Tag Archives: American Civil War

Top 10 Tuesday — Red, White, and Blue Books!

3 Jul

Happy Top 10 Tuesday — Colors of America! What a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a bevy of red, white, and blue books — all with a connection to America’s history. Featuring the settling of a new nation, wars, Civil Rights, etc., these novels connect readers with pivotal times in our nation. I hope you find a new-to-you book to enjoy this holiday week!

 

For more patriotic offerings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Red, White, And Blue Books!

 

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

 

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl

 

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

 

What are some of your favorite red, white, and blue books?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — War Torn Worlds

29 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is book worlds that readers do/do not want to live in. I love that authors take me away to times and places I could not and would not dare to visit. I want to know what actual people went through, but I would never wish to have those experiences first hand. My list is all about the sieges, battles, and internment camps of war time. The books on my list are rich in detail and capture the times perfectly. They authors created worlds I am so glad I visited from the safety and peace of my favorite reading spot.

Make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bookish worlds.

 

Top War Torn Book Worlds

The Civil War

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Andersonville Prison Camp)

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green (Battle of Gettysburg)

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green (Sherman’s March to Atlanta)

 

WWII

The Butterfly And The Violin by Kristy Cambron (Auschwitz)

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma (Fall of Berlin)

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart (Ukraine)

 

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot (Dunkirk)

Remember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma (Philippine Internment Camp)

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (Dutch East Indies Internment Camp)

 

Author, Author! — Tracy Groot

26 Jan

PTG0330_9713b1I had the great pleasure of meeting author Tracy Groot last Friday evening as she presented a program on what inspires her to write for my two book clubs, By The Book and Page Turners, and the Perry Historical Society. Tracy was participating in Night Museum at nearby Andersonville Historic Site and graciously accepted our invitation to speak. What a joy it was to hear of her passion for restoring order to her world and letting God do that for others through her writing gift.

Tracy always starts with those nagging questions that don’t leave her alone. In the Sentinels project, it was why women with wagonloads of food were turned away from a prison filled with starving men. What she found was more complex than she imagined. I loved how she used modern-day concerns to place herself in the shoes of the civilian populace of Americus, Georgia. What resulted was a novel that make its readers also ask Why and What If.

Thank you, Tracy, for an informative and deeply personal discussion.

Here are a few pictures from the evening’s event. (Thanks to Judy Hall for her photography.) Make sure you also check out the information on Tracy’s outstanding historical fiction novel, The Sentinels of Andersonville.

Tracy Groot with members of By The Book, Page Turners and the Perry Historical Society.

Tracy Groot with members of By The Book, Page Turners and the Perry Historical Society.

Tracy's husband Jack and her parents.

Tracy’s husband Jack and her parents.

 

Sentinels-of-AndersonvilleThe Sentinels of Andersonville. Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?

My Review 

Book Review: The Sentinels of Andersonville

23 Jan

If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t He who weighs hearts consider it?

Proverbs 24:12

Sentinels-of-AndersonvilleNear the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?

PTG0330_9713b1Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award–winning author of several novels. Her most recent books exemplify her unique style of storytelling—reimagining biblical stories within other historical contexts. Tracy’s novels have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called “beautifully written” and “page-turning” by Publishers Weekly and “gripping” with “exquisitely drawn” characters by Library Journal. Tracy and her husband have three boys and together run a coffee shop in Holland, Michigan.

 

My Impressions:

January 18th was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in the United States. Proverbs 24:10-12 was included in our Sunday School class lesson —

If you do nothing in a difficult time,
your strength is limited.
Rescue those being taken off to death,
and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t He who weighs hearts consider it?
Won’t He who protects your life know?
Won’t He repay a person according to his work?

