A Spy's Eyes: Rachael's Story

Book Four of Antebellum Struggles

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
261 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In Dickie Erman’s compelling historical novel, A Spy's Eyes: Rachael's Story, a spy for the Confederacy leaves the South, determined to help their side win the American Civil War. What Rachael Carrington did not count on is the doubt that begins to creep into her mind after interacting with those on the other side of the war. Born of a slave black woman and a white affluent cotton plantation owner, Rachael has never known the suffering inflicted by slavery. Bold but naïve, Rachael convinces her father and his friends of the crucial role she could play for the Confederacy as a spy. She is placed under Madam Pinkerton, an elderly woman, also a spy for the Confederacy, who instructs her on what she is to do. When the reality of the war begins to sink in, specifically the role she is playing in betraying her friends, Rachael begins to rethink her stance.

A Spy's Eyes: Rachael's Story remains focused on the main character, Rachael, as she experiences her journey of enlightenment. She leaves the South, sure of her convictions. In the North, she begins to see slavery for what it is. The work is fast-paced which makes it captivating. The scenes are creative as they feature engaging conversations. The internal dialogue going on in Rachael’s mind reveals the conflict within her and the beginning of her change. The work is also covered by a shroud of suspense. Rachael has to be careful of every word she says. As a spy, she risks being charged with treason, which could ultimately mean death. A Spy's Eyes: Rachael's Story by Dickie Erman is a powerful story that follows the growth and change in the perspective of a Confederate spy.

Deborah Lloyd

Rachael Horton, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and a slave, was raised as the daughter of he and his wife. She had the features of a white woman and lived the life of a southern belle. The Civil War was raging, and her family strongly supported the Confederacy. If the South lost, their slaves would be freed, endangering cotton production and the family’s wealth. While many women supported the war effort by providing food, nursing, and other duties, Rachael wanted to do more. She became a Confederate spy, moving to Washington, DC and living with Margaret Pinkerton, known as Madam P. Rachael was introduced as her niece, and her purpose was to become friends with Union soldiers, learning war plans to pass onto the Confederate army. In the fourth book of the Antebellum Struggles, A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story, written by Dickie Erman, an intriguing aspect of the Civil War is detailed.

The story of this brave young woman is told in an easy-to-read style, keeping the reader engaged from the beginning to the end. As a historical fiction novel, there is interesting information regarding the spy network and how spies are found and prosecuted. Additionally, as Rachael develops relationships with the military and their wives, she grows to understand the beliefs held by the Union, challenging her own. There are many unexpected twists and turns in the plot, making this book a real page-turner. Author Dickie Erman has crafted an intriguing novel in A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story. It portrays an aspect of the war that is not well-known – spying. A compelling read!

Trudi LoPreto

Rachael is a young woman of mixed parentage living the good life on her father’s cotton plantation. As the war continues, Rachael wants to be part of it and help the South to win. She has no nursing skills but after hearing the story of a girl going North and acting as a spy to gain information, she believes that this is the path she must follow. After much talking, she finally convinces her father that this is a good idea and he reluctantly agrees. Rachael packs her bags and travels by wagon to a spy school where she learns how to behave. When she successfully passes this training, she is immediately sent to Washington, DC. She moves in with Madame Pinkerton, who is in her 80s and is a leading spy who has passed on many war secrets to the Confederates. Rachael is introduced to all of the young Northern soldiers as Madame P’s niece. The two women do very well hosting dinners, donating money and pretending to want an end to slavery. Rachael finds herself in many sticky situations and sometimes finds it hard to pretend to be for the North and against the owning of slaves. There are many twists and turns and decisions to be made but the surprise ending is well worth waiting for.

A Spy's Eyes: Rachael’s Story by Dickie Erman is a very interesting look at the Civil War and the battle for or against slavery. This book examines the thinking on both sides of the war. The way Rachael’s emotions were flipping back and forth in her feelings and beliefs created some thoughtful insights. At times I felt like the story was going a little slower than I would have liked, but overall it kept me glued to the pages and rooting for both Rachael and Mrs. Pinkerton not to get caught. Dickie Erman wrote the story with a great deal of empathy for both sides and portrayed a different angle to the usual Civil War story. I believe this book will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys historical novels.