BOOK: The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

I really wanted to like this novel, about a Southern woman whose house is commandeered by the Confederate Army during the battle of Franklin in 1864 and turned into a hospital. I was surprised to read the description of it when I stumbled across the book a few weeks ago because for NaNoWriMo this year, I wrote a Civil War novel myself that involved a house being turned into a hospital (it’s a minor aspect of my story, but I was still surprised and intrigued to find a novel about something somewhat similar!).

Unfortunately, though this book starts out really wonderfully, with the woman, Carrie, suddenly finding herself nursing the near-dead in a house haunted by enough death already as it is, things spiral way, way out of control around the middle, when Hicks tries to throw in a love story that just made me absolutely bananas with its complete lack of sense. One of the patients at the hospital is Zachariah Cashwell, and Zach and Carrie get off to a particularly bad start when he wants to be left to die and she instead sends him upstairs to surgery where his leg is promptly amputated. As she nurses him back to health, they fall in love. You know how you know they fall in love? When she beats him nearly to death and then spends the night outside with his corpse (she thinks he’s a corpse, anyway). And then the author says it was all because she loved him so much.

This is where I blinked twice and said, “I’m sorry — what??”

I’m sure there was supposed to be something deeply symbolic about Carrie and her erratic, insane behavior, which only gets more bizarre from there. But to be honest, whatever it was completely eluded me. I ended up finishing this book as quickly as I could just to see how it was going to come out, skimming huge portions at the end just to get it over with. And tossed the book aside in frustration when I was done — there’s just nothing I hate more than a great idea wasted on a bad novel (Carrie was actually a real person and this novel is based to some extent on things that really happened). Though this book has impressive historical detail and is written relatively well in general, too many important things are omitted (what happened with Carrie and her husband and her kids? I’m so confused!) and then replaced with too many other things that make no sense. Feel free to skip this one, unless you are a masochist.


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2 Responses to “BOOK: The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks”

  1. Lizzie Says:

    EEEEWWWW! Spending the night with what she thought was a corpse? Now, if it had been a zombie…..

  2. megwood Says:

    If it’d been a zombie, it would’ve been a MUCH better book.

    Ain’t that always the way? 🙂

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