Monday, May 3, 2021

BLOG TOUR and Giveaway - The Cotillion Brigade


Georgia burns.

Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.

Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?

Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is a sweeping epic of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood amid devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.

Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.

Yet one Georgia town—which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name—stands defiant in his path.

Read the remarkable story of the Southern women who formed America’s most famous female militia and the Union officer whose life they changed forever.


:   The Cotillion Brigade
Author:  Glen Craney
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   803
Date of Publication:   March 15, 2021
My Rating:  5 Stars 

From sewing uniforms, to learning how to shoot, to mending broken soldiers, to military strategy, to praying. Those were just some of the things the women's militia of the Civil War experienced. Often referred to as the Fighting Nancies, led by the fearless and incredible Nancy Morgan, these women just didn't send their men to war, they served shoulder to shoulder right alongside them. Nancy and the others earned great respect, albeit reluctantly.

The effects of war was experienced from one extreme to another. The Cotillion Brigade was intriguing, tragic and often horrific and was an utterly captivating read. As the book began, Nancy was an unhappy schoolgirl hoping for a marriage offer. That would not be the extent to where her dreams would lie. In fact, her direction in life changed in remarkable ways. She became known as Captain Morgan and the other women soldiers that fought right alongside her were incredibly brave.

Bravery, danger and loss were quite impressive in this book that tells of the exploits of the small group of women. However, war and all that went along with it was not the only focus of this book. There was romance, love and hope. In fact, not only did the book end on a high note, one that warmed my heart, I was impressed with the author's note in that it provided even more information as well as photographs.

In a parallel story of cross purposes, Captain Hugh LaGrange, who not only had his responsibilities as a commanding officer, he also worked hard as an abolitionist despite the horrors of war and everything else that was going on around him. Along the way, Hugh experienced many a tragic loss. Hugh was a hero of the North and Nancy was a hero of the South.

While there are nonfiction accounts of the civil war and the real Nancy Hill Morgan, this fictionalized version was instrumental to me as with all of the historical fiction I have read to date, I had not read of the civil war. The fact that the author made the characters of Nancy and Hugh and other secondary characters real to me helped me to imagine that pivotal time in history.

Many thanks to Glen Craney, Brigid's Fire Press and HFV Book Tours for placing this remarkable book in my hands.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
CRANEY / The Cotillion Brigade / Excerpt #4 / 800 words

LaGrange, Georgia

April 1862

“Nannie, are you not feeling well?” asked Mary.

While the other women practiced their target shooting in Harris grove, Nancy sat several yards away on a log, rereading a letter from Brown. She wiped a tear and coughed back the swell of emotion.

“You’ve not shot yet. You’re always the first on the range.”

“What use is it?”

Mary leaned her musket against a tree and sat. “What has he written now?”

Nancy showed her the letter. “They transferred him from the Fourth to serve as commissary officer for cousin Alfred’s brigade.”

“A promotion! That is grand!”

“Brown is crestfallen. He will no longer fight aside Miles and Joe. Worse, he will now have to forage for onions and potatoes to feed others who win glory on the battlefield. All because he knows how to sign a requisition contract. It’s not fair.”

Mary took Nancy’s hands and pressed them to her bosom. “Brown will be the most popular man in the army. Come suppertime, they will bow and sing songs in his honor for having gathered such a feast.”

Nancy hesitated before revealing the more troublesome news. “Word of our militia has spread around the regiments in Virginia. The men tease Brown to no end that his wife outranks him. They are so cruel! They say I’ve shot a bull while he hasn’t even seen a Yankee.”

“I’m sure Brown takes it in stride.”

Nancy hung her head. “We’ve become a laughingstock. Even here in town, they cheer us to our faces, but I hear their snickers.”

“You must chase this darkness of the spirit. We all suffer it.”

Nancy looked toward Broad Street and the row of boxwoods in front of Mary’s columned home. Pack Beall planted them in December to celebrate the first Christmas for the Nancy Harts. Mary had begged her not to venture out that wet and chilly day, but Pack, the senior member of their troop, was visited with a premonition of death, and she resolved to leave something behind to grow in her memory. Pneumonia crept into her lungs that very night, and she passed three days later, their first casualty. On the day of her burial, the Nancies walked aside the hearse as the honor guard.

After Pack’s death, the joy faded from those early days when the Nancies rejoiced over the design of their uniforms and planned grand parades. Their hopes for a swift end to the war had been dashed, replaced by daily reports of deaths and bloody battles. After suffering devastating losses, the Confederate government passed a conscription act and took even more men from LaGrange for the armies. New Orleans remained under siege, and two weeks ago, near Corinth, Mississippi, at a wilderness church called Shiloh on the Tennessee River, 23,000 men were wounded or killed on both sides, including the gallant commander of their Western army, Albert Sidney Johnston. In Virginia, the Federals, led by a blowhard named McClellan, landed at Yorktown and now threatened to capture Richmond. The Fourth Georgia and the Army of Northern Virginia were the last obstacles in McClellan’s path. If Brown or her brothers fell in battle, they might end up in unmarked graves, never to see Troup County again.

Mary embraced her. “Darling, the others look to you for strength.”

Nancy watched Leila toe the twine marking the firing line and shoot at the scarecrow in the field below. Her musket ball didn’t land within ten feet. Nancy shook her head, despondent over their progress. “We’ve been coming out here twice a week for nearly a year. Caroline hits a beehive and sends us home with stings. Two window panes cracked. And the brush fire we ignited last September almost burned Henry Bottom’s barn to the blocks.”

“Yes, but—”

“Mary, it’s my fault.” Nancy turned to whisper her disappointment. “I raised their hopes, but I have offered them no means to improve.”

“You are too hard on yourself.”

She dropped her head into her hands. “What are we doing? Wasting time. With Peter gone, you have your hands full running his business. I must maintain Brown’s legal correspondence. Caroline feeds half the town.”

Mary tried to instill her with resolve. “You cannot abandon hope now. I doubted you from the start, I admit, but you’ve given those of us left here a reason to pull together.” She pointed to the women on the firing line. “This is not a burden for them. They live for these shooting practices. It provides them a respite and instills them with a sense of control and purpose. The college has closed, and the younger girls need our guidance. You cannot take this from them. Not when morale is so low.”

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 19
Feature at Cover Lover Book Review

Tuesday, April 20
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 21
Feature at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Thursday, April 22
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 23
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, April 26
Guest Post at Pamela Stephen

Wednesday, April 28
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 29
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Friday, April 30
Feature at Bookworlder

Monday, May 3
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Tuesday, May 4
Interview at Books & Benches

Wednesday, May 5
Review at Novels Alive

Thursday, May 6
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Friday, May 7
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, May 8
Feature at I'm Into Books

Monday, May 10
Review at Girl Who Reads
Review at A Darn Good Read

Friday, May 14
Review at The Enchanted Shelf
Interview at American Historical Novels


We have ten eBooks of The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Direct Link:


A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. 

He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California, and has served as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Historical Novel Society.


  1. Excellent reviewing and you have my attention - so I entered the giveaway.

  2. I love historical fiction but haven't yet read much about the Civil War. This one definitely sounds interesting. Great review.

  3. Yay! So happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review + tour support!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  4. Thanks for the marvelous review, Robin!

    1. It was my pleasure. The book was incredible. I learned so much!

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed this! I don’t read much about American history but it sounds interesting

  6. I'm not familiar with the book but it sounds really good. Love your review.

  7. Wow! I love historical reads (fiction and nonfiction) so this one is on my tbr now and entered the giveaway..