Ñ Ghost Riders È Download by Þ Sharyn McCrumb I was very disappointed in this book The title is Ghost Riders and various synopsis indicated it was a novel centered around soldiers who continue to fight a war that ended 150 yrs ago despite the fact they are dead There were only a few references to the paranormal in the book The novel introduces the reader to some interesting historical people allowing them to speak in the first person Overall the book was about Zebulon Baird and Malinda Blalock who are both very interesting but the book fell extremely short if the book s plot was supposed to be primarily, or even somewhat, about ghostly soldiers The book was an alright read only because of the historical information in my opinion however I would not recommend if the reader wants a good ghost story.
I only didn t like this one cos it s a bit too political for me And I found this one trickier to follow The Latest Ballad Novel From Sharyn McCrumb Tells The True Story Of The Civil War In The Appalachians, Where Neighbors Became Enemies, And The Half Life Of Violence Keeps Soldiers Ghosts Abroad In The Modern Wilderness For Frontier Lawyer Zeb Vance, The War Was An Odyssey That Leads To The Governor S Mansion Malinda Blalock, Who Followed Her Young Husband Into Battle, Becomes A Union Bushwhacker, Making War Against Confederate Sympathizers In The Mountains Another excellent Ballad novel from Appalachian historical fiction pro who shows once again the past is never past.
Here is another book that I may have never read if it had not been lent to me I love how sharing books can open up new ways of thinking for people I am so glad I read it as it has wet my appetite for learning about the Reconstruction following the Civil War Ghost Riders is set in the Appalachian Mountains and tells the tale of the impact of the Civil War on those who lived in these mountains bordering North and South Carolina, in particular Sharyn McCrumb poured over historical documents to learn about the people who lived in these mountains and the way the war affected them Families were divided on which side they were on from farm to farm and that made for a very unique war.
McCrumb used the real stories of a woman who dressed as a male soldier to fight alongside her husband, a famous governor of North Carolina Zebulon Vance , and a few other central characters to provide a frame of realistic reference and offer credibility to her story.
The story is told from the perspective of several characters and weaves its way through modern and past times to show the way the Civil War left a massive impact that is still felt to this day The tales of those who faced the war head on are juxtaposed with the modern day reenactors and those who have the sight and are able to communicate with the ghosts that play a significant part in the story At times, these changing perspectives can be confusing and it is easy to mix them up, but the style offers a comprehensive way of viewing the way the mountains bore the horrors of war.
She uses the supernatural presence of ghosts of soldiers on both sides to signify the ways in which the war is still not over Grudges were formed between families who sided with either the Confederacy or the Union that she suggests are still felt today.
Having grown up in both North and South Carolina, I have often visited Grandfather Mountain, a unique mountain that is now known for its mile high suspension bridge between the twin peaks Grandfather Mountain is an important character of sorts in the book as it serves as a haven to those resisting joining up with the Confederates and also a death trap for those who are caught Thinking of all of the time I have spent there hiking and visiting, it is difficult to fathom the role it played during the Civil War.
At the end of the story, I was struck by how difficult it must have been to go on after the war was over In the story, one of the characters sagely suggests that it is easy to start a war but almost impossible to make it stop Despite the fact that the Confederacy had surrendered, there were still scores that many felt needed to be settled and the war was far from over for them This was a dark time for our country and a time of healing that I imagine many thought was not possible.
McCrumb does a wonderful job of proving this difficulty and making her readers really think about how such a war tore apart our country.
Sharyn McCrumb began this series writing police procedurals that gave you a deep, rich sense of Appalachian life In the last book and even in this one, she has moved on to writing historical fiction that happens to have Sheriff Arrowood as a present day character McCrumb shows how Appalachia is haunted, figuratively and in this book literally by the ghosts of conflict past Nora Bonesteel, everybody s favorite wisewoman, gives us some slim hope that the ghosts can be laid to rest.
What a frustrating book On the one hand, I liked the voices of the characters very much I could just about hear them speaking in my mind I truly enjoyed some of the characters very much but they didn t appear as often as I liked On the downside what was this story supposed to be about I was drawn to it because of the title and the summary I saw in the book club newsletter it s the Civil War and a young woman dresses up like a man and follows her husband off to war There were not so subtle hints about a ghost story, too Welllook at the title, Ghost Riders But I feel like I was misled Yes, young Malinda Blalock dressed up like a soldier and followed her husband to war that was about one chapter There were small chapters interspersed that told of the spirits of Civil War soldiers stirred up by the re enactments going on around them There wasn t enough of that.
There was an awful lot about Zebulon Vance, an ambitious mountain boy who becomes a lawyer, then a politician, then a soldier, then the governor of North Carolinaso I kept waiting for him to have encounters with the Blalocks but he never did Their paths crossed just once, back when Malinda disguised herself as Sam.
What was the point of the book anyway Feuds don t die Be careful not to stir up the restless ghosts by dressing up in Civil War uniforms and shooting off weapons of the time I couldn t figure it out.
It s not a bad book because I think Sharyn McCrumb has a way with words and characterizations I wouldn t recommend it to anyone though I wouldn t know what to tell them it s about This is my second time of reading for this book I appreciated it much the second time through I now live where the story took place I have been to some of the places mentioned I now know of the people mentioned The Appalachian mountains at the time of the civil war was a divided area Communities were divided on the issues that provoked The War Families were divided Neighbors killed neighbors, abused neighbors, and hated neighbors After the war many returned to their homes and hoped that life would get back to normal For many that did not happen In this area the wounds of war festered for a long long time Feuds began Families did not speak Feeling continue to the present time When love turns to hate, we hate with the same intensity we loved And maybe in communities like in individuals, the past is always with us.

My lovely long suffering spouse, a fan of McCrumb, recommended this one to me I found it an interesting and educational historical novel McCrumb weaves an engaging tale of Appalachia blending the perspective of contemporary fictional characters with those of historical characters The author shows the Civil War in a light I d not seen before with the stories of Union supporting guerrillas, committed Confederates and their modern descendants dealing with the lingering traumas from the war.
I m often put off by the inclusion of supernatural elements into novels, but I like the way McCrumb brought folk magic and spirits into this book to link the present with cultural and personal wounds from the past All of the characters felt real with natural voices and authentic motivations I ll look for books by Sharyn McCrumb and I ll look for one of the books she mentioned she found inspiration for her story from.
Another very solid Ballad entry This one concerns the civil war and should raise the hairs on the back of your neck.