I'm three quarters through this novel and I truly just don't want the writing to end. Author Cornelia Nixon has taken a real life post-civil war tragedy and hung all the the issues of that turbulent period on it like explosive ornaments on a Christmas tree.
The characters, the war, the customs and the prejudices all tussle to stand and be counted in this divided 1860's rural community of northern Maryland. Its A community full of two kinds of men just returning from trying to kill one another over the rights of the slave, now a freedman in their midst. The battles are over, Lincoln and Booth are dead, but here on the Mason-Dixon line the war continues.
You may not be a historical novel reader, and you may not want to visit a time and place that is written about so frequently. But trust me when I say that this novel is not your standard time period piece. At the center are people with loves, fears, dreams and hurts not unlike those of people in today's society or peoples of ancient Rome. Interesting to compare
The author begins by telling you what happens. In her telling of how it happens she fills you with enough mystery and suspense to make you almost forget that you know the outcome. Though my copy is an advance reading copy, I've found the story clear, the characters vivid and the flow of writing flawless. I especially enjoy it when a story is being told from a hindsight point of view by those most effected by its events. Love, murder and mayhem are hardly ever as convincing as portrayed here in "Jarrettsville." Maybe that's because it really happened and it took a woman wronged by a man to finally seek justice like a man. Violently!
5.0 out of 5 stars