The Coffin Quilt: The Feud between the Hatfields and the... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Feuds among the mountain folks of West Virginia and Kentucky, particularly the bloody skirmishes between the Hatfield and McCoy families, are often celebrated in American legend and folksongs. In The Coffin Quilt, Ann Rinaldi mines this rich vein of Americana for a fascinating tale that closely follows the real events of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, but which also has implications for our own violent times. Rinaldi--known for Cast Two Shadows, An Acquaintance with Darkness, and other historical fiction novels for teens--suggests in her author's note that "the Civil War conditioned men who fought in it to kill and to hate." Consequently, men came home from the war to their mountains with minds and rifles primed to react to the slightest trespass upon their exaggerated loyalty to kinfolk. The story is told by Fanny, the youngest of the fourteen McCoy children, who traces the beginnings of the famous feud to a confused Civil War shooting and a dispute over a herd of pigs. When her favorite older sister, the beautiful Roseanna, runs off with handsome Johnse Hatfield, it's like a bucket of gasoline thrown on the smoldering hatred between the two families. Warned by the apparition she calls Yeller Thing, Fanny is nonetheless a helpless witness to ambushes and killings, burials and retribution. Too late she realizes that Roseanna's obsession with sewing a traditional but gruesome coffin-decorated quilt is a sign of her evil attraction to deliberately stoking the fires of the feud--providing a psychological thriller ending for this dramatic tale of hillbilly love and revenge. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

From Publishers Weekly

Fanny McCoy, the protagonist and narrator of Rinaldi's (A Break with Charity; An Acquaintance with Darkness) tautly plotted historical novel about the infamous feuding families effectively portrays the clans' divided loyalties and cycle of violence. This colorful novel, an addition to the Great Episodes series, begins in 1889, when Fanny is 16, at a hanging, and flashes back to 1880 to describe the evolution of the quarrel Fanny claims would never have started "if not for my sister Roseanna. And I can say this, because I loved her best of all." Roseanna McCoy, "so purty that just being next to her is better than a piece of rock candy," ran off with Johnse Hatfield and ignited the tinder box of residual hatred still smoldering from "The War Amongst Us" (the Civil War). As Roseanna stitches the title quilt, she morbidly records the interwoven fates of the two families, and Fanny, watching her, gradually realizes that her sister courted destruction and "dragged so many of us with her." Through homespun language, folk remedies, superstition and a vivid picture of a vengeful religion (e.g., Mama McCoy constantly shifts the pebbles of those in her prayers between the saved and damned piles), Rinaldi skillfully paints the code of honor of Kentucky and West Virginia mountain families. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: Great Episodes
  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (September 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152020152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152020156
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,365,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is another great book by Ann Rinaldi. In telling the story of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, she uses the voice of Fanny McCoy, the youngest of the McCoy children, whose entire childhood was taken up by and destroyed by the feud. When she was born in 1873, tensions were already high, and renewed over a theft when Fanny was five. Two years later, when Fanny's favorite sister, Roseanna, has an affair with a Hatfield, tensions explode. Over the next ten years, Fanny loses numerous family members to the feud - a sister, several brothers, nearly her mother, who barely survives, Roseanna, who dies of grief - and she loses all chances of a happy and normal childhood as she alternatley mourns her family and fumes with anger. More than just a story of this famous feud, THE COFFIN QUILT was also a portrait of a young girl who tries to rise about the hatred and violence she is surrounded by as she grows up.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By P. Fitch on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I live in the hills of West Virginia- not very far from where this story is set. When I was younger- I guess in about the 7th grade, we had WV history, which I tried not to pay any attention to as much as possible. Our class did learn about the Hatfields and McCoys, and I wish now that I had paid closer attention. Mostly because I really missed out on a good story- that I never really got a handle on until my own daughter brought home the coffin quilt book for a book report. After she read it, I decided to read it also. Such a good idea! I loved the book so much that I had to buy it for one of my friends to read. She loved it also. This book touched my heart, and I really felt for all of the characters at one point or another in the story. Its a really good read that I would recommend to anyone interested in the Hatfields and McCoys story.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amy on September 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi is a fictional story based on the historic Hatfield and McCoy feud that occurred near the Kentucky-West Virginia border. Told from the eyes of Fanny McCoy, the youngest of 14 children, this captivating novel tells how the feud, which has been rankling since the Civil War, suddenly explodes into a maelstrom of hatred and violence when Roseanna McCoy elopes with handsome Johnse Hatfield in 1880. Although Roseanna is soon returned to her family, bringing with her an unfinished coffin-decorated quilt and an unborn baby, the damage has already been done and the feud slowly escalates until one terrible night of killing. Rinaldi is adept in her storytelling, providing vivid details and homespun language to accompany her Romeo and Juliet styled story. Although the novel is a tad morbid and slightly difficult to follow with its large cast of characters and tendency to jump around, it still makes an enjoyable read that historical fiction fans will love.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patti on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a class assignment. I never read an Ann Rinaldi book before but now I am a big fan. I love historical fiction and I had heard of the Hatfield and McCoy feud but never knew if it was based on fact or fiction. Ms. Rinaldi tells the story from the voice of the youngest member of the McCoy family, Fanny. Through her a tale of family loyalty and betrayal. Fanny becomes caught in a tug-of-war of loyalty to her favorite sister Roseanna who runs off with a Hatfield. Fanny loves her sister but is placed in a position between her sister and her parents. Weaving throughout tale is the story of the start of the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, many years earlier. But no one seems to be able mend the feud and we see the breakdown of a families. I loved this book. What else I liked was how the author then gives you the actual facts and history of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. This book is a wonderful read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lyndon B. Johnson on May 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Coffin Quilt is a fictional story, based on the true story of the Feud of the Hatfield's and McCoy's. It really captures the way people lived back then. This is the most popular story about the Hatfield and McCoy feud. I am writing this book report because it is a true story about Appalachian history and it is a very interesting account of how they lived at this time. There are still descendents of both the Hatfields and the McCoys around the area of West Virginia and Kentucky. There are many different stories about how the feud started: like they were on different sides on the Civil War, the Hatfields stole the McCoy's pigs, a forbidden romance, and many others.
The story is narrated by the youngest of the McCoy children, Fanny. She goes through many conflicts in so little years. Her favorite sister Rosanna McCoy runs away with a Hatfield and leaves her in the midst of a stressful family. Rosanna gets pregnant and tries to get married but Anse Hatfield will not approve of it. The two families got into a fight at the annual election and the Hatfields took the brothers into West Virginia and killed them. So , the feud went on until it came down to the Hatfields burning the McCoy's house down.

I give this book 4 stars ! It is a very interesting account of mountaineer life in the years following the Civil War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Green Marker Girl on January 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
In modern times, people don't know much if anything pertaining to the feud between the Hatfields and the Mccoys.This book contains so much information, while educating the reader on an actual, historical event. I personally could relate to Fanny McCoy while reading, being in a family of five brothers and four sisters. Fanny is the youngest in an even larger family. I would highly reccomend The Coffin Quilt. It makes the reader feel, which is the sign of a good book.
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