Top positive review
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An excellent historical novel.
on November 30, 2004
Caroline Fletcher was twelve years old on the day in 1853 when she realized just how different she was from everyone else. She had grown up feeling like the slaves were part of her family. She loved her "mammy," Tessie, and spent her days playing with Tessie's son, Grady, who was like a little brother to Caroline. But when her father sells Grady, Caroline realizes her views on slavery are not the same as those shared by the rest of Virginia. The time she spends in Philadelphia with relatives after the death of her mother only cements her view that slavery is a moral wrong that must be ended. But returning to Richmond, she realizes that will be a lot harder than she imagined. Against her own will, Caroline finds herself falling in love with Charles St. John, the son of a wealthy Richmond businessman and a defender of slavery. Caroline and Charles become engaged to be married, but the Civil War breaks out just three months before their wedding was to take place. Charles goes off to fight for the Confederacy, even though Caroline begs him not to. When her father leaves as well, Caroline finds herself alone in Richmond and torn in two. She struggles with her conflicting loyalties to her home and family, and to the cause she so strongly believes in.
This was an excellent historical novel. Caroline was a wonderful and very human character who came alive through her first-person narrative. Her struggles felt very real to me. The author brought to life Virginia just before and during the Civil War very well. Although this book was very long, I never lost interest in it. My one complaint is that the final thirty pages were told in a third-person point of view. I would have liked the whole book to be narrated by Caroline; it felt odd after four hundred pages for the viewpoint to change. However, it doesn't really take away from the book that much; overall, I still loved it. I highly recommend this novel to adults and older teens who enjoy historical fiction about the Civil War.