As I read these words I was reminded of Tracy Groot’s Civil War era book, The Sentinels of Andersonville. In this gripping novel, the characters must come face to face with what they really believe — are all men worth saving, or only those we call our brothers? Both of my book clubs read Sentinels this month because we are hosting an Author Meet And Greet for Tracy Groot. She is in town to take part in Museum Night at the Andersonville Historic Site just 45 minutes from my home town. I am beyond excited about meeting her and hearing about how she came to write Sentinels. To say the novel is moving and thought-provoking is certainly an understatement. One of By The Book’s members told me it was the best historical fiction we have read in the 12+ years of meeting. If you have not read this book, by all means pick it up and move it to the very top of your TBR pile.

Three young Southerners come face to face with the horrors of Andersonville Prison in the last year of the Civil War. Sherman is advancing on Atlanta and the prison population has increased to 28,000 men in the 26 acre camp. Conditions can only be described as hellish, yet there are glimpses of hope and help amid the darkness. Violet Stiles, an Americus belle, Dance Pickett, a guard at the prison and Emery Jones, an Alabama soldier, seek to rally the people of Americus to alleviate the suffering at the prison. But their new group, the FAP – Friends of Andersonville Prison – is met with varying degrees of dismissal and open hostility. It is hard for a town that has faced so much loss at the hands of an invader to find compassion for the misery of its enemy.

Tracy Groot has written a book that needed to be told. Fair-handed on both sides of the issue, she reveals the true heart of the conflict between the North and the South. Characters, both major and minor, are well-developed. The dialog of the characters advances the story, but also fleshes out their personalities, motives and feelings. I especially liked Violet’s character. A true Southern belle, she has been shielded by the harsh realities of the prison by her father. But when she comes face to face with the truth, she falters only a moment, then gathers her will to do what is right. A member of Page Turners said that Violet was a cross between Scarlet and Melanie from Gone with The Wind. I also liked the relationship that develops between Emery and the Union soldier he condemns to the prison. And Dance’s sacrifice to uphold a promise made me wonder what my own response would be if faced with a similar situation.

As always when trying to review a truly wonderful book, I find my words are inadequate. So I will leave you with this one admonishment — read this book!!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

A big thank you to Carole Jarvis at The Power of Words. She hosted a giveaway in which I won a signed copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: New Moon Rising

15 Oct

49045Second Novel in the St. Simons Trilogy.

A rich and riveting tale of love, hardship, and the journey for happiness in the war-torn South.

In New Moon Rising, Eugenia Price gives us a story of faith and courage that follows the struggle of James Gould’s son Horace to find his own place in life. Reaching manhood in the tumultuous years before the Civil War, Horace returns to St. Simons and finds himself disheartened by the intolerance on his beloved island. However, he wins the heart of lovely neighbor Deborah Abbott, who adores her “Mr. Gould” and becomes his wife, despite the difference in their years. She is not concerned with his rumored past, but she is saddened by his lack of faith. Filled with romance, hardship, and adventure, this sequel to Lighthouse vividly portrays the antebellum South while revealing an independent man’s search for happiness.

 

 

6320a6901ff60a82390b78-l-_v356503853_sx200_(From Wikipedia) Eugenia Price (June 22, 1916 – May 28, 1996) was an American author best known for her historical novels which were set in the American South.

In 1961 Eugenia Price visited St. Simons Island, Georgia during a book signing tour. In the cemetery for Christ Church, she saw a tombstone for the Reverend Anson Dodge and his two wives.[3] This inspired her to research the area, including history and famous figures. She would spend the remainder of her life writing detailed historical novels set in the American South, many of which were critically acclaimed. Her early works, particularly the St Simons Trilogy -which consists of the books The Beloved Invader (1965), New Moon Rising (1969) and Lighthouse (1972) were extensively researched and based on real people. This is in contrast to her later novels, such as Another Day (1984) and The Waiting Time (1997) which featured her own characters. Other historical novels include her The Georgia Trilogy consisting of Bright Captivity, Where Shadows Go, and Beauty From Ashes. The Florida Trilogy has Don Juan McQueen, Maria, and Margaret’s Story. Then she has a Savannah Quartet with Savannah, To See Your Face Again, Before the Darkness Falls, and Stranger in Savannah.

