When Phoebe and Harry inherit his family’s farm they get a little more than they bargained for in the form of a ghost who believes the home is still his. Tom Smiley clearly has some unfinished business, we follow him on his journey to figure out what in his life may be holding him to the house. He begins to recount his life as a young man living peacefully on a farm in the 1860’s as the Emancipation Proclamation occurs. His family are not slave owners and have no real stance on the war but we see how he is essentially dragged into it. He fights with passion to protect the boys around him but we see how little he cares for the message of the Confederacy and comes to hate it as he sees the true atrocities of war.
I know a book about the Civil War from a male’s perspective may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea but the story relies on letters written between Tom and his sister Mary where she recounts what is happening at home. The second half of the book relies more on Mary’s experience and Phoebe’s quest to free Tom’s spirit.
This book took me a little longer to read than usual. The stark brutality of the starvation, the violence, the looting, each side fighting in the name of God and yet perpetrating such cruelty was hard to read. I don’t think that should dissuade anyone, especially Americans living in our current world from hearing the important messages in this story. How kind, hardworking Americans can be caught in a conflict that is not even theirs battling to protect ideals they don’t even believe in because their leaders told them to. Literally heart stopping. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Have you read any novels set in the Civil War?