Annie, Between the States by L. M. Elliott | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Annie, Between the States

Annie, Between the States

4.8 51
by L. M. Elliott

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Annie's home and heart are divided by the Civil War.

Annie Sinclair's Virginia home is in the battle path of the Civil War. Her brothers, Laurence and Jamie, fight to defend the South, while Annie and her mother tend to wounded soldiers. When she develops a romantic connection with a Union Army lieutenant, Annie's view of the war broadens.


Annie's home and heart are divided by the Civil War.

Annie Sinclair's Virginia home is in the battle path of the Civil War. Her brothers, Laurence and Jamie, fight to defend the South, while Annie and her mother tend to wounded soldiers. When she develops a romantic connection with a Union Army lieutenant, Annie's view of the war broadens. Then an accusation calls her loyalty into question. A nation and a heart divided force Annie to choose her own course.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Living in Virginia, Annie Sinclair finds her family in the crosshairs of the Civil War. Early in the conflict Annie and her mother are forced to serve as nurses tending to both Union and Confederate wounded from the Battle of First Manassas. In that capacity Annie discovers that in her heart she saw no difference in the sadness attendant to the death of either a Yankee or a Rebel soldier. Despite her love of her native South—for which two of her brothers are fighting—the issue of slavery troubles Annie and causes her to question the morality of their cause. To further complicate matters, a chain of events leads Annie to the brink of personal disaster. Only the intervention of a Union officer can save Annie from what appears to be destruction. Can she overcome her hatred of the Yankee invaders to accept the help that will save her? Readers with an interest in historical fiction and the Civil War era will enjoy finding the answer to this question when they complete this story. Written with an eye toward historical accuracy, the novel tells the sad story of the divisions and loss that were inherent in America's bloodiest war. Yet, despite the sadness that permeates the pages of this novel, the author also creates a strong female character in Annie Sinclair. In the person of Annie, readers will learn about both the Civil War in Virginia and one girl's journey to young womanhood. 2004, Katherine Tegen Books, Ages 12 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
Fifteen-year-old Annie Sinclair leads a typically sheltered, decorous life in her ancestral Northern Virginia home, Hickory Heights, until the Civil War wreaks havoc through her beloved land and turns her life upside down. Annie is a likeable, brave heroine who endures countless ordeals and runs grave risks to keep her family together, protect their property, and help Confederate troops whenever possible. Confederate Army General Jeb Stuart playfully dubs her "Lady Liberty" in admiration for her courageous ride to warn him and his men of an impending attack by Union troops. Despite her fierce loyalty to the Southern cause and the Confederate Army where her two brothers also serve, Annie finds herself deeply attracted to a handsome young Union officer-an emotion that poses a heart-wrenching quandary for the young woman. To complicate matters even further, she eventually incurs the open enmity of Union forces for her role in the daring rescue of two young female slaves captured by Northern soldiers, a selfless gesture that ultimately lands Annie in a Federal prison. Against a background of authentic events peopled with true historic figures, Annie and her contemporaries are brought to life in this compelling book that, because of its length and often stilted dialogues, might appeal only to the most avid history buff. The author's note, time line, and bibliography are particularly enlightening and reflect Elliott's careful, thorough research. The result is high quality historical fiction that highlights a most important and decisive period in American history. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; JuniorHigh, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, HarperCollins, 496p.; Biblio. Chronology., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
—Delia Culberson
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Elliott does a fine job of weaving the issues of the day into her story, helping readers to come away with an understanding that the Civil War was not just about North versus South or even slavery. Annie's older brother fights in the Southern Army, while her younger brother takes up with a vigilante group. When her mother catches diphtheria from a sick and wounded soldier, Annie is left to manage their Virginia home and farm. Early on, the teen meets a wounded Yankee officer, Thomas Walker, and they discover that they share a love of poetry. By the end of the novel, Annie has come to a growing awareness that slavery is wrong, has spent six months in a prison in Washington, DC, for carrying messages and hiding Confederate soldiers, and has made the difficult decision to marry the Yankee she loves. Annie is a strong and memorable heroine, and her story is one of a young woman loyal to her Southern roots but aware of the wrongs on both sides. At the same time, the book contains romance and gives a rich portrayal of the everyday life of a prosperous family during this period and an understanding of the effect of the war on both sides of the conflict.-Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A third of the major battles of the Civil War took place in Virginia. The last state to leave the Union and the state with the most residents voting against secession, Virginia, ironically, suffered most from the horrors of the war. Elliott's novel opens with the Battle of Manassas and a sea of confusion as Union troops retreat across the property of 15-year-old Annie Sinclair. By the end of the war, Annie's home and all of her relationships have changed irrevocably. Battle scenes are so powerfully drawn that readers will be engaged from chapter one. Though history lessons sometimes intrude on the narrative, Elliott does an admirable job of balancing the human story and the historical context. Her excellent author's note fills in the complicated history of the era, and the bibliography includes a fair number of resources for young readers. A rich experience for Civil War history buffs. (timeline) (Fiction. 12+)
ALA Booklist
“Part Ken Burns’ The Civil War, part Gone with the Wind…will be devoured by fans of historical fiction.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Library Edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.49(d)
Age Range:
13 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Annie, Between the States

By L. Elliott
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

L. Elliott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060012137

Chapter One

July 21, 1861
Manassas, Virginia

Stop being such a pea-wit.

