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Homeland: A Novel Hardcover – August 25, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two women, one a Northerner with a husband fighting for the Confederacy, and one a Southerner yearning to attend art school in Philadelphia, exchange letters and find in their unlikely friendship the strength to survive the Civil War, and though shades of Scarlett O'Hara occasionally pop up, Hambly manages a mostly original take on a much-covered era. Newly wed to Tennessean Emory Poole, Cora Poole retreats to Deer Isle, Maine, to remain true to her husband among friends and relatives who abhor his allegiance and suspect hers. In Greene County, Tenn., Emory's neighbor, Susanna Ashford, dabbles in the arts while facing an increasingly dire reality. The correspondents share feelings, views of current events and accounts of their respective tribulations: Susanna nurses the wounded, hunts and sews to pay for her sister's midwife. Cora raises her infant daughter, cares for her demented mother and also sews as the war exhausts resources. The leads are three-dimensional, occasionally surprising and always sympathetic as they find in their unlikely friendship the strength to accept the loss of their ways of life and to seek new ways where they both might thrive. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Barbara Hambly is the author of Patriot Hearts and The Emancipator’s Wife, a finalist for the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. She is also the author of Fever Season, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the acclaimed historical Benjamin January series, including the novels A Free Man of Color and Sold Down the River. She lives in California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553805525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553805529
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,091,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
HOMELAND is an unusual novel, both in its epistolary style, and in the unusual situations of the two protagonists. (One is a Southerner who doesn't support the Confederacy; the other a Northerner whose husband left home in Philadelphia to join the army, but didn't join until he was in the South.) Acquaintances in person, they become friends through their letters.

Most striking is the look at everyday life that develops in the course of the correspondence. Heroics are there, both obviously and also in the continued, determined survival in the face of overwhelming odds. More than any other book, this conveys the dogged, everyday struggle that each woman experiences, just because she sees no other choice. Others may give up; they keep going because they truly see no choice.

As Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January books give a view of slavery that is probably more accurate than any other that I've read, this book impressed me with the endurance required to survive insanity, horror, and the overwhelming pettiness of people at war.

It is a fascinating read, and I recommend it highly.
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Format: Hardcover
I got the book because I know Barbara Hambly's work and enjoy her writing. Little did I know how good this book is. It is outstanding, and one I will recommend to all of my reading friends.

Hambly tells the story in letters between two women, one a Southerner, the other a Northerner, at the beginning of and through the Civil War. Neither woman quite "fits" into her culture and community, and each sustains the other's right to be different. They write of their lives, their frustrations, happinesses and unhappinesses. They tell of their everyday lives, with all of the tragedies that took place during that War, and how each struggles to be faithful to her own principles and beliefs. Their letters speak not only of the commonplace and extraordinary tragedies of the Civil War, but, to me, of all wars, of what happens to the women and children who are not fighting but are deeply and personally affected by this war and all wars.

I am going to buy another copy just to lend to close friends, because this is a story worth reading. I know it will haunt me forever, and I will probably re-read it at least once a year.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it was first released. I am a fan of Barbara Hambly's writing from her earlier science fiction/fantasy books to her meticulously researched historical novels. This book shows a side of the Civil War rarely presented - the view of women who are friends on opposing sides. I found that there were many issues that the two women in this book dealt with are also issues modern women deal with today.
I recommend this book any chance I get. I will definitely be rereading and its a great addition to my Barbara Hambly collection.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not having been a fan of Civil War stories, this book was recommended to me by my penpal who is a Southerner while I am a Mainer. She and I discussed the book via email... it was wonderful...I wanted it to end differently but how could it as it followed historical facts. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Homeland is primarily about friendship, specifically between two women; Cora living in ME, and Susanna living in TN during the Civil War, but it is also about the relationships we form with characters from books and how books become some of our most coveted friendships.

The story is written in epistle form, with most of the letters written between the two women (many not sent due to lack of mail service, others because of content, and some lost en route). Their letters document the war and the trials and tribulations they must face to endure it. They give each other encouragement and support, even if only imaginary at times since many of their letters are not sent.

Hambly does a good job of portraying the many hardships faced by both sides in the war, and the fact that both sides had resisters, and many were not supportive of the side they were "supposed to be on," something that is often overlooked in books about the Civil War.

Once the war begins they live very isolated lives, especially Cora, the woman who lives on the small ME Island and has been shunned by neighbors, friends and even her sister-in-law because her husband goes back to his home state of TN to fight for the South. In the South most of Susanna's friends and neighbors have fled leaving her with only her bleeding-heart confederate sister and the militia with whom to contend. So without much company to interact with they each seek solace and escape in reading novels, although Susanna has to resort to remembering books since she has none physically to read anymore. Hambly pays tribute to classic authors such as Austen, Dickens, Thackery, Homer, Hugo, Cervantes, and Swift among many others.
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By Christy on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A great achievement. Beautifully written, interesting, moving, and at times funny! It had me laughing out loud. The characters are complicated and entirely believable. I thought the 'letter' format would be distracting and it really wasn't. And I'm not so easily impressed.
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