Read It! Nicole Says…Read These Books

By Nicole McManus

May is the time when we celebrate the women in our lives. This month, I wanted to share with you two nonfiction books that bring to light five unbelievable women who did everything they could to change the world around them.

Turning the Tide, by Sally R. Murphy

Sally Murphy is the pioneer of sea turtle conservation. Throughout the numerous hardships and naysayers, she persevered. Thanks to her, there is an International Sea Turtle Society and several programs in South Carolina, devoted to protecting these beautiful creatures.

Broken down into several sections, this book ebbs and flows just like the tide. Following Sally Murphy’s life, each chapter bleeds with her passion about sea turtles. Readers will learn how the S.C. sea turtle program came to be, as well as the struggles they still face each day. Numerous photos give this memoir an even more personal touch, as it takes readers on a journey through conservation. Fans of sea turtles everywhere owe their thanks to this brave woman, without whom, our sea turtle population would be dismal.

Let’s be honest, we all love sea turtles and South Carolina has an incredible group of women, known as Turtle Ladies. I first learned about them through Mary Alice Monroe’s books. When I noticed that Mary Alice Monroe wrote the foreword to this book, I knew I had to read it. I am beyond grateful that I did. Sally Murphy is a remarkable woman and her work to preserve nature, and naturally sea turtles, is awe-inspiring. Everyone should read this memoir, in order to understand the importance and significance of nature. If a single person can make this much impact, imagine what the entire population could conquer?

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy, by Karen Abbott

The Civil War is raging around their homes when four very different women decide to use their own strengths to change the tide. After Belle Boyd shot a Union soldier, she became a spy for the Confederates. Emma Edwards dressed as a man in order to become a Union soldier, serving in some of the most historic battles. Rose Greenhow gained information from Union politicians and sent her daughter south to deliver the news. Elizabeth Van Lew created a vast spy ring that fooled numerous high ranking officials.

When history is told from only one side it becomes skewed. This nonfiction book gives the facts about women from both sides of the war. Abbott transports readers back in time, where everyone’s safety was in jeopardy and families were fighting over different beliefs. Readers will be left speechless while reading about these powerful, brave women. These heroines should be highlighted in history books. These women outsmarted men, in every way possible, in order to help their side and bring an end to the hellacious war.

Do not be afraid of the length of this book! This may not be the best book to bring to the beach, but it is definitely perfect for those rainy days. I grew up in an area rich in Civil War history, however I had not heard about these four daring women. This book has something for everyone. Book lovers will see classic authors and historians will recognize several leaders from both sides. Every single reader will understand why this book has won so many awards and they will immediately begin researching her other work.


About this writer

  • Nicole McManus

    Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at

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