Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Agnes Canon's War

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Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Trade Paperback
Pages: 300

Genre: Historical Fiction

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“I saw a woman hanged on my way to the Pittsburgh docks..”

02_Agnes Canon's WarAgnes 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.


I loved Agnes. Had the entire tale followed Agnes and stuck to Agnes, I'd have been an overjoyed reader. She's a terrific woman and character. The things I admired about her: her stance on slavery, her desire for independence, the fact she obtains this independence and later marries without really giving up who she is.

But I didn't care for the hero. And as much of the book focuses on him and his opinions (he's a secessionist), I got a bit tired of it and began skimming. He lost even more favor with me when he bought a pair of slaves. I don't care that he never beats them. I was already struggling with his character. He comes across as a know-it-all too and I didn't find this very romantic.

However, I must say, I like how the story showed us that even if a woman is independent and has a mind of her own, people (townsfolk) don't necessarily see it that way. I felt for Agnes as the town shunned her because of her husband's views to the point she gets kicked out of church. The story also tells the history of Missouri before the Civil War. I have read about the Kansas situation before, but not Missouri, about the war--and trust me, it's a nasty battle, on both sides--as the abolitionists from the north and the slave owners from the south duke it out on what was supposed to be neutral territory.

It's a very historically informative novel. I could have, however, done without the nasty brothers. *shudders* But violence happened and this story really does tell it like it was.

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About the Author

03_Deborah Lincoln AuthorDeborah 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.

For more information on Deborah Lincoln please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Agnes Canon's War Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8
Review at Forever Ashley
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, December 9
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Wednesday, December 10
Review at Too Fond

Friday, December 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Monday, December 15
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 18
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, December 19
Review at Boom Baby Reviews
Interview at Layered Pages

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