Geraldine Brooks is the wife of Tony Horwitz, so I guess it was only inevitable that she would write about the Civil War some day.
March takes the characters from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women--the characters in which are based on the Alcott family. Brooks' focus is on the experiences prior to and during the Civil War of the March family patriarch.
Although a work of fiction, from what I understand of the Concord, MA, Transcendentalists of the 1800's, I would say the author has captured the personalities and the tenor of the times extremely well. She has also captured the incredible awfulness of slavery* and the absolute horrors of war.
I say this is a book that is well worth reading.
*So, I'm sorry, but don't anyone try to tell me, as I have actually heard before, that slavery was beneficial to Blacks and that they were well taken care of. I won't buy it.
It seems that people either loved or hated this book. I loved it.
The story is based on a real life London scandal involving a divorce case in 1864. (Hmm...stuck in a time frame, I see) There was no such thing as "no-fault" divorce at the time.
Helen Codrington was friendly with Emily Faithfull, whom she nicknamed Fido. That should tell you something about the friendship right there. Helen was a user and a flbbertyjibbet. Fido unwittingly aids Helen in an affair with a young officer and is then subpoenaed to testify on her behalf.
Interesting that the courtroom drama includes such tidbits as a former friend of Helen's who comes forward with a tale of a strangely stained yellow dress, accusations of adultery that contains a discussion of what sex "is", and repressed vs. false memories. It may seem as though Donoghue got momentarily confused with the Clinton era scandals, but she says those things were all part of the records of the proceedings found in her research.