Please join Linda Bennett Pennell as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Confederado Do Norte from February 23-March 4.
Genre: Historical Fiction
After surviving war, young Mary Catherine is torn from her home and thrust into a strange new life when her family decamps for Brazil rather than live with the terms of Reconstruction. Shortly after arrival in Brazil, she is orphaned, leaving only maternal uncle Nathan to care for her. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his beloved sister’s death following a childish mistake. He is also a man with an incredible secret that he will go to great lengths to protect. When the opportunity for Nathan to be rid of her arises, Mary Catherine faces either forced marriage to an unsuitable man or flight into the wilderness containing jaguars and enclaves of people with much to hide. Mary Catherine chooses escape.
Finding refuge among strangers who become her surrogate parents, she matures into a beauty who marries the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. At last, Mary Catherine has happiness and security until civil unrest brings armed intruders with whom she has an inexplicable connection. When the thugs murder her husband for failing to meet their demands, she directs them to her uncle and his secret in order to save herself and her in-laws. With the danger passed, however, her husband’s family demands that she is arrested for complicity in her husband’s murder. Innocent and betrayed by family for a second time, Mary Catherine must now fight for survival.
Mary Catherine is rescued from the gallows by friends, but cannot remain in Brazil. She boards a ship bound for New York with little money and without a home to return to, a family to welcome her, or a nation from which to claim citizenship. Her father never took the loyalty oath required of all former Confederates in order to have their citizenship restored. Once again, she must recreate herself in order to survive.
In old age, Mary Catherine is still haunted by the long ago events for which she feels responsible. After a lifetime trying to forget, she seeks peace, understanding, and the ability to forgive through writing her story, Confederado do Norte.
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About the Author
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.
As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”
I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.
Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire
It’s always fun for me to read a book about a more obscure period with locales one doesn’t generally get to read about. It is equally as fascinating and becomes a diamond in the rough; you are enchanted and charmed by it. I enjoyed that and I enjoyed the family saga. It spans from the end of the Civil War–Reconstruction era–to the beginning of the Second World War. It is a long life and not without a great, detailed and delightful story. Mary Catherine recounts her life from childhood to her old age.
Hers is a life full of intrigue, heartbreaks, joy and sorrow…it is a full life that will take you on a journey right along with her. I admit that I had trouble at first settling into it as the dialogue was a bit challenging for me, but once I got used to the author’s style, I was good to go. I took my time reading this one because I really wanted to get enveloped into such a fascinating read. I had no idea that some Southerners chose to move to Brazil–at the invitation of their government–instead of endure the humiliation of Reconstruction.
I felt truly sorry for Mary Catherine; there was so many sorrows she endured but I was always in awe of how she endured…and I think that was inspiring as people tend to view hard times as a permanent thing and dwell on it; Mary continued to push through and survive. She was certainly full of gumption and heart.
4 out of 5!
Monday, March 2
Character Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books