Monday, November 23, 2009

Book review: Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi (Published by Harcourt Books, September 28, 2009)

Leigh Ann Conners was eleven years old in the spring of 1861, when the Civil War began. Living in Georgia where her family operated a cotton mill, Leigh Ann had an unusual family life. Her father was unwell and her mother had left the family, leaving her to mainly be raised by her older brothers. This led to the headstrong young girl often having conflicts with her strict older brothers. The war changes everything, however, as over the next three years Leigh Ann must cope with her brothers fighting in a war that is increasingly creeping closer to home.

Three years later, in 1864, the Union Army led by General Sherman arrives in Georgia. Because the family uses the mill to produce cloth for the Confederate army, they are considered enemies of the Union. Leigh Ann's attempts to help only cause further disaster. The mill is burned, and Leigh Ann, her sister, and the other female mill workers are captured and sent north. Because the family uses the mill to produce cloth for the Confederate army, they are considered enemies by the Union army when it arrives in Georgia in 1864. Leigh Ann's attempts to help only cause further disaster. The mill is burned, and Leigh Ann, her sister, and the other female mill workers are captured and sent north. These events force Leigh Ann to grow up and mature as she faces danger and hardship.

Leigh Ann’s Civil War was overall an enjoyable historical fiction read. Ann Rinaldi, as she always does in her historical novels, has taken an event from history and brought it to life. The novel is based on the true story of the female mill workers captured by the Union army, a little-known event from the Civil War that I hadn't known about before reading this book. There were a couple of things I found a bit problematic, however - Leigh Ann’s dysfunctional family history was a bit of a distraction at time from the main story of her experiences during the war, and there were some magical elements thrown in that didn’t really make a lot of sense. While it was not my favorite book by Ann Rinaldi, I would still recommend Leigh Ann’s Civil War to young adult readers who enjoyed other books by Ann Rinaldi or who like historical fiction set during the Civil War.

3 comments:

Kelsey said...

I really want to read this, I love Ann Rinaldi. Great review!

MissAttitude said...

I love Ann Rnaldi too, but I've been reading more and more that her books aren't always historicaly accurate and can be sterotypically. Do you know if this is true? This book does sound interesting since I never heard anything about mill workers being captured by Union soldiers and I love reading about the Civil War (in fact I just reviewed a book on the Civil War, March Toward The Thunder, sooo good). :)

Rebecca Herman said...

MissAttitude, I think it depends on the book/setting. Some books she has written seem more accurate then others. I think however she does a good job at writing sympathetic characters and bringing the setting to life in such a way that it will interest readers in the real history behind the story. Here is some historical information about the Roswell Mill and the capture of the workers: http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/roswell_mill.html

 
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