Agnes Canon is tired of being a spectator in life, an invisible daughter among seven sisters, meat for the marriage market. The rivers of her Pennsylvania countryside flow west, and she yearns to flow with them, explore new lands, know the independence that is the usual sphere of men.
This is a story of a woman’s search for freedom, both social and intellectual, and her quest to understand what freedom means. She learns that freedom can be the scent and sound of unsettled prairies, the glimpse of a cougar, the call of a hawk. The struggle for freedom can test the chains of power, poverty, gender, or the legalized horror of slavery. And to her surprise, she discovers it can be found within a marriage, a relationship between a man and a woman who are equals in everything that matters.
It’s also the story of Jabez Robinson, a man who has traveled across the continent and seen the beauty of the country and the ghastliness of war, as he watches his nation barrel toward disaster. Faced with deep-seated social institutions and hard-headed intransigence, he finds himself helpless to intervene. Jabez’s story is an indictment of war in any century or country, and an admission that common sense and reasoned negotiation continue to fail us.
As Agnes and Jabez struggle to keep their community and their lives from crumbling about them, they must face the stark reality that whether it’s the freedom of an African from servitude, of the South from the North, or of a woman from the demands of social convention, the cost is measured in chaos and blood.
This eloquent work of historical fiction chronicles the building of a marriage against the background of a civilization growing – and dying – in the prelude to civil war.
What I Thought
This story sucked me in from the very first pages. Lincoln has a gift for writing prose that is both lyrical and highly readable, and she creates some very memorable characters. It’s the story of a relationship between two people who don’t seem to fit within the boundaries of traditional society, yet who manage to find one another. The historical backdrop of the Civil War period and related events makes for an action-packed read that balances out the romantic element of the book. Recommended for readers of historical fiction, particularly set during the U.S. Civil War.
Deborah Lincoln grew up in the small town of Celina, among the cornfields of western Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan. She and her husband have three grown sons and live on the Oregon coast.
Of her passion for historical fiction, she says: “I’m fascinated by the way events—wars and cataclysms and upheavals, of course, but the everyday changes that wash over everyday lives—bring a poignancy to a person’s efforts to survive and prosper. I hate the idea that brave and intelligent people have been forgotten, that the hardships they underwent have dropped below the surface like a stone in a lake, with not a ripple left behind to mark the spot.”
Agnes Canon’s War is the story of her great great-grandparents, two remarkable people whose lives illustrate the joys and trials that marked America’s tumultuous nineteenth century.
Agnes Canon’s War Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, December 9
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Wednesday, December 10
Review at Too Fond
Monday, December 15
Review at Luxury Reading
Thursday, December 18
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks