Praise for Toe the Mark series books
I've walked around Little Round Top at Gettysburg and along Bull Run at Manassas, trying to understand the Civil War and connect with that time. But reading Henry Marts personal story, and the engagements of the Jersey Brigade, brought home to me the depth and breadth of the war. I'm left thinking about the other 2.75 million Civil War soldier stories, each unique, and looking forward to additional books in the "Toe the Mark" series.
Electrical engineer, Carnegie Mellon University
Available in paperback and Kindle editions.
Also in audio book format through Audible. Produced by I'm Hearing Stories.
Ruth Ochs Webster takes Jesse Cook, a soldier (and distant relative) who fought in the Civil War, and builds a story around him. Her work is fictional but holds to the facts she was able to find through research of his life and events of his time. Through her narrative we live Jesse's life for a year (1864-1865) as he enlists in the Union army and all that follows. While this is a story about a small piece of that war, it is far more a tale about the lives of those caught in it, Kentucky was a state literally in the middle of that great conflict. The story brings life to much of what Jesse, his family, his sweetheart Eliza, and the men of Jesse's company would have endured: the turmoil, dilemmas and tragedies of society at war with itself.
Webster does not let us off easy with how the story unfolds. The hardships of the time and cruelty of war are searing and she takes us right through it via her characters. This is a fictional telling but brings us straight to understanding the plight the men, women and children of this time endured.
Greg Moberg, Massachusetts
Jesse has everything a good story needs as he quickly emerges into manhood and leadership forced upon him by the challenges of this war that pits kin against kin. He learns to love and hate, to be fearful and fearless, and to wonder at any sense of war. Ruth tells his story with such passion that you can feel every emotion that Jesse feels as he sees his life change as he travels through the final days of the war. ...
Alan Meyers - Pittsburgh
What an excellent book! Ruth really knows how to bring the characters to life. This book is not just for the Civil War history buffs. This tale kept my interest and was very entertaining. Get this book! You will not regret it.
Donna Bowles - Maryland
It really grabbed my imagination. I keep thinking about Henry . . . could smell the leather, feel the coarse fabrics, smell the food, feel the dirt and blood, the soft touch of Christiana's hand . . . What a "raw" experience of life.
Graphic artist, Palm Springs
I don't usually read historical fiction, but I found Henry engaging. The author is good with dialog, which makes the story come alive . . . Recommend it to anyone interested in Civil War stories. Most of the facts are true and the fictional additions help the story flow.
Robert Meadows - Baltimore
Ruth Webster's writing in this historical novel is stellar. This would be a perfect gift for any Civil War buffs you might know.
Hana Haatainen Caye
Writer, Editor, Voice Over Artist
This book shines a light on the personal nature of the Civil War, especially for people in those states bordering the Mason-Dixon line where neighbors fought neighbors, cousins fought cousins, and brothers fought brothers. But more than a historical account, the narrative brings the reader into the personal moment--Jesse's horror and anguish over death in combat (of both friend and enemy), his camaraderie with fellow soldiers, his feeling and expressions of family kinship that spans Union and Confederacy.
And in those moments, as I read and internalized the emotions; my eyes welled up and I personally felt the sadness and grief that must have been so prevalent in those times. I felt the personal loss of the war's death and destruction, and the deep conflicts felt by soldiers and citizens in those difficult times. I could empathize with the men and women and children of the 1860's who experienced personal and family losses that made even more important the moral principles and political necessity of the Civil War.
Dave L. - Pennsylvania
A smooth, believable read . . . Realistic historical novel . . . Would a young soldier be able to ignore his family's Quaker teachings to fight for the Union he believed in? Would he go home from the brutal war so changed that his sweetheart would not recognize him? The author is especially good with description that helps you believe you are there, on the spot.