This unique novel set in Andersonville, Georgia, at the end of the Civil War is based on true events. The life of thirteen-year-old slave girl Eulinda is intertwined with the horror of the prison camp in which 13,000 Union soldiers died in 1864 and 1865. Daughter of a plantation owner and a slave, Eulinda has always been considered part of her father's family, although he has never granted her freedom. Educated and living in his home, she is torn and confused about her place in society. The slaves do not trust her, and the relationship with her father and his harsh wife is tenuous. One of her brothers has been sold, and the other has joined the Union war effort. Challenged to decide her fate, she participates in some dangerous acts before leaving the comfort and protection of the plantation to assist Clara Barton and federal officials with the identification, burial, and family notification of the prison camp dead. Characterization is one-dimensional and somewhat stereotypical, although Eulinda is a likeable narrator. Her realistically portrayed voice, personal sacrifice, courage, and uncertainty will appeal to teens. Some readers might feel that her fate is too easily resolved. Themes of justice, prejudice, and freedom are evident but do not overwhelm the narrative. The gruesome details of Andersonville have been well researched and will enrich the reader's knowledge of a largely undocumented facet of the Civil War. In addition to appealing to Rinaldi's loyal base of readers and Civil War buffs, the novel would be a fine choice for historical or multicultural assignments. Pair it with Red Cap by G. Clifton Wilser (Lodestar, 1991/VOYA October 1991). VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readable withoutserious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2002, Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 170p,
Thirteen-year-old Eulinda is "neither this nor that." Some days she's a family member, other days a servant. Set on a Georgia plantation in 1864, this story of a half-white, half-black slave girl focuses on the psychological confusion and abuse suffered by the mixed-race daughter of a white master. Pulled in two directions, Eulinda belongs in neither. She's told, "nuthin' better than freedom," but that only seems to mean, "starving and dying." Should Eulinda escape when given the chance, stay behind and try to find her brother, or cling to the hope that her white father will acknowledge her? Not only does her dilemma depict an infrequently narrated facet of plantation life, it also reveals some lesser-known aspects of U.S. history. Eulinda's choices lead her to a surprising relationship with Clara Barton, the eventual founder of the American Red Cross, and to nearby Andersonville Prison, where the deaths of 13,000 ill-treated prisoners invite comparisons to World War II concentration camps. Boosted by Eulinda's spirited voice and a stirring sense of place, this novel will provide deeper insight into life during the Civil War and Reconstruction era, and treat readers to a character and story they'll care about and remember. 2002, Jump at the Sun/Hyperion,
Gr 6-8-In the last year of the Civil War, Eulinda, 13, the daughter of a slave and a slave owner, waits for news of her older brother, who ran away to join the Union Army. Neddy carries with him the ruby ring that he stole after their younger brother, Zeke, was framed for the theft, and punished by being sold away. When Eulinda discovers the Andersonville Prison, where Yankee soldiers die daily from starvation and disease, she knows her brother is somewhere inside the walls. After the war ends, she meets up with Clara Barton, and her destiny becomes entwined with giving the soldiers proper burials and ultimately finding the stolen ring. The author's note and bibliographical references provide evidence of sound research to portray the circumstances surrounding the prison where 13,000 Union soldiers died. While the setting is compelling, the characters themselves never quite draw readers into the emotional elements of the story. With the exception of Eulinda, who was educated in secret, the black characters speak in heavy dialects reminiscent of Gone with the Wind. Also, confusion regarding factual accuracy occurs when Eulinda relates how her mother deliberately infected the slave-owner's cruel wife with cholera by slobbering all over her, an unlikely way for the disease to be transmitted. However, the story may interest readers who want to find out more about the prison that was considered by many to be a death camp on American soil.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A lovely story, rendered in spare prose by a major writer of historical fiction, Rinaldi's (Girl in Blue, 2001, etc.) tale takes place in Georgia in 1864. Written in first-person flashback as a plainly told narrative set down at the request of Clara Barton, the main character tells us, it describes 13-year-old Eulinda Kellogg's attempts to make herself "come true." Eulinda, a house slave at a plantation close to the infamous Andersonville prison camp for Union soldiers, is the daughter of the plantation's owner. Though this fact is known to all, including the master's mean-spirited second wife, the owner has never legally acknowledged Eulinda. Her older brother has run away to join the Union forces-and may, in fact, be imprisoned at Andersonville-and a beloved younger one has been sold. A chance meeting with a man who offers her a role in helping to set the horrors of Andersonville to rights-that is, to bury the Union dead honorably and to turn it into a monument-provides Eulinda with the chance to do something important and meaningful with her life. There is much hard work to be done in this effort, and Eulinda encourages other freed blacks to help her clean and rebuild the place; in addition, as an educated young woman, she paints epitaphs so that all the fallen may be properly memorialized. In the process, she comes to meet and become secretary to Clara Barton, renowned in real life by this time as a champion of the rights of freed slaves and of the effort to pay tribute to the soldiers treated horribly at Andersonville. Eulinda is a beautifully realized character. She speaks plainly but always from the heart, and readers will be swept along by the drama and the history. The authorprovides a fascinating afterword in which she sets the facts and the many real-life characters in the novel in context and includes a bibliography featuring titles about Barton, Andersonville, and the Civil War. (Fiction. 10-14)