The first paragraph of the ‘Author’s Note’ summarizes the story best. “This book was inspired by the life of my paternal great-grandfather. He was born in Tennessee but grew up in Mississippi where he lived out his life. He fought in and survived some of the most horrific battles of the Civil War.”
Owen Cartwright and the neighbor boy, Weston Walker (Wes), had a very tight friendship. Where you found one, you were bound to find the other. They drove their parents crazy getting into all kinds of trouble together. As they grew, they continued to be close. When their fathers lost their jobs with the sawmill, they had to move from Tennessee to Mississippi. In March 1862, they went to war as soldiers for the Confederate army. Owen lived through the war; Wes did not. He lost his life in Gettysburg.
The prologue was a critique of ‘Friendship’. Truly, this fictional work is all about the earnest friendship between two boys that lasted them throughout their lives. The epilogue provided various News Releases. The first was dated November 2, 1941, and I suppose it wouldn’t be a spoiler to let you know it is a bit of a tribute to Owen Patterson Cartwright. I loved that the release helped to fill in the background of this very lively, very real, Civil War era character. It is listed as Historical Fiction, but it read more like a journal or a memoir. It was like listening to your older relatives reveal their past exploits, both good and bad. Interesting? Yes. Constructed as a story with a plot? No. However, I can certainly appreciate the concentrated research done by Ms. Durham in order to bring us this, her debut novel. Rating: 3 out of 5.