Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hazardous Unions: Two Tales of a Civil War Christmas by Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery

Published by Imajin Books
Reviewed from e-book 

Personalizing the American Civil War
Two authors, two stories, two sisters; twins who, after the death of their father, must work as domestic help on different plantations. Money is needed for their mother and sick brother. Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery have personalized the Civil war with these diverse yet integrated stories. Two tales of how life goes on, albeit changed in nature by the war. This book provides an insight into how the people caught in the middle lived extraordinary lives, often far removed from what they have known before.

Well-written with definitive research, I really enjoyed the two stories told from the sisters' points of view. Although they are far from home and working in two different locations and two different types of domesticity, they try to keep in touch by letter, an almost insurmountable undertaking with soldiers from both north and south disrupting travel routes. Their stories show how love can be found anywhere at anytime, even in times of chaos.

Both stories are very different, and show entirely different ways of life and the threat to their existence. I think the authors have a winner here, great characterizations and fascinating insights. A war story that is more about the people and family dynamics than fighting, though the tension is still felt. An unusual telling, but brilliant.

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