Book Review: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

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In The Good Lord Bird, we get an inside (although fictional) view of abolitionist John Brown’s violent crusade against slavery in the Kansas Territory and subsequent raid on Harper’s Ferry in the years leading up to the American Civil War. It’s told from the perspective of Henry, who was a ten-year-old slave when he was liberated by Brown and then rode with his “army” for four years, including to Harper’s Ferry. Continue reading

10 Novels Set During the American Civil War

Civil war pin

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Novels set during the American Civil War can be educational as well haunting and tragic. It’s a compelling mix of qualities that, in the right authors’ hands, can produce satisfying stories that are hard forget. Continue reading

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

In Mexican Gothic, young socialite Noemi is sent by her father to visit her cousin Catalina after receiving a mysterious letter from Catalina indicating she’s in distress. What Noemi finds in Catalina’s new home, an isolated mansion that’s literally decaying and populated by mostly hostile in-laws, is a bizarre history of depravity and death. Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

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The Book of Lost Friends is a beautifully told story that follows Hannie Gossett, a former slave, as she tries to find her family after the Civil War, and Benny Silva, an idealistic high school teacher, who tries to inspire her students at a poor, rural southern school in the late 1980s. The two story lines eventually converge in a powerful lesson about family, perseverance, and coming to terms with history by looking at it straight on. Continue reading

Book Review: March by Geraldine Brooks

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March is a Pulitzer Prize winning story about CPT March, the father of the March family in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. It covers the year he spent in the Union Army during the Civil War, so it’s dark and heavy, but it’s also imaginative and well-researched and doesn’t shy away from tough topics and grim historical realities. Continue reading

Book Review: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

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I have had good luck recently with reading older books – not quite “classics” but noteworthy in their own time, still thoroughly enjoyable and without the long library hold times of recent releases (bonus!). One example is The Secret of Santa Vittoria, which I read and reviewed earlier this year. Angle of Repose is another example. This novel with a James Bondian title won the 1972 Pulitzer, and it’s no wonder – Wallace Stegner is a true word magician. The prose in this novel is gorgeous. Continue reading