My rating: 5 of 5 stars
November, 1864. Confederate hopes are all but dead, but there are still battles to fight. Carrie McGavock has ceased to care, and has withdrawn from life in the aftermath of the death of three of her young children. She’s languishing in bed when Nathan Bedford Forest arrives at the door of the plantation house, informing her that her house is about to become a field hospital. The ensuing Battle of Franklin turned into the bloodiest five hours of the entire Civil War. With no choice but to try her best, Carrie and her housekeeper/slave, Mariah, spend the next week amongst wall to wall bodies, some dying, some recovering, all terribly wounded. And in the midst of so much death and carnage, she finds a reason to live.
New author Robert Hicks has turned Carrie’s astonishing story into a novel about war, about love, and about hope. Following that horrific week, the McGavock Plantation became a cemetery, for the more than 1500 Southern soldiers who died at that house and had no one come to claim them. While her husband John, and the patient she came to love after his leg was amputated, both survived the war, Carrie became a surrogate widow, spending the rest of her long life tending all of those graves, so that none of those men would be forgotten. Now Mr. Hicks has seen to it that Carrie McGavock will be remembered as well. The Widow of the South is literary, elegant, and unforgettable. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading his second work of historical fiction, A Separate Country, which is set in the same time period.