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Red Moon at Sharpsburgby Rosemary Wells
Synopses & Reviews
Award-winning author Rosemary Wells lays bare the senseless devastation of war in this stunning novel. As the Civil War breaks out, India, a young Southern girl, summons her sharp intelligence and the courage she didnt know she had to survive the war that threatens to destroy her family, her Virginia home, and the only life she has ever known. A timeless heroine of inspiring drive and bravery, India holds on to her dream of forging a career in science, unheard-of for a woman, in the face of battle, starvation, and tragic loss. Rarely has the Southern perspective on the war been told so even-handedly for young adults as in this meticulously researched, poignant, and riveting novel.
"Wells (Wingwalker) once again brings a historical period to life, this time the Civil War era in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. 'It is July 30, 1861. I, India Moody am twelve years old,' announces the confident narrator. The war brings with it countless sacrifices (Julia, India's best friend moves to Ohio to wait out the war) and tragedies (the destruction of the land), along with the death of her beloved father. When her school closes, India's neighbor Emory Trimble tutors her ('smart as a snake, but too rattle-chested from his asthma to be more than a Sunday soldier'). Although India is expected to learn 'scriptures, household economics, handwriting, declamation,' she hungers for knowledge of science ('It is like... firelight to me') and strives to attend Oberlin College in Ohio, which Julia has told her accepts women. India is not unlike another of the author's determined heroines, Mary Breckenridge (the subject of Wells's biography, Mary on Horseback): when Emory later helps the medics and goes missing, India searches for him and along the way secretly saves a Yankee soldier. Her act of kindness leads to an unexpected opportunity. Wells's prose often says more than facts could ('Like a child's tantrum suddenly over with, there is a thick after-battle stillness in the air'). By story's end, India has become a woman, on her way to achieving both educational and romantic success — a testament to her tenacious spirit. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Wells is amazing. She is most famous as the creator of those spirited bunnies Max and Ruby and other denizens of the kindergarten. Yet here she is with a YA novel about the bloody Civil War battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Md., that's every bit as forceful and nuanced as Harold Keith's 'Rifles for Watie' or James Collier's 'With Every Drop of Blood.' Nor is it just a battlefield yarn. With a girl... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) as the narrator — the clever, tomboyish India Moody, who recognizes that in her world girls and women 'live just a step up from a good hunting dog' — its scope is wider. Women's rights, education, science and medical advances are right up there with the burning issue of slavery as Wells chronicles India's deepening comprehension of the chaos overtaking her peaceful life in Berryville, Va., and her gradual disillusionment with the Confederacy. Nothing is black and white, except perhaps for the implied view of war's folly. India's father, a harness maker, dies at Sharpsburg, a good Southerner riddled with doubts about the South's cause. A Berryville man who has joined the Union Army, on fire for abolition, returns to brutalize his former neighbors. And although one might wish for a less over-the-rainbow destination for India than Oberlin College, there is nothing pat or conventional about Wells' prose. You close the book with its crystalline phrases ringing in your ears: India, at 12, is 'green of eye, crow-black of hair, and ... still a skinny-minnie.' A letter is 'a small live thing' in a pocket. 'Ice-coated twigs tap like mice-feet on the glass.' And the night after Antietam, under a blood-red crescent moon, 'the medics form a new army descending on the dying like a regiment of fireflies.' A thoughtful, beautiful novel. Elizabeth Ward can be reached at warde(at symbol)washpost.com." Reviewed by Lily KingRon CharlesBruce SchoenfeldSusan WareJudy BudnitzBryan BurroughKaren DeYoungJonathan YardleyDarryl Lorenzo WellingtonRobert PinskyMatthew DallekElizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"[A] welcome addition to the growing ranks of novels representing the Southern civilian experience for young adults." -Booklist, starred review
"A grand historical novel of exceptional scale and depth." -Kirkus, starred review
When the Civil War breaks out, life in the South is transformed and nothing remains the same. India Moody must summon the courage she didnt know she had to plunge into one of the wars most tragic and terrifying events—the Battle of Antietam, known in the South as Sharpsburg—in order to get medicine to her desperately sick father. As she struggles for survival during the Unions brutal occupation, India gets an education in love and loss, the senseless devastation of war, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair.
An award-winning author lays bare the senseless devastation of war in this stunning novel that tells the story of one brave Southern girl's struggle to survive the Civil War.
About the Author
Rosemary Wells is the creator of dozens of award-winning books for children. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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