Some participants do not have blogs of their own, but we like to give them an opportunity to express their opinions about the books they read for the reading challenges.
Reva read Beauty From Ashes by Eugenia Price for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011. Here is her review:
This is an adaptation of the 1852-1867 diary of Anne Frazer of Marietta, Georgia. Born mistress of the plantation, Anne never really believed in slavery and certainly didn’t want to break up the Union her father had so loved. But early on we see that Anne could not live without her “best friend,” the slave Evie who was beautiful like her mistress and half-white. This reader wondered if they might have been half-sisters.
This is a 631 page study in grief. I could only give it 3 starts because of too many pages of crying, leaning on Eve, over-dependence on her children and inability to move on from the hurt and pain.
I always believed people back then had so many children because of the lack of reliable birth control. Beauty from Ashes showed me how very fragile life was and that people needed lots of family members to pick up the pieces as mothers died in childbirth, young men died in war’s injuries and disease and children died or were left for other family to raise as parents died young.
I was very impressed with the love and loyalty of family and friends, even though families were split–some for the Union, some for the Rebels. As armies marched through, ravaging the land, people starved and Anne nearly died from eating grass mixed in with the scant amount of food available. Homes and whole towns were burned. Anne’s home was taken over by soldiers.
As I read of all these horrors, I pondered on how America’s citizens would face difficulties such as these if presented by war and death to this degree. Would we relearn the love and loyalty, generosity and forbearance it would take to survive? Could we produce food, labor with our hands, serve our neighbor’s needs? Can we rise up against poor leaders before we get to that point? Reclaim how culture and traditions from the greedy and politically motivated? If not, someone may be writing books describing OUR grief someday.