Abducted against his will, Matthew Scott is conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead father’s political leanings. Injured at Malvern Hill, Matthew is taken by the Union army to Shirley Plantation in Virginia where he is tended by seamstress Angelina Rose, a freed slave. Given an opportunity to leave the South and start a new life for herself, Angelina remained for the sake of her sister’s orphaned twins who are still enslaved. Matthew’s return to Shirley Plantation settles a mystery concerning his father’s past and helps Matthew find the family he longs for.
Return to Shirley Plantation differs from many novellas in that characters are well crafted, there is a good sense of place, and the story feels complete. Carrie did an excellent job at packing a lot into this short, well-researched novella. I loved how actual historical events and members of the Carter family living on the plantation in 1862 are seamlessly woven into the narrative.
Angelina had previously turned down an offer to escape to the North because she felt God was telling her to wait. Matthew was abducted from his theater troupe and forced to fight for the South because of his father's political leanings. The sweet romance between Matthew and Angelina begins in what would have been an idyllic setting, but for the ravages of war.
Matthew's father is described as a "Copperhead," which is defined as someone "living north of the Mason-Dixon Line who sympathized with the South." I wasn't familiar with this term it's always fun to discover new words.
One doesn't have to be a Civil War fan to like this book. I would recommend Return to Shirley Plantation to all who enjoy inspirational, poignant historical fiction.
The "Cry of Freedom" series . . .
The plantations, Underground Railroad, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge . . . Soldiers in the field, families at home, nurses in the hospitals, prayers in churches North and South . . . "Cry of Freedom," a Civil War project envisioned by author Murray Pura, is a novella collection that explores the passion, romance, tragedy and triumph of the year 1863 in a war that changed America forever. Written by several different authors, one story will be released every two weeks from April through November of 2013.
I received Return to Shirley Plantation by BookFun.org in exchange for my honest review.