Edited and Illustrated by Judith Riker Damon
List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 236 pages
Weight: 0.0778 lb
Genre: Historical; Autobiography; War; Non-fiction
A Genteel Spy was far and away the most unique project I had a hand in editing. It’s a narrative memoir by Betsey Royce. Betsey was a 7-year-old girl when the American Civil War erupted in her home town of Franklin, Tenn. Her father joins General Hood’s army just before her mother is exiled from Franklin for spying for the Confederacy. Betsey wrote the memoir ten years later. Long after Betsey’s life, her granddaughter Judith Riker Damon compiled and edited the manuscript. Judith is an artist, so she also created some brilliant illustratations of some of the key points in Betsey’s story.
My work on this project fell mostly in the realm of fixing grammar, spelling, and mechanics. One thing no one wanted to do was update Bestey’s voice and thus lose the authenticity of the work. The result is a fascinating look at civilian life in the American South during the Civil War.
Available from Two Peas Publishing.
A Genteel Spy on Goodreads
3.5 rating based on 2 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Two Peas Publishing
Betsey Royce knows better than to say anything on that day in 1862 when she peeks around the upstairs bedroom door to discover her mother staring out the window with a pair of field glasses. Martha Royce sits watching and counting as men in blue uniforms march up Columbia Turnpike and into Franklin, Tennessee. The Mysterious "It" Martha had been warning her husband Moses about for a year has finally arrived. For Betsey, that can mean only one thing: the war has come to her doorstep. Soon after, her idyllic life is shattered. First, Moses enlists as a scout for Confederate General John Bell Hood's army. Then Martha, Betsey, and Betsey's little sister Sally are forced into exile from Franklin as a result of Martha's spying on Union forces. Alone and facing an uncertain future, the Royce women begin an arduous two-year journey through the tattered Southern landscape of the American Civil War. A Genteel Spy is Betsey Royce's remarkable, true memoir of those times. Written ten years after the events, while Betsey was in college, this story chronicles Martha's courage and determination to see her family through the trials and devastation of the war, even after Moses is captured by the Union army and sentenced to die. Sometimes funny, sometimes nostalgic, but always honest, Betsey's memoir offers a unique insight into civilian life during America's bloodiest conflict. It serves as a reminder that sometimes, in the darkest hours, faith and determination are all that stand between life and death.