Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review of The Breastplate by Shirley McCracken

Book Blurb: 
A Civil War story of danger, intrigue, and romance

The Civil War brought them together and it would tear them apart! Beautiful Kitty Claiborne, the pampered daughter of a wealthy senator, fell deeply in love with Lt. William Benson, attach√© to President Lincoln. However, she had no idea her life would change so dramatically after they were married. Could her love endure the hardships of life in a remote cabin when, during the war, Will was given an assignment in East Tennessee? And why didn’t her husband tell her his mission when he left her alone for weeks at a time? Was he one of the mysterious Phantom Warriors everyone was talking about? When he was carried home, badly wounded, by a group of strangers, would she be able to smuggle them all through enemy checkpoints to safety? And why did she bury her husband’s breastplate, from his uniform, deep in the soil on their little farm? The Breastplate is the story of the lives and families torn apart by the Civil War, and the courage of one woman as she struggles to keep her love and family intact during such turbulent times.


The Breastplate by Shirley McCracken is a tale of the Civil War, relaying history while keeping the reader entertained by the personal story of a young woman and her family, a tale of romance and intrigue, of family and warmth, which is a heady combination.  I found the book to not only be informative, as the events of the war are factual, but also enthralling as I found myself swept away into the world of the Claiborne family.  There were times were I had absolutely no problem seeing the action taking place, and in fact there were times where I wish I did not have vivid imagery, especially when reading about the wounded and dead during the war.  I became so entranced with the family’s lives, that even though I knew at one point that Lincoln’s death was imminent, I still wanted to cry especially given how close the Claiborne family was portrayed as being to the President.

The tale will take you on a historical tour of our country, stopping in Missouri, Washington DC, Roane County Tennessee, and then on into Texas, covering all points in between.  There are times when you can almost smell the flowers and taste the food, as it is so vividly described you have no problem imagining yourself there.  I, for one, fell in love with the brave and dashing Lt. Benson, who marries into the Claiborne family.  Each of the people portrayed in the novel open your eyes to how things might have been for a family in that time.  They also illustrate the very best of humanity, and once again, staying true to the period, also illustrate some of the things that many families did during the war.  For instance, homes were converted into hospitals to care for the wounded, which in this story the Claiborne family’s home is used as such.  And while there may (or may not, depending on the situation) have been a doctor to see to the men, many people would work tirelessly to nurse these men back to health, doing all they could to save them.

I thoroughly enjoy reading historical fiction, and though there were some hiccups in the book, overall I was impressed with story, so much in fact that I would recommend fans of historical fiction to pick up this novel and give it a try.  The combination of history, romance, and circumstances is a heady one, and is one reason why I found myself not just reading this with a fervor, but repeatedly going back and re-reading passages that I found to be extremely entertaining and informative.  My hope is that you are as drawn into the story as I was and enjoy reading about the Civil War in a new and entertaining way.  Pick up your copy today and, as always, happy reading!

About the Author:
Shirley McCracken is a freelance writer and poet. Always interested in the Civil War, she was intrigued when her husband found a relic from the war on their farm. The relic, a Union breastplate, lay undisturbed for years, but when the 150th anniversary of the war approached, she decided to write its story. She is a registered nurse, a wife, mother of two sons, and has two young grandsons who call her “Purple”. She enjoys being outdoors and has hiked, rafted, swam, scuba-dived, cross- country skied, even dog sledded. A horseman since her youth, she has ridden many miles on her Tennessee walking horses, Jazz and Jubilee.

Please check out the book trailer!

The Breastplate is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other selected retailers!  You can find more information about the book and the author on Goodreads!  Please pick up your copy today!

1 comment: