ICED TEA SOCIAL AND BOOK DISCUSSION
(Autographed from the author- A lovely surprise from my in-laws)
To begin this blog entry, I wish to thank tea society member, Polly Singer, for hosting this event at her home in Lexington. She created a lovely back drop with era-inspired music and a slide show of Carnton Plantation. She also contributed delicious Jasmine, rose and peony, and chocolate mint iced teas along with Benedictine tea sandwiches, and bourbon balls. Add those delicacies to ham, broccoli and Swiss quiche, olive nut tea sandwiches, and mini pecan tartlets and we were all feasting like queens!......To continue introducing you to Polly, we were no doubt the fortunate ones to be welcomed into her home and to get a glimpse at her hat creations. Polly is an internationally recognized and well-respected milliner and owner of All You Need Is Love Hats and Veils. She is incredibly humble about her accomplishments and that makes her even more exceptional, IMO....So, to give you a glimpse at her amazing talents, look no further than the Autumn issue of Victoria magazine, pictured below, with a feature of Polly’s creations and visit her site under the links portion on this blog. Thanks again, Polly....
(Three of our members: Darleen, Polly, and Denise)
At our book discussion on Saturday we concluded that this first novel by former Carnton Preservationist, Robert Hicks, was masterfully engaging and thought-provoking. The author successfully orchestrated a complex glimpse into and an interesting blending of lives of the historical and fictional characters. The book moves you profoundly and at times even to tears. The admiration that we felt for Carrie McGavock only grew as we witnessed her personal and spiritual growth and awakening throughout this novel. I have blogged about Franklin, TN in the past and how it’s one of my favorite towns because of the rich history and how it has this overwhelming energy that permeates throughout the cemeteries, homes, and even the ancient trees near Carter House and Carnton. It is truly a place that has been imprinted by the horrific magnitude of lives tragically lost on her soil. This book taps into that in a very powerful way. If you have any interest in Civil War History, The Battle of Franklin, or in Historic Fiction, I would highly recommend this novel. It is certainly graphic at times( How could it not be given the nature of the story?) but that all serves to create the authentic horror that was no doubt witnessed within the walls of Carnton Plantation and throughout the people of Franklin but perhaps specifically among the Union and Confederate soldiers so tragically killed there.
From the Jacket
In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman who has only her former slave to keep her company…and the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years before, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had been buried, Carrie dug them up and reburied them in her own personal cemetery. Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man she met on the day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery has room for one more.
In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground - and became a symbol of a nation's soul.
The novel flashes back thirty years to the afternoon of the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. There were 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carrie's home - the Carnton plantation - was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals lay dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limbs rose as tall as the smoke house. And when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrived and awakened feelings she had thought long dead, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.
The Widow of The South is a brilliant novel that captures the end of an era, the vast madness of war, and the courage of a remarkable woman to claim life from the grasp of death itself.
Please visit this Youtube clip for a short Tour of Carnton with author, Robert Hicks.