Please join Linda Bennett Pennell as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Confederado Do Norte from February 23-March 4.
Publication Date: July 7, 2014
Soul Mate Publishing
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.
A very engrossing story...as it follows a young girl from post-Civil War U.S. to Brazil. So often we read about immigrants TO the United States. Rarely do we read about immigrants Leaving the U.S. It was intriguing to read about people settling elsewhere for a change, seeing Americans as the foreigners.
It's a heartbreaking tale too. This young Mary loses her home, her nanny, her mother, her father, her home again...and again. A LOT of bad things happen to her. She very admirable though with the way she stands up, brushes herself off, and instead of wallowing in despair, tries again.
There are secrets, maliciousness, lies, deceit. I'd like to say there's romance, but in this aspect the book disappointed me. The romance was weak, came out of nowhere, and felt fake. I don't read books for the romance, mind you, but when it's there, I want to like the hero and heroine both, I want to feel their love come off the page, I want to be wrapped up in it. With this "romance" I felt only frustrated.
There's a lot of twists, happenings, in which the heroine blames herself for the outcomes. It goes to show that we cannot control everything and we never know what we'll do in the heat of the moment.
Perhaps some of the most interesting parts of the book were the weather/traveling (rivers and boats), the slave "movement", and crops grown in Brazil. I haven't read many books that take place in Brazil, especially during this time period, so this was very cool. I learned a lot.
I found the story very well written too. My quibble besides the romance is how very miserable the story is for the heroine. If anything good happens to her, it's quickly gone, and the last five percent, when happy things being happening, is over too fast. I'd have appreciated the new romance and the international translator stuff expanded on. More happiness to counteract all the bad and more adulthood to counteract how very much time we spent on the heroine as a little girl, which was a lot.
The blurb actually says, "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." That was literally only ten percent of the tale, the last ten percent. We don't really see Mary recreate herself. Had the book had a little less of her running around as a little girl with a mean uncle and more of this recreating herself in New York stuff, I would have loved it more.
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About the AuthorI 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
For more information please visit Linda Bennett Pennell's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Confederado Do Norte Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, February 23
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, February 24
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 25
Review at Book Babe
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Thursday, February 26
Review & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Friday, February 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Monday, March 2
Character Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, March 3
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, March 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past