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Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between [Kindle Edition]

Kelby Ouchley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $4.95
You Save: $4.04 (45%)

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Kindle Edition $4.95  
Paperback $8.09  

Book Description

Iron Branch explores cultural conflicts of the American Civil War era as experienced by those not often elevated to lead roles. Abita Carter, a half-Choctaw woman who describes herself as always “in-between,” tells the story of her life and that of the young lawyer/soldier, Minor Barrett, in north Louisiana during the Civil War. The core of the tale involves Abita’s journey to find Minor, who is reported to have been wounded during the siege of Vicksburg. Along the way she faces a cast of characters with varying intentions. General Grant’s wife, a family of slaves with compassion beyond reason, and a small blind mule are among those encountered in the rich, Deep South setting. None, though, is more distracting than Minor’s blue-blooded wife, who seeks her husband for a different purpose. Abita’s state of “in-between” takes on new meanings as she is drawn ever deeper into the turmoil of the times. Passion, self-doubt, and malice finally threaten her existence in any condition.

Editorial Reviews


"Like Evangeline, she journeys in search of her lover...reported wounded during the siege of Vicksburg...The novel's charged image, the most powerful, dominant image, like the most dominant component of an ecosystem, the image that readers will remember long after they have put the novel aside comes at the climax..." Baton Rouge Advocate

From the Author

23,700+ downloads in 2012.  For background information on this book, read an  interview with the author at ""  In the search box, type "Kelby Ouchley."

Product Details

  • File Size: 358 KB
  • Print Length: 219 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463776977
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056PFS9M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,401 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating novel based on excellent research September 12, 2011
This novel features a strong protagonist who is truly a woman in-between. Abita is half Native American and half "white." But her Choctaw heritage proves its value when she treks alone, with only a blind mule, from North-central Louisiana to Vicksburg, MS, to find her "white" lover Minor, who's been wounded in the Union siege of that city, even though he has married another woman at the urging of his father. The people she meets along the way, coming and going, represent the best and worst of those who lived and worked in Louisiana during the Civil War period. Abita herself demonstrates a stoic yet dedicated, persevering yet caring personality; and her love for Minor never wavers. The author, whose great-great-great grandfather fought at Vicksburg, is a retired naturalist who provides a wealth of information on the flora and fauna abundant in Louisiana at the time. Highly recommended!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abita, a memorable woman in a memorable time June 22, 2011
By ann
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book will surprise you. Abita Carter, the part-Choctaw narrator, tells her story of love and personal strength in the midst of war in a way that reminds the reader of the power of place and circumstance--power, but not destiny. This story is chock-full of natural history as well as human history, but at base it is, purely and simply, a love story. It turns out that love is pretty powerful stuff.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read July 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Once started I didn't set this book down until finished and even then I wished it wasn't over. I read a great deal of fiction and this love story is a cut above the rest.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Distracting Focus January 13, 2013
By Kath
Format:Kindle Edition
I began to read this book with excitement, but was quickly distracted by the focus on sexual encounters. The first is between a preacher and a young unmarried woman, soon after comes a leering butcher, and before I finally closed the book for good, a rape. The idea of the book is good, but for whatever purpose, the author puts the heroine in these situations too quickly and too much.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woman in Between June 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The portrayal of life during and after the Civil War has a different spin than most stories of the era. Emphasis is placed primarily upon implications of life with and without slaves as the background. The girl, Abita, is truly caught in the middle. Her Choctaw heritage,coupled with being raised by whites, being an adolescent who must mature all too rapidly contributes to an interesting story line.
The author does a credible job of not placing blame on either the North or South, but focuses the reader's apt attention to the human dilemma. Abita's task is to rescue her lover from a hospital and nurture him back to health. This is complicated by the fact her man, Minor, is legally married to another woman, but had never consummated the vows.
The reader is treated with a myriad of emotions as the plot unfolds. The introduction and inclusion of certain characters adds to the belief that life was far from easy or framed in black and white.
The book is written at mature adolescent level and above for difficulty. Even though the protagonist is female, enough description of the vegetation and events of the war makes for enjoyable reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise June 2, 2012
By Donna
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was utterly charmed by this story of Abita, a half-Choctaw young woman who is raised in an Indian village until she is ten and from that age on by a Louisiana farmer and his wife. She draws upon knowledge and skills from both worlds when she travels alone to Vicksburg to bring home her wounded sweetheart.
The story has plenty of suspense, a bevy of interesting side characters (both menacing and helpful), and a heartwarming romance. Told in Abita's voice, the book is exceptionally well written with historical detail that rings true without being obtrusive. It reflects beautifully the author's background as a naturalist living in Louisiana.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Fiction April 3, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Iron Branch is exactly the type of book that I love to read. Wonderful story, very well researched, and beautifully written. I am familiar with the regions that were depicted in this story and swear that I could almost see the trail in my mind that they travelled. If this is the first historical fiction by Kelby Ouchley then I want more. I read this on my kindle and could not put it down. Sometimes I have a hard time finding really good historical fiction and this one is the best I have read in a long time. Please Mr Ouchley, give us more.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Iron Branch May 4, 2012
By Mirium
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting account of the life of a young woman "in between" races, culture, and age. Will appeal to a specific audience. I enjoyed it and learned about an aspect of the Civil War that is different than what is portrayed in most novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance, Adventure, History
I liked it because it has just the right amount of suspense without making me jump every time I hear a loud thud or unexplained squeak in a door. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Matilda de Nada
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book
A lovely read with just the right amount of civil war history. I admired the persistent of Abita and in the end she got her man.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Civil War books
The story was mostly true to history. It is well written and kept my attention. If you are interested in the Civil war or Native American history you might like this book.
Published 6 months ago by C. R., Steiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Iron Branch
This book was a good read,, but the main reason for liking it was that it is well-written. Good use of vocabulary and grammar!
Published 9 months ago by Janet Burd
5.0 out of 5 stars Iron Branch
Great Book! Loved the story line. If you like history, mystery, and love stories then you will love this book. I will recommend to all my friends.
Published 14 months ago by Kim Randall
2.0 out of 5 stars Plot seemed to be s "formula"
Sad story over all. Not actual history as far as I know. Plot was somewhat predictable. No educational value or true entertainment value either. Read more
Published 14 months ago by A. Edgeworth
5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of everything. A fine read
The book has a little bit of everything: a young mixed breed woman (Choktaw), her young white neighbor, the Civil War, a blind mule, the freedom of a black bear, written against a... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Barbara Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book!
This is a well written book about some lives impacted from the Civil War. I really enjoyed reading it and was hard to put down.
Published 15 months ago by Klender
5.0 out of 5 stars Iron branch
I enjoyed this book very much. It was unusual but kept my attention. Couldn't wait to find out what happened next
Published 16 months ago by Jackie Headley
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil War tale
An black woman's story of the transition from southern culture to northern and the problems she faced both in geographic movement and social adaptation - an interesting review of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ralph R. Woodworth
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More About the Author

Kelby Ouchley is a naturalist and managed National Wildlife Refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 30 years. His first book, "Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: An Environmental Reference Guide," was published by LSU Press in 2010. A collection of his essays, "Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country," was released by LSU Press in October 2011. His first novel, "Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between," is now available in softback and e-book formats. Since 1995, Kelby has written and narrated a weekly conservation-related program for KEDM 90.3 FM, the public radio station that serves the Ark-La-Miss area. He has been awarded the Louisiana Governor's Conservationist of the Year Award. Kelby and his wife, Amy, live in the woods in Rocky Branch, Louisiana, in a cypress house surrounded by white oaks and black hickories. His website is

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