In this historical novel, half of America fights for the Confederacy, and the other half fights for unification. American fights American, and the fields are stained red with the blood of angry men. A new Confederate president, Davis, is elected and the Constitution is reevaluated and revised.
In Northern Alabama, Harim, a farmer loyal to his wife and three children enlists. After that, nothing is the same for him or his family. After traveling to Virginia with the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment, he enters into battle immediately. His son, David, stays behind to look after the family. He and his best friend, Jake, do their best to search for adventure and try to find their own way to defend their land and loved ones. Harim’s wife remains strong, caring for the family and awaiting her husband’s return.
This was such a beautifully written novel, with intense imagery and narrative that made me feel as though I was right there alongside the characters. Knowing the outcome of the Civil War made me even more emotionally invested, as I knew what was in store for them. Despite being armed with that knowledge, my hope for Harim’s safe return only grew as I dove deeper and deeper into the story. Hawkins’ writing made everything seem new, and it was almost a surprise when the outcome was revealed.
I would highly recommend this emotionally-charged novel to anyone who reads, not just those who are fans of historical fiction. I would also love to see this being assigned in school. I know I would have greatly enjoyed reading it in AP US History!
I have absolutely no qualms about this novel, and can definitely see why it was awarded the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, the B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, and honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival. As for the last one, I am highly surprised it was not in first place.
There is no question about it: 5 out of 5 stars. Review by Alexia Bullard