Saturday, March 10, 2012
The Widow of The South by Robert Hicks
My rating: 4/5
The Widow of the South is the story of how Carrie McGavock's house, Carnton Plantation, was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Franklin during the American Civil War.
Carrie's life hasn't been the same since a couple of her children passed away. She doesn't need to be bothered with the war, but it's being fought in her backyard and it doesn't seem as if she has a choice. When soldiers start arriving she could escape and go outside and stay in the one room that the army let her and her family keep for themselves. Yet, she walked around the house offering water, etc to the soldiers. She helped them as best she could in their time of need.
She started to get close to one soldier, Zachariah Cashwell. He ended up staying with the McGavock's longer than other soldiers.
The story isn't told just from Carrie's point of view. In the beginning different chapters are devoted to different characters. At first several of different soldiers, so we do get info on the battle and what was happening. Later the chapters are mostly focused on Carrie, her husband, and Zachariah.
The later chapters deal with Carrie and Zachariah's relationship, how they are drawn to one another. It also deals with how Carrie was set on making sure the soldiers who were killed had a proper burial and how her property ended up being the location of the cemetery.
While this book is fiction, it is based on real events.
It took me longer than I wanted to read this book but I'm glad I finally did. I've had it for a couple of years, I've heard it was good, I just kept passing it up. The book didn't always flow for me but I don't think that was a bad thing. It was more just getting used to it and dealing with the way people talked during the 1800's. The story itself kept my interest though. I wanted to know how the battle was fought, what it was like for Carrie to open her house as a field hospital, and what Zachariah went through as a soldier. I also wanted to know how it came about that the cemetery is on her property.
The reason I finally convinced myself to pick up this book is because I was headed to Franklin, TN for a short vacation. I knew the Carnton Plantation house was a historic site and on my list of things to do so I really wanted to have this book read by then.
I'm so glad I did! While a lot of the story is fiction and things didn't happen the way the book says, it was great to have a bit of a background. It also was great to read about a location and a historic event and then get to see it in person. No worries..I'll be sure to post some photo's soon!