PAINTED TRILLIUM is a deeply affecting story about tragedy and hope. Set during the Civil War, the novel exposes the struggles individuals faced on a daily basis, regardless of whether they sided with the North or South. I have always been fascinated with this emotionally chaotic period in American history, as I have ancestors whose lives were shaped by this war. Robert Brandt skillfully interweaves historical facts with his own fictional imaginings to create an extremely believable story of endurance. With each new scene, I became more connected to the main characters and what they had to live through. By the end of the book, I felt as though every occurrence just had to be true.
When the Confederate army retreats from Murfreesboro, TN in January 1863, it leaves the town and its residents vulnerable to the Yankees. Carrie Blaylock has already suffered much loss because of the war, as her brother is now gone along with the young man whom she would have eventually wed. There are many unknowns in her life now, and she worries about what the future will bring since so much has changed in just two years. With her future husband dead, Carrie cannot help but wonder if she could possibly live on her own some day and become a teacher, thus helping young girls get a needed education. But for now, the war rages on and her hometown is in constant turmoil.
A meeting with Union soldier Captain John Lockridge takes place because he wishes to discuss a problem with Carrie. They are cordial to one another, even though he fights for the North. With his army remaining in the area for months, the two start seeing each other occasionally to discuss books and enjoy some friendly conversation. Since he could move to another location without much notice, the two make the most of what time they have together, talking about their families and goals. But what could happen because of the war is never far from either of their minds.
It did not take long for me to feel totally connected to the many likable characters in PAINTED TRILLIUM. I admired Carrie for her determination to be independent, and John’s steadfast honorable behavior had me respecting him. It was definitely easy to love these two wonderful individuals who had such intriguing personalities. There are also numerous other people whose appearances contributed much to the storyline. All throughout the book, I could clearly recognize how loyalty to one side or the other altered how a person saw someone else. It is very difficult to conceive how drastically lives were forever changed during the Civil War, as friends and even relatives might have different views. The way in which the author conveys the feelings of his characters let me better comprehend what ordinary folks went through during this time in history.
The book focuses on how the Civil War influenced Americans from various walks of life, and all details come across as remarkably realistic. There was never a time when I did not think a situation really happened as described, because Robert Brandt’s attention to every aspect of the story is so thoroughly researched. Historical figures and battles that took place are factually portrayed, while correctly used terms of the period add to the realism. PAINTED TRILLIUM touches the heart while engaging the mind. The story will long be remembered.
Received copy from publisher
Publisher: Wandering in the Words Press
Releases: May 28, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars