Monday, December 18, 2017
Christmas at Carnton- Tamera Alexander
Description: Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women's Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it's been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity-- and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women's Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of "crinolines" isn't his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.
Set against the backdrop of the real history of Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.
My Thoughts: Tamera Alexander has always had a way of telling a story that sucks you into the characters lives. She invests a lot of time in to researching locations and the historical characters who lived there, creating environments in which it actually feels like the people she writes are truly moving around.
However, as with the last couple of books, I felt that Tamera is writing a highly idealized versions of some of her characters. For instance, Mrs. McGavock, the mistress of Carnton, is portrayed as a believer in women's ability to preform the same tasks as men as well as someone who demanded respect be given to her slaves, going so far as to fire someone who did not. While it is possible that the real Mrs McGavock held these beliefs (the author's note at the end makes no mention of it), the chance that this was the case is highly unlikely.
Ignoring this, I was able to concentrate on the story between Jake and Aletta, yet there were still moments when I was unable to overlook interactions between Mrs. McGavock and her slave cook, Tempy. These moments felt untrue to history and, though a small portion of the book, still tempered my enthusiasm for the rest of the story. And, if Mrs McGavock had been the way she was portrayed, I feel that to have been an anomaly worth mentioning.
As stated before, I really enjoy Tamera's writing and generally truly enjoy her books as a whole. I still liked the story between Jake and Aletta, and would have loved the book had it not been for the portrayal of Mrs. McGavock and, to a lesser extent, Tempy. I know that for many others, this depiction of those characters will be hardly noticed. But for others, like myself, it is something worth noting.
I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy through the Fiction Guild.