Malinda Blalock’s story reeled me in immediately. She is just as headstrong as her husband, and must navigate the treachery and shifting loyalties of the Appalachian back country caught in the melee of the Civil War. The narrative that follows Zebulon Vance is not as action-packed, but is a pain-stakingly researched depiction of a politician in the shark-filled waters of the antebellum period.
As with all of McCrumb’s ballad novels, this one shifts perspectives between the past and the present. The shifting perspective here stands out because it highlights the very substantial differences between Civil War re-enactors and the soldiers they are emulating.
A must-read for Civil War history buffs.