Love and Valor – Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner
Love and Valor by Charles F. Larimer is a love story that transcends time. Told over the era of the Civil War, it’s a passionate and loving portrayal of family and love in the time of strife. The book is comprised of letters between Jacob “Jake” and Emeline “Em” Ritner, a husband and wife forced apart by war but held together by the bonds of love. As requested by Jake himself, the letters are an incredibly detailed portrayal of daily life as a volunteer infantryman and a woman on the homestead. He drinks up every word she writes to him and begs for sheets of more detail with each and every letter. He wonders what she’s doing when she wakes up, if she’s thinking of him, what the children are doing, and how their family is faring. She reciprocates with similar questions for him and the close-knit community he shares with his fellow infantrymen. Amongst the letters are interludes by the author offering explanations, histories, and letters from people surrounding the Ritners. In this revision, the addition of pictures, journal entries, and maps bring this story to life. The honesty that the couple shares with each other makes the letters feel timeless. Their openness in talking about their daily lives from farming to finances to infantry feels like a modern partnership. Emeline’s letters keep Jacob alive and Jacob keeps Emeline sane at home. It’s a stellar depiction of life during the Civil War and offers an interesting and captivating history that reads like an impossible love story rather than a true excerpt of life in 1862. Even if you weren’t interested in history before you will certainly leave this book with a better understanding and appreciation of life and love during the Civil War.
The hardcover book itself is quite large and hefty to read but the layout of the letters and the peppered information therein make the reading feel less dense. The prose is easy to understand and intriguing enough to even hold the attention of a reader with little interest in that particular historical period. It’s clearly well-edited considering it is a revision of a book that was produced almost a decade ago and the additions only serve to highlight and further flesh out the story of these individuals and their lives. The story itself grips you and leaves you feeling like you truly understand the people within its pages. Larimer has obvious ties considering he is a family relative of the Ritners and his care and compassion to tell the story of his ancestors shines through this book.
|Author||Charles F Larimer|
|Page Count||652 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|