Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In My Father's House

Rinaldi, Ann. 1993. In My Father’s House.

IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE is an interesting historical novel based on actual historical events. Did you know that the land where the first battle of the Civil War took place was owned by the same man whose land provided the place for the signing of the Confederates’ surrender? Yes, the Civil War began on Will McLean’s property and ended on his property. Will McLean was a man who saw the collapse of the South years before the first battle of the Civil War took place. Considering himself a man of the New South, he raised his family to be more open-minded towards life. He even hired a Yankee governess for his children to tutor them. Oscie is Will McLean’s stepdaughter. Her father died when she was a young child--five or six--and Daddy Will has been the one to raise her for better or worse. Oscie is our young narrator. She provides a behind-the-scenes look at life on a plantation from 1852 to the close of the Civil War in 1865. As she grows up, she learns many life lessons--about life, love, family, and duty. She has difficulty at first deciding what exactly she believes and who she supports. Yet, as the civil war begins--she realizes as does her stepfather--that the Confederate cause is not only ill fated or doomed but that it deserves to be defeated so that something better can begin. Not an easy position to take when most of your neighbors would violently oppose your opinions if you aired them. But sometimes the right road isn’t always the easiest.

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