johnston helps with the Underground Railroad from her Southern Ohio farm. As stories of both North and South are revealed in alternating chapters, the characters become set on a course in which their paths will cross, as Woody fulfills what he views as his obligation to find the family of the unnamed girl whose picture has helped him endure the tragedies of war. Both Woody and Rebecca face loss and heartache, but can they find hope as the war comes to an end? Can those who have stood on separate sides of such a divisive issue find common ground and forgiveness?
Readers won’t want to miss this fascinating story of one man’s search for redemption after the horrors of war. THE UNNAMED GIRL is a page-turner filled with all the elements of great storytelling–compelling characters, fast-paced plot, and a satisfying and refreshing resolution.
~Kat Kennedy for IndieReader