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Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines -- A Review

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On Thursday, May 21, 1863, a mortar shell rips through the wall of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Stamford’s bedroom. Afraid their home is no longer safe, her mama, Susan, rushes Lizzie and her younger brother, Nathan, to the cave, where she plans to live until the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ends. Lizzie, however, has her own plans–to enlist in the Confederate army and help drive General Ulysses S. Grant and his Yankees into the Mississippi River. Her older brothers, Joseph and Willie, are in Virginia, fighting for their cause. Can she do any less?


Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is the story of one girl and her family’s day-to-day struggle to survive a changing way of life during the War Between the States.

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I have always found it amazing how people can take an entire book and reduce it to a few simple words.  What I have trouble with is how do you convey all the subtle nuances that make the book come alive?  Take the above description for example.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines is told from the viewpoint of Lizzie, who watches as the Civil War changes all she finds steady and true in her world.  We follow Lizzie as not only the outside world is changed, but her inner being as well.  We feel her fear as she dons boy's clothing and faces war first-hand and we struggle from crying when the war takes from her someone precious.  As we read, Beverly Stowe McClure literally takes us back to what it is like to be fourteen.  While many of us forget as we grow older, Ms. McClure has held onto that part of herself and writes purely from the perspective of Lizzie' she does not allow her adult self to enter at all, which is very rare indeed. 

This book packs a lot between its covers--laughter, pain, fear, anger, and most of all emotional growth that can only come from experience.  I applaud Beverly McClure for being able to convey so many subtle messages to her audience, without once sounding as though she's teaching, or preaching.  This book is sure to become a favorite part of any girl's library and I imagine many boys will secretly find it among theirs as well. (Secretly because I don't think many young boys will willingly be seen reading a book with crinolines in the title!).  To be able to craft a book that appeals to both boys and girls of this age is yet another rare accomplishment that Ms. McClure has achieved. You will never see war the same again once you finish this book.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines rates a solid six colors on the Rainbow Scale!


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12 comments:

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A wonderful review, Joyce. Thank you so much. I had to laugh where you said young boys wouldn't willingly be seen reading a book with the word Crinoline in it. I was truly amazed at how many people had no idea what a crinoline is.

Thanks for hosting me yesterday and today. I've enjoyed meeting your friends and will answer questions if anyone has one.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I forgot to mention that I like the links you added that go with the story. Nice touch.

Joyce Anthony said...

I'm glad you liked the review, Beverly. Feel free to come back any time! I guess knowing what a crinoline is kind of dates me, huh?

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

LOL. Well, I knew what they were too.

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Joyce, this is a wonderful review. I also had the opportunity to read Bev's book. She's one talented lady!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Aw, thanks, Penny. I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for your support. :)

storylady said...

Great interview Joyce. Bev and I are friends, but it's nice to learn more about her. Her new book sounds fascinating. I like her talent of being able to write through the mind of a young person.
Best of luck to you Bev, and to you Joyce, with all your writing endeavors.
Sharon Schafer

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi Sharon. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. My secrets are all revealed. :) I appreciate our friendship and wish the best for you in your writing too.

AmandaRose said...

Hey, I'm doing a book giveaway on my blog and thought you might be interested!

http://amandarosetew.blogspot.com/

Great Blog!

N A Sharpe said...

Excellent review Joyce! One of the best elements of Beverly's books is her characters. She always does an excellent job keeping them realistic.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I entered your contest, Amanda. You have some great giveaways. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks, Nancy, I'm so glad to hear that. The characters are the most important part of a story, to me. I try to make them as real as possible. So readers will care about them.

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