Blurb: Captain Jake Winston is a Confederate sharpshooter who suffers a head injury that may cause blindness. While he waits for his diagnosis, and still has his sight, he sketches and journals events of the war. As he heals, Jake receives orders to help with the local Women’s Relief Society Christmas auction. A society which supports Confederate and Federal soldiers, makes a difference in soldiers lives. Aletta Prescott is a widow with a six-year-old son and a child on the way. She applies for a job at the auction, only to find the position is no longer available. She meets Jake and as she gets to know him she must try to let go of the fear begins to grow inside her.
Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander --
Audiobook Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels
A Southern Christmas Tale by a Master StorytellerMy Review
I listened to Christmas at Carnton as an Audible.com download via my membership. As usual, master storyteller, Tamera Alexander delivers a powerful read (listen) in her newest release, the first book in a series set at Carnton Plantation in Tennessee. I thought Aletta's name was Arletta, as I was listening. I've not heard the name Aletta but had heard Arletta before. Regardless, Aletta is a very sympathetic heroine. As indicated in the blurb, Jake is an injured sharp shooter. I confess that gave me great pause. I felt that was a risky thing for Tamera to have a hero doing, especially a Confederate. Having been raised in the North, this gave me great pause. I don't know if I'd have continued listening had it not been Tamera Alexander who had written the story. I really had to deliberately force myself to overlook this Confederate sharpshooter soldier's misbegotten loyalties to keep listening. He's a lovely hero. If only he'd been a Union soldier! My father was a sharpshooter in WWII and I know that that means, but it isn't something I have tried to dwell on. So I think this story also stirred up in me some conflicted thoughts of my nerdy dad having been a sharpshooter. And the Southern ladies raising money for "The Cause" -- I confess I cringed. When I discovered a Confederate ancestor a few years back in my genealogy I had a meltdown. My husband's reaction was -- "You're family was from the South, what did you expect?" Since as far as I knew they were all in Kentucky at that time I wasn't sure what I'd find. And there was another George Washington Danner I'd found from Kentucky who'd been a Union deserter (apparently not my ancestor by the same name who was enlisted in Staunton, Virginia.) Sorry, but I digress.
Tamera Alexander's story is a truly Southern tale and and a reflection of history. I learned something I'd never heard before -- that many slave-owners had sent their slaves deeper into the South. What a tragedy. I've seen pictures of post-Civil War freed slaves gathering at various places trying to find as many of their kin as they could. Very sad. And imagine being freed in Mississippi and having loved ones back in Tennessee to find. How did they make those journeys? So I found myself having a number of tangential thoughts while listening to this story.
The story carries on at a brisk pace with well-developed characters and a plot line with plenty of layers. Even despite my reservations, I found myself rooting for Aletta and Jake who are a great heroine/hero combo. Aletta has such a difficult situation but carries herself as a lady. And caring for a son while pregnant and a widow, that makes her very sympathetic. Jake, too, is a very likable sympathetic character struggling with his own losses.
The novel is available in multiple formats including ebook, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover large print, which makes this lovely story accessible to many people. Looking for a little different kind of Christmas story this year -- check out this new audiobook! You can't go wrong with Tamera Alexander!