Well worth reading but

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War - Karen Abbott
This is a very readable book about four women during the American Civil War. Abbott choses two women from the Union and two from the Confedracy. Why these four is somewhat unclear - perhaps the least well known is Elizabeth van Lew or Emma Edmonds. Belle Boyd and Rose Greenhow are more well known.

And I think that is the what stops this book from being a five star. It is unclear why these four women - is it to bring little known stories to the fore, okay but Belle Boyd is not obscure (and if you have been to the Spy Museum then you know Greenhow). There is also the question of when a story might be BS. I am not saying that Abbott is making anything up - she isn't and everything is endnoted. But some of Belle Boyd's stories are not entirely verifable, and at times, it appears that Abbott takes her word as fact, something that is disproved when you look at the endnote. This stands out because Abbott is a little more in text doubting of Emma Edmonds (there is a debate about how accurate Edmonds's tale is), and one wonders why it is that Boyd seems to get more belief (at least until you look at the endnotes).

Additionally, there is little about the women's lives prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. For instance, I am currently reading Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation which also includes a chapter that deals with Emma Edmonds. In that chapter, the author notes that the man Edmonds meets again in the US was also the man who helped her flee her father. This is something that Abbott does not note in the body of her text. Abbott also does not note in her text what happened to Mary Jane, Elizabeth Van Lew's servant. MJ was a black woman who worked as spy. She spied on Jefferson Davis. It is possible that the historical record does not give us this infromation, but that should be noted in the text and not a footnote.

Still, this is a very enjoyable read.