Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor? 

My review:
  This was not in my typical reading genre', and was also a new author to me, but I do enjoy reading about the Civil War, so I decided to review it, and am glad I did. It was even better than it sounded.

  The book is fictional, but is centered around a real prison in the South for Northerners that had been captured in battle. The conditions described in the book were real, and there are also some real historical figures in the book, but the events are fictional, along with some of the people.

  This was a very well written story. I don't know what the author's other books are like. but if this book is any indication, she is an excellent author. She did a great job of describing the conditions of the prison, the likely mentality of the prisoners and of the people of the town. She painted a great picture of the struggle between the North and South, and of the sadness of a country so divided.

  At the heart of the story is an unlikely friendship between two men. One is a Northerner, and the other is a Southerner. After delivering his Northern prisoner to the prison and seeing the conditions, the Southern boy vows to get his new friend out of the prison. With a daring plan and a couple of partners in crime, he sets out to just that. There are many bumps in the road, surprises, and a price to be paid to do so, but in the end the reader is left with a great story that is moving and leaves you with that satisfied feeling of reading a good story.

  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and found it hard to put down.

  I highly recommend the book to men and women alike. You will not be disappointed.

About the author:

Tracy Groot
Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award–winning author of several novels. Her most recent books exemplify her unique style of storytelling—reimagining biblical stories within other historical contexts. Tracy's novels have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called "beautifully written" and "page-turning" by Publishers Weekly and "gripping" with "exquisitely drawn" characters by Library Journal. Tracy and her husband have three boys and together run a coffee shop in Holland, Michigan.

The Sentinels of Andersonville is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.