Reading Roundup

two-girls-gettysburg.jpgWhat’s on my nightstand? Two Girls of Gettysburg, by Lisa Klein.

I loved this book. It drew me to bed early, so I’d have more time to read.

I went to Gettysburg College, and I walked through the town and battlefield a good bit, picnicked and studied on Little Round Top and at the seminary. When the battle is described, I can picture it easily and with, I hope, some accuracy. My brother-in-law was a history major at Gettysburg, and he gave me a memorable battlefield tour, including a description of Pickett’s Charge that made me feel as though I were watching it take place. I also loved Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara.

No doubt these things contributed to my enjoyment, but I believe I would have loved the book had I no ties to Gettysburg whatsoever.

The story is about two cousins, Lizzie and Rosanna, living in Gettysburg at the start of the Civil War. Rosanna is from Richmond, VA. Her parents sent her to Gettysburg to separate her from a boy whom they believe is a bad choice for her. Though Lizzie and Rosanna are best friends, the war eventually drives Rosanna home, separating them. From here, we experience the war through Lizzie’s Union perspective and through Rosanna’s Confederate perspective.

Experiencing an event through multiple points of view is my all-time favorite story setup. It’s what I like to write, too. Some editors claim it’s difficult to do, but Lisa Klein pulls it off brilliantly: both perspectives feel accurate and sincere, and we feel the same level of sympathy for both girls.

In addition, the historical details are vivid and strong. There is a lot of material written on the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lisa has done her homework.

And then there’s the story: friendship, loyalty, betrayal, romance, struggle, forgiveness. It’s all there, smoothly and beautifully told.

Any one of these–my personal connection to Gettysburg, the dual-perspective approach, the historical accuracy, the story–might make for a good read, but Two Girls of Gettysburg has it all.

But wait! There’s more! Lisa Klein has also researched and written articles on . . . can you guess? . . . needlework.

I think I’m going to write Lisa a fan letter.

Your turn. What are you reading?

Categories: Reading

1 reply »

  1. Like you, Jen, I prefer to draw my own images in my mind when I read a book. The characters’ features get clearer to me as I read along. I wish that books avoided giving such vivid artwork on the covers that look like photos. I definitely prefer my own images over what some cover designer chooses. Even though I try to rely solely on my own imagination, I find that my mind gets confused and flips back and forth between their images and my own. Yuck.