Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
The Civil War scattered her family and now, along with her beloved horse, a young woman must travel across a war-torn country to collect what’s left of her life.
For fifteen-year-old Ellis Cady, life has gone quiet on her western Tennessee homestead. Her father and older brother left to sell horses to the army two years earlier and never returned. She watched her mother’s health decline, finally succumbing to a broken heart. Her twin brother left in search of their father, and while he was gone neighbors moved out of their Quaker community, searching for peace ahead of the final sweep of war.
Ellis is left with nothing but the company of the remaining horses and the letters and journals she continues to write, trying to make sense of a desolate world. A small band of soldiers rides through to claim the last of the herd, and hope for the return of life as she knew it, evaporates like the mist on the river.
When the head-strong mare, Billie, returns, having escaped from the soldiers, Ellis takes it as a sign to leave. Disguised as a boy, for safety and comfort, she rides off to find her twin. Though war refuses to fade, Ellis stumbles upon an unlikely group of rescuers who teach her family is more than blood, and love has no limits.
The American Civil War left many families torn asunder. Ellis is a twin and her twin brother, older brother and father went off to war. Ellis is at home with her mom but as the war drags on her mother becomes melancholy and passes away. Ellis strikes out to see if she can find her brothers and father. Her quest is epic.
The military came to most of the farms in Tennessee and requisitioned most of the horses for use in the war effort. The “fair price” paid by the military did not compensate for the loss of utility and companionship of the animals. The soldiers used them until they got too thin, old, or infirmed, and then simply abandoned them.
Billie, her horse, is a constant companion during her adventures in hunting for her family. She meets up with her twin brother and they continue the quest to find her father and her other brothers. They have family in Missouri, her uncle and her father’s older brother. Ellis is trying to find and join up with any of her relatives.
Her brother dies on the trail north and west. She is heartbroken but assumes his identity to avoid the perils of a single woman during that time period. With her hair cut short and wearing men’s clothes, she can pass as her brother. She has good upper body strength and is very skilled at horsemanship. Her primary goal is to avoid military convoys and arrest or confinement by the military. She gets into a group of people including emancipated slaves and is heading north into Illinois and ultimately to Missouri. Her companions want to continue north to Canada and freedom.
The author writes a very compassionate and sympathetic narrative of a tragic time in our American history. I appreciated the thoughtful way she approached the issues of a woman who is trying to hide her femininity, identity proclivities, and struggles with her own identity. I was moved by the overall narrative experience. 5 stars – CE Williams
[NB: Not currently on pre-order and I could not find links to either Amazon nor Goodreads. There is, however, a lovely review published in the Monterey Herald regarding her upcoming release.]
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bay Feather Books – Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
ASIN: ISBN 9798985997415
Publication Date: September 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Coming soon! Will be available at:
Barnes & Noble
The Author: Nicki Ehrlich grew up in Southern Illinois before attending college at the University of Denver and later, Idaho State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy/English. After living ten “horse-rich” years in Idaho, she moved on to Oregon, and later Washington, where she realized she had unwittingly traveled the Oregon Trail.
While living in the Pacific Northwest, Nicki continued to write fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has won awards for her poetry and creative writing, including the Writer’s Digest Annual Poetry Awards and the Ray Fabrizio Memorial Award. Her writing has been published in Scheherazade, the literary magazine of MPC, among other magazines and newspapers. Nicki holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from Monterey Peninsula College and is a member of the Central Coast branch of the California Writers Club. She also holds a Coast Guard Captain’s License and currently lives on California’s inspiring central coast where she is at work on the sequel to Ellis River.
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams