Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review

The blogger wanted to share a book she just finished. It's not a new book, but one that leaped off the shelves of the Reston Regional Library into her hands last week. Once she started it, she had a very hard time putting it down.

Ghost Riders, by Sharyn McCrumb, is a story of how the old and the new can intersect in time with quite unexpected results. The setting is in the mountains of North Carolina during the Civil War as well as the present. The story is mostly about a couple, McKesson (Keith) and Malinda (Sam) Blalock, who are as poor as any up in the mountains, but despite their best efforts, can't stay free of entanglements with the war. They eventually end up helping soldiers who are escaping from service with the CSA.

At the same time, but in a different century, re-enactors are in the woods in the mountains, living the "good" soldier life. They don't realize that the folks coming through their campsite with the totally realistic gear and uniforms and appearance aren't reenactors. Their ignorance is a blessing.

There are some other characters that help hold the story together -- a part-Cherokee man called Rattler, and a mountain man from the old times named Zebulon Baird Vance. Their involvement in the story is essential and utterly fascinating.

The reason the blogger found the book so interesting is because she has been up to her eyeteeth in genealogy history lately, much of it trying to discern when her ancestors crossed the Appalachians. From reading the accounts of those who kept moving west, the blogger was aware of how realistically portrayed the time and circumstances were captured by the author.  Additionally, the battle of Saltville figures in the book, and that's the one the blogger's daughter was working on with GIS this summer at Governor's School.  Who knew we'd ever hear anything about that one again?

Some of the characters really existed in the Civil War times, which makes the story even more intriguing.

If you ever wondered why re-enactors do what they do, and what ghosts they risk disturbing, you'll enjoy this historical fiction book. You can find it on the shelf:


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