Vam (San Antonio, Texas)
Discovery of the relevancy of the human heart
While I want to emphatically deny that my review was impacted by the means by which I obtained this book, I feel obliged to state that I received this book without charge in exchange for my agreement to give a true appraisal of it. What follows is my honest evaluation.
The author has done a magnificent job of creating a beautiful story of love made especially meaningful because it has survived prejudice, feelings of betrayal, sorrow, the beastly ugliness/savagery of war, forgiveness, and individual searches for self. Notice that I did not call it a "love story" because those words describe a romance. This book conveys deeper feelings and thoughts and the love found in the book expands to more than just one mere man and a woman.
We all are certainly aware of other Civil War novels – that history has been widely cussed and discussed as a period of national disaster and for certain people, feelings about that history continues to separate our nation. This is a Civil War novel but it is written about another group of people who also suffered terrible abuse in my country – a country that I deeply love with great pride because it does in fact offer liberty and justice for all. Remarkably, many of us have lived a full life mostly unaware of the magnitude of this other shameful period in our history. The author successfully gives us a history lesson about this abuse without making us feel she is chiding us.
The man in the novel is a wounded confederate soldier and the woman (the product of a marriage between an immigrant from China and a Native American woman) is the nurse who cares for him. The novel traces the lives of three people: the soldier, the nurse, and the nurse's father. The Chapters in the book switch back and forth allowing each of the three main characters to narrate their individual stories. In this way, we can successfully become the alter ego of each of them – sharing their feelings, thoughts, pain, and love. While this might sound like it might be confusing, the flow to me was quite natural.
I recommend it to audiences of all ages – with a warning in advance however that the descriptions not only tell about the need for forgiveness felt by the people who survive but they also provide graphic accounts of the horror of the battle fields.