09 July 2009

Jarrettsville; Corneila Nixon

Jarrettsville: A Novel Jarrettsville: A Novel by Cornelia Nixon

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you think of Civil War-era novels, you usually think Deep South and just before or during the War (ok, maybe you don't; I do.). Jarrettsville takes place in Maryland, very close to Pennsylvania, in the days immediately following Lee's surrender/Lincoln's murder through four years later.

The story is based on real events, real people (the author's ancestors) - one of those "we don't talk about him/her and What Happened" things. I'm glad Ms. Nixon did find out what happened, because the murder and the "whydoneit" are fascinating. The concept of Southern Pride being so close to my Northern home surprised me - whoda thunk that Maryland was such a hotbed of Southern sympathizers? Or that even freed slaves were considered (by some) "property"?

The era and the setting alone give this book an original flavor; telling Martha's story from multiple perspectives reminds us that no one event is clear cut. Like the War itself, there are layers and layers to unfold.

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