Current Reads: What is your reading pleasure?

I’ve got several books I’m reading at the moment. This weekend I am reading Time and Regret by M.L. Tod and I’m working my way through a couple of non-fictions for research for my WIP. I am also buddy reading, To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin, with a few of my fellow book bloggers. So far we are enjoying the story! Be sure to read the book descriptions below. They might be of interest to you. What is your current reading pleasure?

Time and regret

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

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I Had Rather Die

The American Civil War is often regarded as a “low-rape” war, due to gentlemanly “restraint.” Nearly thirty Union soldiers were executed for the crime. As a result, rape is perceived to have been dealt with harshly. On the surface, the numbers reflect the view that rape was indeed far from widespread. In reality, few soldiers received harsh punishment for a crime that was considered a capital offense in the nineteenth century. Through the extensive use of primary sources, Kim Murphy exposes the misrepresentations of the topic of rape during the war. Not only were women raped during times of battle, but those who bravely stepped forward to name their attackers were interrogated in the justice system, often by their assailants. Courts-martial revolved around a woman’s consent and her degree of resistance against a man’s force. Poor and black women frequently had their reputations called into question. For far too long, women’s claims have been dismissed as hearsay and propaganda. Behind the brother-against-brother war lurks the hidden war of brother against sister.

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War Crimes Against Southern Civilians

“Does an astonishing job telling the truth about the wrongdoings of the United States government and its officers.”–Confederate Veteran

The sobering and brutal consequences of the Civil War off the battlefield are revealed in this examination of atrocities committed against civilians. Rationale for the Union’s “hard war” and the political ramifications of such a war set the foundation for Walter Cisco’s enlightening research. Styled the “Black Flag” campaign, the hard line was agreed to by Lincoln in a council with his generals in 1864, when he gave permission to wage unlimited war against civilians, including women and children.

In a series of concise and compelling chapters, Cisco chronicles the “St. Louis Massacre,” where Federal authorities proceeded to impose a reign of terror and dictatorship in Missouri. He tells of the events leading to, and the suffering caused by, the Federal decree that forced twenty thousand Missouri civilians into exile. The arrests of civilians, the suppression of civil liberties, theft, and murder to “restore the Union” in Tennessee are also examined.

Women and children, black and white, were robbed, brutalized, and left homeless in Sherman’s infamous raid through Georgia. Torture and rape were not uncommon. In South Carolina, homes, farms, churches, and whole towns disappeared in flames. Civilians received no mercy at the hands of the Union invaders. Earrings were ripped from bleeding ears, graves were robbed, and towns were pillaged. Wherever Federal troops encountered Southern Blacks, whether free or slave, they were robbed, brutalized, belittled, kidnapped, threatened, tortured, and sometimes raped or killed by their blue-clad “liberators.”

Carefully researched, largely from primary sources, the book includes notes and illustrations. This untold story will interest anyone exploring an alternative perspective on this period in American history.

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To capture what we cannot see

Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young widow and an engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.

In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris–a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live–one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman’s place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

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