Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I've Been Reading

One-a-Day Redux
Day Fourteen:  Something You're Reading

I'm overdue for a "What I've Been Reading" post, so today's prompt is a timely one. I'll save some of the books I've read recently for the next book post and focus today on what I've been reading over the last week: "The Bregdan Chronicles Historical Fiction Romance Series." I'm presently in the middle of the fourth of five books Ginny Dye has written (so far) in this Civil War-era series, and I'm wholly invested in them. I would estimate that these books are about ten percent romance and ninety percent history, but it's palatable history, presented in a way that makes it integral to the story. In fact, it's made me more interested in that time period than I've ever been, so I've alternated between reading the books and searching the Internet to flesh out the details. The combination has made for an especially enriching reading experience.

For example, when Rose, the slave/best friend of Carrie, the plantation owner's daughter (and main character) slipped out into the night and conducted a reading class for other slaves, I was interested in learning more about the education of slaves, so I visited this site, among other places.

When Rose learned that a "conductor" for the Underground Railroad was planning to visit the area, I read more about it here.

When Carrie moved with her father to Richmond and volunteered to assist at the Chimborazo Hospital, I wanted to know if such a place had really existed. Yes. It did.

I don't recall ever having heard about contraband camps before Rose and Moses, her husband, sought refuge there after they left the plantation. Dye's vivid descriptions of the camps are fascinating, and Internet sites taught me even more about them.

Carrie's beau, Robert, was seriously wounded at the Battle of Antietam. Now, I've heard of that battle, of course, but I never was as interested in it as I've been since reading about it in these books.

History has always seemed boring to me, a litany of names, dates and places, but each of Dye's historical references is woven so tightly into the story that it becomes real. She has given each event a human connection, showing readers how it affected the characters in the book and, by inference, real people who actually lived through those times. It was not only the characters, but also my ancestors (Yankee and Confederate both) who were on my mind when I wanted to learn more about the explosion in the Confederate States Munitions Laboratory, the draft riots in York City in 1863 that resulted in the burning of a colored orphan asylum, the poverty and food shortages suffered by so many on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Though each of these books stands alone, I highly recommend reading them in order. Here they are, in proper sequence:

Storm Clouds Rolling In
by Ginny Dye

On to Richmond
by Ginny Dye

Spring Will Come
by Ginny Dye

Dark Chaos
by Ginny Dye

The Last Long Night
by Ginny Dye

To read a description and reviews of any of these books,
click on its image above.

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