Do you think the prologue was necessary? Why or Why not?
S: I’m not sure that the prologue added anything to my reading of the book thus far, except as a way to provide background to the action. The textbook-like language did that section an injustice, and I don’t think the author needed that section to demonstrate the confusion and dangerousness of the time. To be honest, I didn’t find it memorable and barely remember it.
A: I’m going to have to disagree with you. I know next to nothing about the Civil War, especially all that went on in the Ozarks, so I found that prologue interesting, and it set the stage for the events that followed. However, I will agree that there was a textbook feel to the writing, but that sort of goes with the excerpts from historical documents and books at the beginning of every chapter.
What are your first impressions of the main character, Adair Colley?
S: I think she’s a bit naive about how things in war work and she’s very impetuous. She seems to just jump with her emotions and doesn’t think too much about her actions. It’s no wonder that she gets arrested and sent to jail by the Union militia. Part of her problem is that she’s so young and woefully uneducated in some ways, but during that time, what did women need to know about war?
A: I agree that she’s impetuous, but I like that about her. She seems like a very strong girl, and she’ll need that strength to endure her imprisonment. I like that she will stand up for herself, but she does have a lot to learn. I don’t think her naivety is all because she’s a woman, though; she’s only 18, and I remember how I thought I knew everything at that age but actually knew very little about life.
The correspondence at the beginning of each chapter provides background to the fighting. How do you think that will figure into the overall plot or what is its purpose?
S: I’ve really enjoyed the correspondence at the beginning of each chapter a little more than the prologue. It could be the authenticity of the letters with their misspellings or the less than textbook-like language. It is like the letters and messages give you an insider’s look at both sides of the war, which is a fresh backdrop to the action in the book, especially given that Missouri appears to be caught in the middle of both sides.
A: I think they help to show that Adair’s story could very well have happened. Using actual correspondence and testimony makes the story more authentic, and then Adair’s story personalizes the whole situation for the reader.
What questions did you have? What did you think? Feel free to answer these questions in the comments and even pose your own. We’d love to discuss the book with you!