Before the Civil War began, tensions from the North and South were rising. Between the Underground Railroad, helping escape slaves reach freedom, to new states forming and whether it would be a free state or a slave state, was hotly debated.
On December 20, 1860, South Carolina succeeded from the Union, other states followed, forming the Confederate States of America. Shots were fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. This is the first battle of the Civil war. Later the armies clashed in July 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run. Several battles were waged in the year 1862. On January 1, 1863 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery. In July of that same year the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. And later President Lincoln gave his famous speech the Gettysburg Address. The war continued on throughout the rest of 1863 and all of 1864. On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, ending the long, terrible conflict.
This is an era where a country was divided, and countrymen fought against each other. Sometimes family members on opposite sides met on the battle field. Men on both sides fought valiantly for their cause, cities and towns were destroyed, thousands of lives lost. Slavery ended in America and new ideas of freedom for all mankind were born.
One of my favorite novels of this era is Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin. This is one that captures the turmoil of the era. The heroine was raised in the South with certain ideas and beliefs. But these are challenged with the outbreak of the war. This novel covers some really great topics, spying, families being torn apart, the destruction the war caused, politics of the time and the culture of the area.
Listed below are several novels for your perusing. I hope you enjoy this stop on out historical tour. Next, we will be heading into the Reconstruction Era. This was a time of rebuilding, of people getting their feet back under them and moving on from the war.
1850 Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana – Melanie Dobson
In a divided town during a dangerous era, who can be trusted? Liberty, Indiana, is home to a stop on the Underground Railroad operated by Anna Brent and her father, covert abolitionists who harbor runaway slaves traveling toward freedom. The Brents must be very careful; anyone caught aiding runaways is subject to imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. So when Anna begins to write columns denouncing slavery in the local newspaper, she must adopt a pen name. Even the newspapers editor, Daniel Stanton, does not know the authors true identity. Daniel takes a risk publishing the columns his job, his newspaper, and his very life might be in danger. When Anna’s work on the Underground Railroad is threatened, can she turn to Daniel, a man she barely knows, to ensure the safety of the slaves so dear to her? Will she and Daniel be willing to risk everything for their beliefs, including their personal liberty?
1855 Words Spoken True – Ann H. Gabhart
Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.
When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune‘s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late?
1861 Wedded to War – Jocelyn Green
It’s April 1861, and the Union Army’s Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she’s fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O’Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte’s future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?
This is the first of a four novel series. All four are equally amazing!
1862 Daughter of Twin Oaks – Lauraine Snelling
Will the Wounded Soldier She Rescues From Certain Death be Able to Break Down the Walls of Bitterness That Surround Her Heart?
Seeking to fulfill the promise she made to her dying father, eighteen-year-old Jesselynn Highwood determines to take her little brother and the family’s remaining Thoroughbreds from Twin Oaks plantation in Kentucky to her uncle’s farm in Missouri, where they will be safe for the remainder of the Civil War.
Jesselynn is also fleeing a cruel man in Confederate uniform who has pledged to take revenge against her for refusing his hand in marriage. No longer safe at Twin Oaks, she embarks on a perilous journey, taking on the momentous responsibility for the lives and welfare of all who go with her.
They ride at night and hide during the day, dodging both Confederate and Union troops along the way. Encountering hunger, sickness, and the devastation of war, they finally arrive in Missouri only to discover that the situation there puts them in even greater danger. Discouraged, disillusioned, and facing a severe testing of her faith, Jesselynn will stop at nothing to save her family, the horses, and whatever remains of Twin Oaks.
This is the first in a three novel series. I loved each one!
1863 Candle in the Darkness – Lynn Austin
Caroline Fletcher is caught in a nation split apart and torn between the ones she loves and a truth she can’t deny
The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised to believe slavery is God-ordained and acceptable. But on awakening to its cruelty and injustice, her eyes are opened to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. At the same time, her father and her fiance, Charles St. John, are fighting for the Confederacy and their beloved way of life and traditions.
Where does Caroline’s loyalty lie? Emboldened by her passion to make a difference and her growing faith, will she risk everything she holds dear?
This is the first in a three novel series. All of them are really great reads.
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