Since the start of the Civil War, Mariah has dreamed of a Yankee victory that will grant her and her fellow enslaved men, women, and children their freedom. After Union soldiers show up to loot her Georgia plantation in November 1864, she, her younger brother Zeke, and many others join the 14th Army Corps of the left wing of General Sherman’s army as it marches through Georgia. When a kind black man named Caleb invites her and Zeke to ride in his wagon, Mariah—generous hearted herself—accepts, bringing along a traumatized woman who cannot care for herself. The attraction between Caleb and Mariah is allowed to grow slowly and quietly, expressed only in each one’s thoughts, over 12 days on the march. Readers learn, along with Mariah, about the war through Caleb’s stories; the close-knit ties among the formerly enslaved members of the company are depicted through their experiences on the march, while the trials of their daily lives are revealed through Mariah’s mostly silent memories. Bolden (Capital Days) bravely concludes this concise, moving story with a historically accurate and horrifying ending. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Lyons Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017 Release date: 05/30/2017 Genre: Children's
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