This blog is named Victorian Scribbles and the original idea was to write about all things Victorian—which normally we associate with England. You know: cobblestone streets, London fog, Victoria and Albert, Tennyson and all the famous Victorian poets, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. What is strange to realize is that just short of the midpoint of Victoria's reign, the Civil War was raging in the U.S., and the following aftermath built up in southern states to what later became Jim Crow.
Just recently I read Vicki Lane's new book, And the Crow Took Their Eyes, in my opinion, a masterpiece.
When I think of the Civil War, in the past I've always imagined a unified Confederacy. But that wasn't the case. Slave owners fought to preserve their way of life, but a large proportion of of villagers in small out of the way places didn't have any desire for war. They had no desire for slaves, didn't want to be dragged into any fighting. They just wanted to be left alone and get by. If they did join the Conferate army, often it was at gunpoint. More often, they just vanished into the woods and hills until the recruiters left.
One such place was Shelton Laurel in North Carolina, where thirteen men who wouldn't fight were suspected of being Union sympathizers and were massacred. Apparently the history is factual, the massacre famous, but the story Lane tells is through the eyes of five fictionalized characters, all with different voices. And, fiction being a powerful tool for truth, the story unfolds, voice by voice, showing the ravages of war that alter communities and don't end when the shooting stops. It's a heartbreaking read, but a valuable one, and the writer's mastery of language and culture of the area make the community and the individual characters come alive for the reader. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
If you click on the title above, you'll be taken to the book itself. Go there, please.
What books have you been reading? Please share.