Red Moon at Sharpsburg

( 3 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
History becomes as real as the present in this fine novel about the Civil War in Virginia in the Shenandoah valley, as experienced by India from when she is 12 at the beginning of the war in 1861, until she is ready to leave home as a young woman in the months just before Lee's surrender in 1865. The war takes away her father and destroys her home and family, as it destroys her neighbors and all she knows. India is fiercely intelligent and latches on to a young man, Emory Trimble, who is obsessed by a search for the causes of infection. India becomes his assistant, keeping lab records and trying to find molds and other natural substances that can destroy the bacteria they see in their microscopes. Emory joins the Confederate Army medical corps and preaches hygiene relentlessly, though few other doctors listen. India tries her best to help on the home front, but misery, illness, and violence prevail for the most part. Their little neighborhood is complex, a microcosm of the South. She and a married couple, freed slaves Micah and Ester, compromise everyone by nursing a wounded Union officer back to health and hiding him from the local authorities. Wells's writing is vivid, often poetic. India's character is a marvelous combination of vulnerability, strength and intelligence. The towns near India are close to some of the worst battles of the Civil War: Sharpsburg, Antietam, Manassus. This is essential American history, and in this novel, readers learn about an important theater in that war and also something of women's history as we see India's intellectual gifts and how little opportunity is available for her to become educated. Excellent supplementary material for US history classes.
VOYA - Christina Fairman
In this novel of the Civil War, twelve-year-old India Moody and her community of Berryville, Virginia, are buzzing with pride over the men and boys who are volunteering to join regiments that they believe will defeat Northern forces. Even more exciting for India, however, is her discovery of science, which she absorbs like a sponge, despite her mother's admonitions that she cannot learn what is considered to be men's work. Her passion eventually motivates India to aim for college, an unusual step for women at the time. This premise of an old world collapsing in the wake of new ideas is a recurring theme of the novel. The imagery of the story is excellent. In a gripping account of the aftermath of the Battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland, India sees "thousands of mouse-colored mounds" of dead soldiers and learns that an unsavory consequence of death is a state where "only a drunk can stand the smell." Under a crescent moon that "sits like a bloody smile in the sky," India tries "to see through the mist that spirals up from the earth . . . it rises off hundreds of dead and dying soldiers." Sensitive readers may grimace at the blunt imagery of corpses, but the descriptions are not gratuitous. They are enveloped by a poetic awareness that endows the story with a remarkable depth of feeling. Despite an abrupt ending, this beautiful novel has the potential to become a classic.
School Library Journal

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.

Kirkus Reviews
Three promises precede the birth of India Moody in 1848, and everything that follows in India's wartime experience comes from those promises-two kept, one broken. The Civil War comes to India's home in the Shenandoah Valley and, by its end, northern Virginia is a charred and desolate land, and India's life is forever changed. India is a memorable character, so well drawn she seems to leap from the pages of the period letters and diaries upon which Wells based her tale. She studies chemistry with Emory Trimble, witnesses the battle of Antietam and dreams of studying science at Oberlin College. Thorough research is neatly woven into this epic tale of war, romance, faith, science and promise without ever overwhelming the telling, and India is a feisty heroine making her way into a new world forged by the fires of war. A grand historical novel of exceptional scale and depth. (author's note) (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142412053
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/18/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 238,755
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Wells is the creator of dozens of award-winning books for children. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2009

    A great book

    Red Moon at Sharpsburg is a historical fiction novel by Rosemary Wells. I found it a great book because it had lots of action. The setting of the book is in Virginia and the time period is 1861-1864.
    The major conflict of the book is that India the main character wants to learn about plants and bacteria and go to college. She visits a friend who works for a jail and he is able to let her in. In the beginning she asked her friend if she can watch him perform an experiment. India now becomes interested in science. She thought she wouldn't get into college because she was a girl.
    The point of view of this book is in first person and the author uses a lot of southern dialect like they would in Virginia in the 1860's. I think that people should read this book if they are interested in war and in bacteria and also plants.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2008

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Amazing book with powerful imagery. The Trimbles and the local Yanks fighting against each other was very powerful. I know the dad died, but that just made it better, along with the elements of fantasy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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