cover image The Confederate General Rides North

The Confederate General Rides North

Amanda C. Gable, . . Scribner, $25 (276pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-9839-8

A mother-daughter road trip forms the outline of Gable’s debut, but the emphasis of this quietly moving novel is on the daughter’s inner journey toward maturity. Eleven-year-old Katherine McConnell’s passion for the American Civil War isn’t surprising; she’s been raised in Marietta, Ga., on stories of her ancestors’ bravery during the “war of northern aggression.” So when, during the hot 1968 summer, Katherine’s mother abruptly proposes the two of them take a trip up the East Coast to collect antiques for her latest business venture, Katherine plots out a route that will take them past as many battlefields as possible. Excited about setting foot into Yankee (read: enemy) territory, Katherine gradually comes to learn the truth behind their trip. Katherine’s narration, enriched by vignettes in which the young Rebel recasts her problems as those of a Confederate general, is credibly naïve without seeming precious, while the Civil War narratives Katherine constructs add texture and weight, keeping this from becoming another maudlin child-narrated coming-of-age story. (Aug.)