Back in September bookcloseouts.com was having a book sales – all children’s books were $1.49…and me being the reader, well, I just couldn’t pass up such a deal so I clicked on over and bought a box full of books! One of the books was Annie, Between the States. This book caught my eye because of its historical setting. I love history, and I was not disappointed with this wonderful story.
Annie, Between the States is about a young Virginian girl whose world is interrupted and turned upside down by the war raging between the states. All the normality of her life vanishes when fighting soldiers invade her family’s home. Due to the brutality of the injuries, she finds herself aiding the wounded. At first she is appalled at what she sees, but as she tends to the injured she begins to see the human faces of those she opposed before. As the war drags on, and as Annie becomes more involved she begins to question Virginia’s reasoning. This is made more confusing by her older brother, Lawrence, who is fighting valiantly on the Confederate side. And her younger brother, Jamie, not knowing the true face of war, wants to be part of it as a Confederate soldier. Annie finds she is conflicted; she is seeing things differently than before, and while this conflict rages within her, it is through certain events that she finally discovers who she is and what she believes in.
I was drawn into the story quickly; the first paragraph being Annie’s first encounter with an injured, bleeding soldier. Reading about her awkwardness to this new experience captured my imagination and as I continued to read, I felt a part of Annie’s world. The storyline was constantly changing as Annie moved around Virginia; from her home to her Aunt’s to a friend’s, etc. Each new place brought new characters and incidents pertaining to the war.
I was also surprised to see that there was a softer since to this story. Since the book is about a young teenage girl, there were a few tangents that involve men and the romantic side of knowing them. I think there were about two or three suitors that vied for Annie’s affection. These were very PG, of course, since the storyline is in the early 1860’s. Just enough romance to balance the war aspect and to keep the teenage reader’s hormones appeased!
I think LM Elliott did a wonderful job of intertwining history with Annie’s fictional life. Since all the battles, places, and dates in the story are true to history the story could suffer when trying to put Annie’s life into it but instead both stories fit perfectly together in all these areas; so much so that you could definitely believe she existed during that day and age. And as I read about her and her struggles, I even wished she was a real person! That gives major credit to LM Elliott.
Annie, Between the States is a great book for any preteen reader through adulthood. Since the story is being told through Annie’s eyes, it’s geared more towards the female audience. If you like historical fiction than you absolutely need to add this to your collection. It’s a fun, enjoyable read that will transport you to United States Civil War era.
Below is a fun interview with author, LM Elliott. It’s not about the book but she does talk a little about her childhood and she gives a few pointers on how to interview people if you want to write historical fiction. (: