Sunday, July 12, 2009

61. The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

Book Around the States
I guess it would be unrealistic to read a book from each state and not get one that deals with the Civil War. This is the story of Carrie McGavock and her attempts to make some sense from the battle that took place near her home. The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee is considered to be the bloodiest in history. 9600 men died within the space of five hours. It also created such a crushing blow for the Confederacy that the war ended at Appotomax just four months later. While the book includes details of that horrific battle, mostly it tells a fictionalized version of the hospital that was set up at Carrie's home and her efforts to take care of so many dying men. Two years after the war ended, she learns that a neighbor plans to plow up his field where fifteen hundred corpses are lightly buried. She gets permission, and with the help of many of the townspeople, the dead were dug up and reburied in a cemetery next to her house. Those are the facts. The rest of this pretty long book creates characters to suppose what could have happened to Carrie, her family, and some of those soldiers. I'm not sure if there is any basis for the relationship that develops between her and one of the amputees, but it seemed a little far-fetched to me. It was an interesting and very moving story, especially about the family who visits their son's grave many years later. Even so, I had a hard time getting through the whole thing. Hicks writing was beautiful and the historical was nicely blended into the fiction. I think I just had a hard time liking most of the characters including Carrie McGavock. Plus I'm not really a Civil War buff.
Rating: 3.75


  1. It's hard to enjoy a book when you don't care for any of the characters.

  2. I have been meaning to read this book for years now! Maybe one day.