Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Widow of the South--Robert Hicks

Carrie McGavock was a sad woman mourning the loss of 3 of her children. Everyone, including her husband, thought she had lost her mind, as she would sit in her dead children's rooms all day every day-mending their clothes and drifting in her memories. However, what happened on November 30, 1864, shook her out of her melencholy and self-pity for the rest of her life.

Very close to the end of the war, the "bloodiest 5 hours of the Civil War" were fought in a battle close to the town of Franklin, Tennessee. The McGavock house was used for a hospital for many wounded and dying soldiers. Carrie and her servant/friend Mariah spent weeks caring for the soldiers-nursing some back to health, and easing many others to their deaths. There was one soldier in particular who seemed different from the rest. Carrie struck up a close friendship with him that soon evolved into love.

Though the war ended several months after this battle, Carrie's entire outlook on love, life, and death were changed forever. Instead of trying to forget the horrendous things she witnessed and the many men who died in her own house and backyard, she became the keeper of the cemetary where they were buried. She wrote letters to the families of the soldiers who died; she welcomed families who came to visit the graves. Some called her an angel, but she just felt that she was doing what she should.

Robert Hicks did a great job researching the story of Carrie McGavock. I especially enjoyed reading the Author's Note at the end that included the facts of the novel--along with pictures! I did not realize how much of the story was true until I finished it. If I am ever in Tennessee, I would try to find the time to visit the plantation and cemetary.
Though the novel was well written, it was not a book that I had a hard time putting down. The characters all seemed distant, and it was hard to "get into" what was happening. All in all, I feel good about reading it because I learned a few things I did not know about the Civil War!

Rating: 3.5/5
# pages:418
Date completed: April 21, 2008

4 Comments:

Trish said...

Ya...I had a tough time NOT putting this one down too. :) I liked it, though--and I especially liked the facts/pictures as well. I would LOVE to take a roadtrip to some of the Civil War towns one day.

Teddy Rose said...

Great Review! I added it to my TBR.

Jackie said...

Nice review! I'm a fan of historical fiction, but I only read the ones that are recommended. I'm going to have to try this one now.

Via Weekly Geeks

thewrittenword said...

As usual, I purchased this book a while back and it has been lingering on my TBR pile for a while. Thanks for the review!