Just another GR refugee. Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.
This novel, an account of a year's worth of the American Civil War from the perspectives of the parents in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, is a stunning book.
"March," as he is known, who is very seriously idealistic, has gone off to be a chaplain with the Union army, and always starts his chapters with his letters home, which very often aren't accurate as to what's going on around him. He also remembers back to the last time he was in Virginia, as a young man, when he was a "Yankee peddler," and his first up-close experiences with slavery.
He then takes part in an episode modeled on the "Port Royal Experiment," wherein slaves had fled to the Union-occupied sea islands of South Carolina, and the first experiment was made in blacks governing themselves. (I read this novel on one of those sea islands, and much recommend both a visit to Port Royal and the Gullah Tour on Hilton Head.)
The last part of the novel is narrated from the perspective of "Marmee," his wife, after he has ended up in a hospital (which any girl raised on Little Women would be expecting). This is just as fascinating, as it tackles some of the same events from very different perspectives as to what was actually happening.
I was one of those little girls raised with Little Women, but I think that this novel would be just as strong for a reader who had not been exposed to that American childhood classic. This book is probably the best novel I've read this year, not counting re-reads.