Monday, December 5, 2016

Homeland by Barbara Hambly (Guest Review by Miranda)


Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Publisher Name ()
ISBN-13: 978-0553805529
Kindle: 1046 KB
Publisher: Bantam (August 25, 2009)
Available on Amazon

Is Civil War Angst Back?

The other day my blog friend Lola put up a great post titled "How Did We Get Here?" to talk about how alienated we Trump supporters feel in blue enclaves. One of our great Crawdad commenters, Miranda, suggested this book by Barbara Hambly, as one that perfectly describes that feeling. Miranda kindly agreed to do a guest review and here it is. Enjoy! (P.S. This is currently only $1.99 so it is quite a steal.)

Homeland is set during the Civil War and takes the form of correspondence between Cora and Susanna, sisters-in-law and friends, who end up on opposite sides. Cora is married to Susanna's brother, and they live in the North. When war breaks out, the brother cannot fight against his homeland and returns to fight for the South. Throughout the fighting, the women write to each about their lives as the war rages.

Susanna's family ends up almost starving and having to fight soldiers for what food can be found. Cora is more comfortable physically but becomes increasingly isolated from her family and friends as resentment over her husband's defection grows. Their letters, that are sometimes never sent, become the only form of comfort each woman has.

The isolation and lonliness that result from being out-of-step with the mindset of those around you is a major theme of this book. Cora and Susanna's friendship shields them from the propaganda that inflames both sides during the war. Cora is accused of 'cheering Yankee deaths' because of her husband, when as Cora says, "I don't want anyone to die." Susanna feels 'like a spy in an enemy camp' because it would be dangerous to reveal her true thoughts.

Hambly is a historian and her books are always carefully researched. Homeland offers a slice of domestic life during wartime and on a larger scale, a commentary on groupthink that is relevant today.

The Kindle version of Barbara Hambly's Homeland is available on Amazon for only $1.99!

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1 comment:

  1. I really liked her They Hunt the Night book about vampires in Romania. Started my interest in the nation, actually.