Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander


Book description:

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas – and of sacrificial love.
Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position – only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity – and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies – one, in particular – is far more than he bargained for.
My review:
I love to read historical fiction because it is a great way to experience history in a way that connects us to the way that people of the time might have lived or the emotions they might have felt. There is also an educational component of historical fiction that gives readers the names and dates or battles or important locations in history.
It has been awhile since I have read a Civil War story, but as I read this one I was reminded of an important fact of the Civil War that Americans frequently seem to be unaware of. Most people identify the cause of the Civil War as divided opinions about slavery. While slavery was an important issue, the Civil War was ultimately fought over state’s rights. I appreciated the way that Alexander reminded readers of that fact while also reminding us of the hard lives of slaves.
I wish this book had been longer. Due to the fact that there was an excerpt of another novel and recipes at the end of the book, it felt like there was a lot more to read when all of a sudden, I was reading the epilogue. It was a nice ending and a complete story, but I thought that there could have been more to the story to how Jake and Aletta reached the epilogue.
I’m excited to try the recipes from the story. It is always nice when an author offers recipes that are featured in the story. It adds another dimension to experiencing the story that I always appreciate.
If you enjoy reading historical fiction from the Civil War period, this is a solid choice.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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