The Glory Cloak: Book summary and reviews of The Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien

The Glory Cloak

A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton

By Patricia O'Brien

The Glory Cloak
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2004,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

From childhood, Susan Gray and her cousin Louisa May Alcott have shared a safe, insular world of outdoor adventures and grand amateur theater -- a world that begins to evaporate with the outbreak of the Civil War. Frustrated with sewing uniforms and wrapping bandages, the two women journey to Washington, D.C.'s Union Hospital to volunteer as nurses. Nothing has prepared them for the horrors of this grueling experience. There they meet the remarkable Clara Barton -- the legendary Angel of the Battlefield -- and she becomes their idol and mentor. Soon one wounded soldier begins to captivate and puzzle them all -- a man who claims to be a blacksmith, but whose appearance and sharp intelligence suggest he might not be who he says he is.

Through the Civil War and its chaotic aftermath to the apex of Louisa's fame as the author of Little Women and Lincoln's appointment of Clara to the job of finding and naming the war's missing and dead, this novel is ultimately the story of friendship between women -- women who broke the mold society set for them, while still reckoning with betrayal, love, and forgiveness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With its vivid portrayals of a wartime hospital and of Andersonville, this is a briskly paced, engaging work of historical fiction." - Booklist.

"From the radical, transcendentalist village life of nineteenth-century Concord, Massachusetts, to the horrors of the Civil War hospitals in Washington, D.C., Patricia O'Brien has given us a portrait of our country at its time of greatest peril and greatest hope. Part romance, part mystery, part history, The Glory Cloak is most of all a story of remarkable women, their private struggles and public deeds that helped make possible the best of our own world." - Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek.

"Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton are splendid protagonists in this vivid and revealing story of our Civil War." - Gore Vidal.

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Author Information

Patricia O'Brien Author Biography

Patricia O'Brien's award-winning career has spanned the worlds of books - fiction and non-fiction - journalism, politics and education. 

Her latest novel, The Dressmaker, written under the pseudonym of Kate Alcott, is a New York Times best seller.  Centered on the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, it was published by Doubleday in 2012.  Another novel, The Daring Ladies of Lowell, is slated for publication in 2014.

She is the co-author, along with Ellen Goodman, of  the New York Times non-fiction bestseller entitled, I Know Just What You Mean – The Power of Friendship In  Women's Lives.

She is also the author of two other historical novels, Harriet and Isabella, a novel about Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was published by Simon and ...

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