My mother and I attend the library’s annual book sale every year. We’ve been going since I was in grade school! This year I picked up this book, The Widow of the South, just because the cover and title caught my eye. I’d never heard of the book or author before. I read it during the Jacksonville leg of our vacation.
It’s a historical fiction book based on a very bloody battle of the civil war, but the main character, the “widow” Carrie McGavic, was real. She was a young mother dealing with her own personal loss when her home was set up as a hospital for the survivors of the battle. The real part is that she wound up creating and tending to a cemetery for the many soldiers lost in the battle. The fictionalized parts deal with her relationships with herself, her family and the soldiers she helps heal, one in particular she is drawn to.
The actual story of this book is very interesting, but the topics broached and the development of the characters is even better! The author delves into race relations, faith and love with surprising insight and depth. The story is told from several different points of view including Carrie and her soldier. Sometimes this switching around is a little confusing, but once you get used to it it works. This book is slightly graphic, but dealing with the civil war how can it not be. There were some scenes that seemed out of place and veered (in my opinion) from the storyline, but the chaotic feeling these scenes left behind may have been intentional…it was a time period of great upheaval after all. Not all was right with the world, and not all is right with the characters in this book.
All in all this is a good read, a little “heavy” for the beach but not too heavy for summer reading. :)