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Wilderness Run: A Novel Hardcover – September 24, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312287577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312287573
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,895,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The horrors of the Civil War are the crucible of romance for two Vermont cousins in Hummel's debut, which is gracefully and evocatively written but hobbled somewhat by a plot that features several war-novel cliches. The book begins when 12-year-old Isabel Lindsey and her 17-year-old cousin Laurence encounter a runaway slave and try to save the man despite the objections of Isabel's father. The tragic outcome triggers a crisis of conscience for Laurence that leads him to enlist in the Army of the Potomac. His stint in uniform cures him of his rich-boy sense of privilege, exposing him to the nightmare of battle and forcing him to struggle to gain the acceptance of the men in his regiment. While Laurence is coming into his manhood as a soldier, the smart, independent Isabel finds herself challenged by her attraction to her French tutor, a Canadian named Louis Pacquette, who changes his neutral stance toward the war and enlists. Their relationship turns triangular when Laurence returns to Vermont after a minor injury in battle and finds that he has feelings for Isabel. Hummel creates solid characters while capturing the day-to-day reality of military life during the Civil War, and her well-paced, elegant prose turns especially poignant at the end when Laurence is gravely wounded and saved by Pacquette at Chancellorsville. Sending a young rich man to war is a time-worn plot device, but Hummel is a solid writer who inserts enough intriguing turns in her narrative to keep things interesting.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this debut novel, Hummel recounts the intrusion of the Civil War into the lives of cousins Isabel and Laurence Lindsey. At the age of 12, Bel has always been protected and cosseted by her wealthy Vermont family, while Laurence, five years older, attends school in Boston. On one of Laurence's infrequent visits home, the cousins find a runaway slave on the frozen lake. Their attempt to help him without involving their disapproving fathers brings home the harsh political realities of 1859. Two years later, Laurence enlists in the Second Vermont as a foot soldier, and the cousins' stories continue in alternating sections. Laurence experiences the boredom and squalor of military life punctuated by bloody battles, while Bel continues her safe and privileged existence. Eventually, Belle goes to Washington, DC, with her aunt to do her part by working in a hospital. Hummel's language is lyrical and vivid, and her portrayal of the everyday life of the Lindsey family and of Laurence's regiment is detailed and realistic. However, except for Laurence, the characters lack depth. The story and historical setting are interesting, but the reader is left wanting more. Recommended for larger public libraries. Ann Fleury, Tampa-Hillsborough Cty.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Maria Hummel is a poet, novelist, and essayist. She teaches at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Greenfield on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a good rainy weekend book, full of enough gory battles to keep you
riveted and enough warm domestic scenes to stop you from feeling guilty for
sipping your third hot chocolate. Beautiful writing, great historical
detail.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stonewall Blue on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
there are few civil war novels that stand above the crowded field. most hobble themselves with buddy-picture-like male cameraderie that fails to invoke the true spirit of an age that at least for the middle and upper middle class was more concerned with the etherial and transcendant than back slapping brotherhood. ms. hummel evokes the suffering, the dread, the gothic din and the warmth of the period better than any recent effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Struloeff on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I thought the book was a fine first novel. The language was well-crafted and vivid, the characters felt real and unpredictable, and the story kept me reading continuously. There were moments that felt a bit preachy or sentimental, for example, the various talks among the soldiers about fighting for the freedom of all men, and so forth, but those conversations struck me as things that Civil War soldiers might actually say, a level of sentimentality that was present at the time, and, while a bit out of place in our society today, perfectly reasonable for the era Hummel was writing about. I came away from the novel with its characters still on my mind, some of the lines and images still reverberating for me. In all, a very good reading experience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lona on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was the kind of book that left me thoughtful and satisfied like those books I read in my teens on Saturday mornings curled up and never going downstairs to start the day. I can't wait for Hummel to write more books. She mixes insight and poetry well. It is as if she talked first hand with those who recalled specific Civil War experiences and then wrote them into this novel.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There is such beautiful writing in this book, from the first scenes on the
Vermont lake through to the last moments in the Washington hospital. I felt
like I traveled so far with the Lindsey family and it will be a long time
before I forget Laurence and Isabel and their experiences. Despite choosing
a fairly traditional character trajectory--rich young man goes off to
war--Hummel has created a deeply original story about a family shattered by
a pivotal moment in our country's history. It's the details that make what
she writes ring true, the soldier who carves a ship piece by piece and
smuggles them out to the woods to assemble, the brutal episode of capturing
a hog in the forest, and on the domestic front, a girl reciting Shakespeare
at a party on the day the news comes home about the rout at Bull Run. You
don't have to be a Civil War buff to love this novel, but you do have to
want to escape the contemporary landscape of navel-gazing relationship books
into a fictional world with grand and serious scope
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