Annie shook her head slightly as she muttered to herself. She hated being so cowardly and sickened by a little blood. She squeezed the ball of lint in her hand to quiet her trembling. It was simple enough to do. The lint would help the wound clot. All she had to do was stuff it in. Taking a deep breath, Annie knelt down and tried again.

"I'm sorry, sir," she said to the soldier lying on the porch floor. "Can you unbutton your jacket for me?" Modesty kept her from touching his clothes.

The Union officer blinked to clear his eyes and focus. "Yes, of course, miss." His voice was hoarse and small. "I'm sorry to be troubling you with this at all."

With a grimace, he undid the long row of brass buttons and tried to ease the blue jacket off his left arm. The motion caused a little gusher of blood to spurt up through his torn shirt.

"Oh, dear." Annie plopped to the floor, her brown muslin skirts popping air out like a blacksmith's bellows as she landed on her bottom. The house whirled. Her stomach lurched. Her ribs heaved against the wall of her corset. She fought to pull in the hot, dusty air. But it only made her feel more nauseous. Annie couldn't believe that not only was she having to tend to a Yankee, shemight retch right there in front of him.


The windows behind her rattled hard and the floor quaked. Annie forgot her queasy stomach. Lord save us. Those were closer -- she was sure of it. She was no expert; she'd known the sounds of war for only a few hours now. But she was learning fast.

When she'd first heard the cannons at daybreak, she'd thought the noise was way-off thunder, a squall line gathering itself up against the Bull Run Mountains. She'd prayed for rain. The cornfields and hay fields needed it badly. But her naïve thought lasted only a few minutes. There had been skirmishing recently at Blackburn Ford, a mile or so away. Annie had mistaken that artillery fire for distant thunder. This morning, Annie quickly realized that it was guns, and the beginning of something horrible.

It'd have to be, given all the soldiers who had swarmed the area. She'd stood by the gate with Aunt Molly's brood of children, watching Confederate troops pass by. Their cannons were pulled by burly plow horses that strained with the weight. They were thick black barrels, menacing and cold-looking, almost as long as train cars.

"Great God Almighty, Annie, look at them," her little cousin Will had breathed in awe. "They could blow down giants. Do you suppose the Yankees got guns like that?"

"I don't know, honey," she'd said, putting her arm around him. "General Beauregard's waiting for the Federal invaders at Bull Run. And General Johnston's on the way from the Shenandoah Valley. They'll take care of things." BOOM-BOOM-BOOM.

Cannon answered cannon. Yes, clearly the Union had guns just as big.

Annie thought of her brother, Laurence, good, kind Laurence who'd taken his two best thoroughbreds and joined Jeb Stuart's 1st Virginia Cavalry. Would Laurence be in the fight? What would she and her mother do if Laurence were hurt or . . .or . . . She couldn't allow the idea. Defensively, she replaced fear with anger. South Carolina had gotten Virginia into this mess, South Carolina and six of her Deep South sister states. Ever since they had seceded in the winter, Confederate men had swaggered about, shouting about states' rights and the fact that the Federal government existed only by the consent of the governed. They'd seemed to want the fight, as if it'd be fun, a good frolic.

And the North was no better. Rather than letting states leave the Union as the Constitution guaranteed they could do if they no longer agreed with its policies, President Lincoln declared war and called for seventy-five thousand volunteers to put down the insurrection -- eight thousand recruits were required of Virginia, he said. That was when, in May, Virginia finally, reluctantly, opted to secede from a government that demanded it wage war against its closest friends. Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee did the same, and the Confederacy held eleven states. Everyone started wearing rosettes and singing songs of glory.

Both sides expected quick, easy victory. The nearby village of Centreville was clogged with senators and people from Washington who'd hired carriages, packed picnic lunches, and traveled thirty miles over eight hours to watch the battle as if it were a Fourth of July celebration. Those guns certainly didn't sound like a picnic to her.


Annie covered her ears. She shouldn't be trapped, smack-dab in the middle of a battle. She wasn't supposed to be here. She should be home, safe in Upperville, west toward the Blue Ridge, shielded from the advancing Federals by a long, thick line of Confederate brigades. She'd just been on her way home from school and gotten stuck.

Annie attended Baker's Seminary for Young Ladies in Alexandria. Well, she had until the Union bluecoats crossed the Potomac River and occupied the town in May. Then she and most of the other girls had left. Usually, she would have ridden the train out the Orange & Alexandria Railway to Manassas Junction and spent the night with her aunt, who lived just a few miles away. But the Federals had shut down the rail line. She'd had to beg a carriage ride from a classmate and then walked the remaining distance from Centreville. Her mother, Miriam, had come in their rig to fetch her home. During their visit, Aunt Molly came down with measles, a gift from the Confederate soldiers camping nearby. Several neighbors caught it, too. Miriam insisted they stay to nurse Aunt Molly. And so here they were, sitting on the edge of Hades.

Mother never thought of such things. She was always taking care of everybody else but herself. This time, though, she'd dragged Annie into her dangerous do- gooding. It was selfish, is what it was, Annie fumed.


Excerpted from Annie, Between the States by L. Elliott Copyright © 2009 by L. Elliott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Laura Malone Elliott is the author of Under a War-Torn Sky, a NCSS/CBC Notable Book in Social Studies, a Jefferson Cup Honor Book, and winner of the Borders' Original Voices Award, and its sequel, A Troubled Peace, also a NCSS/CBC Notable; Annie, Between the States, an IRA Teacher's Choice and NYPL Book for the Teen Age; Give Me Liberty; and Flying South, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book. She lives in Virginia with her family.

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