In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman who has only her former slave to keep
and the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years
before, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had
been buried, Carrie dug them up and reburied them in her own personal cemetery.
Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man
she met on the day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to
her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery
has room for one more.
In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground - and became a symbol of a nation's soul.
The novel flashes back thirty years to the afternoon of the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. There were 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carrie's home - the Carnton plantation - was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals lay dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limbs rose as tall as the smoke house. And when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrived and awakened feelings she had thought long dead, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.
The Widow of The South is a brilliant novel that captures the end of an era, the vast madness of war, and the courage of a remarkable woman to claim life from the grasp of death itself.
Also available as a Time Warner Audiobook, in a Large Print Edition and as an eBook.
excerpt from the Prologue
Carrie watched him go and then turned to Mariah, whom she had once owned, a gift to her from her father. She was a gift, whatever the meaning and implications of that word. Mariah had been her tether to the earth when things had spun away, when Carrie wasn't sure if there remained a real and true life for her, and then when she wasn't sure if she wanted that life even if it existed. Things had been different once. She couldn't believe that she had ever been so . . . what? Weak? No, that wasn't it. She'd never been weak. She'd been buffeted and knocked down, like grass bent to the ground by the wind preceding a thunderstorm. She'd been slow to get up. But she did get up, eventually. There had been no choice. She was not afraid of much, and she especially wasn't afraid of God. Not anymore, not for a long time.
"Mariah, what do you see?"
A mockingbird chased a hawk across the width of the ...
Robert Hicks was born and raised in South Florida. In 1974 he moved to Tennessee where he now lives in an eighteenth-century log cabin near Leiper's Fork. His day job is music publishing and artist management but his passion is collecting - including 18th century maps of Tennessee, Tennesseana in general and Southern decorative arts. He was the driving force behind, and co-curator of, the Art of Tennessee exhibition in Nashville which opened in September 2003 and has served on the boards ...
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