Once again Ann Rinaldi shows why she is my favorite YA historical fiction writer. Susan Chilmark is 14 when the Civil war breaks out, and she is determined to do something meaningful for the Confederacy, especially as her estranged older brother refuses to enlist, shaming the family. She volunteers to collect silk dresses from Richmond's ladies to make a balloon to spy on the Yankees. But when the wounded come pouring into the city, Susan realizes that war isn't the glorious thing that orators have been trumpeting, and doubts about it begin to assail her. When she accidentally meets her brother and gets to know him, he challenges her beliefs in the system she was born into, and she must muster the courage to do what is right even if it hurts the ones she loves.
Rinaldi's research is impeccable, and her writing always puts you into the heart of the character and the period. In this book she does an excellent job of portraying the difficult choices faced by Southerners who still love the South even though they believe that the North is morally right in the issues of the war. Susan is forced to grow up fast in a harsh world even as she clings to her innocence. It's a testament to Rinaldi's skill as a writer that even though I wasn't in the mood for a Civil War story, I could not help picking up the book again and again to finish it, and it kept me fascinated throughout.
A civil war historical novel. Very well written and fast paced.
Inspiring book that shows the other side of the civil war, truely a must read