Tuesday, December 15, 2009
"A Blue and Gray Christmas: A Covington Holiday Novel" by Joan Medlicott for Pocket Books Blog Tours
My rating 3.5 out of 5
How I aquired the book: Received as part of Pocket Books Blog Tour for review
Synopsis from Amazon:
"In this stunning holiday story, a cache of Civil War-era letters and diaries sweeps the ladies of Covington up into a dramatic and heartwarming historical saga that inspires them to plan an unforgettable Christmas for two families forever changed by war.
When a rusty old tin box is unearthed at the Covington Homestead, longtime housemates Grace, Amelia, and Hannah discover that it contains letters and diaries written by two Civil War soldiers, one Union and one Confederate.
The friends are captivated by the drama revealed. The soldiers were found dying on a nearby battlefield by an old woman. She nursed them back to health, hiding them from bounty hunters seeking deserters. At the end of the war the men chose to stay in Covington, caring for their rescuer as she grew frail. But while their lives were rich, they still felt homesick and guilty for never contacting the families they'd left behind.
Christmas is coming, and the letters inspire Amelia with a generous impulse. What if she and her friends were to fi nd the two soldiers' descendants and invite them to Covington to meet? What better holiday gift could there be than the truth about these two heroic men and their dramatic shared fate? With little time left, the ladies spring into action to track down the men's families in Connecticut and the Carolinas, and to make preparations in Covington for their most memorable, most historic Christmas yet."
This is the first novel I have read by Medlicott so it was also my first in the Covington series. There are 9 others listed at the front of the book and I saw a few titles online that were not in that list. Overall this was a very nice story about how being generous with others can reap rewards for you overall, by giving you get even more back. The three women were believealbe and likeable. I loved the idea of the letters the women found and read. I though Medlicott did a really good job of capturing what seemed like authentic speech patterns for the two soldiers who had written the diaries and letters. However I thought the way she had some of her present day characters speaking was a bit formal and dated. The three women's dialogue was fine but the 20ish male teacher they met spoke like he was much older. While I liked the characaters overall, I did find myself forgetting who was who since there were so many of them and I had not read the other stories in the series. I coudl see places where the author tried to fill in the gaps for new readers, but Grace had a boyfriend/companion and it took me until halfway through the book to realize who he was. It was kind of like he just showed up all of sudden and I didn't remember him having been in the story prior to that. This was an enjoyable story especially for Christmas time, as it was and easy and fairly quick read as well.