Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Civil War Fiction :)

Another day, another book. Some days I marvel at the type of books that interest me. But sometimes, I'm not surprised. Golden Keyes Parsons' newest book His Steadfast Love is definitely one of those.

There's a strange interim period for many Southern states between December 1860 and April 1861. Following the election of Abraham Lincoln, the state of South Carolina seceded from the Union in December. Several states followed suit. Lincoln was officially inaugurated in March, but the war did not officially begin until the firing at Fort Sumter in April 1861. At that point, several key wavering Southern states joined the Confederate cause.

Parsons begins her book during this interim period in Texas. Texas stands as a rather unique state as it had recently acquired statehood & was immediately faced with the question of slavery. Still dealing with the threat of Mexico, Texas was occupied by Federal troops protecting the state from Mexican encroachment. In this context, Amanda as the daughter of the local pastor, meets Captain Kent Littlefield. Though attraction is almost immediate and mutual, Amanda refuses to consider marriage as a possibility because she vowed to her mother that she would look after her younger siblings. As she grapples with this monumental task, Texas secedes in March 1861 and Federal troops are recalled.

Parsons does a remarkable job using the historical context and presenting the reader with the dilemmas of war and of slavery without letting the setting overshadow the storyline. Amanda is lost in love primarily because of a familial vow. Although her family is tested by war, she ultimately has to make her decision based on the advice of close friends and through petition to the God who oversees her and her family.

It's convenient that Federal troops come to Texas once more and now Lieutenant Littlefield crosses her path again. Amanda is faced with the matter of loyalty to the Confederacy or the Union multiple times in this work. But Parsons' genius lies in revealing the complexity of ordinary dilemmas, the tragedy of death, and the confusion of young adulthood that many face no matter where or when.

[I received a free review copy of this work from Thomas Nelson and was not required to give a positive review.]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Life has been hectic. Sometimes I feel like I'm going around in circles, trying to plug one hole in the dike only to discover yet another and then another. School, work, medical, church... the circle goes on and on.

The one thing that keeps me sane: friends!!!! They're people I can call whenever I need someone to complain to or a shoulder to cry on or a haven to escape to. They're there to listen to me, to laugh over the ridiculousness of circumstances, and to give me advice. They're also there to sit in my office hours, advise me on grading & interactions with students, read my papers, and encourage me. Everyone needs friends.

Which brings me to the point: awesome roommates are essential!!!

My roommate's birthday is coming up in a couple days, and one of my friends & I got in cahoots to plan a surprise birthday dinner for her!! Figuring out how to invite her friends, how to have enough food for twice the number of people (without her figuring it out), how to surprise her when she's doing a bunch of cooking too, and what her favorite foods are.... It was quite the expedition.

But it was a lot of fun, too. I love thinking about people in my life & what they really like and how to make them happy. Picking the perfect gift is SO much fun. :) Seeing the smile on her face when she opened the door to her friends: it was priceless!!!

So, when life gets hectic, don't abandon your friends. They're your lifelines. Plus, they can make you extra happy!!