After moving in 1965 to St. Simons, Georgia with her long-time companion, the writer Joyce Blackburn (who assisted her with research), Eugenia Price became active in many local causes; most of which involved protecting the local environment from the effects of industrialisation.

She died in Brunswick, Georgia on May 28, 1996 of congestive heart failure. She is buried just yards from Anson Dodge and his two wives. Her tombstone reads “After her conversion to Jesus Christ, October 2, 1949, she wrote Light…and eternity and love and all are mine at last.”

 

My Impressions:

thumb.phpNew Moon Rising is the second book in Eugenia Price’s St. Simons series. (Read my review of book 1, Lighthouse, HERE.) Set on St. Simons Island, Georgia, in the years leading up to the Civil War, this richly detailed and well-researched novel brings to life the culture, customs and life of the antebellum South. Price was meticulous in her research so the reader can be assured of the accuracy of the novel. My book club leaves tomorrow on a field trip to St. Simons. We are looking forward to seeing all the places we have read about.

New Moon Rising focuses on Horace Gould, the son of James Gould, the builder of the original St. Simons lighthouse. A restless younger son, Horace struggles with finding his place in the world. After years away from the island, he finally comes home and takes his place in the planter’s society. Horace is an interesting character. He is hard-working and sensitive. At the age of 30 he marries a woman half his age to whom he is devoted. His world is one of compromise and contradictions. He runs and then finally owns the family plantation, Blank Banks, and while he hates slavery, he cannot find a way to break with the plantation system. He also firmly believed in the unity of the United States, but fought on the side of the confederacy. His struggle with right and wrong and acting on those principles follows him all of his adult life.

Price wrote this book in a time when books with strong faith messages were published by secular houses. There really was no Christian fiction genre. Price never waters down her beliefs — her faith is seamlessly woven into her stories. Harold Gould was a man who believed in doing things in his own way and in his own strength. In the end, Price depicts him as finally giving control to God.

I enjoyed New Moon Rising. If you like historical fiction, I think you will too.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Widow of Gettysburg

16 Jul

405777When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering–and a Rebel scout who awakens her long dormant heart.

While Liberty’s future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty’s hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?

Widow of Gettysburg is inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath.

 

Green-1-thumbnailAward-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America.

She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at http://www.jocelyngreen.com.

My Impressions:

The Widow of Gettysburg is historical fiction at its best. Jocelyn Green manages to bring the reader right into the action in this novel set just prior to the battle of Gettysburg through the horrific battle and into the days following the battle that changed the course of the war and the civilians and the military that lived through it. The first person accounts by women of the town of Gettysburg (many of the letters and diary entries introduce chapters) give the novel authenticity. Although it is the second book in a series set during the American Civil War, it is easily read as a standalone novel.

Liberty  Holloway is a young woman who never felt she was worth anything. Those feelings were instilled in her from a young age by the aunt who raised her. Now widowed and without family of any kind and faced with an imminent battle and difficult choice, Liberty must decide just who she is — a woman with her own convictions and passions or the iconic figure dubbed by the townspeople as the Widow of Gettysburg.

The Widow of Gettysburg‘s core strength is its characterization. Green manages to make all of the characters — Liberty, former slave Bella, Confederate conscript Silas and reporter Harrison Caldwell — real in their motivations, fears, and hopes and dreams. I became very invested in each of their stores. The real women of Gettysburg are also integral to this story. As stated on page 113, “The women the men had been fighting to protect were the ones picking up the pieces in the aftermath of battle.” Green also brings to life the horrors of battle, especially the aftermath of critically injured soldiers. Much of the novel is set in Liberty’s home which quickly becomes a field hospital for the Rebels. The amputation scenes are very real, but never feel overly graphic. The overarching themes of freedom and truth of who one is in God are naturally presented. The spiritual truths speak without being preachy in any way.

If you enjoy historical fiction and want a novel that is well-writen and authentic in its portrayal of events, then pick up The Widow of Gettysburg. Great companion reading for Killer Angels.

Highly Recommended.

(Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.