Mary Jane’s War: Second Edition

Mary Jane’s War by Joe B. Roles is a Civil War novel based upon a true story. Mary Jane’s husband died from wounds received in The Battle of New Market during The Civil War. She took a pair mules and a wagon 120 miles over mountains and through enemy lines during the winter of 1865 to recover her husband’s remains and bring them home to Monroe County WV for burial.

This little historical novel is based on a story known to many people of Monroe County West Virginia. Simply told, it describes rural life in the 1860s in a county bordering the state of Virginia along the Alleghany Mountains. Loyalty to Virginia and neighbors was torn apart by the struggle of this civil war. Unpretensiously written, it recalls those names of townships, and families, now gone. This is an “easy read” which encourages history buffs to read more about this historical time in our country.


This book has a story that is fun to read. I read it cover to cover in one evening and I know first hand the areas where this took place. Will I vouch that all the content is authentic? Of couse not. I am a professor in Kentucky. I know a lot of U.S. and international history but am no expert as the New York PhD claims to be in his review. But when I eat salsa (get a rope) or read a book I know what I like. This book is worth reading. -Professor Mason

I cherish this book. Reason being, my husband and I just purchased some property that used to be part of the main character’s farm. The stories are so interesting because they are factually-based. The author’s family still resides in this area. There is no reason to question his accuracy. Today I spoke with the author, whose contact info was in the front of the book. He is a true gentleman, probably in his 70’s today. He told me where I could find further information about the land and the people there. I enjoyed these stories because they were based on true episodes: I loved hearing things like the Laurel Creek cave was where they used to put the bodies of the deceased to keep them cool in the summer until there could be a proper burial. Little tidbits like these are great. Worth buying just for its quaint stories that will stick in your head.  -James V. Day