Red Moon at Sharpsburgby Rosemary Wells
When the Civil War breaks out, life in the South is transformed and nothing remains the same. India Moody must summon the courage she didn’t know she had to plunge into one of the war’s most tragic and terrifying events—the Battle of Antietam, known in the South as Sharpsburg—in order to get medicine to her desperately sick father. As she
When the Civil War breaks out, life in the South is transformed and nothing remains the same. India Moody must summon the courage she didn’t know she had to plunge into one of the war’s most tragic and terrifying events—the Battle of Antietam, known in the South as Sharpsburg—in order to get medicine to her desperately sick father. As she struggles for survival during the Union’s brutal occupation, India gets an education in love and loss, the senseless devastation of war, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair.
Wells (Wingwalker) once again brings a historical period to life, this time the Civil War era in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. "It is July 30, 1861. I, India Moody am twelve years old," announces the confident narrator. The war brings with it countless sacrifices (Julia, India's best friend moves to Ohio to wait out the war) and tragedies (the destruction of the land), along with the death of her beloved father. When her school closes, India's neighbor Emory Trimble tutors her ("smart as a snake, but too rattle-chested from his asthma to be more than a Sunday soldier"). Although India is expected to learn "scriptures, household economics, handwriting, declamation," she hungers for knowledge of science ("It is like... firelight to me") and strives to attend Oberlin College in Ohio, which Julia has told her accepts women. India is not unlike another of the author's determined heroines, Mary Breckenridge (the subject of Wells's biography, Mary on Horseback): when Emory later helps the medics and goes missing, India searches for him and along the way secretly saves a Yankee soldier. Her act of kindness leads to an unexpected opportunity. Wells's prose often says more than facts could ("Like a child's tantrum suddenly over with, there is a thick after-battle stillness in the air"). By story's end, India has become a woman, on her way to achieving both educational and romantic success—a testament to her tenacious spirit. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Gr 7 Up
One word describes 13-year-old India Moody—perseverance. She has heard of a college in Ohio that accepts women and is determined to go there, an unthinkable dream for a girl in 1862. She is tutored by her neighbor, Emory Trimble, an eccentric scientist who teaches her about biology and chemistry, and with whom she later forms a romantic relationship. When her father, an ambulance wagon driver for the Confederate Army, is missing in action, she sets off to find him, ending up in the middle of the Battle of Antietam, one of the bloodiest of the war. She faces danger as the Union Army advances toward her home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and sees soldiers leave her town and not return. She witnesses Micah and Ester, slaves and friends of the Trimbles, harbor an injured Yankee soldier, putting their own lives in danger. Wells has created a sense of what the North and the South endured during the Civil War by interweaving stories from both sides, and gives a horrifying picture of medical practices and superstitions of the times. This powerful novel is unflinching in its depiction of war and the devastation it causes, yet shows the resilience and hope that can follow such a tragedy. India is a memorable, thoroughly believable character who faces many losses, yet readers are confident that she will follow her dream and attend Oberlin College.
Shannon SeglinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Rosemary Wells is the creator of dozens of award-winning books for children. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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