EVVY'S CIVIL WAR by Miriam Brenaman


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Less about the Civil War and more about the plight of slaves and the societal constraints placed on women, this is an eventful family saga. On her 14th birthday, Evvy, the oldest of five sisters, must begin the life of a woman. She learns that she will be stifled by more than her corset. Evvy's family owns a profitable plantation that includes a reputable academy for boys and a smaller school for girls. As the probability of war increases, the precarious balance of running the plantation is upset by the death of Evvy's youngest sister, leaving their mother almost senseless with grief. Meanwhile, Evvy uncovers the secrets of both her family's involvement in the Underground Railroad and that to keep the plantation, her father must sire a son. When the war begins and her father goes off to fight, Evvy takes on the massive burden of running both the house and school. She also finds herself forced to make a desperate (and astonishing) decision to save all that she loves and values. The plot is bulging with issues but bolstered by intriguing little details about daily life, from how a woman hid perspiration to the making of soap. In her debut, Brenaman, drawing on some of her own family history and thorough research, writes an insightful story full of surprises. She palpably illustrates the confined life of women, bound by law and cultural norms to her father and husband when her only assets are her charms and if she's lucky, like Evvy, her cunning. (afterword, sources) (Fiction. 10-14)

ISBN: 0-399-23713-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Putnam