Saturday, October 17, 2009

Guest Blog - Yankee Stranger by Elswyth Thane

Not long ago my husband and I stopped in Chancellorsville, Virginia to see a memorial to Stonewall Jackson. Jackson was mistakenly shot by someone on his own picket line. He lost an arm and developed pneumonia. He died about a week after the battle between the Confederate and Union forces at Chancellorsville - killed by friendly fire.
About twenty years ago, I read the entire seven book series of historical novels about a Williamsburg family written by Elswyth Thane. After visiting Chancellorsville, I got out an old copy of Yankee Stranger to read the story of a Yankee who fell in love with a Southern beauty on the eve of the Civil War. The recounting of the siege of Richmond is well written. Thane describes a city caught with little food and no drugs to deaden the pain of wounded Confederate soldiers.
I enjoy historical novels because it is such a painless way to gain a little knowledge of days gone by. This novel by Thane is my of the series about Williamsburg that she wrote. Reading this book a few weeks ago, I was surprised by some of the very politically incorrect references to slaves. I had forgotten all of the negative language used in the book when speaking of African Americans.
Yankee Stranger is a good romance and a good historical novel. It is well worth reading but you need to take into account the fact that it was published in 1944. Hopefully we have become more sensitive in the years since then, but I suspect we have a very long way to go.

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